This post was written by an Outdoorsy team member shortly after she returned from traveling the mountains of Colorado in this super cool wooden truck camper. Spoiler alert: It was her first time driving a vehicle of this size and remembering to select diesel instead of unleaded at the gas station. Highlights of her trip included successfully not swerving off the road while trying to get a closer look at the fall color on the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, navigating the many winding curves of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, watching the sunrise from bed each morning and going to sleep each night, windows propped open to bring in the crisp, pine-scented air.
Here are 11 reasons she now believes RV (or truck camper) travel is better than any other way of travel.
No. 1. You’ll be the cool kid on the road.
Once you get used to driving something bigger and more powerful than a Hyundai Tucson, you may just start to find excuses to buckle up and hit the road again. Heads will tilt, windows will roll down, photos will be taken and thumbs-ups will be given. So this is what it feels like to be a celebrity. The #vanlife way of life suddenly feels more accessible.
No. 2. You’ll make new friends.
You would never consider knocking on someone’s hotel room door and elevator rides with strangers aren’t getting any less awkward, but when you’re camping, it’s inherently more natural — and easier — to strike up a conversation with your neighbors. Whether you’re trying to successfully back in to your campsite and need a helping hand or a stranger invites you to join their campfire as you’re walking your dog before bed, it’s easier to immediately feel connected to new people when you break free from the four walls of a hotel room.
No. 3. Your meals will suddenly taste better.
We love hot dogs and S’mores as much as the next person, but — surprise, surprise — there’s some creative, healthy meals you can make over a campfire, grill, or stovetop. The beauty about renting a home on wheels is you can store fresh foods in your refrigerator or ice box and use a stove or grill to whip up a fresh and flavorful meal. We love a good grilled vegetable skewer recipe.
No. 4. You can freshen up in between hikes.
While everyone else at the trailhead is wiping sweat off their brow and low-key dreaming of the sweet relief of air conditioning, you’re tucked in your campervan sipping chilled water, washing your face and changing into new clothes — it’s like a spa on wheels. Who said anything about going home? You’re five minutes away from hitting the trail again and tackling the next summit.
No. 5. You’ll see your name in scribbled pencil.
Forget the key card. You know you’ve arrived at the right place when you hop out of your rig and see your name written in green marker on a dry erase board at the KOA check-in counter — or in pencil on a piece of paper clipped to a wooden post beside your campsite. There’s something special about that personalized touch that we need more of in this world.
No. 6. You’ll see steam coming off your coffee.
That cold, crisp morning air somehow turns your average morning routine into a moment worth gripping onto for just a few minutes longer. Every cup of coffee from here on out will never be as good as it is now.
No. 7. You’ll witness magic.
There’s nothing like that campfire smell, or the tales told when sitting around one. It’s fascinating how the crackle of wood and hissing of smoke can be an elixir to pull memories — and the occasional ghost story — out of you and your camping companions.
No. 8. You’ll breathe deeper.
Have you ever noticed that manners and etiquette seem to go out the window — right along with that extra legroom — when you’re on a plane? By traveling in your own RV or campervan, you’ll save yourself from having to witness the man in 17A cover his cough with the magazine he was reading, only to then put it back in the seat holder for the next person to read.
No. 9. Your skin will glow with gratitude.
One of the fun challenges of traveling in an RV is figuring out where to park so that you can do everything your heart desires when you’re out and about exploring a new city — like grabbing a quick coffee from that adorable café on Main Street. If your campground is a bit outside of city limits (as most campgrounds are), you might have to walk a bit to get to where you want to go. Walking is good. Walking is great. Walking lets you see things you may not have noticed driving at a faster pace. Sources say walking has also been linked to cause slightly sweaty skin, higher endorphins, and healthier hearts.
No. 10. You’ll see surprises around every corner.
Oh, and you’ll see them up in the sky too. Those hotel room popcorn ceilings are no match for the sparkling diamonds sprinkled in a silky black night sky. It’s breathtaking how a blanket of a billion stars can make you feel distant and small yet comfortably right at home — all at the same time.
No. 11. You’ll step outside your comfort zone.
How else are you supposed to stumble upon a craft cocktail bar in a ghost town off I-70, spontaneously have drinks with an older gentleman who’s spent his whole life guiding treks to Antarctica, and return home to tell all your friends about it? Moments like that just don’t happen during flight delays at the airport. They only happen where life happens best — out on the road.
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