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  • Writer's pictureRandy Reek

Exploring National Parks - and Sleeping in the GoneCamper Full-size Van.

A van camper is perfect when all you need is a comfortable bed at the end of the day.

GoneCamper van camper

Zion National Park

We just returned from a fast, "mini-vacation" trip to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park in southwestern Utah. We had these destinations on our travel list for some time. But the timing was tough: find the best time when the crowds weren't too bad. We also wanted to find the best time when it wasn't too HOT in Zion AND not too COLD in Bryce.

Zion is REALLY crowded as it gets closer to summer, and then it gets unbearably HOT. Bryce is spectacular - but it is also located above 8,000 feet up to over 9,000 feet. Even at the end of April, overnight lows were in the high 20's and low 30's.

GoneCamper van camper

Highway 9 through Zion

At Zion we found a comfortable camp site just outside of the park. We were prepared to boondock the first night, but had no trouble finding a vacancy in a private campground on Sunday night. The high during the day was a manageable 84 degrees and it was great to have a hot shower. The crowds were plenty large for my taste. After March you need to ride shuttle buses into Zion Canyon.

GoneCamper van camper

Campsite in Ruby's RV Park, Bryce Canyon City

At Bryce we sprung for a campsite at Ruby's RV Park just north of the national park entrance. Overnight lows were below freezing so we splurged on an RV site with water and electricity. We took along a small electric quartz heater (with a thermostat) and it keep the GoneCamper nice and toasty!

GoneCamper van camper

Unmatched wonders at Bryce Canyon

This is the kind of road trip is PERFECT for a van camper. We logged about 900 miles in relative economy - compared to a gas-hog RV. We didn't hassle pulling a trailer. We didn't have to rough it in a tent. We had no problem finding a place to park at the busy photo overlooks.

GoneCamper van camper

Virgin River, Zion National Park

Best of all, we had a warm, comfortable 6-inch memory foam full-size mattress waiting for us at the end of the day! There were hundreds, maybe thousands of RV's in both parks - including rentals. But we spent all day, everyday outside exploring. Why drag along a 3-4 room "mobile house" when all you need is a place to sleep?

GoneCamper van camper

The full-size bed extended in the GoneCamper

We stopped at countless overlooks to take pictures. We pulled into crowded parking lots but only needed a standard space for the Chevy Express van. We explored several roads that were OFF LIMITS to trailers and motor homes. Our first campsite was a cheap tent site, down a narrow dirt road with brush on both sides - in accessible to trailers or RV's.

GoneCamper van camper

Bryce Canyon National Park

Everywhere we went we saw motor homes and travel trailers. Some of these "campers" were definitely enjoying relaxing in the campground, sitting around a fire or lounging in a hammock. But we were there to explore. The only thing we needed was a bed. (The campground supplied restrooms and hot showers.) We were self-contained with cold food in a cooler, a 5-gallon jug of water, and battery lights in the GoneCamper Chevy.

I was especially surprised to see couples traveling in rented motor homes. These rentals cost upwards of $200 per night - NOT including fuel! The complete GoneCamper conversion for the Chevy Express van costs less than $1,000 and would be paid for in the first week. Plus, you have much more travel flexibility. When you get back home you have a daily driver, without needing to pay for storage fees, extra insurance or high maintenance.

PS. The GoneCamper Chevy Express has an outside A/C plug that feeds an outlet strip inside the van. The A/C is also wired to a battery charger for the auxiliary battery.

Why not join us on the road, exploring creation? You don't need a $200,000 motor home to travel and explore our many national parks. Contact us to schedule the delivery of your own GoneCamper conversion for standard vans or minivans.

Traveling Efficiently, Camping Comfortably, Living Frugally

GoneCamper van camper

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