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Fraser Cove Campground. Peter and a Sturgeon

The Final 5 Days in a Rental RV Exploring the Coastal Mountains of BC

Having picked up our RV rental in Delta, BC the first five days of our circle tour took us to Manning Park, Merritt, Kamloops and on our 4th night we stayed at Pinantan Lake Resort north off Hwy 5. This is the rest of our trip.

Pinantan Lake near Kamloops | Jozzie Productions

Day 5: We packed up at Pinantan Lake Resort and drove back the 25 km to Hwy 5 and headed to Sheridan Lake Resort, our final stop in the Cariboo Region. Once we turned on to Hwy 5 we drove 88 km to the Little Fort turn-off onto Hwy 24 and the famous Fishing Hwy. The first thing we saw was a fishing store, Little Fort Fly and Tackle. I recommend going in and taking a browse. There’s plenty to see aside from the abundance of fishing tackle. On the way to Sheridan Lake we stopped at a rest area to make lunch. That’s the best thing about having your home on wheels with you – the ease of preparing your own on-the-go-meals. Sheridan Lake Resort, at first glance, tells you it’s a popular spot with rows of RVs, trailers and camping units, as well as the motel block. Our site was treed and beside some very friendly campers. I find that campers are gregarious and always willing to share stories, advice and help one another. 

Sheridan Lake Resort | Jozzie Productions

Jamie and I decided to go for a walk along the lake which was just a few short steps from our campsite. On the way we chatted with a couple of seasoned Sheridan Lakers who frequent the resort as it is close to their home of Vernon, BC. They told us they have to make two trips, one to bring in their Travel Trailer and one for the boat although, they did say that they only have to make the trip with the boat once as the resort offers moorage during the camping season. 

The couple let us peek into their modified unit. They had really maximized the storage space. And even though I have been camping for more than 50 years I learned a few tips and tricks.

The next day Jamie went out in a 12 ft Lund boat to take some video and drone footage. Later we walked along the upper fenced area of the property, which was made from hand cut timber that Titus, the co-owner builds. The path was created from all the cedar chips produced by the fence cutting. There were painted rocks, fairies, houses and miniature states all lining this beautiful path that visitors seem to add to each visit. For such a busy park, it is very quiet and well maintained. 

Fraser Cove Campground | Jozzie Productions

Day 7 we took a short journey to Paul Lake, before heading on to our next destination for two days at Fraser Cove Campground in Lillooet, BC. We drove along Hwy 24 to the Hwy 97 turnoff just past Lone Butte passing through the communities of 70 Mile House, Chasm, Clinton, Cache Creek and into Lillooet. Fraser Cove Campground is a very unique, quaint campground and is aimed at the smaller c-class, vans and tenters. It has a switchback that stops larger towing vehicles and motorhomes from gaining access. Peter and Dawn, the operators, are very straightforward with campers about getting you down the hill – a service that is greatly appreciated. Our site was parallel to the Mighty Fraser River with a grassy knoll and a picnic table all under this wonderful weeping willow. Jamie and I walked around the property with Dawn and Peter talking about the area and all the sturgeon that are caught (and released) in this end of the Fraser. 

Peter and a Sturgeon! | Fraser Cove Campground, Lillooet

Peter let us use the e-bikes that he has on-site, and we rode across the old (1914) wooden bridge into town, spoke to a local who was on his motorcycle and then we rode (15 minutes) into town. Unfortunately, at the time of our visit, due to Covid 19, a lot of businesses were closed to tourists to help keep their community virus free. However, we went to the local grocery store and purchased a few items for our next stage of the journey. After we were back at the campsite we sat outside listening to the roar of the Fraser and the weeping willow above us swaying in the wind. That was a great sleep.

Day 8 we woke to the sound of the river and because the heat of the morning came early, we got ourselves ready as a friend (who’s now a local) was taking us on a hike to Cayoosh Creek Dam, a fairly easy 4 km hike that takes you to a spectacular show at the dam with so much rushing water you can feel the coolness 200 yards away. Back at the campsite, we barbecued dinner and later rode over the main bridge that crosses the river.

RV at Riverside RV Park | Jozzie Productions

Day 9: In the morning we packed up and headed down Hwy 99 to Whistler via scenic Duffy Lake Road, a 132 km trip, with a quick stop at Joffre Lakes to take photos. Our next camping stop was Riverside RV – A Parkbridge Camping & RV Resort. This resort has cabins, RV sites as well as some yurt rentals. Just a short walk from the resort is the renowned Scandinave Spa, as well as a 2 km walk to the Whistler Village itself. Because this was our last destination, and would be returning the vehicle the next day, I used the evening to pack up our personal effects and store them under the table and in the storage compartments outside for ease of transferring once we got back to Fraserway RV Rentals.

Thanks for the Ride. Returning the Motorhome to Fraserway RV | Jozzie Productions

Day 10: Two hours and 132 km to go and we arrived at Fraserway RV in Delta. The return was very easy. We pulled up, ran inside to let them know we were back, they did a quick check of the paperwork and just like that, it was the end of a great trip. In summary, we travelled 1,500 km and filled the gas tank 4 times.

Enjoyed this blog? Read the 1st blog of our trip.

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Other blogs and trips of interest in this area include:
Coast Along British Columbia’s Famed Fishing Hwy in the Cariboo
Following the BC Gold Rush Trail through the Cariboo & Beyond

For camping in this area and throughout BC go to the Camping Map

Share your BC travel and camping pictures using hashtag #campinbc, #explorebc, #bcnice, #green

It’s always a great day to #campinbc

A 10-day Tour in a C-Class Motorhome Exploring British Columbia’s Coastal Mountains

I’ve always wanted to go exploring in a Motorhome from Vancouver to the Cariboo and to see some of the Coastal Mountains en route. So, we took a circle route that started out east on Hwy 1 and ended up back on Hwy 99 to Vancouver. In between we followed scenic Hwys 3, 5, the Fishing Hwy 24 and 97. This is part 1 of 2 that took us on our journey.

This trip was booked in 2019, postponed, and rescheduled 4 times due to the Covid pandemic, so to finally make the trip a reality was more than joyous. The other thing that I was extremely excited about, was knowing that I was taking this trip with my adult son, a videographer, which meant great photos to record great memories.

Row of RVs Waiting to go on Vacay | Jozzie Productions

The first morning we made our way out to Delta, BC in the rain. It was our first stop of the trip – to pick up our Motorhome rental unit from Fraser Way RV Rentals on Cliveden Avenue.

We were greeted by the most knowledgeable young man, Lucas. Lucas gave us the rundown of the rental process, which is not that daunting after all. Then he took us outside to meet the 22’ foot home on wheels. For such a compact unit, it packs nicely. The outside of the unit had eight lockable doors to the storage areas, and we were able to store two bundles of firewood, table, chairs, an extra propane tank, propane firepit, camera gear all in one cubby. Another storage area was great for groceries until we arrived at the first destination and could move things around.

Our next stop was at Save-On-Foods to pick up the food perishables that we didn’t pack ahead of time.

RV at Camperland RV Resort Bridal Falls | Jozzie Productions

It was a wet ride to Camperland RV Resort at Bridal Falls on Hwy 1 where we had pre-booked our first night. We backed the unit into the treed site, hooked up to the power, water and sewer and hunkered down in the unit for the night listening to the rain pelt down. Just when we thought it was over – nope here comes another wave of rain harder than the last.

Morning came, and we had a slight reprieve from the rain, so we put out the awning to at least get one photo of our stay. Packed up and headed east.

Hope Slide along Hwy 3 | Jozzie Productions

Day 2 started with a 50 km drive to The Hope Slide on Hwy 3 which was noted as the second largest recorded landslide in Canada and happened in 1965, and even after all the years that have passed, you can still see the magnitude of the slide. Well worth a stop to investigate.

Another 50 km drive took us to Manning Park, where we joyfully watched the ground squirrels bobbing in and out of the numerous holes in the field in front of the resort. Managed to get this little one who was quite interested in the camera.

Ground Squirrel at Manning Park | Jozzie Productions

From Manning Park, you take the turn off right across the highway from the resort and drive up the twisty road to Cascade Lookout. The area was a buzz. Whiskey Jacks above and the cutest little chipmunks scurrying at our feet. The views are just breathtaking – well worth the drive.

Cascade Lookout at Manning Park | Jozzie Productions

Driving west back from Manning Park we took the turn-off to Hwy 5. Our next destination for the night was Moonshadows RV Park and Campground in Merritt (160 km from Manning Park). Stopped in the office, had a chat with Carol. She told us all about the Coldwater River that the park sits beside and that Moonshadows RV Park is one of the parks that country music fans flock to in the summer for what was once called The Merritt Mountain Music Festival, now known as Rockin River Country Music Fest. You can hear music from Legends like Tim McGraw and Jo Dee Messina. Carol told us thousands of camping chairs take up residence in the river for the entire weekend – I guess this is what makes Country Music so “cool” in Merritt

Moon Shadows RV Park Merritt | Jozzie Productions

If you want to visit during that time, I suggest calling Carol now to see what’s available as it fills up fast – so fast that they have to open an adjacent field just for the tenters. We were able to go out for a short walk before the mosquitoes came out for their nightly visit. The next morning, we had our breakfast at the campsite picnic table in the sun before heading out. Please note that our trip was five months before the devastating floods that swept through Merritt.  

Pinantan Lake near Kamloops | Jozzie Productions

Day 3 and 4: We drove north on Hwy 5 another 90 km to Kamloops. Stopped in town long enough to get a few supplies and see some deer making their way through downtown. We took the Paul Lake exit off Hwy 5 to head to Pinantan Lake Resort some 25 km off the main highway.

As you drive down the road into the resort you are greeted with an old world look of antiques and some rustic buildings. We set up on one of the lakeview sites that overlooked a huge field where children were playing soccer. There was a communal firepit, washroom and laundry facilities. Later that evening, as the night drew in, we played a game of night bocce with a glow-in-the-dark Playboule Bocce set. In the morning we ventured around the property, taking photos and flew the drone for an ariel view.

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Want to read more? Watch for our 2nd blog that continues into the Cariboo, along Fishing Hwy 24, south on Hwy 97 to Cache Creek, Lillooet, then Hwy 99 to Whistler and home.

For camping in this area and throughout BC go to the Camping Map

Share your BC travel and camping pictures using hashtag #campinbc, #explorebc, #bcnice, #green

It’s always a great day to #campinbc

The Cost of an RV Vacation in Canada

The cost of an RV vacation can be equated to travelling in Canada – there’s a lot of choice and there are many variables to consider.

Where will you go RVing and for how long? Will you buy a trailer or motorhome or will you rent one, and how many travellers will there be? What about additional expenses such as insurance and storage?

Photo: Go RVing Canada

Affordability

In January of this year the 2020 Family Vacation Cost Analysis was released by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada, the Canadian Recreational Vehicle Association (CRVA) and Go RVing Canada. The updated study was based on a family of two adults and two children travelling by different modes of transport and staying in various types of lodging. Five trips were analyzed (all with a high season ‘start date’ of Friday, July 16, 2021):

Printed with Permission from RVDA of Canada

In addition to trip expenditures such as fuel and food costs (showing that RVers spend less on dining out compared to hotel vacationers), the study also factored in estimated costs of various types of RV ownership (insurance, maintenance, storage and eventual depreciation).

Overall, the 2020 Family Vacation Cost Analysis concluded that RV travel “remains an affordable and a cost-effective way to vacation” and that “based on the parameters and data samples in the study, RV vacations are generally less expensive than those where the travel party stays in a hotel/motel”.

Rental Options

RV rental costs vary depending on which rental company or platform you select and the location, what type of unit you choose, the age of the RV, and more. You may opt for extra insurance, kilometer package rates, convenience kits for the family (which can average $75/pp) and don’t forget the GST and PST.

The author and her family had their first RV trip in 2020 and visited several Provincial Parks | Photo M. Carmichael

Expect to pay between $75-$150/night to rent most small trailers and campervans, while fifth wheels run from $60-$150/night, with larger trailers and motorhomes around $100-$250/night. A 25-ft Class C motorhome (with bed over the cab) can go for $1,000-$1,200/week, and Class A motorhomes, which range in size from 30-45 ft, are roughly $175-$275/night.

Jeff McSweeney of Vernon owns and operates Vantastic Campervan Rentals. All of his 2-person units are fully restored classic Chevy vans that, says McSweeney, “have been safety inspected, have new tires and brakes, and are fully equipped with fridge, stove, furnace and a coldwater sink”. Vantastic offers long weekend and week-plus options as well as longer trips (3-day rentals are $520, 7 days cost $1,160 and a 10-day rental is currently $1,580.) Adds McSweeney: “…our average Canadian booking is five days. We offer tips on places to go, sites to see and free places to camp along the way.”

Jeff McSweeney gives renters a USB stick with 1,000 songs & the vans come with camp chairs, an axe and a portable toilet | Photo courtesy Jeff McSweeney

Meridian RV Rentals, which has locations in both Port Coquitlam and 100 Mile House, lists a Class B off-season one-week rental for 4 people at $265/night. The prep fee is $90 and it offers optional 500 km or 1,000 km packages ($195 or $380 respectively).

Chilliwack-based Brad Harvey, sales rep for Canadian ultra-light trailer manufacturer ProLite, says that RV sales are currently “through the roof” and quoted ProLite weekly rentals (for 2-5 people) at between $625-$725/week.

To Buy or Not

There is always the option to purchase. As one RV dealer states on its website: “Money saved from hotel trips will help to easily make trailer payments.”

Some RV sales companies have vacation cost calculators on their websites. Research your finance options if this is required (RV dealers can assist with this; some banks specialize in it and even offer online loan calculators) and don’t forget the costs of insuring and storing your unit if the latter is a necessity.

Plans this year with the new (used) RV include a trip to Golden Ears Provincial Park

One Coquitlam family lucked out last year when a friend called them about someone putting up a ‘For Sale’ sign on a trailer. They had been actively looking and the market was “crazy due to COVID”. They quickly purchased the 30-ft 2009 Class C Coachmen Freelander. The sale price was $28,000 and it needed a new water tank, which the owner installed himself for $900. “I feel like we got a good deal,” said the owner. The family plans to use the RV to replace some of their vacation travel, to “safely visit” and spend time with other friends who RV, and to eventually attend the kids’ sports meets and tournaments.

Campgrounds

RV campsites in Canada cost anywhere from $40-$75/night, depending on location, size, and access to electricity and sewage. Expect to pay more at campgrounds or parks in high season and budget for additional costs such as laundry, wood, propane refills (average $20 for a 20 lb tank) and activities such as canoe or kayak rentals.

Be sure to factor into your budget activity costs such as canoe, kayak, bike rentals | Photo: M. Carmichael

British Columbia has over 1,700 campgrounds and they range from rustic to full-service. The four campground options are: national parks (Parks Canada), provincial campgrounds (BC Parks), privately operated campgrounds and RV parks (including municipal campgrounds), and recreation sites and Trails BC (operated by the provincial government). Check out BC campgrounds at campingrvbc.com.

RV Life

The vacation plusses that RVing provides are many, particularly during these pandemic times: you have your own space, you can bring what you need and stock up along the way, and you can cook and BBQ at your convenience or choose to dine out.

RV trips are certainly on the rise in Canada, and how affordable one is will depend on many factors. Have fun figuring it out and happy and safe exploring.

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For campgrounds and RV parks in British Columbia check out the Camping Map at campingrvbc.com.

Share your BC camping and travel photos using hashtag #campinbc, #exploreBC and #bcnice

5 BC Places to Visit for Outdoor Fun and Winter Camping

If you thought that camping and RVing was devoted solely to those months without snow, you would be wrong. British Columbia is fast becoming a destination for RVing and camping, particularly with those who live in colder climes. Here are five fun things to do and places to camp in BC’s winter months.

Winter Activities On British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast

Beach walks and beachcombing make for enjoyable outings in the off-season | Sunshine Coast Tourism/Shayd Johnson

From the artistic community of Gibsons northeast to the harbour village of Lund, mountains meet the sea along the Sunshine Coast, a mainland area uniquely only accessible by ferry, boat or plane. Winters are typically mild and range from 2 to 10ºC (20 to 50°F) during the day. In lower elevations, rains keep the flora and forests lush, while higher areas see snow.

There’s plenty to do both inside and out if you’re RVing here in the winter. Make sure to get out on the water and head up some slopes. You will be rewarded with majestic views and an excellent chance of seeing animals in their natural environment. Read more.

Five Spots to Ice Fish and Camp this Winter in British Columbia

Photo Courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC
Photo Courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

Ice fishing is often overlooked as a winter activity, especially if you live in southern B.C.  But fishing opportunities do not stop when the temperature freezes – they only get more exciting. Ice fishing is a very social sport and requires only a limited amount of gear or experience. The entire lake becomes accessible without the need of a boat and you don’t need the often complicated casting techniques required in other fisheries. It’s as simple as drilling a hole and dropping a line. Try some winter camping while you’re at it; there are many parks open year-round close to great hard water lakes. Here are our top 5 spots to try ice fishing this winter with RV spots close by. Read more.

Winter RV Adventure for Camping Newbies at Sunshine Valley & Manning Park, BC

Tobogganing at Manning Park

If only we had known how amazing RVing in the winter is, we would have taken this trip a long time ago! Our journey started in earnest on a Wednesday morning when we had made arrangements to pick up a rental RV from CanaDream. We had already checked in online five days before, uploaded required documents and information, paid our deposit and reviewed demo videos so we knew all about the RV we were renting before we arrived. Upon arrival, we were greeted by friendly staff who checked that all of our details were in order and then my husband and I did a thorough walk-through of the unit. Read more.

5 Ways to Enjoy Winter in Wine Country, Okanagan, British Columbia

SilverStar Mountain Resort. Photo Credit Destination BC/Blake Jorgenson
Silver Star Mountain Resort. Photo Credit Destination BC/Blake Jorgenson

As cooler temperatures emerge, and the snow blankets the vineyards, the valley transforms from a sun-soaked paradise to the ultimate winter destination. From champagne powder to frozen waterfalls to theatrical sleigh ride shows, the winter can be a magical time to explore the Okanagan. Read more.

Vancouver Island, BC Off-Season Adventures

Ocean View Skiing at Mt. Washington, BC
Ocean View Skiing at Mt. Washington, BC

‘Canada’s Mediterranean’, is how I like to refer to Central Vancouver Island. It offers more year-round outdoor recreational opportunities in mind-blowing scenery than I’ll ever have time to enjoy in one lifetime. But I’m trying – and the best part is that so many activities are absolutely free!

To get you started let me give you just a couple of very different ‘cool season’ activities on different parts of the Island, along with two fantastic year-round RV parks located close to each mini adventure. Read more.

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For places to camp in BC in the winter go to winter camping.

Share your BC  travel and camping photos using hashtag #campinbc

It’s always a great day to #CampinBC

Tips to Prepare Your RV for Winter Camping in BC

Imagine waking up surrounded by glistening snow, where the outdoors beckons you to do some cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, maybe ice-fishing, or just a walk in a stunning winter wonderland. Kids can build snowmen, make snow angels and toboggan. And where a cup of hot chocolate never tasted so good.

RV's in a campground during winter
Nk’Mip Campground, Osyoos in Winter

Just because winter is approaching doesn’t mean that you have to take a hiatus from camping in British Columbia. For instance, did you know that there are some 150 campgrounds including a few BC Parks sites and select private campgrounds/RV parks open year-round? You just have to prepare for your camping trips so you keep warm and cozy and that your RV is prepared for winter conditions.

A friend and newbie to winter camping told me last year, If only we had known how amazing RVing in the winter is, we would have taken this trip a long time ago! The first morning we woke up to the soft sound of snow tinkling on the roof of the RV. Our bed was toasty as we sank deeper into the flannel sheets, and stared out the window to a winter wonderland. It was breathtaking.”

Does that make it sound like fun?

Canadream RV camping at Sunshine Valley Resort in the snow
Sunshine Valley Resort near Hope

So here are some tips to help keep you safe and sound.

You do need to ensure that your pipes and holding tanks will not freeze. This is what Canadream RV Rentals had to say about winterizing the RV.

There are two types of RV you can use in the winter – winterized (no water with all pipes and holding tanks drained) and a winter unit (allows for water usage). If you are going to a destination with electricity hook-up, you can use a winter unit, where an arctic pack will heat exterior tanks so you can have running water. Units also come with a furnace which runs on propane and you will need an electrical heater as well. The temperature inside needs to be kept at a certain level to prevent freezing.

If you are renting an RV in the winter for the first time read our blog First Time RVing In Winter – What To Know About Renting An RV.

Photo Courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC
Photo Courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

Go RVing also provides some tips for camping in winter including:

  • Always have enough bed quilting and winter clothing around so that everyone can easily live through a furnace failure even if stranded by weather for several days.
  • Park your RV in the sun whenever possible. You’ll be amazed at how much a good winter sun can heat up your RV.
  • Park your RV on support boards. These boards will prevent your RV tires from “sinking” when the ground thaws.
  • If electricity is not a problem, use electric blankets at night to save on propane. Also, using a small space heater will also save on propane and wear and tear of the furnace.
Trail Along Cambie Creek, Manning Park BC
Trail Along Cambie Creek, Manning Park BC
  • Make sure you insulate your hose and use heat tape that can be crossed over itself, as this will provide the most efficient seal. (Note: you can also buy a heated hose.)
  • If you have a motorized RV, check your batteries for water level and periodically start your engine to keep everything in good running order.
  • To keep your RV battery charged, consider getting a solar panel system or an inverter

Now that you’re all set to experience winter camping this year, here are some blogs and ideas for keeping you camping throughout the fall and winter.

5 Spots to Ice Fish and Camp this Winter in British Columbia

First Time RVing in Winter – What to Know about Renting an RV

Winter RV Adventure for Camping Newbies at Sunshine Valley & Manning Park, BC

Vancouver Island, BC Off-Season Adventures

5 Ways to Enjoy Winter in Wine Country, Okanagan, British Columbia

Go to our Winter Camping Map to find out where you can camp in the winter.

TIP: If you find this blog interesting why not subscribe to the enewsletter and never miss another story!

Post your BC travel and camping photos using the hashtag #CampinBC

It’s always a great day to #CampinBC

Winter RV Adventure for Camping Newbies at Sunshine Valley & Manning Park, BC

If only we had known how amazing RVing in the winter is, we would have taken this trip a long time ago! Our journey started in earnest on a Wednesday morning when we had made arrangements to pick up a rental RV from CanaDream. We had already checked in online five days before, uploaded required documents and information, paid our deposit and reviewed demo videos so we knew all about the RV we were renting before we arrived. Upon arrival, we were greeted by friendly staff who checked that all of our details were in order and then my husband and I did a thorough walk-through of the unit.

For information on renting an RV check out the blog First Time RVing In Winter – What To Know About Renting An RV.

Canadream parking lot
At Canadream in Vancouver picking up our RV

From the lot we hit the highway (under a torrential downpour) and a couple of hours later, arrived at Sunshine Valley as the rain turned to giant snowflakes. Despite our worries about driving the unit in the snow, it handled beautifully. Our guess is it’s so heavy it crushes down the snow – whatever the reason, it performed well on both bare and snowy roads for the whole trip.

We soon found out we were one of only a few campers! Yes, the site was dotted with RVs, but these were ‘weekend guys’ – members who leave their unit up year-round to visit on the weekends like a cabin. Pretty ingenious, if you ask me! Meanwhile we pretty well had the place to ourselves.

Canadream RV camping at Sunshine Valley Resort in the snow
RV’s in campground are for the weekend warriors

Once we pulled into our spot and my husband hooked up the power, we pushed a button to send out the slide-out and began to set up our new home. Here are some of the items we quickly realized we should have brought. Perhaps this list will help with your planning!

Some RV Packing Extras (Forgotten by Some Novices)

  • Electric kettle (unit comes with a stove-top kettle but electric would be easier)
  • Toaster
  • A snowy shoe/boot mat (for at the bottom of the stairs)
  • Slippers (this isn’t a tent – you do a fair bit of walking around inside!)
  • Frying pan
  • A flat, small baking sheet and aluminum foil
  • Extra cutlery (there’s exactly enough for 4 people)
  • A small drying rack (unless you have a family member who loves to dry dishes!)
  • Oven mitts
  • Dishwashing gloves as the water can get nice and hot
  • Toilet paper (one-ply) – one roll was provided
  • Swim towels (you get lovely shower towels in the unit, but some microtowels are helpful)

Having set up our beds (our daughter immediately chose the alcove above the driver) we hit the (indoor) swimming pool and hot tubs and began to plan the next day’s activities. Our new winter camping adventure had begun!

RV in campsite with snow
Waking up to the sound of snow falling

The next morning we woke up to the soft sound of snow tinkling on the roof of the RV. Our bed was toasty as we sank deeper into the flannel sheets, and stared out the window to a winter wonderland. It was breathtaking.

My daughter and I stirred first and prepared a batch of wake-and-shake pancakes and some berry sauce. We woke up my husband with a hot coffee, ate breakfast, and they headed out to the lodge for a swim and a shower while I tidied up and battened down the hatches for our planned day trip.

The roads looked nicely plowed, and Manning’s toboggan run and skating rink were open, and so we drove out of the park and up the highway to this gorgeous alpine resort. At first we weren’t sure about our choice not to bring a second vehicle, but the RV crushed any snow in our way and powered up the hills no problem.

Tobogganing at Manning Park

Another perk of bringing the RV? Sheer convenience at Manning Park. We decided against ice skating (our daughter’s not really sure on her skates) and threw on our snowsuits for some toboggan runs.

Once we were tired and ready for a meal we stopped into the lounge for some pub fare. The great thing about having the RV right there was we were able to change into comfortable clothes very easily. Once our bellies were full, we headed back to the RV resort for naps, more swimming, dinner, and a movie.

It was the perfect day trip and a great way to round out our visit.

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New to winter camping? Check out the following blog.

First Time RVing in Winter – What to Know about Renting an RV

Share your BC camping and travel photos using #CampinBC

It’s always a great day to #CampinBC

First Time RVing In Winter – What To Know About Renting An RV

Canadream RV at a campsite in the winter
RVing in a campsite winter wonderland!

My husband’s family lived in the Arctic Circle before he was born, and his formative years were spent in Manitoba. So it should come as no surprise that he wants to go camping … in the winter.

I, on the other hand,  don’t really “do winter”. I’m more of a rainforest girl. But I love to camp and miss it all winter long.

Enter the perfect solution, or so we hope … a winter RV trip. All the adventure of camping, all the chill of winter, but with the comforts of home.

This winter we’re going to rent an RV from the good folks at CanaDream and take a short trip.  I have to admit I’m totally out of my element so step one: book the RV.

In order to feel better prepared for the RV experience, I posed some questions to the representative at CanaDream, who was extremely helpful. Here’s our conversation, which has some good procedural advice for any first-time RVer as well as stuff specific to winter use.

Photo courtesy of CanaDream RV

1. Can we leave our car with you when we pick the RV up?

Yes! Our pick-up location is about half an hour outside of Vancouver and we have a gated lot where you can leave your car.

2. What else happens at pick-up?

All Guests are invited to check in online 5 days before pick up. It is mandatory that you complete online check in as this is where you provide CanaDream with all your details, uploading driver’s license, emergency contacts, you’ll read and accept their terms & conditions and insurance policy, you can add on extras and also pay the mandatory security deposit by credit card. You’ll watch their detailed demo videos so you know all about your RV before you get to the station.  This is really helpful.

You will also select your pick up time and your drop off time from a range of available time slots. Again this is great to help you plan your departure and the return day of your vacation.

On arrival you will simply present your driver’s license, credit card to confirm they match what is in their system and you’ll perform a short self-guided tour (asking any questions that you need) and then you can head off on your road trip! simple.

3. Your Maxi Motorhome RV is a “winter unit” … what does that mean?

The Maxi Motorhome has been specifically designed and built to enable functioning of the RV in temperatures up to -30 degrees Celsius.  With heated and insulated pipes, use of the RV furnace and generator means you can keep the RV warm and frost free, ensuring full use of the bathroom facilities and kitchen water. Giving you the ultimate winter comfort and convenience on the road, the RV comes kitted out with fleece bed linen, insulated curtains and protective floor carpets to enhance the warmth of the unit.  Don’t get this confused with some rental companies who “winterize” their RVs which means they drain all of the water out of the pipes and tanks to ensure the pipes don’t freeze and cause damage when they thaw.  CanaDream is unique in this respect with their RV having an Arctic pack to assist with the use through harsh Canadian winters.

4. Does the unit come fully stocked?

You can chose to rent a Convenience kit which provides you with all the kitchen equipment, bed linen and towels, or you can bring your own if you want to reduce the cost.  Most people take the Convenience kits.

5. What extra items should we bring?

This depends on what you think you will need and of course you are welcome to bring whatever you like to make your trip more comfortable. We recommend that you pack supplies in soft bags so they can be easily stowed in the storage cupboards. I think it’s nice to bring things that make you feel at home. For instance, a favourite pillow. If you have chosen not to take the Convenience kit, you will need to bring everything you require.

6. Is the RV hard to drive? Is there any way to practice?

No. The beauty of these RVs is that they are very easy to drive and as long as you are confident and use a spotter outside to help you reverse and park, you will soon enjoy driving the RV.  They are all equipped with mud and snow tires, so you will have a lot of grip in the winter. We are also happy to provide snow chains.  With any driving in winter make sure you pay attention to the road conditions and don’t take unnecessary risks.

Photo courtesy of CanaDream RV

7. How far can we take the RV? Would we be able to use it to drive someplace for skiing, for instance?

With an RV the requirement is you have to stay on numbered public roads. You can’t take it off-road, or down a logging road, for instance. Not that you would be tempted to in the winter!

Really, though, you should be able to drive the RV as you would with an ordinary vehicle, and so you could take it on a day trip …  keeping in mind (as you would with any vehicle) that you need to check road conditions where you are going.

Well, it looks like we’re one step closer to this crazy dream. Thanks to CanaDream for being so patient with all my questions. I’m starting to get excited for the trip!

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Want to read about their winter camping trip? Read the blog below.

Winter RV Adventure for Camping Newbies at Sunshine Valley & Manning Park, BC

For places to camp in winter check out the Winter Camping Map

Post your BC winter camping and RVing photos at #CampinBC

The Chilliwack River Valley: An Outdoor Enthusiast’s Paradise

Chilliwack River Valley - Ken Bramble

Chilliwack River Valley – Ken Bramble

About one and a half hours east from Vancouver International Airport is one of the Lower Mainland’s best kept secrets, one which is an outdoor adventurers’ dream. Want world class fishing for steelhead trout and a variety of salmon? Got it. Rapids ranging from class 2 to 5 for the whitewater rafting rookie or experienced kayaking enthusiast? Check. A range of hikes from family-friendly afternoon jaunts to technically challenging overnighters? Affirmative. Camping destinations for relaxed RVers, summer long-weekend tenters, and backcountry machete-wielders? Absolutely. When it comes to outdoor destinations, the Chilliwack River Valley has it all. But don’t tell anyone…the locals are trying hard to keep it a secret!

Fishing near Vedder River campground

Fishing Near Vedder River Campground

With its origins in the mountains of Washington State’s North Cascades National Park, the Chilliwack River makes its way north into Canada and eventually the Chilliwack Lake. From the lake’s northern end, the river snakes mostly west for many kilometers before it meets up with the Sweltzer River and then the Sumas River before flowing into the mighty Fraser River. On a technical note, shortly after joining forces with the Sweltzer, the Chilliwack passes under the Vedder Bridge and its’ name changes to the Vedder River.

Regardless of its name, the Chilliwack/Vedder River is well known to anglers from around the Lower Mainland, the province, and even internationally. A veritable rainbow of salmon species – coho, chum, pink, white chinook, and sockeye can be caught here between the months of July and early December. The river is also home to various types of trout, including rainbow, coastal cutthroat, and steelhead, which is renowned as one of the most difficult-to-catch freshwater sportfish. Those hungry for the challenge of steelhead can put their angling skills to the test between January and April or July to early September. Be sure to obtain a proper license for the type of fish you’re hoping to hook! If you are going to camp in the area too there are a good selection of private campgrounds, provincial parks and recreation sites. More information at Where to Camp.

Chilliwack River Fishing

Fishing on Chilliwack River

If the idea of landing a 30-lb chinook salmon doesn’t thrill you, perhaps racing down the Chilliwack River in a raft or kayak would be enough to take your breath away. Local companies offer a range of trips for anyone from the rafting rookie to the whitewater junkie (from class 2 to 4+ on the whitewater scale). Perhaps you’d rather challenge the river on your own – try kayaking. There are appropriate sections for newbies, while experienced kayakers can test their skills at the famous Tamihi Rapids, Canada’s only class 5 training course and a common site for the training of our national Olympic kayaking team. By the way, the official whitewater classification system maxes out at Class 6, which is the type of water you don’t want to even attempt to navigate in a floating object (i.e. Hell’s Gate).

Camping at Lindeman Lake

Camping at Lindeman Lake

For those who feel more comfortable on “terra firma”, the Chilliwack River Valley still has plenty to offer.  Easier, flat walks can be found west of the Vedder Bridge at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve (several hikes ranging up to 5 km return) or the Vedder River Trails (the Vedder Rotary Trail is 8 km one way).  At the east end of the valley from Vedder Bridge is access to more moderate hikes.  The Lindeman Lake Hike is a well maintained trail that winds through forest for 3.4 km (return) with a modest 215m elevation gain before terminating at a peaceful alpine lake where wooden camping platforms are available for those who want to stay overnight.  The longer-winded among us may want to carry on a further 3.5 km and gain another 150m in elevation to visit Greendrop Lake.

View from Mt MacFarlane Summit

View from Mt MacFarlane Summit

Meanwhile, the hardier, more adventurous trekker can put their legs and lungs to the test on the way up Mount MacFarlane.  This trail will have you climbing 2,016 m over the course of 17 km out and back, but the inspiring scenery includes massive Douglas Firs, a couple of pristine lakes, and a summit with a panoramic view of snow-capped peaks that is incomparable.

Once you’ve conquered Mount MacFarlane, there are many other challenging hikes and illustrious summits to reach in the Chilliwack River Valley area. Did I mention there’s a lot to do here? If you love the outdoors, this is a place you must visit. But be careful…you might just decide you never want to leave!

For information on camping and RVing in British Columbia go to https://www.campingrvbc.com/

3 Stress Savers When Prepping For A Camping Trip

How to pack efficiently for camping

Pack efficiently…stress free

After a long winter hibernation, opening the door to Spring’s warm weather releases an instantaneous sense of gained freedom.  Finally I can go outside and not get wet or freeze! It doesn’t take statistics to know (more…)

Published: May 8th, 2014

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