Why Sun Protection Is a Must for Van Lifers

Mar 4, 2024 | Van Life, Vehicle Living | 0 comments

Van life offers freedom and adventure, allowing you to explore new destinations and experience the great outdoors like never before. However, if you’re new to the van life or are thinking about making it a permanent lifestyle, there are a few things you need to consider. These include things like how to choose the right van for your lifestyle and how long you plan on living the van life. However, there’s one crucial thing we want to emphasize in this post – the importance of sun protection.

Whether cruising along scenic highways or parked at picturesque campsites, van lifers are constantly exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays. In this article, we’ll delve into why sun protection is essential for van lifers, examine the risks of prolonged sun exposure, and provide tips for staying safe under the sun while embracing this nomadic lifestyle.


The importance of sun protection for life on the road

Living in a campervan, whether for short trips or as a full-time lifestyle, entails increased sun exposure, making sun protection critical for your health and well-being. Prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays can lead to sunburn, increasing the risk of skin damage and skin cancer in the long term. According to the Candian Cancer Society, about 65% of melanoma skin cancer cases are due to UV radiation. For people living in campervans who may spend a significant amount of time outdoors, sunburn prevention is crucial to avoid melanoma.

Moreover, sun protection is crucial for preserving eye health and avoiding eye damage. Without proper eye protection, van lifers risk developing eye conditions, including cataracts, macular degeneration, and even certain types of eye cancers. These concerns underscore the significance of sun protection for campervan dwellers, so here are a few sun safety essentials you need to ensure that life on the road stays enjoyable.



While most vehicle windows are able to block UVB rays, they are much less effective at filtering out UVA rays. According to dermatologist Dr. Hyemin Pomerantz, this can cause considerable sun damage to the left side of your face and arm. Chronic exposure to UVA rays damages the DNA of your skin cells, which is what increases your risk for skin cancer. The easiest way to protect yourself is by slathering on a broad-spectrum sunscreen on all exposed areas, such as the Banana Boat Light As Air Sunscreen Lotion with SPF 50+, reapplied every two hours. Dr. Pomerantz also notes that chemical formulations like this need 10 to 20 minutes to settle in, so apply it before getting behind the wheel.



To avoid UV-related eye damage, including the ones we mentioned above, always wear sunglasses with UV-blocking properties. Driving while wearing proper eye protection also enhances road safety, as bright sunlight can make you squint and affect your ability to see the road clearly. If you’re a glasses-wearer, it’s wise to invest in a pair of prescription sunglasses that offer both correct vision and sun protection. This way, you won’t have to compromise on either road or sun safety. Ray-Ban carries a wide array of prescription sunglasses that meet UV standards, such as the Original Wayfarer classics that are made with a special coating that blocks out all UV light waves. Optionally, you can add polarized coatings to enhance contrast and see better while driving in sunny locales.


Window shades

During periods when your campervan is parked, digital nomad and campervan enthusiast Geoffrey Morrison recommends installing blackout window shades for both privacy and sun protection. In the daytime, the sun can make it very hot inside your campervan, which can make it stuffy and lead to heat-related illnesses. Having window shades keeps your van cool and comfortable. For this, he suggests double-sided shades that have a reflective foil on one side and are black on the other, like the YelloPro Side Window Front Seat Sunshade available on Amazon. The shiny side reflects UV rays, while the dark side is helpful for insulation.

By incorporating these simple yet effective sun safety practices, you can minimize the risks associated with sun exposure and make the most out of this nomadic experience.


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