Last August, outdoor recreationists celebrated the passage of the United States’ Great American Outdoors Act. The Act, which provides significant funding to tackle the large backlog of maintenance projects on our cherished and well-loved public lands, was praised by every corner of the outdoor world, from RVers to hunters to conservationists. What exactly did the Great American Outdoors Act promise, and what has happened in the year since its passing? Let’s find out. What Is the Great American Outdoors Act? The Great American Outdoors Act legislation has two main impacts on parks and conservation in the U.S. It established the National Park and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund which will divert $1.9 billion annually from the revenues of energy development for the next 5 years to tackle a backlog of deferred maintenance projects on federal lands. A full $6.5 billion is earmarked for the 423 units managed by the National Park Service, which, as of January 2021, has more than $11.9 billion worth of deferred maintenance needed on “roads, buildings, utility systems, and other structures and facilities.” Other federal lands that are eligible for the funding include national forests, national grasslands, and wildlife refuges.The legislation also permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million per year, using royalties from offshore oil and natural gas. The fund is a federal program that “supports the protection of federal public lands and waters, including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and recreation areas.” In addition to providing funding to the National Park Service, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife, and Bureau of Land Management, it also provides grants to state and local governments for land acquisition.With bipartisan support, former President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act on August 4, 2020. It was celebrated as this generation’s biggest legislative “win” for conservation and outdoor recreation. Improvements to railway tour bus staging area near the Historic Grand Canyon Depot. – Photo by NPS / Michael Quinn What’s Happening Now? Though the Great American Outdoors Act faded from the news shortly after its passing, the legislation has been anything but idle. Over the last year, money has been granted to parks and other federal lands to address the maintenance backlog.According to the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR), there’s been significant progress in implementing the legislation. In a press release, the ORR reports that the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior have a queue of more than 1,000 infrastructure projects that impact outdoor recreationalists, including improvements to “campgrounds, roads, bridges, visitor centers, parking lots, trails, water and electrical systems, and more.” It also shared that as of August 2021, $285 million worth of projects were underway, including more than 150 campground-related projects. Here are just a few of the projects that the Great American Outdoors Act has funded to date:Devils Canyon Campground | Blanding, UT – Photo by: DonCoyote Devils Canyon Campground, Manti-La Sal National Forest In June 2021, the Manti-La Sal National Forest in Utah completed a road resurfacing project at the five-star rated Devils Canyon Campground. “The Great American Outdoors Act is providing the national forest with funding and the ability to complete this chip and seal project, providing the forest and visitors with a long-term solution for an ongoing issue,” said acting forest supervisor Darren Olsen in a statement. The Manti-La Sal National Forest anticipates additional funding in 2022 for more projects at the campground, including paving the interpretive trail and replacing signage.Tuolumne Meadows Campground | Yosemite National Park, CA Tuolumne Meadows Campground, Yosemite National Park Yosemite National Park’s five-star rated Tuolumne Meadows Campground will also see a revitalization thanks to the Great American Outdoors Act. The campground, which hosts more than 140,000 visitors annually, received $26.2 million to improve campground roads, replace aged water and sewage systems, enhance amenities, and make accessibility improvements.The Going-to-the-Sun Road at Glacier National Park is a stunning scenic drive that enchants the park’s more than 3 million visitors each year. The road is an engineering marvel, passing over the Continental Divide and through gorgeous, glacier-filled valleys. The Great American Outdoors Act funding is helping to reconstruct 9.3 miles of the road to widen curves and address limited sight distance for drivers.Read Article
Those with an electric vehicle (EV) already know the fringe benefits that come with owning an EV: carpool lane access, federal and state tax incentives, the quiet ride, and nearly non-existent maintenance costs. But is it possible to take a road trip with an EV? The short answer, yes. More and more state and national parks are EV-friendly with amenities such as dedicated charging stations that you can easily find with apps or your onboard navigation system.When towing or camping with an EV, options open up even further as any campsite with electric hookups enables you to charge before embarking on your next adventure. Photo by: Brian and Becca Roy Growing Infrastructure Gets You Farther Not long ago, you would be limited to travel in certain regions of California or other major metropolitan areas in order to find charging stations for your EV. Charging station infrastructure exploded in the 2010s with Tesla leading the way. Followed by a number of third-party companies, charging station options have increased tenfold since we purchased our first EV in 2013.As more partnerships develop between private companies and state and national park systems, what was once an unattainable feat is now easily accessible. In 2017, BMW North America partnered with the National Park Foundation, the National Park Service, as well as the Department of Energy to donate and install 100 charging stations in and around national parks. This includes Big Cypress National Preserve, Cape Cod National Sea Shore, and Death Valley National Park. With new charging stations added to the already growing network, the great outdoors is even more accessible to EV drivers. Where Can I Go Camping With My EV? With more efficient motors, large battery packs, and increasing capabilities, you can easily camp, or bring along a towable with your EV. The best part about camping or towing with your EV—besides not having to worry about the mechanical strain on your vehicle—is that any campsite with electric hookups can become an EV-friendly location. Our Tesla Model X comes with a portable charging cord and adapters that enable us to charge just about anywhere there’s electricity.Photo by: Brian and Becca Roy Planning Makes It Possible We camp everywhere from the middle of a cow pasture to boondocking on state land to amenity-laden KOAs. Just like any camping trip, a level of planning is needed whether you’re towing with an EV or just visiting a campground for the night. When camping with an EV you need to of course plan for electricity; you need to consider if it’s available on site, the amperage, and the length of your stay. Boondocking is a more difficult camping excursion when camping with an EV, but still possible. In fact, the majority of our camping experiences have been boondocking without an external source of electricity. Utilize your car’s onboard navigation or third-party apps such as PlugShare and Roadtrippers to locate charging stops along the way. It’s also important to estimate your battery capacity upon arrival. We usually charge at the nearest charging station to our final destination. Depending on the distance, it dictates how much charge we need. The further away, the higher percentage of charge we need to ensure we can drive to the site and back to the station on the return. Photo by: Brian and Becca RoyWhile it’s rewarding to be self-sufficient when boondocking, it’s comforting to have the option of plugging in. When choosing a campsite, it’s important to know if a site has a 30 amp hookup, 50 amp hookup, or both. Our rig uses 30 amps, which allows us to charge our vehicle utilizing the 14-50 adapter that came with our Tesla off of a 50 amp outlet. The 50 amp hookup provides roughly 8kW per hour for our vehicle, so it can fully charge overnight. If we have a 30 amp hookup then we have to choose between charging the EV or running the camper. We typically spend 2 to 3 nights at any given campground, which provides a few options: We can charge the EV off a regular wall outlet for the entirety of the trip, which gives a full charge by our departure, or we switch between charging the car or running the camper, depending on the time of year. We have yet to come across a campsite with a dedicated EV charger, but that may be changing. Michigan’s governor announced an initiative to install charging stations at state parks and campgrounds, among other locations in the state, and two campgrounds in New York’s Adirondacks region recently installed chargers. While having dedicated EV chargers at campgrounds is convenient, it’s not necessary if you travel with compatible adapters.Camping and towing with an EV is not as far-fetched as you might think—it just requires some planning. As infrastructure grows and more parks and campsites offer onsite charging, RVing with an EV will only become more accessible.Read Article
Electric vehicles (EVs) are hitting the mainstream. From small, compact cars to all-wheel-drive SUVs, car manufacturers are branching out to welcome all types of drivers. We’re seeing more and more EVs that are capable travelers, useful as a tow-behind on a motorhome or for family tent camping on the weekends.The National Park Service (NPS) has taken note. As part of its Green Parks Plan, introduced in 2012, the NPS works with partners and funders to provide electric vehicle charging infrastructure for park visitors, employees, and fleet vehicles. Recharging is now possible at many locations thanks to the installation of charging stations at visitor centers, lodges, and partner properties.While not every national park currently has a place for you to power up, many do. So whether you’re towing an electric vehicle behind your RV or car camping, here are some of the destinations where you can power up while visiting U.S. national parks and other NPS sites.Race Point ORV Beach Camping | Provincetown, MA – Photo by: Sara Sheehy Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts Massachusetts’ coastline is a series of bays, the most pronounced of which is Cape Cod, ringed by a skinny, 57-mile strip of land that hooks into the Atlantic Ocean. Cape Cod National Seashore has miles of dunes, hiking trails, and salt marshes. Grab a bowl of clam chowder, settle into one of the historic, quaint towns, and catch a stunning sunset while you recharge. Plugging in on Cape Cod is easy, with four SemaConnect J-1772 Level 2 chargers installed at Wellfleet Town Hall, thanks to a partnership between the National Park Foundation, NPS, the Department of Energy, and BMW of North America.Camping options on the Cape include Shady Knoll Campground RV Park and Nickerson State Park, both located in the town of Brewster. Have a Tesla? Brewster’s Captain Freeman Inn has two 17 kW plugs for public use.Flamingo Campground | Homestead, FL – Photo by: Island Girl Walkabout Everglades National Park, Florida Floridians and tourists will find plentiful places to charge up in Everglades National Park, a sprawling tropical wetland and wildlife haven at the southern tip of the Sunshine State.Power up with SemaConnect J-1772 Level 2 at Ernest Coe Visitor Center (one charger), Flamingo Visitor Center (two chargers), and Shark Valley Visitor Center (two chargers).Camping is available at Flamingo Campground and Long Pine Key Campground. Just north of the Everglades is Big Cypress National Preserve, which has additional camping options—like the four-star reviewed Monument Lake Campground—as well as one SemaConnect J-1772 Level 2 charger at the Oasis Visitor Center.Electric vehicle charging station at Yellowstone National Park. Funding for the charging station was provided by the Clean Cities National Parks Initiative. – Photo by Neal Herbert / Yellowstone-Teton Clean Cities, NREL 35924 Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Geysers, hot springs, bison, bears, and charging stations—Yellowstone National Park has it all. Thanks in part to a grant from the Yellowstone-Teton Clean Energy Coalition, charging stations are located at some of the most popular locations across the park’s gorgeous and wild landscape.Yellowstone’s public charging stations are J-1772 Level 2 non-networked and free to use, providing 208/240-volt electric service. You can find charging stations at: Yellowstone Forever (at the Gardiner, Montana, park entrance)Mammoth Hot SpringsOld Faithful (this one is popular, so be sure to plan ahead)Canyon VillageLake VillageThe Gray Wolf Inn and Suites and the Holiday Inn (at the West Yellowstone park entrance) There’s no lack of options when camping in Yellowstone National Park. A few of the Campendium community’s favorite campsites are Madison Campground, Lewis Lake Campground, and Grant Campground.As part of the Clean Cities National Parks Initiative project, Zion National Park in Utah installed seven public and five private charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles. – Photo by Alex Barajas / Zion National Park, NREL 37375Zion is so popular that access to its top destinations is by shuttle bus only—not private vehicle—for most of the year. Still, there’s plenty to do in and around the park with your electric car, including the stunning drive through the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel.Charge up at one of the park’s two J-1772 Level 2 stations, located at the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center and the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. To use, purchase a $5 charging code at the Zion National Park Forever Project bookstore inside the visitor centers, which grants you 3 days worth of access to the chargers.Camp at the five-star reviewed Watchman Campground, located at the main park entrance, or boondock for free down the road in La Verkin at the Bureau of Land Management’s Hurricane Cliffs campsites.Sol Duc Campground | Port Angeles, WA – Photo by: Michael & Imkelina Olympic National Park, Washington Tucked in the northwestern corner of Washington, Olympic National Park is almost too much to take in at once. Your electric vehicle can help you see more of the park, from the mountainous, rainforest-covered main part to the rugged and rocky coastline.Thanks to a partnership between the NPS, the National Park Foundation, BMW of North America, and the U.S. Department of Energy, charging stations can be found at Sol Duc Hot Springs Lodge, Lake Crescent Lodge, and Kalaloch Lodge. Both Sol Duc Hot Springs and Kalaloch also have well-rated national park campgrounds.Each of the lodges has free SemaConnect J-1772 Level 2 chargers installed—two each at Sol Duc Hot Springs Lodge and Lake Crescent Lodge, and four at Kalaloch Lodge.Texas Springs Campground | Death Valley, CA – Photo by: BOSN Death Valley National Park, California Death Valley National Park is famous for Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America (282 feet below sea level), and for its extreme heat. In the middle of summer, this desert basin rivals the temperatures of the Sahara—but in cooler seasons, it’s an enjoyable trip for RVers. You’ll find six free SemaConnect J-1772 Level 2 charging stations at The Oasis at Death Valley, near the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.There are no camping options at The Oasis, but it’s located close to the park’s main camping area, home to Texas Springs Campground, Sunset Campground, and Furnace Creek Campground. Watchman Campground | Springdale, UT Can I Charge My Electric Vehicle at My Campsite? Some national park campgrounds have electric hookups right at the campsites. These hookups can include a 240-volt/50-amp outlet (NEMA 14-50), a 120-volt/30-amp outlet (NEMA TT-30), and a standard 120-volt outlet. Power options vary by campground, so do a little research before you arrive.With the correct adapter you can charge from electric hookups. There are plenty of options online that connect your specific vehicle’s charging port to those traditionally available at campgrounds. Some are simple adapters, while others have screens that display charging data and error warnings.Charging at a campsite doesn’t have the same power as designated charging stations. Electric vehicle owners often report utilizing the campsite’s electric hookup just to give them a boost to make it to a more powerful charging station.Electric vehicle RVers and campers, do you have any tips and tricks to share for traveling with an EV? Leave them in the comments!Read Article
Hello! We are Kyle and Michelle Shore. In September of 2020 we quit our jobs, sold all we owned, and hit the road to travel the country in our 28-foot 2018 Keystone Outback 240 URS toy hauler with our four cats. We set out to live life through experiences, not stuff. We are happy to share with you many of the RV items we have found to be useful in our travels. No camping setup is complete without a Blackstone griddle. This can be fueled with one-pound fuel canisters or piped directly into the exterior propane quick connect on your rig. Whether it’s bacon and eggs for breakfast, grilled cheese for lunch, or chicken and red skin potatoes for dinner, this is our favorite way to cook. We’ve had several different camping chairs over the years and these are by far our favorite chairs. They are very compact, lightweight, and dry quickly. The bonus feature of these chairs is that they recline, which is perfect for stargazing, and they have a drink holder. This portable fire pit fits perfectly in most RV storage areas. Virtually no clean up is needed since it burns both wood pellets and small pieces of wood with no smoke. Wood pellets typically burn completely after about 30 minutes. You can simply throw extra pellets on as needed to keep the fire going. When you are ready to go in for the evening, there is no need to wait hours for the fire to burn out.Kyle and I like to have plenty of air circulation in our RV and these rechargeable, portable fans make it easy to put them anywhere in our camper. They have a clip on them with a rotating ring so you can direct the air any direction you want it to go. It has four speed settings and is charged with a micro USB or USB-C charging cable.When space and weight are so important in RV life, this folding table is perfect. With two height settings, it works perfectly as a side table with our Stargazer Chairs or serves as a great cooking stand for the 17-inch Blackstone Griddle.You can throw your useless flyswatter away. This handheld bug zapper will be your new best friend. It runs on two AA batteries and has a metal rung to make hanging it on the wall easy. We’ve eliminated lots more bugs with this bug zapper than we ever did with a normal fly swatter.This litter champ has been a life-saver. There is a lot of waste when you have four cats. The litter champ keeps odors at bay and makes clean up a breeze. With its continuous bag system, once the bag is full, you simply tie off the biodegradable bag and dispose of it. Then a new bag is ready to go.Most RV refrigerators don’t come with an ice cube maker and the need to conserve water while boondocking led to our discovering these ice cubes. They are easy to clean and reusable. They keep our drinks ice cold without watering them down.This tabletop air purifier is the perfect size for an RV. It runs on 12-volt USB power and pulls less than 1 amp on its highest setting. This is the perfect combination to filter out allergens in the rig while not putting excessive drain on your battery(ies). Sharing your *Favorite Camping Gear* with the Campendium Community is a great way to help the site earn affiliate revenue while helping your fellow campers learn about great gear. If you’d like to contribute, please email photos with links to the product details on Amazon, along with a couple of sentences about each item to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks in advance!Watch Video
We left Asheville, NC back in March of 2015 and have been living on the road full-time since. This has given us a lot of time to figure out what gear we really need and use daily. Here are ten of our favorite items.We held off for several years before buying the Viair 400P portable air compressor because of how pricey it is. But it’s worth the money and we’re extremely glad to have it each time we’ve had to use it. The Viair is so fast and it has the capacity to fill up high-pressure and high-volume tires like our F-250 truck and fifth-wheel.Jerud and I both need internet for work. Having the Proxicast antenna opens up the places we can boondock because it lets us pull in cell signal we otherwise wouldn’t have.Since our rig is 100% powered by solar (we don’t use any propane and don’t have a generator), it’s important to have kitchen appliances that are very energy efficient. The Instant Pot fits that bill. It also allows us to save weight and trash by not having to carry canned beans around and find places to recycle the cans.Who can live without bread and cookies? Not us! Having an electric oven so we can bake was very important. This toaster oven lets us cook meals like we did when we were in a house, make our own granola bars, bake desserts to share with friends, and butter that freshly made bread with honey.Plastic bags drive me nuts! The Earthwise mesh produce bags are perfect whether we’re buying kale, apples, potatoes, or even bulk items like popcorn kernels. These bags are durable and can be washed again and again.While I hate plastic bags, the Debbie Meyer Green Bags get a pass because using them means wasting less food. These bags keep our produce fresh for a lot longer. This is key since we stock up our fridge with enough fresh food for two weeks or more while we’re boondocked far from towns. And these green bags can be washed and reused for years!We purchased a 5-gallon bucket from Lowes and a Gamma seal lid to store Tyki’s dog food. This airtight lid keeps smells and rodents away.We hit the road full-time so we could explore our public lands, which means we spend a lot of time out in the sun and our skin pays for it. Think Sport sunscreen is not only reef safe, but it stays on whether we’re mountain biking, paddling, or hiking.There’s nothing like ice cold water after a long summer hike or hot chocolate after snowshoeing. The Hydroflask water bottles seemed like an unnecessary luxury item at first, but after the heat waves this summer, it’s moved to our must-have list. This rechargeable LED necklace goes around Tyki’s neck on every late-night walk. It lets us keep track of where he is and it’s entertaining to watch the bright lights bounce around like glow sticks at a dance party.Follow Ching & JerudBlog & Website: Live Small Ride Free Instagram: Live Small Ride Free Campendium: Live Small Ride Free Sharing your *Favorite Camping Gear* with the Campendium Community is a great way to help the site earn affiliate revenue while helping your fellow campers learn about great gear. If you’d like to contribute, please email photos with links to the product details on Amazon, along with a couple of sentences about each item to email@example.com. Thanks in advance!Read Article
Life on the road can be a very freeing, enjoyable experience. But as many full-time RVers can attest, you need to be prepared for anything. Things can break, tear, and malfunction while you’re traveling, especially if you’re on the move for months at a time. A well-stocked RV toolkit is a must-have for any camper, whether you’re out for the weekend or indefinitely.There are tons of little things that can break that won’t stop you from hitting the road, but they can become inconvenient and bothersome. Avoid the headache and have the right tools to repair your RV on the go. 8 Tools to Include in Your RV Toolkit 1. Tire Pressure Gauge Be sure to carry a tire pressure gauge in your RV or any automobile you own. More modern RVs and vehicles may have tire pressure sensors but do not always depend on these, especially if you bought your RV used. If you are driving a lot, get into the habit of doing daily tire pressure checks to avoid any mishaps while you are on the road.Even if you’re parked for an extended period in one spot, keep in the habit of checking your tires regularly. A slow leak or flat tire can really put a damper on your trip, especially if you only discover it on the day you’re planning to head somewhere new.You can choose from the classic pen-style tire pressure gauge or a digital reader. When looking for a tire pressure gauge, get one that reads to at least 100 psi. This will not be an issue with a digital reader. 2. Air Compressor Having a tire pressure gauge is helpful to get to know if your tire pressure is low or not, but you also need a way to inflate those tires if need be.Many gas stations have free or paid air compressors available, but long-term RVers (especially boondockers) may choose to invest in a portable air compressor that draws power from your vehicle battery. These handy tools are not only great for pumping up a low tire but are easy enough to use that they are a must-have for those who like to drive 4×4 roads or on the sand. 3. Flashlight or Headlamp There are many options for lights to include your RV toolkit, and flashlights and headlamps are two of the best options. Better yet, have both!Flashlights are ideal when you are looking in hard-to-reach places, and headlamps work well for working on tasks that require both hands. No matter the light source you choose, always pack extra batteries. There are also several options for rechargeable flashlights and headlamp options too.Most of the time, investing in a rechargeable light source not only saves you from running low on battery, but it often saves you money in the long run. If you decide to go the rechargeable route, make sure you have ample power to power it up. This is easy if you often stay in paid camping areas, but a solar charger or generator will be handy if you frequent boondocking campsites.Another excellent light option is an inspection mirror with LED lights. If you choose to invest in one of these, look for a telescoping mirror that extends and has a flexible head to give you more reach. While a headlamp and flashlight can be more versatile, the inspection mirror gives you an easy way to see out-of-the-way places. 4. Drill and Drill Bits When packing a drill in your toolkit for RVing, make sure it is cordless and battery-operated. It also won’t hurt to have at least two batteries, so you can always have a full charge when you need to use it. Having a drill on the road has many uses, including saving your time with your stabilizer jack if you have the right drill socket. Beyond that, having a drill is excellent for fixing various things on your RV, both inside and out.When deciding which drill to get for your RV toolkit, consider what you may want to use it for and how much power you want. A drill with around 14 volts will be sufficient for most travelers, but it will only really work for smaller jobs and may feel underpowered. A 20-volt drill is recommended if you plan to use your drill often. 5. Zip Ties Zip ties are very similar to duct tape in that they can fix almost anything—at least for a little while. You can use them to reattach a wayward hose, keep cords and wires together, or lock shut a wily cabinet door for travel. They are so versatile that once you start looking, you’ll find uses for them everywhere. Need to wrap insulation around your pipes for a freezing night? Break a shower curtain ring? Need an extra keychain? You can use zip ties for all of those. 6. Knife or Multi-Tool Having a multi-purpose tool of any kind is useful. Keep it in your pocket while inspecting your RV or while milling around camp, and we can guarantee you’ll find dozens of uses for it. Some multi-purpose tools also include a knife or blade, but it’s worth it to keep a dedicated pocket knife, too, for small tasks. 7. Multi-Bit Screwdriver A big part of RV travel is organization and space-saving. So, instead of having multiple screwdrivers, get one with multiple bits.You can get these with their own organization cases, which is recommended, so you don’t lose any of the bit heads. You should at the very least have a flathead and Phillips to swap in and out since these are the most common screw heads.If you get the screwdriver in a set, other heads will be included, which on an RV will likely come in handy from time to time. 8. Socket and Ratchet Set Sockets and ratchet sets are useful in any car toolkit, but especially for RVs. Make sure that the set(s) of sockets you carry are the ones that best fit the bolts and screws in your camper. Most of the time, you will only have to buy one or two additional sizes, but it is a good idea to check what you may need before you hit the road. Other RV Toolkit Tips When RVing and traveling full-time, having the right mindset for encountering repairs and pitfalls is necessary. Take some of the stress away from any situation by being prepared for the most common RV repairs. Having roadside assistance of some kind is also recommended for those times when you encounter mechanical issues you can’t fix yourself.Preparedness goes a long way during long-distance travel. So, on top of the eight must-have tools to include in your RV toolkit we listed, bring along a toolset in a carrying case. Some of these toolsets will consist of some of the items we listed, like the ratchet set or a screwdriver, but they will also include other tools needed for auto and RV repair.When investing in an RV toolkit in a carrying case, look for SAE or metric sizes that are compatible with your rig. Not all rigs are the same, even within the same brand names. Having a toolkit specific to your rig in a carrying case helps save you from having to buy individual tools, and it keeps them organized while you travel (win-win).Read Article
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"Great place! Family run business. "
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"Nice park... some spaces are small"