Creating and building your skoolie is just the start of the awesomeness that is skoolie life. For us, the best part of living, traveling, and adventuring in a skoolie is all of the cool skoolie gear that goes along with it.
People love their gadgets and widgets that make life simpler, convenient, and interesting. The right skoolie gear does all of that and more.
Living in a skoolie presents so many different types of challenges and opportunities to learn and improve little processes that yield big results.
An example of this would be a drone. Drones are like the epitome of van-life or skoolie-life toys and accessories. However, you can use a drone to get a birds-eye view of your surrounding area if you are not familiar with it.
Sure, you can use Google maps, but what if you are in an area with no wifi or cell data? Perhaps the area has changed due to construction or natural disasters since Google Maps last scanned the area.
There are some very smart and essential skoolie gear that can and will make your life so much easier, simpler, and enjoyable if you use them in the right manner.
Today, we look at some practical items that should be on your Essential Skoolie Gear list.
What Is A Skoolie?
I suppose we should address the obvious for those who may be new to this concept or possibly stumbled upon this topic through a search keyword.
A Skoolie is a retired school bus that has been purchased by a private party and converted into a motorhome.
That is the most basic definition of a skoolie. How that school bus conversion has been built will vary from one person to another.
We have friends who have very basic and minimalist skoolie builds. Basically, they are “tent camping” on a school bus. Of course, the seats have been removed, so it is like a metal tent on wheels.
For some other friends of ours, we have been in their skoolies that are more like staying in a beachside cottage or mountain ski-in chateau on wheels.
You may be very surprised at how beautiful of a transition people can make from an old chewing gum-infested school bus to a luxury, comfortable and functional Class A motorhome.
Sure, you can spend $80,000 to over $1,000,000 for a brand-new RV motorhome. You also are going to be getting junk on the lower end of that price spectrum.
On the higher end of that spectrum, you are going to be paying a mortgage on a six or seven-figure motorhome coach.
Your choice. Either way is the best way depending on your circumstances, motivation, desires, and budget.
Skoolie life is about the experience of life more so than the vehicle or the destination. It is about living life on your own terms despite what societal norms dictate we should be living.
It’s not about anarchy, denial, or bucking the systems as much as it is about being self-aware of what you, as an individual really want out of what life you have left to live here on Earth.
If you have questions about how you can do this but are not sure where to start, we would love to connect with you! Leave us a comment and we will get back to you or reach us on our social channels.
Living In A Skoolie Essential Gear
There is some skoolie gear essential items for the inside of your bus you really should not be living without.
Mind you, we could spend about three years talking about all of the items that would be great skoolie gear for the inside of your bus. For time's sake, we will only focus on a few things that we really like!
Having curtains as a part of your essential skoolie gear is not just about privacy and blocking out light.
Curtains provide a couple of other purposes that you really should captivate while living and traveling in a skoolie.
One of the things curtains provide for you is probably going to surprise you. Let's look at the more obvious benefit of having curtains in your skoolie.
- Curtains provide an insulating barrier for those heat-sucking or cool air-sucking windows. Your Skoolie windows are where you lose 75% of your interior climate-controlled air.
- Curtains also, believe it or not, provide zen or a comforting environment for you. Humans, like canines, have a den mentality. We, as a species, find comfort and security in a den.
Having your curtains blackout light will give that feeling and atmosphere of security.
Blue Tooth Speaker
Here is the reason why a Bluetooth speaker or equivalent sound system is an essential skoolie gear item. We use the Sony SRS Bluetooth speaker. For the price, the sound and versatility can not be beaten. This is the best alternative to the Bose 360 we could find at a fraction of the cost.
Having the ability to play your favorite music releases dopamine and serotonin. These “happy” chemicals are essential for our physical and psychological health.
Having the ability to move your speaker around your bus, and even outside of your bus is a very nice convenience.
Magnets! The magic of a magnet should be one of the seven wonders of the world. It’s just physics, yes we know, but physics with a touch of magic.
Magnets are an invaluable skoolie gear accessory. We feel bad calling it an accessory, it is an essential tool! Magnets can do just about anything in a skoolie.
Of course, if you removed or covered up all of the metal on the inside of your bus, then magnets may not be as invaluable on the inside of your bus as they would be.
You can use the hell out of them on the exterior of your skoolie though.
They make for great towel holders, fruit hammocks, hanging curtains or sheets, drying items with hangers, holding up window inserts, hanging portable Bluetooth speaker(s). We could go on and on with the multiple uses of magnets inside of your skoolie, but we think we made our point here.
How do you utilize magnets on the inside of your bus? Leave us a comment and share your magnet tips!
Having a drinking water filter system is an essential skoolie gear item not just for yummy tasting water, it is a safety and life-essential item as well.
Whether you use a sophisticated 3-stage water filtration system or a Zero or a Berkey water filter system, use something.
Drinking water straight from your freshwater tanks may be alright, but sometimes, we do not always know where our potable water is truly coming from.
Using an inline water filter from the water spigot and water fill hose is a great idea as well. It is not going to filter your water as pure and clean as the Berkey or Zero water filter, but it will filter out some of the impurities you should not be ingesting into your body!
Coleman Propane Stove – Skoolie Gear
Having a Coleman Propane stove or similar portable propane stove is great as a backup cooking appliance.
If you are anything like us, it would not be unheard of for us to run out of propane while we are boondocking somewhere out in the wilderness.
We have the skills to make a campfire and cook on an open flame, but it is not nearly as easy and convenient as cooking on our stove in our skoolie.
Besides, even when it is not a backup or emergency use stove, sometimes, it's really nice to cook outside.
Sharp Utility Knife – Skoolie Gear
Everyone who travels, camps, or lives in a skoolie should have a solid, sharp, and reliable knife. When we say a “utility” knife, we’re not talking about a pocket knife, multi-use knife, or kitchen knife.
We’re talking about a knife you can use to clean and gut a fish, filet a steak, or cut wood, or fabric. A knife you can carry with you on a hike and be able to use for self-defense.
A sharp, good-sized, and reliable knife is a skoolie gear essential that no one should be without.
You never realize how valuable and a good knife is until you have one, use it, and then wonder how you ever lived functionally without one.
Besides, you look like a total badass with it strapped to your belt. Think Crocodile Dundee, Rambo, or Bear Grylls.
Outdoor Skoolie Gear
Having the right outdoor skoolie gear is just as important as having the right skoolie gear for indoor living. If you are like most of the skoolie, RV, and van-life community, you spend the majority of your time outside of your bus.
Having the right or best skoolie gear essentials for outdoor living and enjoyment will make skoolie life all that much better. I know, how could it get better than it already is?
Here are a few of our most essential items for your best skoolie life.
Sitting around the campfire at night is nothing unless you are relaxed and comfortable. Otherwise, what is the point?
If you are fortunate enough to be in “dark-sky” country and can see a gazillion stars above your head, being able to gaze in wonder at them should be done in a comfortable chair.
Unless of course, you have a skoolie deck to lay upon and gaze at them while laying next to your favorite human.
Our favorite outdoor chair is the Nemo Stargaze Recliner Luxury Camp Chair. These chairs are quite the lounging experience. While they are a little pricey, their comfort, craftsmanship, and lounging experience are well worth it.
Don’t be fooled by less expensive imitations. Falling over and having plastic parts break after a few sits is not worth the reduction in price.
Nothing says relaxation like a hammock on a breezy afternoon. We have friends who love lounging in a hammock. So much, they have built their skoolie so that they sleep in a hammock every night.
A smart tip is to attach a heavy-duty “D” hook or hooking mechanism to the exterior of your bus.
When you find a campsite, park close enough to a tree so you can attach one end of your hammock to the tree and the other end to your D-hook on your bus.
Something to set a drink, a plate of food, or a craft as you relax or multitask.
Our outdoor table is made up of two TV trays and a 1” x 36” x 48” piece of wood.
The TV trays act as tables when we want to eat outside or just need a little extra outdoor “counter space”.
When we place the TV trays a few feet apart from one another and then add the piece of wood on top of them, we have a useful and portable 4 four-foot counter outside.
We love this design so much, we have used it in our Van-life adventures as well as incorporated it into our second DIY Skoolie Project!
There is something very primal and natural about cooking over an open campfire.
While we are good at cooking right on top of red-hot wood embers, being able to elevate your cookware off of the flame makes for a better cooking experience.
Having a campfire tripod for cooking over an open flame adds an ambiance and camping experience like no other.
It’s almost like we are on a wagon train back in 1883 traveling from Central Texas to Oregon. Our wagon train cooks prepare a meal on the plains of Nebraska.
Not everyone wants to hike a 14er. (Mountain at least 14,000 feet high)
Having something to do while chilling and lounging around your skoolie camp will keep restlessness and boredom at bay. We are pretty good at keeping ourselves occupied, but sometimes, it’s good to have options.
An outdoor game or activity like playing a game of catch with a baseball or football can be both fun and relaxing at the same time.
A dartboard, horseshoes, or a mobile gym for exercise is a great way to pass the time on an afternoon.
Don’t forget to bring that Bluetooth speaker outside for some of your favorite music while you are at it!
Wrap Up To The Most Essential Skoolie Gear
As we said before, we could fill an entire E-book with skoolie gear ideas. For us after all, it is the skoolie gear gadgets, widgets, and toys that help make skoolie life interesting and fun.
Try not to overcomplicate your essential skoolie gear items. Look for things that have multiple uses as that will help cut down on clutter and save valuable storage space.
What are some of your essential skoolie gear items? What can you not imagine skoolie life without? We’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts on this subject.
Leave us a comment below and tell us some of the things that help make your skoolie experience easier.
We look forward to connecting with you!