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10 Epic Van Life Gatherings Set for 2022

Will 2022 be the year that van life gatherings return to normal after COVID-19? Many van life meetup hosts are still waiting until the new year to make an official call, but… 

if you’re eager to get some van gatherings on your calendar, there are a handful that are officially set for 2022!

10 Van Life Gatherings in 2022

1. Burning Van

When: Dec 30, 2021 – Jan 2, 2022

Where: Borrego Springs, California

Website: Click here

Bring in the New Year with van lifers and nomads for the third annual Burning Van in Borrego Springs, California! Festivities include a talent show, a potluck, and of course, the Burning of the Van at midnight. This is a paid event hosted by Vanlife Outfitters. Ticket prices start at $30 for General Admission plus camping.

2. Skooliepalooza

When: Jan 21 – Jan 31

Where: Parker, Arizona

Website: Click here

This event can get massive. Spread out across the beautiful desert terrain of Arizona, where skoolies, vanlifers, overlanders and nomads gather for campfires, music, and general fun. I attended this event last year and was in awe at how “communities” naturally formed throughout the area. A great way to make friends and check out very unique rigs. Come and go from the event as you please. This event is free. 

3. Escapar a la Baja

When: Feb 4 – Feb 6

Where: Playa el Tecolote, Baja California Sur

Website: Click here

Ready to go international? Caravan down with groups of overlanders and van lifers to the gorgeous beaches of Baja, Mexico. Hosted by The Journal of Lost Time, who have spent lots of time navigating this terrain and building relationships with locals. Be sure your passport is ready and your tires can handle sand! This event is free. Many groups end up staying on the Baja peninsula for longer than the designated event dates.

4. Tiny Fest Events

When: Mar 12 – Mar 13

Where: Del Mar Fairgrounds, San Diego, CA

Website: Click here

Join road travelers and van life enthusiasts for a couple days of vehicle expos, tiny home show and tell, entertainment, panel discussions, workshops, food and more. Tiny Fest Events actually hosts events across the country throughout the year, but the Del Mar Fairgrounds is currently the only event with locked-down dates for 2022. This is a paid event, where day-of tickets run about $20 but online tickets around $15.

5. Adventure Van Expo

When: Jun 24 – Jun 25

Where: Hood River Fairgrounds, Hood River, OR

Website: Click here

Adventure Van Expo runs events across the country and throughout the year. But currently, the Hood River event is the only solidified 2022 event. As their website says, get ready for “adventure vans, overland vehicles, gear, food, beer and van life”. Sounds solid, right? This event is open to the public so it draws both nomadic life enthusiasts and those already living on the road! This is a paid event, with ticket prices ranging from $10-$150 depending on camping or single-day entry.

6. People’s Tiny House Festival

When: Jul 16 – Jul 17

Where: The Ranch Events Complex, Loveland, CO

Website: Click here

This event combines tiny living with tiny homes on the road. Take tours of DIY or custom-built tiny homes, campervans, skoolies and overlanding vehicles. Meet nomadic travelers, van build companies, and catch good deals on tiny home accessories. Food, panel discussions, beer and live music are provided. This is a paid event, with early bird tickets starting at $7.

7. Van Nationals

When: Jul 20 – Jul 24

Where: Guernsey County Fairgrounds, Old Washington, OH

Website: Click here

Self-described as a “five-day van boogie” – you can’t go wrong. I’ve never attended this event but it looks like they mean business when it comes to having a van boogie. If you don’t have a van, you can’t enter the venue! But, you do have the option of hopping into someone else’s van (and paying an extra person fee). This event is a show-and-tell for some of the most bougie old-school vans out there. Where decked-out new and older model vans come together! Pre-registration starts at $70 which includes a camp spot for a van and two people, for the duration of the event.

8. Overland Expo Events

Overland Expo West:

  • When: May 20 – May 22
  • Where: Ft. Tuthill County Park, Flagstaff, AZ

Overland Expo Mountain West:

  • When: Aug 26 – Aug 28
  • Where: The Ranch Events Complex, Loveland, CO

Overland Expo East:

  • When: Oct 7 – Oct 9
  • Where: Oak Ridge Estates, Arrington, VA

Website: Click here

Overland Expo runs premier overlanding events worldwide for motorcycling, camping and van life. Events offer classes, workshops, panels, training, test-drives, equipment discounts and overall good times. This is a paid event but ticket prices haven’t been released yet. 

9. Keweenaw Overland Adventure Retreat (KOAR)

When: Sep 15 – Sep 18

Where: Trails End Campground, Copper Harbor, MI

Website: Click here 

Absorb the vibrant fall colors of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with fellow nomads at this camping and overlanding event. Right on the coast of Lake Superior, this event focuses on exploring the outdoors, showcasing cool rigs, and building community. This is a paid event but tickets aren’t on sale until March 2022.

10. Moonlanding Gathering

When: Oct 6 – Oct 10

Where: Sky View Park & Campground, NM

Website: Click here 

Get your otherworldly vibes on and soak up the incredible New Mexico night skies with fellow van dwellers. This event is one in a series hosted by The Journal of Lost Time, dedicated to celebrating beautiful places across multiple countries.

Van Life Gatherings to Watch For in 2022

Below are all of the van life events that haven’t set 2022 dates–but many most likely will. Sign up for their newsletters or follow them on Instagram to stay posted!


Tips on Attending Van Life Gatherings

1. Consider exhibiting your campervan. I like exhibiting my van because it provides free entry to events, extra exposure for my website, and more one-on-one time with other DIY builders. Just about all of the paid van life events are happy to welcome new exhibitors, so don’t hesitate to sign up on their sites! Even if you don’t consider your van a “pretty” build, that doesn’t matter at all. Event hosts want to showcase the diversity in van builds and you can help rep the simple, budget builds! 

2. Prep as if you can’t leave the event. Whether you’re exhibiting or just attending, sometimes re-entry to events can be tedious. As an exhibitor, my van usually becomes boxed in around other rigs, so I can’t leave the event. I recommend bringing all of the food, water and supplies you need for the duration of the event.

3. Bring protective sunwear. Sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, water, van awning–whatever helps keep you cool! Many of these events are outside in big fields, deserts, or complexes that offer zero shade. Especially if exhibiting your van, you must stay by it all day. 

4. Attend with a goal in mind. Are you attending events to get ideas for your own build? Are you already on the road and just looking to make new friends? Do you run a small business and want extra exposure? Whatever your goal, I recommend bringing marketing or note-taking materials. Bring a pen and notebook, business cards, stickers, or even just write your Instagram handle on your van’s window to help achieve your goal.

A good place to start is attending one of the free gatherings that are just focused on making friends and having fun. These events include Skooliepalooza, Escapar a la Baja, Rubber Tramp Rendezvous and Good Vibe Collective events. 

I’m grateful for the events I’ve been to because they not only (extremely) expanded my van dwelling friend group, but gave me a better sense of the community as a whole. I hope you make it to an event!

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