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1: Prioritize your activities.

Being on the road in a van, or any other vehicle for that matter, is because you want to prioritize spending time doing things you love, right? 

Obviously you want to be kayaking, or at least be close to water, but that might not always be an option or you need other activities to round out kayaking. Choose what you want to do, and…

2: Know where you’re going. 

Maps maps maps…live on the road and live by the map. Digital, paper, memory, know where you’re going. Once you choose an activity, or hopefully activities, use those maps to figure out the general area, then hone in on the appropriate places to park for the night. Depending on your budget and general location, you might just look for the campground symbol and press go. If you’re more keen on adventure or if your camping budget is like mine(ie none), look for public land boundaries, National Forest and BLM, find a road and head into the green where you can access dispersed camps at no cost additional to your tax dollars. Ideally your activity will also be in or near these public lands. 

3: Be ready to drive more than expected.

Often if you’re going somewhere new and want to stay on the free side of camp, it’s going to take longer than expected to find a spot. Sometimes it works out, but sometimes it really does not. When you have either found that perfect serene riverside spot or are just fed up searching, on to the next step:

4: Park it up. Ideally you’re going to park so opening the door in the morning you will be greeted by the sunrise on the river, a glorious mountain scene, or the ocean mist. If not, and there’s a highway, dumpster, or dodgy neighborhood out the door, time to keep moving and find that river.


5: Make the most of where you are. 

No matter where you end up and what you can do there, it can be good

You might not want to stay everywhere you end up for the night, but chances are with a little practice and willingness to stray from the paved road, you will find some amazing places to call home.