Camping in the rain — not quite as magical as the Don Kelly classic, but still delightful.

Yes, I too am shocked that I made a reference to a movie from the 1950’s

Moving right along!

This past weekend Harry (the van, HarriVan Ford) took us on another adventure to Willaby Campground in the Quinault Rain Forest. A personal favorite of mine, this campsite has it all — trail heads in the campsite, a lake view, water, nice bathrooms and yes, rain. Lots of it. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, this is the rain forest, and more specifically the coastal PNW in March. Duh.

Regardless, here’s what I took away from this weekend:

  1. While there wasn’t much of an opportunity to hike or be outside due to the weather, this was proof that home really is where you park it. Don’t judge me for this next glamping extremely diva-camping part: I had my phone with movies downloaded, a good book, excellent company, and enough food and beer to last the weekend. Being warm and dry and with good company sure makes a difference. I had a great time just being in the van, in the woods with Lake Quinault as my backyard.
  2. Cooking outside of the van? No problem. However, when it’s raining sideways outside, cooking activities are forced inside. Self-teaching moment: cooking inside of the van is challenging. I’ve added an awning/extendable roof for the side door to my wish list. I cooked meals on top of the fridge with my backpacking stove, cracking the windows for ventilation, and sitting on the floor. It was ok, and only 1 major spill occurred, but not ideal for long trips.  Ideally I could cook outside under cover, even if it’s cold, the cooking area would be dry and safe from exposing any items inside the van to flame, spilled food, etc.
  3. My propane heater was a life saver. It kept us warm in the van, but also served a second purpose: drying out soaked jackets and boots.
    1. Pro-tip: be sure to keep a window cracked to minimize condensation creation and keep lots of dry towels on hand. I felt like I was wiping down the windows every hour or so.
    2. Also, I’ve since added a few coat hooks to dry out clothes rather than just laying them over the seats.
  4. Down sleeping bags beat lots of layered blankets when it’s damp outside. While I normally enjoy setting up the van like a real bed situation with cozy pillows and fluffy blankets, the sleeping bag kept me warm and dry. The (really nice) comforter and cozy blankets I brought just got soggy and then cold with the propane heater in the van.
  5. Bring water!! I keep a 5 gallon water jug filled and in the van at all times just in case. It came in really handy this trip. While this site usually has water and full trash service onsite, both were shut down for the winter. I became acutely aware of how much water I waste when I cook (washing f00d off, filling pots to boil things, cleaning my hands/utensils, etc.) and will be making a more conscious effort to conserve from here on out.
  6. I need to fix the bed situation. Until this afternoon at around 5pm PT: if the bed was set up, the fridge was covered and it was really unsafe to drive the van without taking the bed apart (~5 minute process). While 5 minutes doesn’t sound like much, in the event of an emergency I wanted to make sure that I had room to get into the driver’s seat and get the f*ck out of there if I had to. The bed has since been fixed and I’ll be posting more pictures soon of the new and improved set up.

Looking forward to warmer weather and longer trips!

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