Living in a van can look pretty great. You’ve seen the sunrises lighting up the wood-paneled interiors, steaming coffee cradled in hands that are dirty from the previous days adventure, and cute dogs curled up on Pendleton blankets on a cozy, custom bed.

Van life can also look like a flat tire on a long, hot road, and using the sink at a gas station to “shower.”

We think that both ends of the #vanlife experience are worth celebrating; from the freedom and the beauty to the dust-covered breakdowns. This time, we’re focusing on the latter, with some not-so-pretty, hilarious-after-the-fact #VanLife moments.

Here are 11 times That #VanLife Wasn’t Pretty

Let’s get real. Van life kinda sucks sometimes.

When they couldn’t find the door:

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 When the wheels fell off in the middle of nowhere:

 When you realize too late that you forgot to bring chains: 

 When you need to reach the tools that are buried behind EVERYTHING else you own:


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When you decide it’s time to put AAA on speed dial: 

When a bird read that New Yorker article and wanted in on the action:

When a day at the beach looks like this:

When the road is a little rocky:

When you run out of gas. And then do it again. And then oops! One more time.

When even the dog is over it.

When duct tape will have to do:

A big thank you to all the #VanLife Instagrammers who share a slice of the real life behind the pretty pictures.

Still love the idea of living and camping in a van? Check out these adventure van rental companies before you take the plunge.

Keep livin’ the dream, folks.

Britany Robinson

Britany Robinson

Britany is a writer with bylines in BBC Travel, The Guardian, Lonely Planet, and more. When she's not at her computer, she's (hopefully) outside, hiking or camping with her dog. Oh and she definitely ate all of the chocolate out of the trail mix you're sharing.