Here are some tips to make sure that your next adventure is as epic as possible.
1) Start Simple
I can honestly say that this one is the hardest tips for me to follow. I’m the guy who wants to carry the 50 lb backpack on the 3 day trip just incase I need something. Learn from my mistakes and pack light. The less you bring, the easier it is to focus on the adventures at hand.
I remember on my first road trip in the van I brought almost everything including my long board, slack line, hammock, daypack and much more… This was a two-day trip to Chattanooga… I rode the board for 5 minutes total and didn’t use the slack line, hammock or daypack once. One thing is for sure though, I had to find places to put all of that junk when I wanted to spread out and relax. Before your trip, write down a list of things you want to take and pick the essentials. Think simple.
Obviously you can always add the cargo box to the van if you want to bring all the toys. (Right up my alley)
2) Make it Memorable
It’s not every day that you get to travel the roads in a sweet campervan. Go somewhere you have always dreamed of visiting. Go see the northern lights while bundled up with a cup of hot chocolate, hike monument valley, or sleep under the Milky Way in a remote place. These are the trips that you will tell your kids or grandkids about one day.
3) Plan Your Trip in Advance
As fun as it is to drive off into the unknown it can sometimes leave you sleeping in Walmart parking lot. Be sure to book campsites and read park reviews before you leave. Just because you have a plan doesn’t mean you have to stick to it 100%.
When William and I got to Cloudland Canyon in Georgia we found out that they were completely booked up from Florida hurricane evacuees. We still had a blast during the day and ended up spending the night on top of Lookout Mountain, but it would have been good if we had called Cloudland ahead of time.
4) Pack Board Games or Cards for a Night in (if that’s your style)
Today we spend more time looking down than ever. Although I am as guilty as the next guy, I know that we’ll have a much better trip if we bust out the Mexican train dominoes instead of spending the night scrolling through Instagram. Take your favorite board games or a deck of cards for a night in. Inevitably we will have a night that we are too tired to go out but not quite ready to go to sleep. Campfires are always a great choice if it’s cool out. (I could stare at a fire for hours)
5) Take it All in
Leave the stress at the door. When travelling it's easy to get caught up in the hustle of getting from one place to the next. So many times we miss the beauty in-between. Don’t be afraid to pull off and take a picture of those snow capped mountains or that huge sunflower field. You won’t regret stopping to smell the daisies or reveling in the wonder of a rainbow.
6) Pick a Great Campsite
Every night doesn’t have to come with a view but one of the biggest perks of sleeping in a campervan is getting to pick your view without being super obvious to passersby. You can find a nice quiet campsite off the grid or ninja camp in the city. (Covered next) Leverage your ability to move the van to the perfect spot without having to breakdown an entire campsite.
The night we spent on Lookout Mountain involved moving the van a few parking spots until we had the perfect view of the city.
7) Ninja Camp Like a Pro
“Ninja camping” or “stealth camping” as many people call it, is the act of camping in urban areas such as parking lots or side streets. This is definitely an art, and is done by van-lifers all over the world. If you find yourself getting drowsy at the wheel, don’t be afraid to pull off an exit and take a nap or even sleep for the night. Walmart parking lots and truck stops are considered easier because most allow overnight sleeping. If you find yourself wanting to sleep on a side street or other areas be sure to follow these easy tips:
- Be as low key as possible
- Never leave the keys in the ignition
- Never leave the windows down
- Keep noise levels low
- Park late and leave early
- Never park in the same place two nights in a row
- Pay any applicable parking fees
Thank you for reading and joining us on this journey! I hope this article helps you plan your next big trip. If you have any questions or recommendations I would love to hear from you. You can email me at Craig@gearboxrentals.com
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