So here we are! We successfully packed Loytää with food, clothing, gear, and bikes and drove across the Island to Tofino. We are camping at Crystal Cove campground, an RV park on one of the many beautiful beaches here in Tofino. It’s been an exciting and humbling experience as we navigate the world of RV camping. We have already learned a lot, but there is so much more to learn!
Some lessons learned so far:
Driving a camper is different than a car.
This of course is a no brainer. It’s really a truck! The great thing is that you sit really high off the road and have great visibility. Acceleration is not super fast, but once at speed, it drives really nicely and does not feel like the big vehicle it is. We are getting used to using the mirrors and figuring out how long the thing is before changing lanes. There are some good climbs on the highway to Tofino and we didn’t race up them but did not have any problems. Backing up will take some more practice; I think it took two tries to back it accurately into the campsite. So it’s different but really pretty nice to drive.
Space is at a premium
It’s a small living space, but it’s amazing what we can fit in here. Our camping experience definitely helped because we could use a combination of gear from our various types of camping: car, kayak and backpacking. Putting things into containers so they don’t shift around, and to be able to taken kitchen supplies outside to cook, helps a lot. We still have cupboard space empty so we have room to grow.
I love the fairly large fridge, with a good sized freezer, and the pantry for food stuffs. It’s so much easier than holding everything in bear canisters or dry bags, and so easy to get at. We simply stopped in a lake-side picnic spot yesterday to make lunch. It was a treat to not have to pack it ahead of time.
Weather does not matter
In true Wet Coast style, we have had rain overnight and most of today. Not hard driving rain, but enough rain that if we were in a tent, we would not be having as much fun. The awning from the van, provides some good shelter, and we can stay dry and cosy inside for as long as we want. We have a roof vent fan that needs a cover because it will not work in the rain. That’s on our list of to-do’s
Camping at this time of year brings cool nights (and days) but we are toasty. One of the tricks we learned is to bring an electric heather to run from shore power, rather than use the propane heater which is noisy and uses propane. So we were very toasty last night. We learned, as we loaded the van at home, that the floors are quite cool of course. So I wisely brought these out of retirement and my tootsies are very comfortable.
Inside cooking works
We cooked breakfast inside today because it was cool and more importantly, we wanted to test what it would be like to cook in a small space. In a space-saving kitchen, just turning around to access the fridge and pantry was easy. Our camping cooking pots works just as well on the gas stove as outside. And the small tables we bough to fit in the walkway between the benches served as a great extra workspace/counter. We planned to cook almost outside, but I kinda liked keeping everything inside, especially when it’s not ideal conditions.
Troubleshooting always needed
We successfully cooked breakfast, but when I went to get hot water to wash dishes, there was none to be had. After turning the on-demand water heater off and on, calling the supplier of the water heater to learn that we should turn on the heater to get gas flowing (even though we had cooked), we decided to see if in fact we had enough propane. Our tank was 5/8 full. That was not the problem. In the end we figured out that the propane valve was not really open so not enough propane was getting to the appliances. Once we turned the gas on, all was good.
It pays to camp with friends.
Our next-campsite neighbours, John and Heather, have the same van as we do, and we have a couple more friends here, all who have a lot more RV experience than we do. Brad was the one that urged us to look at the propane switch. We also will learn a lot more tricks of the trade (and probably identify a lot of other things we want to buy) as we spend more time with them. The company, as well as their experience, are graciously accepted!
So, not yet 24 hours on the road, but we are loving this life so far. Once the rain stops we will venture more outside and go for a beach walk, but it’s wonderful that we can still enjoy camping when the weather is not perfect. Stay tuned for more adventures and misadventures.