Our Weekend With WanderVans

Full disclosure, when my kids were attending Montessori School for Kindergarten, I drooled over this gray sprinter van that was in the parking lot almost any morning I was able to drop the kids off. Now that the littlest is going in to 2nd grade, we have finally experienced the WanderVans for ourselves!

Why the years-long delay to rent one? Well, they are booked out solidly every time we look! So, that right there let me know that this was an Idaho Bucketlist Item and I WAS GOING TO MAKE IT HAPPEN. Then the lockdowns and COVID19 pandemic took over and I swear the availability decreased even more because we all wanted out and to look at the trees instead of our 4 walls.

But, I feel like I turned in some of our Karma points with the world and our 19ft. Ford Transit Van was available for the same weekend the Inlaws were taking the kids before school starts. YES! I literally high-fived the computer screen. Wandervans– Ready or not, here we come!

Renting and Check In/Out Process

The Wandervans site is beautifully created and easy to navigate. There is even trip ideas for those who aren’t sure where to take it. Simply enter your CC information on the Wandervan and dates you like and Tah-Dah! You get an email with more instructions.

Picking up our Wandervans was incredibly easy. A door code was emailed to us and the car key was safely stored in the glove compartment. Parking spots were available for our personal vehicle while we were out adventuring.

Returning the Wandervans was the same. Clear it out, park it, leave the keys in the glove box and lock it up. Our truck was safe and sound the whole time we were gone.

Packing- What’s Included and What Did We Bring

Wandervan rentals include 150 miles per day, a kitchen, refrigerator, curtains, fitted sheet on each mattress, fans, table, camp chairs, two burner stove, and magnetic bug screens for the doors. We found the bug barrier in the top console of the van. Also included was 5 gallons of fresh water.

We then brought our own campstove, camper bench from Kelty, Food, snacks, spices and oils, sheets and pillows (queen), dishes and camping set (GSI), dish sponge and soap, firewood, propane tanks, matches, two inflatable paddle boards and accompanying gear, and our prized Breeo Outpost grilling surface.

Many of the above items can be add-ons to your order if you don’t have the gear. There is even a toilet for more primal camping.

Naming Your Ride

This may take minutes or days, but I do feel it is a necessary part of the adventure. Our Wandervan for the 4 days was Gluckuk, the speedy snail from Never Ending Story. He was named within minutes of launching from our home and hitting the open road.

Inside the Wandervans

I would like to take this opportunity to address how clean the Wandervans was when we picked it up. There is a detail shop in the parking lot and you can tell they take great care of the vans and ensure cleanliness for the renter.

We had a two seater, queen bed, 19ft. medium model for our first Wandervan. For the two of us, it was perfect. We could easily stand up in the Wandervan and had plenty of extra room which I desperately was trying to fill with more wine. Four days without my kids, in nature? There’s bound to be a happy hour… or two.

Our kitchen was comprised of a small sink with a hand pump action faucet, storage drawers and a 34 qt fridge. There are hooks galore on the inside and we could easily hang up our camping packs, headlamps, water bottles and towels. Lights and fans are available at each bedside along with storage pouches for books, water, phones, tissues, gum, the cute chipmunk you found while camping… just kidding.

Itinerary

Thursday

  • Pick up Gluckuk at Noon
  • Drive to Miracle/Banbury Hot Springs ($20 for RV site, $40 for private pool)
  • Cajun Shrimp Boil for dinner
  • Soak our tired muscles and stargaze

 

Friday

  • Red Potatoes, onions, peppers, andouille sausage and Eggs
  • Hike Box Canyon and take a dip in the clear turquoise waters
  • Drive North to Sawtooth NRA and Murdock Campground ($18/night).
  • Cold Cut Sandwhiches for the road
  • Set up camp, stare at the Sawtooths and enjoy a happy hour with wine, Train Wreck appetizer and our books.
  • Sausage, peppers and wine for dinner.

Saturday

  • Sleep in until 9am, open the back doors and stare at nature while Chris makes coffee
  • Pancakes, eggs and breakfast sausage
  • Head North to Alturas Lake
  • Set up camp at Alturas Inlet Campground ($18/night)
  • Paddle board in Alturas Lake
  • Flat Iron Steak and charred  bell peppers for dinner
  • Champagne! It is our last night đŸ™‚

Sunday

  • Sleep in until 9am
  • Eggs, hashbrowns and bacon
  • Pack up and start heading home to Boise
  • Stop along the highway for all the scenic stops
  • Clean out and return Gluckuk by 4pm

What We Learned From Our Weekend

  • Our phones are newer Apple models and the radio connection wouldn’t work. There is a provided male-to-male adapter but neither of us brought our dongles to connect to it. So, when we lost reception, it was just the sound of the open road. Which, in the time of COVID19 sounded a lot like freedom.
  • We took photos of the inside and outside AFTER the trip. Next time, I would take some before and after to have a record in case anything were to come up. This includes the gas levels, mileage and physical van.
  • A tarp. We completely forgot a tarp to place outside of the van for shoes and to keep the dirt out.
  • GCI Outdoor Kitchen would have been nice if we were in one place longer than two days.

Overall Experience

We loved our little Gluckuk. We felt like we had the freedom to go anywhere and we did! Staying in a different camp site every night, not having a plan and seeing where the road took us next. Honestly, we thought that in the worst case scenario, we would hold up for a night in a church parking lot. We were lucky in that we found beautiful, well maintained and clean campsites every night.

Opening up the doors and sitting in bed with a glass of wine at night or steaming coffee in the morning was every bit the Instagram fantasy I hoped it would be. In fact, we came home and started planning a bigger, longer trip with the boys only to find out the Wandervans are booked out almost completely for the time we are planning. We will keep watch on the site and put ourselves on the waitlist for the larger 22ft. Wandervans because we want to experience the calm and nature’s beauty with the kids.

Safe Travels!

Leah Guill

Leah specializes in women's outdoor sports as well as our new yoga and SUP focused sections. Her favorite travel accessory are the ones who can pack a punch, do double duty and make traveling with kids easier on everyone! She lives in Idaho with her husband and two sons.

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