Stretch out in a Weekender

GoCamp offers two different types of camper vans – what are called “Weekenders” and “Campers.” Both styles have the fun pop top that can sleep two. The big difference relates to how the space in the main cabin is used.

Weekenders have plenty of space.

The back seat in Weekenders is extra wide.

The back seat in Weekenders is extra wide.

Campers have a little kitchenette inside the van that includes a sink, a two-burner gas stove, and typically a small fridge. But in gaining the kitchen, you give up some elbow room.   

Weekenders don’t have the kitchenette, instead the backseat and lower bed are extra large, a great trade off. How large? The bottom bed in a Eurovan Weekender is 58"x74" while the bottom bed in the Camper is 43"x74". In both, the top bed is 43"x74".

More space often translates to more people having fun. Weekenders seat three in the back seat, and also include a rear facing jump seat behind the driver for a total of 6 passengers. Kids absolutely love the rear facing seat; it's like being on a train. Many models also include an optional seventh seat located behind the front passenger. If you need to throw a tent in the van and extra sleeping bags and pads, we’ve got you covered.

In Weekenders a table inside the van swings up for dining or playing cards. All GoCamp Weekenders, like the Metolius pictured above, are loaded with a fully-equipped exterior kitchen set up and everything you'll need to cook. They also have everything you’ll need period.

Bedding such as sheets, pillows, blankets and sleeping bags are included in your rental, as are all the items you’d expect when camping, such as camp chairs, a portable table, head lamps, lanterns, and much more. Also, many GoCamp vans have roof racks so you can take all your toys.

All you have to do is load up on groceries and hit the road, for a weekend or a week in a Weekender.

Five Things to Do this Fall in a GoCamp Van

1. Take a hike. Autumn is the perfect time of year for hiking and camping in the Pacific Northwest. The temperatures are relatively mild and the campgrounds empty out so you can often nab a spot right at the trail head. Check out the Outdoor Project’s recommendations for Best Hikes with Fall Colors in Washington.

2. Go mushrooming. Fall is a great time to forage for chanterelles, Oregon’s state mushroom. You can generally find these golden delights on the forest floor during the last week in September and well into October. This year, we recommend the Coastal Range as a good spot to take a walk in the woods with your eyes down.

October in the Enchantments. Photo credit: Andy Porter

October in the Enchantments. Photo credit: Andy Porter

3. Go mountain biking. The North Cascades and Methow Valley are full of well-maintained, epic mountain biking trails. In the fall, the surrounding views are made all the more epic because they're speckled with golden larch trees—an unusual type of conifer whose leaves turn yellow in the fall.

4. Go crabbing. As our friends at Local Adventures tell us, September through November is usually the best time to crab in the Northwest. Up and down the coast you can crab off a dock or head out in a rented boat.

5. Head to the desert. Located in Harney County, Oregon, and tucked into the Steens Mountain rain shadow, the Alvord Desert is one of the most isolated and unique land formations in the state. In the summer it can get really hot, but fall is the perfect time to visit the desert and park on the playa for a night under the stars.

Mt Hood to Silver Falls to the Coast

Head out of Portland as early as you can. Take either Highway 84 (which is faster but equally beautiful) or the Scenic Columbia Gorge Highway 30. Both will swing you by multiple waterfalls. If it’s not too crowded, stop at Multnomah Falls to at least peak at the most famous and most photographed waterfall in the Pacific Northwest. If you are feeling ambitious, hike to the top for a different view.

Continue your journey with a stop in Hood River. Once you have explored Hood River, continue on Highway 35. Head south and find a campsite at Trillium Lake, Frog Lake, or Clear Lake.  On a clear day, a visit to Timberline Lodge always impresses with the view. If you are energetic, take a high alpine jaunt along the Timberline Trail to the Zig Zag Canyon overlook.

Complete your circumnavigation of Mt Hood and drive through Sandy on US 26. To get to Silver Falls take Highway 211 through Estacada and Molalla. Milo McIver State Park is right along the river and makes a good stop if you are there in the late afternoon and evening and don’t want to push on to Silver Falls. Otherwise, head south via Highway 213 to Silver Falls State Park. You will want reservations for your time here. There are many waterfalls and hikes and you could easily spend 2 days exploring this lovely spot.

Once you have had your fill of the waterfalls, take Highway 22 to Highway 18 to the coast. Go south on 101 to Beverly Beach State Park. Explore Newport or just to relax at the beach. Don’t miss the Yaquina Lighthouse and Devils Punch Bowl which are both nearby. When you are ready to head north, a sweet spot to aim for is Cape Lookout. Along the way, stop at Cascade Head and Cape Kiwanda to stretch your legs and gaze at the Pacific from a beautiful headland trail. There is also lots to explore in the Three Capes scenic area. You could even rent a small boat and try your hand at crabbing in Netarts.

Then don’t miss Oceanside Beach with the tunnel to a truly magical beach sometimes covered with agates and peppered with sea stacks. Rosanna’s has been around for decades and serves a great meal. While you are on the Three Capes Loop - Visit Cape Mere’s Lighthouse and the Octopus Tree. You can make a stop in Tillamook at Blue Heron Cheese Company or the Tillamook Factory before returning to Portland.

This blog was written by Chris Beard, owner of Tilly Jane and Mr Mike, and GoCamp's resident concierge.

(Side note: This trip can be done in 5-6 nights, though several spots warrant 2 nights - such as the lakes near Mt Hood, and you could spend a whole week at the coast. How long you spend in each spot depends on how much you want to hike and explore. The beauty of camper vans is that set up is easy so you can maximize your exploring time.)

Sweet 16 on the Ohanapecosh -- oh my gosh!

My daughter turned 16 this week so we headed off in the van called Tilly Jane to celebrate. We spent two nights in Mt Rainier National Park at the Ohanapecosh Campground and did lots of hiking and swimming. The Silver Falls Trail starts and ends in the campground and on a hot summer day you can cool down after the hike by jumping in the river. Brace yourself though, it's cold! We also really enjoyed the Naches Peak Loop Trail just up the road from the campground. It connects with the famed Pacific Crest Trail and offers magical views of the park and surrounding area. Plus there was a mountain lake, so more swimming. 

Beyond the hikes and great views, the best part about this trip was just spending time with my daughter. A classic teen, she was out the front door with a quick "see ya, gotta go" about 10 minutes after we got home. But she gifted me the video below as a thank you for the trip, so I forgive her for not helping me unload the van. You're welcome Zoe.

Bird's Eye View of the Pacific Northwest

Jamie, Tom, and Nick, from Apertunity Productions, rented the van we call the Rogue this spring. It was a bit of a last minute rental so we didn't know much about them. When they picked up the van they said, "We're photographers."

Jamie, Tom and Nick with the Rogue at Crater Lake.

Jamie, Tom and Nick with the Rogue at Crater Lake.

Indeed they were. And videographers too. There were drones in those duffle bags in turns out.

The three were from Australia and determined to see as much of the Pacific Northwest during their five day rental as possible. If the video below is any indication, it would seem they covered the entire state of Oregon. We love the bird's eye perspective offered here of Oregon's forests, waterfalls, lakes, snow covered mountains and beaches.

And the van called Rogue looks pretty sweet too!

Special thanks to Apertunity Productions for this awesome video.