Camping In A Van

This was a little different weekend for us. We decided to see how the other half lives, so rather than going to the cottage we took off for a weekend of camping in a van in a campground.

It’s kind of nice to get a change of scenery now and again and see what is new in the camping world, what kind of new camping things are available and socialize with other campers, many of whom are old hands at tent camping, trailer camping and motorhome and camping in a van.

The more I see of it the more I think motorhome camping is pretty nice camping…..but then again, my sense of adventure isn’t what it used to be.

When we camp we use our version of mini motorhome, which means we camp in a van, sleeping in the back of our Dodge Caravan. We use a screen tent for a place to get out of the sun or rain, it kind of becomes our living room/kitchen while the Dodge van is the bedroom.

Other than the fact that you cannot stand up in a Dodge Caravan, unless you are very short, the rear of the Dodge van, with the rear seats removed, is plenty roomy for two people to sleep and still have some room to store your valuables under lock and key.

We usually put that kind of stuff on the front seats. The “not so valuable valuables” we keep in the screen tent. This usually means things like cooler boxes and food stuffs etc.


For all intents and purposes camping in a van is a pretty comfy place to sleep. Access through the sliding side door makes ingress and egress easy and I am very fond of having steel and glass around me while I sleep as opposed to nylon/canvas materials most tents are made from.

We use some quilts and foam padding on the floor of the van which makes a pretty comfy bed come bedtime and believe me, after a full day and night of campground fun, bedtime is well appreciated by me! And that is including the two or three naps that I have throughout the day….oh the decadent lazy life I lead….it is wonderful.

I have added a couple things to improve our Dodge Caravan camping experience.

One, I made some screens that I tape over the side windows to allow the windows to be open while keeping flies out.

Two, I put a reflective screen over the windshield, taped in place, to keep the hot sun out of the van, making it cooler, which is particularly nice for an afternoon nap, it also adds a little privacy.

I also rig a tarp over the side door of the van which goes up and over the screen tent roof providing a dry, shaded place to move from inside the “camper van” to the outside.

Camping in a van, or for that matter, any kind of camping, is different than going to a cottage in many ways, not the least of which is the opportunity to see new things and places and meet new people.

Campers are generally….well happy campers, friendly and helpful to one another. You always have that feeling that “we’re all in this together”

Have a problem putting up your tent and in no time someone nearby saunters over to help, interested in what visitors from other jurisdictions think? Just pick a licence plate from another province or state and say hello, most folks are happy to chat.

Our weekend campout was a success in all the ways I mentioned and I am looking forward to the next time we take off on the open road for a new camping adventure, but I gotta say it, I miss the cottage…

If you like the idea of camping in a van but don’t have a van, you could always buy one of these Volkswagon Camper Tents

This is almost as cool as using a Dodge Caravan for a camper. This tent looks like a 1960’s era Volkswagon camper van, you will definitely have the coolest tent in the campground !!

One thought on “Camping In A Van”

  1. The only drawback to camping for me is the lack of security when camping alone. The use of a van solves that and adding a screen tent would make it really comfie. Thinking about a van for my next vehicle.

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