Living by the Laws of Nature, Not by the Laws of Man
You know those Instagram giveaways your friends tag you in?
Most of the time you ignore them or for fun you tag a couple friends also because “why not”? You never expect to win them or even know someone who does. It’s too random and the internet is too saturated.
Well—this time…we actually WON!
This was an amazing giveaway to win—$500 worth of climbing gear and products! This giveaway was put on by Alpine Start Foods featuring Organic Climbing, Tension Climbing and Friction Labs.
We had just been talking about how badly we needed to upgrade our smaller climbing crash pad. We already had a large Organic crash pad that Shawn gifted me as a birthday present—it’s the best pad to have! We also had a small Metolius pad that I won in Hueco, TX during the 25th Annual Rock Rodeo climbing competition. It’s much softer than you want to rely on while bouldering so we knew we wanted to upgrade to a small Organic pad next. We had been putting this off for a while because they cost so much—couple hundred bucks.
We won one of these pads! It was free. We still cannot get over it…we are so grateful! We had heard of Alpine Start Foods because they are based out of Boulder, CO where we lived for a few years and first started our Vanlife journey. The company was also co-founded by a climber, Matt Segal—so that’s cool! We had heard their instant coffee was good, but it was hard to believe an instant coffee COULD be good so we sorta just left it alone.
I think the best advertising a company with great product can do—is give it away. The product speaks for itself. Not only did we get free instant coffee—we got varieties such as plain, with creamer and dirty chai—PLUS two cute matching mugs to drink them out of!
So not only did we WIN an Instagram giveaway, we found out we love the products they gave us and things we didn’t know we needed—like instant coffee for vanlife (duh), Friction Labs liquid chalk and a Tension Climbing warmup hangboard to bring to the crag.
And THEN—Alpine Start Foods said they wanted to work with us and offer us a Discount Code to share with all our friends. You can get their yummy products at a discount here:
Looking to save money for your very own van build? We found a fun little challenge to help make saving easy and rewarding.
3 Easy Steps
1. Put aside EVERY $5 bill you get
2. Always pay cash on purchases under $15
3. Always get cash back of $20 when you fall below $5 in your pocket
Do this for one whole year. Don't count your $5 bills until it has been one full year of saving. We chose to start this as a New Year's Resolution and waited to the next January 1st to count our savings from the previous year and it was so rewarding!
When we were in the planning stages of building out our van, we had only heard about solar power, but we knew we needed it. In this blog we will tell you about why we went with Renogy solar panels and how they allow us to live off-grid full-time!
We found a very helpful YouTube video about how to figure out the amount of solar power we would use each day, how large our battery bank needed to be and how many watts of solar we required.
While designing our electrical system we found countless options for batteries, solar controllers, solar panels, inverters and then figuring out how to wire them together--it all felt very overwhelming! This was the most confusing part of getting our van build started since it was one of the first things to set up. We chose to go with the Goal Zero Yeti 1400 which took a lot of the guess work out of it as it has the battery, solar controller, inverter and display all in one unit with options to expand.
We first heard about Renogy after purchasing our Goal Zero battery unit and was told they were compatible. We landed on two 160 watt panels because they were the highest output 12v panels they offered at the time and only slightly larger in size compared to the 100 watt panels.
We were familiar with basic 12v installations from previous jobs so the install was a snap. Each panel comes with a positive and negative wire that were basically plug and play with our battery unit. So, we ended up with 320 watts of solar feeding our 1400 mAh lithium battery (roughly 116 Ah). For our daily usage, this has been more than adequate for us.