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Whether this is your first ever campervan trip or you’re a regular around campsites and backcountry, we’ve put together a list of ten mistakes to avoid on any camping or campervan trip. After all, it doesn’t hurt to have a little refresher for those more experienced campers out there. If this is your first campervan trip, these are some common mistakes you want to avoid on your road trip that will help you feel more confident about your camping trip and make you look like a pro to other campers.
Here are our 10 mistakes to avoid on your next road trip.
Two common types of campsites are traditional campsites and dispersed campsites. Traditional campsites are your drive-up RV/van camping spots. There are important things to note about traditional campsites:
The second type of campsite is a Dispersed Camping site. When you’re dispersed camping, you’re camping outside of a traditional campground, likely in a national forest. Important things to note about dispersed camping:
Van Tip: look for areas that other dispersed campers have already used to lower your impact on the forest. You can look for:
If you are new to campervan life or camping in general, you may not be familiar with the leave no trace principles. That’s okay! What’s important is that you know them before heading off on your trip. There are seven principles of leave no trace:
Adhering to these principles is not only the right thing to do, but it is the only thing to do if we want to continue to enjoy nature, national parks, and national forests.
Remember: We are guests in nature, and to conserve and protect nature, wildlife, and the beauty of the natural places we get to visit, we must respect it; part of respecting it is leaving nature as you found it or making it look like you were never there in the first place.
Any kind of fire-related mistakes is something you want to avoid entirely on your road trip. This one seems counterintuitive because, of course, you want to bring everything with you before you get to the campsite. However, firewood is one of those things that is best to get when you arrive at your destination. Non-native firewood can introduce foreign bugs and parasites that can devastate or even destroy whole forests.
Fire bans are very common in the summer months because the forest is arid, and there is a high risk that embers from campfires will spark huge forest fires. Aside from preventing forest fires, fire bans impact the food you can bring and prepare. Don’t get stuck with a ton of un-cookable food and nothing to eat. Monitor the fire bans and activity in the areas you’re interested in camping in a few weeks before you go.
It can be tempting to hit every spot you’ve been dreaming of on your camper van trip. Mistakes like this seem small but you want to avoid them to ensure your road trip goes smoothly
Nothing is worse than setting out on the trip you’ve spent months planning only to discover the nights are frigid and you forgot a jacket, or you didn’t pack your hiking boots. Make a list before you go to ensure you don’t leave anything behind. We recommend including these essentials on your packing list:
It may be tempting to plan your trip around big-ticket national parks or popular destinations. But these locations can throw a wrench in your plans quickly. Consider going beyond the parks and visiting less crowded places. Over the weekend, campers who traveled to Zion National Park had to wait for two hours to take a shuttle into the park. Spend time on the trails, not in line!
Start monitoring the weather in the locations you plan to visit a few weeks ahead of time. Nature is unpredictable, which means you could be met with flash floods, extreme cold, or extreme heat. It’s important to get a feel for the weather of the location you’re going to and either change your plans or pack accordingly. Mistakes like these aren’t the worse thing but try to avoid them to make your road trip easy and you’re comfortable.
Cell service is unpredictable; even if thedyrt.com says the campsite gets cell service, it’s never guaranteed. You don’t want to be stuck driving around looking for cell service instead of enjoying your trip. Download your maps offline so you won’t have to worry about whether you have cell service or not.
With camping comes wildlife, and wildlife also love the smell and taste of hotdogs and hamburgers. It is important to consider how you will store your food in the evenings and when you leave your campsite for the day. Here are a few storage options available to campervan travelers:
We hope these tips for mistakes to avoid not only help you on your campervan trip but make your road trip go smoothly so you can focus on the fun. Happy camping, we look forward to hearing about your trip once you return!