Campers guide to a 2020 staycaiton.
Words by Alex Brown.
Advanture Magazine, Issue 03.
Unless you’ve been really off-grid for the past few months, you’ve most definitely heard the term “staycation” by now. Here is how to have a campers staycation of your own in 2020. Media outlets around Europe seized the opportunity and have promoted this as the summer activity of 2020, off the back of the lockdowns and the “new normal” world we are now waking up in. But the thing is, it is actually a great solution to feed your thirst for wanderlust and will save you some cash in doing so, coronavirus times or not!
Let’s take a few steps back for one moment because many of us have been having a staycation, or simply exploring locally, for a long time. And that is it in a nutshell, the staycation is keeping within a limited distance of home and enjoying a little bit of adventure without travelling too far to get at it.
With the uncertainty of things like travel restrictions from country to country, insurance complications and many other things causing a headache when thinking about a long-distance trip at this time, many people have been inspired to keep things simple this year. We caught up with some travellers to find out what they have to say when it comes to making the most out of the warmer months this year.
The advice we learnt applies to such a wide range of people, from van campers to car campers. And location-wise, well that’s a bit more dependent on what is available to you locally. But we are sure that if you have four wheels and something to sleep on, you’ll also be empowered to get the most out of a staycation of your own.
Now, while we know that we are a van camping magazine, we appreciate that some of our readers do not own a van yet. And for those who do, the following advice can even be given to your friends who would love to join you on a trip but might not own their own camper setup. The best thing about the summer months is that the weather is so much drier and more predictable. So make use of that if you only have a car or even just a backpack, and set up your bed outside under the stars.
Camilla & Nicolas (@vagabondando_blog) “Nobody complains about a car, you can get to wonderful places without many problems, such as places where a van may not be able to reach because of prohibitions or difficult roads for larger vehicles. We are lucky to be low, at just 1.65m in height, but still we are very comfortable. Actually, our camping car might be one of the smallest choices that exist! In our Fiat 500 the mattress is just 1.60m long. Not bad for a car of this size! For those who are undecided or who think it is impossible, YOU CAN TRAVEL SO! And it leaves a mark on your heart! It is an experience that everyone should live!.”
Mountaineer, Chase, likes to do things a little more au-natural when it comes to his local micro-adventures. Got no wheels at all? Read on and prepare for some most definite wanderlust.
Chase Tucker (@chase_mountains) “Sleeping in the van or a tent is great, but there’s nothing that compares to falling asleep on your back with a view of the stars. It sometimes takes a little practise for people to become comfortable enough to cowboy camp like this – but it pays off! It can be very rejuvenating.”
If you are used to living life for weeks at a time on the open road, then you’ll likely have all of the gear to satisfy you for these smaller trips. With more time spare to plan, why not think about upgrading your game in an area that you might not be that strong in? If there is one area that makes all the difference between a good camp and a great one, it is the quality of your meal plan.
AM editor (@alexbrowndop) “At the weekends, I love to take an easy drive up the coast from Barcelona for just an hour or two at the most. These trips closer to home give me more time to relax and unwind after a week of work, and with the quick drive, it gives me so much more time to enjoy camp cooking which I really love.”
So if there have been some meals that you’ve had in mind for a while, now is the time to practice them! Pack away that toastie maker and leave the box of cereals at home, then flick to page 40 for a little inspiration on a well known, but properly prepared meal, to fill your stomach for the next time you park up in search of adventure.
Camilla & Nicolas “We always do a “smart” shop before leaving, we know the shops near our house and we take the opportunity to buy everything we know we like, and what can be kept for a long time. Tuna cans, beans, pasta, rice, salt, oil, coffee, crackers, biscuits and many other things like that! We love to buy local products, not in large supermarkets, but in small businesses.”
Those of us who love to dream about climbing that mountain in France, or surfing that break in Portugal, this year might be the time to adjust our aspirations. But that certainly doesn’t mean we need to lower our efforts! There is so much opportunity for adventures close to home, that we probably have overlooked when thinking about those more exciting locations elsewhere.
Marc Slanzi (@marcslanzi) “My advice for people looking for sport adventures closer to home is to get inspired by other people in this area. We only have to look around and see what our country/neighbourhood offers us. I, for example, like to get to the summit of my home mountains by fair means, starting from home by running or cycling. Try to set some personal goals. No matter if it’s to break your PB up on your home mountain or take a long ride with your bike to visit friends or family. Try to get out of your comfort zone. Think outside the box. It will be hard at the beginning but it will give you a lot of fulfilment. Find some friends that are used to doing harder stuff than you and learn from them.”
Just think about how to adapt the sports you love and practice them in an alternative way closer to home. If you had plans to SUP in the Algarve, but are staying at home in Berlin, how about checking some of the local rivers and lakes for an excursion? Just make sure to do a little research to make sure you’re prepared. How about a hike and camp-out on a local peak?
Chase Tucker “The main item you need is a bivouac bag to slip into with your sleeping bag and mat. This will keep the dew and any rain at bay during the night. Having said that, campsite selection is paramount. Stay away from the valley floor, bodies of water and the summits of mountains,. Look for tree coverage if possible.”
It could also be a great time to see who lives locally. Probably wise to respect all things social distancing, but don’t be afraid to reach out to one another on IG to share staycation plans.
AM editor “A couple of friends of mine don’t own a van. So we’ll meet them at camp where we cook the food in my campervan, and I also transport things like the fridge, chairs and food.”
Aline Bock (@alinebock) “For me, it´s all about the mixture of travelling alone, meeting new people and discovering new places on the one hand and then catching up with old friends, spending some awesome beach days together, cooking dinner and talking about good old times over a red wine on the other hand. Yummy ;)”
Equally, the thought of a staycation can be a micro-adventure just for yourself! Once you have let someone know about your plans, there isn’t anything more thrilling than driving off to explore a little place you had in mind forever, with no one but yourself to worry about. Call it a bit of selfish pleasure, which isn’t a bad thing!”
Marc Slanzi “In most of my outdoor activities I’m alone. It gives me a sense of freedom and so I can get to know myself better. I don’t have to compete with anyone, I can go at my own pace. I become one with the nature around me. Reaching the goal I set for every single adventure, for me is like a drug rush and I’m already thinking about the next adventure. In case of failure, it also teaches me something, then next time you can do things better. When you are on your own all feelings are amplified, like fear or happiness. Challenging ourselves like this can make us stronger in everyday life.”
So there are some of the best bits that we could round up to help inspire you all to make the most out of the strange summer of 2020, and get that staycation ticked off! AM