Winter Car Camping "Solo" Throughout the NW

3:52 a.m. on August 31, 2008 (EDT)
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1 forum posts

Hi all. Its with hopes you can help me make this up and coming journey a safe and memorable one.

I am taking the next 4-5 months to prepare for a 6 month solo (with pooch) car camping trip throughout campsites located on the coast of Northern Cali, Oregon and Washington. The trip could start as early as January but no later than the first part of March. The research I have done thus far has indicated campsites are open at these times of the year.

I'm not sure how much info is necessary for the beginning of this post. Please work with me on this as the last thing I wont to do is bore you with all the tidbit information. My concerns include warmth, fires, wild animals, unfortunate intruder situations, car maintenance, etc., etc., etc.,

I will be staying in the back of my truck with a tight and secure camper. I felt this was best as if there were any intruders I could jump up into the front of the vehicle through the window and drive off, versus being stuck in a camper, rv or tent with nowhere to go. I will have plenty of blankets and the right sleeping bag to protect me and pooch from the cold elements. I have camped most of my life and have traveled thousands of miles solo with my pooch but none ever this long. I am excited but want to be assured I am prepared.

A few things I have learned thus far; the parks that allow dogs, what parks are open at this time of the year and of course their regulations and intend on making contact with these parks well in advance.

All in all, I still have questions though; how far away should the fire be from the vehicle, should i get my dog (long haired) who loves and endures the cold weather a coat and boots. Is dressing in layers enough or do I need certain fabrics etc. There are so many questions, most of which I probably don't know yet. Like for instance one that just came to my mind; sleeping in the camper during a lightning storm.. is this ok or should I get in the front of the truck?

It is with hopes your experiences can help me on this journey. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Robin

5:27 p.m. on September 4, 2008 (EDT)
21 reviewer rep
62 forum posts


Just a few thoughts....

(1) As for a fire's proximity to your vehicle, I suspect common sense is really your best guide. If you're an experienced camper, that should be enough. Me thinks if you can stand between the car and the fire without burning up yourself, then the car will be fine. However, the biggest danger are embers from the fire combined with wind gusts.

Also, keep in mind many places (like here in Northern Cali.) aren't even letting campers build fires right now due to low rain fall. Granted, it sounds like you'll be leaving during late-Winter/ that may not be as big of an issue. Possibly in NorCal; probably not so much in the NW.

(2) As for fabrics, you'll want to be sure you have some good rain gear (jacket, pants, boots, etc). Because those are some of the wetter months out here, leave your cottons at home (unless for general lounge wear) and stick with your polyesters, fleeces, nylons, etc. Layers are always good, especially if you start in a Winter month of January and go til June. Temperatures can very quite a lot in many of these parts; you could very easily see Winter temps in the single digits and summer temps pushing 90+, all of course depending on where you are.

(3) As for the sleeping camper during a storm, I can't think of any reason why you wouldn't be safe in the camper. As long as your four rubber tires are on the ground and you're *not*, you're fine.

(4) As for the dog, what kind do you have? Long-haired? Short-haired? Others may have more experience here, but they're going to at least need to know something about your dog before we know what to recommend.

(5) Depending on the time of year, a big issue could be bears. Your truck and camper top won't deter them in the least. Just ask all the people who go to Yosemite each year and forget to head the constant warnings to not leave food in their car!! You'll either need to find a campground with good bear lockers, hang your food yourself OR invest in a bear canister. It really depends where you go.

That's all that come to mind now. Feel free to ask any follow-ups, and hopefully someone in here can help you out.

June 20, 2018
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