It was getting to the point that we were the ‘last tent standing’ at backcountry gatherings with friends. Everyone had built-out vans, campers, trailers, trucks with camper shells. There we were: pitching the lone tent at a base camp or shivering under a tarp envying everyone else when the rain started. About a year ago we succumbed, bought a trailer, and now have that cozy option with heat, light, a stove and a table to sit around and play cribbage with the neighbors after the sun goes down.
I know, it sounds very retiree, and it is, but it’s surprising how many people of all ages are going to the vagabond lifestyle, setting up base camps to stage adventures from, or living for extended periods on the road, punctuated with true backcountry outings. I have one paddler friend who lived and worked out of a series of customized vans for more than 20 years. He and his partner conducted their professions, took dozens of extended river trips, and traveled around the continent for decades in their prime, and loved it. He once told me that if he had to choose between owning a home or living out of a van, he’d take the van every time. Impressive.
Of course, that lifestyle has gear attached to it. You can go crazy, or pick and choose. Consider this a starter list, and I’ve added a couple of tried-and-true items from the gear room. Some of the gear also works well on the trail, depending on conditions. Double duty is always a plus.
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