Follow Taz's tips and you could be this happy.

Follow Taz’s tips and you, too, could be this happy. Photo: Taz Knight

Taz Knight is a professional U.K. big-wave surfer who, before starting a university degree program in physics, recently took six months off to travel through California and Mexico. He bought a 1977 F250 Ford pickup off Craigslist, rebuilt the engine, fitted out the back and traveled solo looking for big waves and adventure.

Along the way, Knight surfed the big-wave spot of Mavericks, survived a six-wave hold-down at Todos Santos and was one of a small band of elite big-wave riders who surfed the biggest swell ever witnessed at Puerto Escondido. Both the F250 and Knight survived the mission, and GrindTV asked the 19-year-old to give us his best tips for living, and enjoying, a life on the road.

Keep your traveling living space shipshape

Taz's home for what he called, "the best six months of my life."

Taz’s home for what he called “the best six months of my life.” Photo: Tax Knight

This is number one on my list. When you're living in a van 24/7, life can turn to shit if everything is messy. It will make you feel like there isn’t enough space, and it can become damp, dirty and miserable to be there.

Being on top of it is a constant process. In the morning, you pack up the bed and make the van into a kitchen. Then you pack away all the kitchen things, wash everything up, then you have a living room, and so on. This also means you are always free to up and drive off whenever you want, instead of spending an hour cleaning stuff and putting it away.

Use a rock pool as a dishwasher

A sink and water take up a lot of space, so planning on washing your dishes with fresh water inside is not the best idea. As a surfer, I always camp by the beach. Why waste drinking water when the sea is right there? The best, most efficient and cheapest way to do your washing up is to find a nice, clean rock pool. You may think it is disgusting, but most of the time the sea is pretty damn clean, and once you have some eco-friendly soap in the mix, it's fine!

Find a place for everything

<blockquote class=”instagram-media” data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-version=”4″ style=” background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% – 2px); width:calc(100% – 2px);”><div style=”padding:8px;”> <div style=” background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;”> <div style=” background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;”></div></div> <p style=” margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;”> <a href=”https://instagram.com/p/xZ5W4Xu0T_/” style=” color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;” target=”_top”>#headingof #omg #excitement #omg #mexicohearicome #brian #burrrr @edsmithyy when did you say your flight was? ;)</a></p> <p style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;”>A photo posted by Taz Knight (@taz_knight) on <time style=” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;” datetime=”2015-01-03T20:07:33+00:00″>Jan 3, 2015 at 12:07pm PST</time></p></div></blockquote>
<script async defer src=”//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js”></script> Everything needs a place -- a good place where it fits in and isn't rolling around on the floor the whole time when you’re driving. That includes surfboards, as you want to keep your boards inside (reasons being safety, protection from damage and general time saving). Strapping boards to the roof every time is such a bore, especially if it is cold and wet. Another time saver is factoring in fins. If you can make your board storage big enough that you can keep the fins on at least one board, then do it.

Two batteries are better than one

Two batteries are a good idea so that you can wire in a second battery in parallel with your car battery. This means it charges on the alternator, but doesn't wreck the car when you try to start it. Put a switch on the positive line so you can turn it on when you’re driving and then turn it off when you are parked up.

A solar panel is also quite useful and not too expensive and it means you can park up for a week in a good spot and not have to drive around to charge your batteries.

Don't wee in your wetsuits

<blockquote class=”instagram-media” data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-version=”4″ style=” background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% – 2px); width:calc(100% – 2px);”><div style=”padding:8px;”> <div style=” background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;”> <div style=” background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;”></div></div> <p style=” margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;”> <a href=”https://instagram.com/p/3yOxtCO0W3/” style=” color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;” target=”_top”>Been holding shot back for a while. @carvemag just released it in their latest issue with an article on my trip, Ft @tomloweyo and @tommybutts. Check it out for more shots of us getting smashed! Cheers @moralesedwin for some pick shots! YEW!!! @nssurfboards @dryrobe @nikbakerk66</a></p> <p style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;”>A photo posted by Taz Knight (@taz_knight) on <time style=” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;” datetime=”2015-06-11T10:04:51+00:00″>Jun 11, 2015 at 3:04am PDT</time></p></div></blockquote>
<script async defer src=”//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js”></script> Don't pee in your wetsuit, and if you do, give it a good wash afterwards. You don’t want your van to smell like that. Secondly, have a good spot set aside for [your wetsuit] and a place to dry it out. I tend to keep mine on the wing mirror most of the time. I can be driving along at 60 mph and not worry about it blowing off. They tend to just wedge in there pretty snug and get a blow dry if I am driving between surf spots.

Let there be light (and sockets)

You need lights in the back. I have done otherwise and a head torch isn’t enough. It’s great to have an inverter so you can charge everyday items like phones, and it is nice to have a few sockets, either 12-volt or proper plugs, lurking about the place.

Don't let oil and water levels drop too low

Always check your fluids (car wise) before any long journey.

I learned that one the hard way.

Taz's List of Essentials

Here is a list of essentials -- some necessities, some items that came in handy. Everyone will find out what they need, but these worked for me.

  • Mechanic skills: You don't want to get stuck in a remote spot without the knowledge to fix your car.
  • Good tool kit: To accompany your skill set.
  • Mechanic's guide to your vehicle: Haynes manuals are really good.
  • Spare parts: Belts, filters, tires, fluids, wires, fuses, lights, nuts, bolts -- take it all. Most mechanical failures are pretty simple fixes if you have the kit and the tools to do it.
  • Good road maps: Pretty obvious. Don't get lost.
  • Spare fuel can: A five-gallon jerry can save a day.
  • Tire pump: A small 12-volt compressor to pump up your tires after driving on sand.
  • Shovel: Sometimes [you] will need to dig your truck out. Also good for digging a latrine.
  • Tow rope: Good for the normal use, and they can be used as a slackline! Double whammy.
  • Lots of water storage: Allow for using a gallon a day if you're not washing up and not having showers. If you are, then you will use considerably more.
  • A really good knife and an axe: Dull blades lead to frustration at best and accidents at worst.
  • Small collapsible table and chair: You will get bored of sitting in the van.
  • Tarpaulin: Good for setting up a base camp.
  • Cooker: You save so much money making your own meals.
  • Fridge/cooler: Run it off the second battery and a solar panel, as you need to keep food cool.
  • Fan: If you are somewhere really hot, the van is literally an oven.
  • Solar shower: Nothing like a hot shower!
  • Proper fishing kit: Such a good way to spend your time, and it is [a] super-cheap way to eat.
  • Lots of books! The Internet ain't everywhere.

More from GrindTV

Would you live in a van with four people for a year?

Stunning, surreal surf photo is unlike any other

10 things only female surfers can understand