This year Mellie and I are driving to Denali in the van. I have been looking at a bus here locally to convert into a Skoolie, but, that will not pan out soon enough for this year’s road trip.
I estimate this year’s trip will be under 2000 miles round trip. We leave on the ferry late next week and will be back by the end of July. This year, we bought round trip ferry dates, to avoid waiting on available space for the van. We will also be in Canada likely only one night on our way north.
The Bluetti EB 70S solar system worked like a dream last year with our 200 watt portable panel. We never had an issue running the fridge overnight and charging it off the Van’s 12 volt ports while we drove. Although our portable outhouse system also worked fine, and we we mostly able to find a place to dispose of the bag of waste each day at rest stops, it was still time to set up the tent and the seat, every single night we were not near a pit toilet. This year we are upgrading (we hope!) to a casette toilet.
We found the Camco 2.6 gallon model locally at Western Auto and Marine. We have a tote from last year that it fits perfectly into. All we will need to do is pop up the privacy tent and place the Camco in the tent.
The worst part about last years trip was the additional set up of stowing and unstowing the third passenger seat. The rear passenger seats fold into the floor of the van. Last year we removed one seat to use the big storage area underneath for water and propane. This year both seats will remain in the floor. We won’t have this additional storage, however, it’s a shorter trip, and we are not taking many things we took last year. We want to avoid any set up and break down each night when it’s time to sleep. With only two of us, we can leave the bed mostly made up at all times, and only scoot the foot area forward, instead of the extra lifting it up on to the rear section of the sleeping area.
Last year we brought a Jetboil, and a large Coleman FyreKnight stove. We used the stove twice. Most nights it was too much for me to have driven all day… and then set up camp… and THEN figure out something to cook… and set up the kitchen, etc. This year, I’m only bringing the Jetboil. If we can’t cook it with the Jetboil, we aren’t going to cook it. Mel and I made a Costco run today, and bought some jerky, cheese, canned fruit, canned beans, boxed cold brew coffee, boxed milk, granola, and instant pho noodle soups. We will also take some condiments in the fridge to make sandwiches, and plan to eat one meal a day on the road.
We broke several water containers last trip as well, and ultimately, this led to the situation where the bear broke into my van once we got home, while we were drying out the carpet one night. This year I have two heavy duty jugs, one small Reliance 2.5 gallon jug for every day use, and one 6.5 gallon jug we will keep in reserve to refill the smaller jug if needed. We really didn’t have any trouble keeping our personal water bottles full last year, on a much larger trip, and this year, I hope to wild camp the entire time. I’ll still bring the Platypus water filtration system, since it is so compact, just in case. We never once had to filter water last year, but, it’s good to have it just in case of emergencies.
I’m excited to see more of Alaska after living down in Juneau so long!
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