Campervan Rentals in

San Francisco, Los Angeles,

Salt Lake City

Family Owned Since 2007
Over 10,000 Happy Campers


menu

Archive for the ‘Campervans’ Category.


Utah’s Mighty 5 | Blog Within A Blog | The Turquoise Traveler

 

 

 

Lost Campers Blog Within A Blog | The Turquoise Traveler Does Utah’s Mighty 5 Campervan Style!

Post Submitted By Chelsea Turgeon

A quick note from the Lost Campers Crew-

Thank you Chelsea, for sharing your vantastic experience with us on the Lost Campers Blog Within A Blog! We look forward to your next #vanlife adventure with us! For anyone interested in learning more about submitting a post of their own to us please click here.

Be sure to check out more inspiring adventures by the Turquoise Traveler

 

Tillie Takes on Utah’s Mighty Five

Who is Tillie you may ask? Great question. Tillie is the name of my trusty stead, my constant companion, my Lost Campers Sierra Campervan. She took me on the most incredible adventure- solo hiking and camping around Utah’s five national parks.

I had such a great experience working with the people at Lost Campers-on pickup they showed me all the nuts and bolts of the van so that I could feel confident driving her into the sunset.  They checked in with me via email throughout my travels to make sure everything was going smoothly. They even put together a super comprehensive binder with all the information you could possibly need if something went wrong- think: flat tire, accident, etc.

Utah's Mighty 5 | Blog Within A Blog | The Turquoise Traveler

Tillie my trusty stead

Tillie’s backseat folds out into a bed- which is sink-into-the-mattress comfortable, and all of the linens are provided in your rental. They also provide you with privacy curtains- which are nice for when you want to shut out the world. The trunk area has been turned into a kitchen- fully equipped with a functioning sink, propane stove, cooler, and dishes.

I initially found Lost Campers by reading through this list of campervan rental companies by Bearfoot Theory. I ended up choosing them because of their amazing affordability. I essentially ended up paying a similar price per day as I would have for a rental car- and I had all of my accommodations with me. It was truly a steal.

Renting a campervan was definitely the way to go for this particular road trip and I think it is a great option for any sort of National Parks road trip, especially out West. Here is my week-long itinerary, I hope you find it helpful for planning your trip, and please let me know if you have any questions.

Utah's Mighty 5 | Blog Within A Blog | The Turquoise Traveler

My road trip route

DAY ONE

PICK UP TILLIE AND SUPPLIES

Utah's Mighty 5 | Blog Within A Blog | The Turquoise Traveler

Tillie fully stocked up with groceries

I flew in to Salt Lake City from Pittsburgh, PA and picked up Tillie at the Lost Campers depot in SLC. They also has locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. Sometimes they have deals where you can do a one-way trip from one certain location to another for a discount- so be sure to check into that prior to booking!

Before hitting the road, I made a quick pit stop to Wal-Mart to pick up all my camping essentials including: paper towels, trash bags, a $7 tea kettle, propane fuel, instant coffee with some delish Reese’s PB creamer and allllll of the groceries.

For breakfasts I picked up pop tarts, granola bars and some instant oatmeal which I was able to make by boiling water in the kettle.

For lunches and dinners, I went a little bit crazy in the canned food section. Some of my more successful meal ideas were: canned chili, authentic ramen noodles (not that 99 cent stuff- just to be clear), soup and rice. I am no chef- but I was proud that I was able to sustain myself and barely ate out at all. If you are wanting to do it up fancier- please look elsewhere for those tips.

ZION NATIONAL PARK

I then set off for my first destination- Zion National Park, which was a 4.5hr drive from Salt Lake City. It was a pretty uneventful drive overall. I listened to some amazing podcasts and was thrilled that the speed limit was 80mph almost the entire way. The last hour of the drive is where things get beautiful so be prepared to open your windows and gawk away.

HIKING- THE WATCHMAN TRAIL

This was a fairly easy 3 mile out and back hike that took me about 2 hours (only because I stopped to take pictures every other minute ). The trailhead leaves directly from the visitors center so there is no messing around with the shuttle. It takes you up to some pretty panoramic viewpoints and was a great first hike/ intro to Zion and is a wonderful place to watch the sunset.

Utah's Mighty 5 | Blog Within A Blog | The Turquoise Traveler

View from the watchman trail near sunset

CAMPING- ZION CANYONS CAMPGROUND

This was a great facility to camp in- it was walking distance from the park’s entrance and surrounded by cute little restaurants and shops. It cost $30 per night and the campsite included showers- which becomes a huge perk when you are living out of a van. I stayed there for both nights that I was in Zion.

Utah's Mighty 5 | Blog Within A Blog | The Turquoise Traveler

My campsite setup- right by the river.

DAY TWO

HIKING- ANGELS LANDING, 5 miles out and back

Trailhead: The Grotto

Probably one of my favorite experiences of the entire trip- which you can read about in this blog post. This is the one hike that you absolutely must do if you have only one day in Zion. My biggest tips for this hike are to get there as early as possible and check the weather in advance.

HIKING- EMERALD POOLS, 3 miles round trip

Trailhead: Zion Lodge

Utah's Mighty 5 | Blog Within A Blog | The Turquoise Traveler

Waterfall at the lower Emerald Pools

This is a wonderful, casual and family friendly hike. Nothing super exciting- especially after all the thrills at Angel’s Landing that morning, but its a nice scenic stroll and makes for some great pictures.

DAY THREE

HIKING- THE NARROWS BOTTOM UP, 6-8 miles out and back

Trailhead: Temple of Sinawava

Utah's Mighty 5 | Blog Within A Blog | The Turquoise Traveler

Trekking into those ice cold waters

Another classic and popular ZNP hike. This is another one where it is a great idea to get there early to avoid crowds. It is also a good idea to rent gear for this hike as you WILL get wet. There is a gear rental store just before you enter the park from the pedestrian entrance- they provide you with water shoes, pants and a walking stick for $20. From what I hear- it is totally worth it.

I met a friend at my campsite the night before who joined me for this hike.

Unfortunately, it was raining on the day I had planned to do this hike which makes it dangerous to venture into a slot canyon due to the risk of flash floods. I met a friend at my campsite the night before who was also planning to hike the narrows that day- so we decided to investigate our options. We went and talked to the ranger that morning to assess the danger, and as expected they were “not recommending” the hike.

After our conversation with the ranger, we decided not to rent the gear. But we still wanted to see what all the hype was about and metaphorically, (or  was it literally?) dip our toes in the water. We hatched a plan to take the shuttle out to the trailhead and walk the Riverwalk portion right up until the actual slot canyon- at which point we would take pictures and turn back.

Naturally, that is NOT what ended up happening.

Walking along the Riverwalk trail was gorgeous and intimidating. The canyon walls jutted up so high and were so majestic and murky looking at the same time. This part of the park has an entirely different feel from Angel’s Landing instead of walking on TOP of the canyons you are walking THROUGH the canyons- which honestly makes them feel even bigger.

When we got to the Narrows- we were so entranced by the beauty of it all we just had to get in the water and keep going. Just a little further. The water was ice cold and our hiking boots were almost immediately water logged, but that didn’t stop us.

We probably got a mile in, when it started raining again and all signs of land had disappeared. We also realized- we had no idea what to do if we were caught in a flash flood. This made me uneasy enough that we decided to turn around so we could make it back in one piece. Which we did.

Although we didn’t get the full Narrows experience, I am so happy we got that little taste of it while still managing to keep our safety a priority.

DRIVE TO BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK- 2 HRS 

Utah's Mighty 5 | Blog Within A Blog | The Turquoise Traveler

Spontaneous road side picnic anyone?

The drive from Zion to Bryce is unbelievably, stop-and-take-a-picture-at-every-turn, kind of gorgeous. My friend and I (yes he came with me to Bryce too!) stopped and had a road-side picnic just to soak it all in. We also stopped off at the checkerboard mesa- which I didn’t totally get the hype about, but I think still worth a quick pull over if you have time.

SUNSET AT SUNSET POINT

Be sure to get to sunset point at least an hour or so before the sun actually sets. The cool part about watching the sunset at this particular viewpoint is the way the light falls on all of the hoodoos, but if you get there too late (like we did) you only get to see the beauty of the light on a small sliver of the park.

Although we were late to the party, we were just in time to watch the full moon rise above the hoodoos while the sky did some water-color magic so I would say it was still a win.

Utah's Mighty 5 | Blog Within A Blog | The Turquoise Traveler

Can you believe how gorgeous this is?

CAMPING AT NORTH CAMPGROUND

We camped out at North campground which was within Bryce Canyon National Park. No showers at this campground- so make sure to shower up before leaving Zion. Word of warning- it gets weirdly cold at Bryce Canyon so be sure to bring layers on layers to bundle up and stay warm- especially if you are camping.

DAY FOUR

HIKING ALL OVER THE HOODOOS

Utah's Mighty 5 | Blog Within A Blog | The Turquoise Traveler

Our day spent playing in this vast hoodoo playground was so fun it needed a post of its- so you can read about it here. Suffice it to say- this was one of my most memorable and fun hiking experiences of the trip.

I would say set aside the better part of a day to hang out in the hoodoos- because there is so much to see and do. Some people also like to spend time driving from one view point to another and taking pictures which would be another incredible way to experience this park. We got so many different viewpoints hiking up and down the hoodoos that we didn’t end up doing any of the scenic driving. To each his own.

DRIVE TO MOAB- 4 HRS

CAMP AT SLICK ROCK CAMPGROUNDS

Another pleasant campground with the appeal of showers that was minutes outside of the city of Moab. I stayed there for the two nights that I was in Moab. There are also a plethora of campsites on BLM lands around Moab, however since it was almost 10pm when I was getting in- I just stopped at the first campsite I could find and called it a day. And plus, did I mention the showers?

DAY 5

OFF-ROADING IN CANYONLANDS

To drive the White Rim road in Canyonlands National Park you need a vehicle with 4WD. You also need to be comfortable driving on hazardous dirt roads that are frighteningly close to the edge of a cliff.

I had neither of those things so I decided to go on a group tour to get my off-roading fix in. I booked a full day tour with Navtec Expeditions which I found through a Groupon. We went off-roading in Canyonlands in the morning and white-water rafting through the Colorado River in the afternoon.

Utah's Mighty 5 | Blog Within A Blog | The Turquoise Traveler

Trapezoidal anthropomorphic man

Tony was our tour guide for the morning and he was full of energy, enthusiasm and information. He was also a fantastic photographer. He first took us to see some Petroglyphs- which are symbols carved into the sides of the sandstone by Native Americans. My favorite symbol was the trapezoidal anthropomorphic figure, pretty snazzy name right?

I got lost in the amazing views of Canyonlands. I could have honestly sat on a rock ledge and stared off into the vast abyss for ages, but Tony had a schedule to keep.

Utah's Mighty 5 | Blog Within A Blog | The Turquoise Traveler

Colorado River viewpoint

WHITE WATER RAFTING

Now this experience was wonderful, but it wasn’t what I expected white water rafting to be. It was more of a gorgeous and relaxing float down the river with great conversation and a moment or two of turbulence.

Although slightly disappointed by the lack of thrill, it was not a lost afternoon. My tour guide was such an incredibly interesting human being. He lived in his car for 8 years back in the early 2000s. He essentially invented van life.

Sometimes when you are traveling, you don’t get the experience you are expecting, but if you can keep an open mind, there is usually a different and equally incredible experience lurking around the corner.

DAY 6

EXPLORING ARCHES NATIONAL PARK

Utah's Mighty 5 | Blog Within A Blog | The Turquoise Traveler

Hanging out under Turret arch in the Windows area

To be honest, Arches is not my favorite national park. I kind of stand by the idea that if you have seen one arch- you’ve seen them all. Now this isn’t completely true, but the arches just didn’t do it for me the way the hoodoos or the slot canyons or the expansive canyon vistas did.

There are lots of bloggers with tips and stories about arches, and since I didn’t have as great of a time there I don’t think what I have to say will add much to the arches literature.

I did my due diligence and drove around about half of the park. I stopped and got out at Park Avenue and did the 1 mile out and back hike. This was the first time I truly felt like I was walking through the desert. I trudged along (and trust me- it was trudging) and made it to the windows area which I explored for a bit.

And then I decided to pack it up and head back to my true love, Canyonlands.

SUNSET AT CANYONLANDS 

Do this. I drove out to the Grandview overlook and sat on a rock with a bunch of professional photographers and their tripods. I got my DSLR out to look cool, although I had no idea the ins and outs of photographing a sunset and I’m pretty sure I was taking pictures at all the wrong times.

Once I got over myself and put my camera away, I was able to just sit there and bask in the brilliance of the sun sinking down below the Western ridge of the canyon.

Utah's Mighty 5 | Blog Within A Blog | The Turquoise Traveler

STARGAZING AT DEAD HORSE POINT STATE PARK

I have a mild obsession with the moon, which also extends to the stars and all of the celestial bodies above us. Dead Horse Point State Park is an International Dark Sky Park which means it is a prime spot for star gazing. At certain times of the year they even have star parties- which is essentially a ranger led star gazing session. I prefer to do it on my own.

I camped out here for the night and spent most of the evening lying on Tillies roof looking up at the sky. It is actually unreal how many more stars pop out at you in places like these. The whole sky seems alive. I was even able to catch a glimpse of Neptune- according to my Google Night Sky app. Can you believe that!?

DAY 7

DRIVE BACK TO SALT LAKE CITY- 3.5 HRS

My final day I drove back to salt lake city and decided to rent an Air bnb for the night before flying out the following morning. After 6 nights in a van- this turned out to be exactly what I needed. I think its important to know when to push your comfort zone and also to know when its time to come back into your comfort zone.

 

And there you have it. My week long venture into the #vanlife. What hikes or spots did I miss on my roadtrip? What are some of your favorite adventures in Utah? I am also interested to know- what are some of the lessons that you learn while traveling?

Top 5 Reasons Why Offseason National Parks Car Camping is the Best | Tips to Save Time, Money, Have More Fun

Offseason National Parks Car Camping is the perfect way to take a road trip and stay on budget. Ditch the crowds and high prices, avoid bugs and travel in autumn and winter. I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of sharing my travel experience with hoards of other people. Crowds of people make a holiday seem less relaxing and less personal.

Here are some indisputable facts about Offseason National Parks Car Camping:

               1 Roads into National Parks are less crowded

               2 Campsites are easier to grab

               3 The perfect photo is attainable

               4 Travel is cheaper

               5 Outdoor conditions are better

 

National Parks are Less Crowded in the Offseason

According to the LA Times: In 2017 the National Parks System had 331 million visitors. That is almost the population of the United States! March to October are the busiest months for most of the National Parks in the west. Did you know that park staff often temporarily close the roads into National Parks when they become too congested to let in more visitors? Offseason National Parks car camping means no waiting and no congestion.

These photos, below, show crowds of people at National Parks in the busy season (from nps.gov).

AVoid this mess with Offseason National Parks Car Camping

THis is why Offseason National Parks Car Camping is better...

 

 

 

 

 

Offseason National Parks Car Camping Tip 1:

The best place to get information on the quietest times to visit is by going directly to the park’s website.

Offseason National Park car camping is a great way to relax and feel close to nature. Your chances of getting a prime campsite greatly improve after Labor Day. Campsites are economical and if you budget car camp in the offseason,  you are less likely to be crammed into a site next to people who ride their dirt bikes at night, light off bottle rockets and (most importantly) blast Kid Rock at breakfast. Did you know that a Lost Campers budget campervan fits nicely into a tent site? No need to reserve an RV site.

Offseason National Parks Car Camping Tip 2:

Fewer crowds equate to greater chances of seeing wildlife.

 

The Perfect Photo is Attainable in the Offseason

The chance of you capturing that iconic photo, you know the one where you’re standing in front of an alpine lake with a mirrored reflection of the mountain peak in the background, is actually possible. You won’t have to worry about wildfire smoke ruining a photo either, besides that, wildlife photography is also easier. Not only are animals more likely to be visible in cooler temperatures they don’t like crowds either.

   Autumn & Winter = Off Season ↓                                    Summer = Peak Season ↓

This why Offseason National Parks Car Camping is the best...

Avoid this Banff, CN mess: Offseason National Parks Car Camping is Better

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Story About My Offseason National Park Car Camping

Let me tell you a short story about the time I camped in my Lost Campers budget campervan outside of Mt. Rainier National Park in the offseason. It was cold outside our van, but we had our little heater keeping us toasty inside. We were getting ready to fall asleep on our comfy mattress when all of a sudden we heard a strange, high pitched sound. We opened the sliding door to our van and saw green eyes moving towards us.

It was the local herd of elk. The heard split up into smaller groups and the females lead the young ones across a road to a field. They were calling to each other and we got to witness the entire thing. In the morning we awoke to the same herd grazing all around us. No one else was around to scare the elk away and I was able to take some great photos. You wouldn’t get to be a part of something magical like that if you were camping in peak season or sleeping in a hotel room.

Offseason National Park car camping Tip 3:

Lost Campers rents small heaters and extension cords for no fee.

 

Off Season National Parks Car Camping Is Cheaper

According to AAA, gas costs less in the offseason. The national trend is that gas prices go up after Memorial Day in May. In addition to this, even though the cost of gas has risen in the last decade, it is currently cheaper (on average) than it was before right before the housing crisis. Prices of most things go up in peak season – so it makes sense that traveling is cheaper in the offseason. Lost Campers budget campervans cost a third less in the offseason. Not only that, they include a lot of essential camping equipment for free with the rental. (More about that below.)

Offseason National Park car camping tip 4:

Lost Campers often run specials on their budget campervans in the offseason.

 

Outdoor Conditions are Better For Offseason Car Camping in National Parks

Would you rather travel through Death Valley when it’s so hot you could fry an egg on the hood of your car? Nope! To me, summer means heat, humidity, mosquitoes, those persistent and insufferable, little flying insects that get inside your nose and eyes. It means tornadoes and hail storms. Using your vehicle’s AC in summer causes your engine to get hotter and sometimes overheat. The offseason generally has better weather for travel.

The colors are changing, the air is crisper and the fog that is associated with many sections of the west coast make for a gorgeous photo. Even if you are traveling in a cloudy season it will make your roadtrip photos more impressive (moodier). Fall is my favorite time of year for a road trip, but depending on where you plan to visit, traveling in winter may not be a bad idea either. With a little planning, you will see things that other people don’t get to see. Snow-capped mountains, crystal clear lakes and animal tracks in the snow are all things you can look forward to if you travel in winter.

Offseason National Parks Car Camping with Lost Campers budget campervans with Roof top tent

Offseason National Park car camping tip 5:

Mosquitoes die or hibernate when the temperature is consistently below 50 C.

Travelers can take advantage of waiting a little later in the year to embark on an adventure. You could have the trip of a lifetime – all to yourself. The best way to take advantage of the shoulder season is by “getting lost” in a Lost Campers budget campervan. What are you waiting for?

Lost Campers Blog Within A Blog | Leave To Roam

Lost Campers Blog With A Blog Campaign | Leave To Roam

Post Submitted By Kel Bolt

A quick note from the Lost Campers Crew-

Thank you Kel for sharing your vantastic experience with us on the Lost Campers Blog Within A Blog! We look forward to your next #vanlife adventure with us! For anyone interested in learning more about submitting a post of their own to us please click here.

 

 

 

LOST CAMPERS REVIEW – CALIFORNIA

Lost Campers Blog Within A Blog

LOST CAMPERS REVIEW – CALIFORNIA

WHY CALIFORNIA?

Our budget holiday started in Singapore then onto Vietnam. Our next destination was planned to be Laos and then Cambodia however friends of ours decided to get married right in the middle of our adventure  and as such we had to figure out a way to make sure we made it. The wedding was in Chicago which felt like half way around the world from where we were. Seeing we had to go a long way we decided to stay for a few weeks and explore and we are glad we did. Not only was the wedding fantastic but our entire trip to America was awesome. Kel had previously lived in San Diego before so was keen to head back and see what it is like know and Al had never seen any of California’s national or state parks. With budget in mind we found hotels and a rental car were going to be really expensive so we decided to try the camping option and rented a small camper from Lost Campers. It was a great decision and we had a blast.

 

Lost Campers Blog Within A Blog

Driving through the Mojave Desert.

OUR CAMPER

It was the summer school holidays while we were in the US and as such prices were pretty high. The cheapest we could find was Lost Campers. They had pretty good reviews online for the most part and although being basic,  had everything we needed so we booked in for 14 days of fun.

Our camper was essentially a family wagon with a collapsible bed in the back, a make shift sink and some camping gear in the back such as a stove, table and chairs. The camper also had a rooftop based awning for shade although we never actually pulled this out. The camper was a good size in that the bed was large enough for two people and it was small enough to look like a normal car in the day which meant it did not chew fuel and was very easy to drive and park.

Lost Campers Blog Within A Blog

Check out this campsite. Right near the highest point of Yomesite. Magical view.

Lost Campers Blog Within A Blog

Al cooking up a storm at our campsite just outside Yomsemite.

We did a have a small transmission problem with our first van however Lost Campers were quick to change it out with a new one when this did occur.

The camper was easy to drive and park and the set up for the bed was also very straight forward. Having the table and chairs in the back was a real advantage as you could make the most of the great campsites we found. We spent many hours staring at the views. The stove had two burners which was awesome and there was plenty of kitchen bits to ensure you could whip up a feast. It was a simple and fun way to explore California. Check out the camper we had below.

CAMPING SPOTS

We had tried to research camping spots as much as we could before we landed in LA however we found the information online to be very contradictory. In summary what we found was that free camping in California could be a bit tricky and was not encouraged. We did however find ways around this.

Lost Campers Blog Within A Blog

Camping is the best way to see Yomsemite.

The national parks and state forest all have campsites and some allow dispersed camping. The campsites we found were pretty expensive with some over $20 USD per night. This normally included only drop toilets and a fire pit. However it is always nice to camp somewhere you know you have permission to be.

Lost Campers Blog Within A Blog

This was a $5 campsite in Bishop. There were toilets and every spot had a table and fire pit.

Dsipersed camping was allowed in some areas which essentially means you can camp where every you want following a few guidelines however all the parks and Forrests were different so we went into the info centres everything we entered a new area for the best info.

Lost Campers Blog Within A Blog

Free campsite in San Bernardino National Forrest.

The biggest discovery on the trip which saved us a few dollars were casinos. In California casinos have been set up on Indian reservations. Most of the casinos allow you to camp in their carparks and some even have specials areas set up for campers. Noting they are open 24hrs it means you have the facilities you need and the security of parking in a safe area. They normally just ask that you check in with security when you arrive. We loved staying in these places as the campsites were free and you could always join the players club of each casino which normally gave you a sign up bonus of some sort (players clubs are free).

COMFORT

The campers have all been fitted to ensure that a double bed fits in the back. It is very easy to set up and we found the bed really comfortable. Being without a shower and toilet can somewhat restrict things however there are ways to work around this and we did not find this to be too restrictive.

FREEDOM

The single best thing about this camper was the freedom. We could go pretty much where ever we wanted and stay in some great places for free or close to free. The info centres at each of the parks had great information and often helped us find free campsites, some with toilets.

Having the ability to also just use it like a car was a big advantage.

OVERALL

We really enjoyed our camper, even though we lost a day due to transmission problems (the day’s charge was refunded). The car was easy to drive and park and the set up was very quick. It had everything you need for a great outdoor adventure.

The ability to camp right on the beach and right up in the mountains was fantastic and waking up to the sounds of waves hitting the shore and birds singing is always a great experience.

The staff at Lost Campers were great and for $65 a day we think it was an absolute bargain. There are plenty of more expensive campers out there but if you are like us and are watching your budget carefully then this is the bargain holiday for you.

Get out and do it! If you mention our blog when you booking you will receive a good discount. Lost Campers. 

 

Lost Campers Blog Within A Blog submissions can be sent to us at reservations@lostcampersusa.com 

Sharing is caring!