#vanlife .

When my son was in Boy Scouts, one of the camps had a particular route you needed to take through the cafeteria and that route was one way.  If someone went the wrong way, everyone loudly reminded them about the “One Way System.”

That whole “there is only one way to do things” sounds very constraining at first.  In our early days on the road we were open to trying many different ways of doing things.  There were many we could set up our camp, cook and clean up.

Camp sites can be quite varied in what in you get.  Some site were large with multi-levels, picnic table, grille fire ring, clothes line, hook for your lantern, beach front, etc.   Others we were happy we had a reasonable flat spot and that was it.  When you have all of those extras it probably means you paid for them  If you paid for them you want to use them.  We would spread out using the picnic table place the two gallon water jug on the other end, hanging the lantern and setting our chairs up on the beach.  Yet for every different camp site there were negotiations for just about everything – do we place the stove on this end or that?  Where do we put the mats?  Do you want the lantern on the table or hung up?  Setting up camp was not quick.

We slowly realized that having lots of options was slowing us down from relaxing, enjoying our campsite and getting dinner done and cleaned up.

If Sparty is our house, cooking outside is more like cooking out on the deck.  You do not do it differently every time you go out.  You have you your grill, tables and chairs right there.  Our “deck” was whatever Sparty’s sliding door opens onto.  We may have a huge site but the cooking table, stove and chairs are going right there.  And if it rains we even have a cover for our “deck.”

Once we settled on this, setting up camp became a breeze with just a few simple steps:

  • Choose a site that we think we can make the van level enough and have a spot to set up our kitchen.
  • Level the van
  • Place the mat just outside of the slider
  • Set up cooking table, chairs,stove kitchen box and small table.
  • Set eating box just inside the van
  • Connect gas,
  • Grab some food and start cooking

No negotiations.  No what if we did this.  Just a quick setup for tired and hungry campers.

I have not timed how long this takes us but if we start just as the sun is setting we are usually fed before is has gotten too dark.  So having a one way system does pay off.  Of course then we need to clean up in the dark…where does that lantern go again?