Posts tagged Camping

Consider these destinations for your 2017 camping trip!

When should I start planning my vacation?

“Are you thinking of renting an RV for your summer 2017 vacations? Maybe you want to explore the United States or perhaps you plan to travel further afield to see Europe, Australasia or beyond. Whichever destination takes your fancy, at Campanda we know that the best vehicles for summer vacations get snapped up at the beginning of the year by the early birds. So, to avoid disappointment, take our advice and get planning now! The earlier you book, the better value the prices are too so all you have to worry about is picking where you want to go. To help you get started with your trip planning, we’ve put together this list of our most exciting and upcoming RVing destinations for 2017 and some top picks of great value RVs available for rent on Campanda.”

 

In the graph above you can see two measure from 2016, the date campers booked their trip and the date campers went on their trip. The difference between the two measures should give you an idea how early people are booking their trips. Between January and April, many people are booking and not so many are going on vacation. It’s safe to assume that most of these people are booking for the upcoming summer.

To help you plan, here is a list of our most exciting destinations and the benefits of camping in them!


Top Destinations


Iceland

 
The amount of interest in that little island increases massively every year. This year, spurred by Iceland’s performance in the European soccer tournament, campers rushed to Iceland to get a glimpse of its fire meets ice landscapes. Check out this article, to find out more about camping in Iceland.

Iceland has a circular road that goes around the island allowing you to visit all the hotspots. To visit everything you need around two weeks.

Camping highlights

1. Wild camping: Iceland is one of the countries that allows primitive camping across the country. Its large plains and fields are mostly owned by the state allowing you to park your RV where you please. The only two rules are to not park on private property and to not destroy the landscape.

2. The hotsprings: Iceland has many natural hot springs said to carry health benefits for the skin.

3. Active volcanoes: The island has more than 30 active volcanoes.

Featured Vehicle

Check out more options here


2. Botswana

 

Botswana resides north of South Africa. Part of its popularity among campers is the Kalahari desert and the Kalahari reservations. It’s best not to go directly during summertime as the temperatures will be difficult to bear. Instead it’s best to seek your Botswana adventures in the winter months. That being said, Botswana is a very popular destination and not only among camping enthusiasts but among animal lovers also. So make sure to plan your African trip early!

Camping Highlights

1. The Kalahari: It’s one of the most sought after wild reservations in the world along with the Serengeti. No other place offers you the chance to see Africa’s wildlife up close and personal. We’re talking Cheetahs, lions, elephants and rhinos so makes sure to bring enough storage for all your pictures!

2. Culture: it’s true that sub saharan Africa is one of the poorest regions in the world. This doesn’t stop it however from boasting a deep and unique culture that is heavily influenced by the land itself. Visiting small villages is one of the top activities our campers report doing in Botswana.

3. Shopping: Many campanders tell us how much they enjoyed the African fabrics. These are handmade and tend to be very cheap all whilst making you popular with the locals.

Featured Vehicle

Check out more options here


3. New Zealand

 

Going there and back again has been a favorite amongst our International campers in 2016. It’s said that you can experience all 4 seasons in a day in New Zealand. From tropical forests to icy glaciers to serene beaches, it’s hard to question the reason New Zealand is so popular. New Zealand also has 3 official boondocking locations where you are allowed to park and enjoy the view.

Camping Highlights

1. Microclimates: As previously mentioned you’ll be able to experience very different climates in the same season. This in turn will give you the opportunity to do very different things like winter sports, hiking, nature watching, water sports etc.

2. Rich biodiversity: By virtue of being isolated islands far away from any land mass, Australia and New Zealand have a very unique collection of animals and plants – New Zealand in particular because of its more diverse climate. Many people go there just to experience Nature.

3. Opposite seasons: Many decide to go to New Zealand in winter when they live in cold countries. New Zealand thus provides a great opportunity to go and take full advantage of a second summer.

Featured Vehicle

Check out more options here


4. Alaska

 

Alaska is beautiful in the summer time and looks very much different than the continental US. This makes it a destination for many RVers looking to explore and spend a temperate summer in the northern lands. There are many campsites to visit, some as far as Deadhorse, the northernmost city in Alaska.

You can furthermore explore the native culture and find out what type of primitive techniques were used to deal with the extreme weather conditions before the pilgrims ever set foot in Alaska.

Camping Highlights

1. Nature Watching: Splashes of violet and yellow flowers are peppered over endless plains and hills of white and green patches of earth. These act like greeting lands for many migratory birds that go to Alaska for the mating season. Not only birds, but sea mammals like the Orca and land mammals like the grizzly bear also make an appearance to take advantage of the cool summer weather there.

2. Native Culture: Eskimo communities have been able to retain a lot of tradition through the years. You can experience that culture by visiting “Barrow” (the largest Eskimo city in Alaska) or other cities like it. A camper recently recommended us the whaling festival that takes places on the longest day of the year on June 24th or 25th.

3. American Remoteness: Go to Alaska, if you wish to find yourself surrounded by nature and nothing else.

Featured Vehicle

Check out more options here


5. The United Kingdom

 

Britain is a great location certainly, however it’s not the first place you’d think of going when you think camping. We chose to include it in this list because the British Pound is currently really cheap. A camping trip to the U.K. is about 25% cheaper than what it would have been prior to the referendum. So make sure to take a closer look at camping in the United Kingdom.

Camping Highlights

1. High density of campsites: The UK is a camping powerhouse with a thriving service industry to support it. It might surprise you to know that the UK has the highest density of campsites by landmass, more than any other country.

2. A Culture Mecca: Take a trip to visit landmarks like Salisbury Cathedral, York Minster and Stonehenge.

3. British Pubs: Have a mingle with the locals. All you need is a couple of pints of ale and Bob’s your uncle!

Featured Vehicle


Check out more options here

5 outdoor activities you should try this winter

Are you a nature lover looking to dip your toes into a winter activity this season? As you know winter sports aren’t only about skiing and snowboarding, there is much more to explore. Having your home on wheels gives you the opportunity to go and take a look at this wonderful world, all you need to do is grab the keys and start the engine and your winter adventure is a go go.

1. Gazing at the Northern Lights

Northern lights are a unique phenomenon. Nothing else comes close to combining science and magic. To get a bit into the science here, northern lights are a byproduct of solar matter traveling through space only to be diverted by a magnetic layer surrounding Earth and pulled back in through the magnetic charge in the North and South poles!

What’s most crucial is getting the timing right. People tend to go in the winter time simply because the nights are longer at that time. It is a misconception that Northern Lights only occur in winter though.

A common misconception is also that you can just go to a location and start seeing northern lights. Although this is mostly true for some places, the reality is that these places are extremely remote and difficult to get to. You’re better off going to a location and spend a week camping or hiking. This will give you a big enough window to experience something extraordinary.

There are also a couple of things that you should monitor or be aware of to maximise your chances of getting the best light show possible:

  • The moon will take away from the experience as it seems really bright in remote areas. Try to time your trip when the moon closest to its crescent stage.
  • Clouds will get in the way of seeing brighter auroras. The clearer the skies are, the better the light show will be.
  • You want to go aurora watching when the sun is at its most active. Some people look at historical data but you can only predict if lights will appear within a 6 hour window. Here is a good resource to monitor solar cycles

Sky gazing is a perfect activity for campers as it is more of a passive activity. The hardest part is finding a nice place to park and boiling some water for hot tea.

Here are some of the more popular places to go see auroras:

  • Denali National Park – Alaska
  • Whitehorse – Yukon
  • Yellowknife – Northwest Territories

2.Dog Sledding

Dog sledding is a whole lot of family fun packed into one big ride. It covers a lot of things that people like individually like sight seeing, animals, speed, history and of course sliding.

It’s important to mention the history because what has become sport and recreation today used to be a legitimate transportation and delivery mechanism.

Eskimos were the first to use sled dogs for basic transportation of people and goods. The Pilgrims adapted this when they discovered the north and most of the arctic expeditions on land used dog sleds as means of transport. Later dog sleds were used to deliver mail. A team of 8 – 10 dogs was able to tow 700 lbs of mail over the course of a multi-day journey. Later during the gold rush, dog sledding increased again in popularity to help tow precious metals to ports.

The Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamut are still considered to be the most appropriate dogs for sledding, However over the last century, speed has been favored over strength as the activity became more recreational in nature. There are even some sledding services that use hounds instead of Huskies!

Here are our favorite destinations for dog sledding:

  • Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge – Minnesota
  • Yellowstone Dog Sled Adventures – Montana
  • Mahoosuc Guide Services – Maine
  • Howling Dog Tours – Alberta

3. Ice Fishing

Ice fishing has its root in Eskimo culture. It was used as a primary means of obtaining fish and was necessary for survival. Modern Americans, Canadians and Scandinavians however have turned it into the social recreational sport we know today.

In North America, fans of the sport are known to participate in yearly outings. Many will tow a portable fish house and set off on an adventure to find the biggest fish schools. Technology makes it easier to scan and locate these schools. With the help of sonar, people quickly check to see if a fishing hole is active or not. It’s as simple as relocating and repeating the process. Experienced fishermen will tell you that the best times to fish are around dusk and dawn.

On the other hand, Ice fishing isn’t without dangers. There are certain precautions that you must take. First, avoid the activity during warm patches in the winter. Second, it’s safer to set camp when the ice is between 4 and 6 inches in thickness. Last but not least, remember that ice fishing is typically a multiple day activity, so watch out for frostbite, Some buttered rum should help keep you warm and toasty on the cool ice.

Here are some popular ice fishing spots:

  • Lake of the Woods – Ontario | Manitoba | Minnesota
  • Antero Reservoir – Colorado
  • Cold Lake – Alberta | Saskatchewan
  • Lake Winnebago – Wisconsin
  • Patterson Lake – Washington

4. Snowshoeing

This is an activity that can be enjoyed anywhere, even in your local woods after fresh snowfall. However it is best put to use when you want to go hiking or mountaineering during the snow season.

Snowshoes work by reducing resistance when walking on powdery snow. It does so by increasing the surface area of your footsteps. This concept is known as “Flotation”.

The first instances of snowshoe use is believed to be around 5000 years ago in Central Asia. However the rawhide lace snowshoes we’re familiar with are typical of the American natives. They were the ones who introduced it to the settlers 400 years ago. Scandinavians used yet another variant that is more closely associated to Nordic ski, with the bottom of the shoe being flatter, longer and less wide.

Historically snowshoes were important for people that needed to cross wild terrain on their travels such as traders, hunters and trappers. Nowadays, apart from its formal use by park rangers, snowshoeing has experienced a rebirth in the recreational space as it promotes sports and healthy living in the north.

Typically there are three formats for snowshoes. The thinner ones are purposed for sports while the larger ones are best for mountaineering and exploration. Modern snowshoes are typically made from plastics, lightweight metals and polymers for binding.

Snowshoeing is a very active sport and is a great way to discover national parks in the winter time.

5. Nature Tours

Organizing a nature tour is a great way to bring all the above activities under one umbrella. North America is full of National Parks and many people choose to visit them during the winter wildlife flourishes.

Free parking is widely available and is usually easily accessible from freeways running along or through the parks. You can choose to explore the parks yourself, choosing your own trails and moving at your own pace, or you can join a guided tour and benefit from years of experience that the National Park Centennial has accumulated over the years. Here are two of our favorite National Parks to visit in the winter time.

North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park is located in northern Washington on the Canadian border – It’s a short 3 hour drive away from Seattle. The temperatures in the park can vary greatly from trail to trail nevermind from season to season. It also has the biggest concentration of glaciers in the lower 48 states with a total of 312.

The park is really easy to access from highway 20, with many one day trails starting close to the exits. You can also choose to join a guided tour here. To learn more about them, visit this page
on their official website.

Some of the wildlife in the park includes but is not limited to grizzly bears, grey wolves, lynx, wolverines.

Glacier National Park

Dubbed “The Crown of the Continent”, it’s easy to see why the Glacier National Park is so popular. Large mountains, serene lakes and a bustling wildlife makes this park the epitome of the American wild in the north. It was recently declared a world heritage site along with its Canadian neighbor the Waterton Lakes National Park.

The Glacier National Park houses a variety of animals and the biggest concentration of bears in the USA. You’ll also find beavers, bighorn sheep, elk, lynx, mountain goats, mountain lions and wolverines.

There are many trails to explore but we recommend the River Belly Trail that is typically open year round and the St. Mary Trail which is a little steeper and more traitorous in terms of weather conditions.


So there you have it. We hope to have given a bit of inspiration in terms of things you can do in the wild this winter. What’s your favorite winter activity? Maybe you know some hidden gems you’d like to share? Write them at the bottom, we’d love to hear from you!

10 Perfect Christmas Presents for the RV Geek

Christmas is upon us and it’s time to start buying gifts for our closest loved ones. For family and friends of the RV geek, picking the right gift can be a daunting challenge. You could be looking for a quick $5 gift or you could be looking to grab Santa by the ankles and drop a couple of hundreds on your favorite camper this holiday season. In order to help everyone out, we’ve compiled some of our favorite camping products, things we don’t usually go camping without.

If you have more questions about a particular item, drop us a comment in the bottom of this post and we’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible!


Magic Screen [ $90 – $800 ]

 

Magic Screen is a bendable outdoor screen that folds out and gets grounded like a tent. All you need is a phone, projector and Magic Screen and you’ll have an 80’ outdoor cinema system you can call your own.

The company behind Dashbon says that the existing products out there don’t address the consumer’s need for a one step solution to screening in the wild: “We’ve always hated the fact that we have to drag along those bulky pull-up/pull-down projection screen to the campsite or those inflatable screens that require external power supply to pump the air.” Magic Screen is the answer to that frustration.


Nikon ACULON A211 Binoculars [ $140 ]

Binoculars are considered an essential tool for campers, especially if your special someone is a boondocking enthusiast. Whether you use it to scout prospect areas for camping or just want to watch nature, no other binoculars come close to the Nikon ACULON A211 in the $100 price range. If you’re looking to give your loved one the gift of sight this holiday season, make sure to opt in for ACULON binoculars.


Xmas Ornament [ $9.50 ] & Xmas T-shirt [ $15 ]

 

“The shitter’s full” branded items have been hot commodities amongst RVers in the last couple of years. Nothing connects RVers like their dislike for emptying the nasty one. If you’re looking for a cheap and “xmas-y” gift this Christmas, or even just looking to add a camping theme to your Christmas tree, why not get something comical?

We loved the catch phrase so much we’ve decided to show you the T-shirt version as well – Just to spread the enthusiasm year-long!


Custom Sign [ $70 ]

If you’re looking to personalize your RV, then look into ordering a custom sign. The sign can say many things: a name, an address, a catch phrase or even an inside joke. Precision carving Inc. offers great vintage looking designs at convenient prices. Just to get your creative juices flowing here are a couple of examples of what you can get carved on your custom sign.

  • Eleanor & Sam Phillips
  • Never far from Texas
  • Everywhere is home
  • Home of the green pony and the 10 legged spider
  • The Wilsons
  • 1000 Forever Free St.

The DJI Phantom Drone [ $500 ]

Why not branch out into something totally new? Flying drones is the fastest growing activity among RVers because it goes hand in hand with exploration and discovery. You can take a look at what’s around the corner or film your surroundings from above.

Nowadays the technology has come far enough that they are easy to manage and the learning curve to operate them has certainly gone down since they first became popular around 10 years ago. If you’re looking to gift a good entry level drone that’s easy to handle, customize and operate, then go ahead and take a closer look at the DJI Phantom, one of the most popular drones on the market at the moment.


Viking Chess [ $45 ]

Ah Viking Chess… For those of you who don’t know it, Viking chess is a mix of strategy and targeting skill. Although the name might hint at a board game, it is anything but. It’s an outdoor sport that requires the same physical ability you would need to play darts or horseshoes. This game is a Campanda favorite and is as much fun being played by two players as it is being played by 10. To find out how to play, check out the video below.


Rainbow Fire Sticks [ $5 ]

These fire sticks make for a nice add-on or small gift for people looking to add a little bit of whimsy in their campsite. If you didn’t guess it from the name, it makes your campfire burn in a collection of rainbow colors. Just throw some of the magic sticks in your campfire and watch it go to work in shades of melon green, candy pink and baby blue!


Amazon Prime [ $100 / year]

If Mr. Gift-receiver is constantly on the move, then there is no better gift than Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime allows the camper to receive packages while on the go. So if they know they’re going to be arriving at a campsite the next day and they plan on staying there two nights. They can quickly order and receive their package within 48 hours.

Amazon Prime is quickly changing the way people shop online. It definitely makes ordering online more convenient. It brings America’s favorite products to your RV door step promptly. A truly thoughtful gift.

The $99 annual subscription also gives you free access to a collection of tv shows, movies, music and books. Here is a list of what’s included.

  • Free two-day shipping
  • Unlimited movies and TV shows
  • Unlimited music streaming
  • Unlimited reading on any device
  • Unlimited photo storage
  • You save 25% on prepayment discounts

The Otto O.F.B Grill [ $1,050 ]

Let’s face it everyone loves steak. Cooking them in a frying pan however quickly gets the RV messy, oily and don’t even get me started about the slippery floors. Thankfully there is a new high-tech compact oven made by Otto. Not only does an indoor grill solve the cleanliness problem, but the Otto happens also to make incredible perfectly cooked steaks with a charred crust. The Otto functions as high octone grill, so even if steak isn’t your thing, it’s still a great piece of equipment.

The Otto heats up in 3 minutes and cooks steaks at a temperature of 1700 F. It’s also very easy to clean and is powered via a propane tank. This is convenient for RVs where electricity is a precious commodity and space is scarce. The Otto is not cheap by any means but if you’re looking to invest in an oven for an RV, then it’s definitely worth the money.


The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Generator [ $900 ]

If the lucky camper does not already have one of those then perhaps it’s time to get him one. Generators are lifesavers and dry camping without them is a pain since most of us always need some kind of access to electricity. Like the Otta grill, a generator isn’t cheap. However it’s a tool that the camper will use over and over again so it pays for itself on the long term.

Yamaha generators are more efficient and run quieter than most generators out there. The Ef2000 series is also capable of outputs up to 2000 watts powering a number of appliances in tandem.


So there you have it, a fun little list of products to consider for lucky happy campers this Christmas. Have other ideas you want to share? Tell us about them and share the Christmas joy!

6 Camping Food Hacks for your next Trip.

All great camping food hacks involve aluminium

You work hard and you play hard but there is no reason to eat canned foods like a Neanderthal when you’re out in the wild camping. Planning your ingredients for yummy camping food is a mind-bender, but we’ll make it easy for you to impress even the harshest of critics and the fussiest of eaters. Continue reading