Here in Portland it is feeling like fall has officially arrived and maybe Spring at the same time. Today has been a wet one, but the trees along the street side are making it known that fall has come. Along with the changing of the leaves comes the cooling of the air, and that is very applicable when in the van.
I have been house sitting for a friend the past month or so, spoiled by things like a full kitchen and sink. But, he will be back in a couple weeks and I will be back out on my journey – somewhere. Currently I have an offer from a small organic farm just an hour south of Portland. We had met while I was photographing a space for Hipcamp. They had inquired if I would be interested in doing some sort of trade, some of my time each week working on the farm in turn for a place to stay (park) and home cooked dinners. This is currently looking to be a good option, plus a fun experience working on an organic farm for a short bit – an unofficial WWOOF experience.
While this is a likely direction for the next month or two, this cooler weather has me yearning for my southern California weather that I enjoyed last February through April. Also, via Instagram, I was asked if I had any interest in joining some other vanlife folks on a trip down to Baja. Not sure I trust my van that much just yet, but the idea is an intriguing one.
Any vanlifers out there that stick around the rainy and cold regions during the fall and winter? What do you do for heat?
The most important decision I made re: camping is – Don’t try to kid yourself about what the weather’s going to be. If you’re on the ‘Wet” coast, check to see what commercial fishers wear in January and get yourself some of that. Same thing if you’re going to be north – find out what the people who live outdoors (not just “visit”) wear, and invest in the right stuff. I have winter gear that I can lie out in the snow at -40 watching the Northern Lights in January in Whitehorse and be comfortable.
My serious down parka cost me about $700 30 years ago. I have no idea what it would cost to replace now, but 1) I don’t need to (it’s still fine), and 2) I’m never cold. Down mitts, serious insulated boots, etc.
Same with rain gear – forget the “ToysRUs” nylon shell. Buy full, “I’m a fisher on the Pacific in January” rain suit. Include footwear and headgear.
If you’re cold and wet, you’ll be miserable. If you’re warm and dry, you’ll have fun.
I get that, and as a backpacker, I have a lot of gear that I trust to keep me warm and dry. But, coming back to the van, no matter how dry under the gear, can get damp and soggy feeling real quick. I have been in some vans outfitted with propane or unleaded fueled heaters that have felt nice and dry, not to mention warm.
Yup, staying just West of Olympia. Working as a teacher by day, van dwelling in my 87 syncro tinny at night. I’m just now looking at some heaters and seeing the potential to go veggie diesel with some of the cheaper brands on Ebay.
Hi Paul, how long you been living out of a tin top? I often wonder how long I can deal with not standing up inside – ie, how long till I break and get a high top. As for heaters, are you thinking Mr. Buddy end of the spectrum, or the Wabasto type end?
sorry for the late reply. It’s been since Oct? anyways I just got that ‘little buddy’ heater but it does still offgas a bit, still nice to take the chill off those frozen mornings but will have to go with an externally vented one or a thicker sleeping bag. I’ve gone through a few variations. I got my GL in 2012 and then went Westy for less than a year before buying my 87 Syncro. Since I strive to get outside as much as possible I’m not bothered by the Tinny and really like the “styling?” of it. I’m currently taking some time on the Peninsula now and had a great night on the beach with a fire, just me and a fire, making me simile..oh and a bit of surf too.