Living Full time in a Camper

“Oh my gosh! You live in a camper year-round? And just travel from one place to the next? That is literally my dream!” says everyone I’ve ever told about us living in a camper. And let me tell you what, it is a dream come true; from seeing new places, to having all of our belongings travel with us no matter what, to meeting amazing people. My life is what some people only dream about and I am truly blessed.

the montana scene blog

We (Dalton, our two dogs, and myself) started on this journey a year ago, leaving behind family, friends, and Montana. We started in Wyoming, then moved to Utah, Reno, Nevada followed and now we are currently living in Idaho. I am lucky enough to not work, which means that I explore the towns and nearby hiking areas. We spend anywhere from three months to nine months in a town, which really gives me a chance to immerse myself in the community. I get to know people, find all the best restaurants, and enjoy the town on a personal level. 

Living in a camper full time is not a lifestyle for everyone, but for anyone questioning if they should or not, I say YES! It makes you realize how little you can live off of; we don’t have more than what we need. What I mean by that is, there is only so much storage in a camper. For instance, we keep a full set of pots and pans, but only two baking sheets. We have four plates, and four glasses, and since I LOVE coffee so much, we have about ten coffee cups. Anyways, we have really learned how to simplify our lives. This experience has taught us to value what we have and to buy only what we really need.

the montana scene blog

Being confined to a small area with two dogs and another person might seem crowded and at times it gets that way! But for the most part, it has brought Dalton and I closer as a couple. We can’t go close ourselves in a different room, or sit by ourselves and watch television. We are always together in the camper and that makes our relationship so much stronger! We are away from family and friends, so we have to rely on each other and be each other’s best friends. We cook together, watch television, clean, and enjoy sitting outside with our dogs. We always joke that when we do finally settle in a house, way in the future, we aren’t going to know what to fill it with! The idea of living in something bigger is just unfathomable to us right now! How could we possibly need anything more than what we have right now? 

Traveling around is such an amazing thing to experience, to anyone traveling in a camper, make sure you get out and see as much as possible! Don’t be afraid to try new things, find out what is special about the town, and do it! I have learned many tips and tricks since living in a camper, some I learned the easy way, but most the hard way! Not that that is a bad thing. At least I know now and can share my knowledge with others! 

the montana scene blog

  1. Learn how to take quick showers. Otherwise you will end up freezing cold after every shower! (Unless of course the R.V. Park has showers on their property, then use those!)
  2. Buy a 75-100 gallon propane tank, a lot of places will sell propane in bulk so you will save some money! And in the winter you won’t be worried about changing out propane bottles all the time.
  3. Check your propane bottles in the winter! Your camper will get really cold when you run out of propane in the middle of the night.
  4. Always keep a small space heater in the storage area.
  5. In the summer, leave all your tanks open EXCEPT the sewer. Always keep that closed until you have to empty it.
  6. In the winter, keep all your tanks closed until they need drained, otherwise you end up with frozen pipes! 
  7. Keep the storage underneath organized, it will make your life easier!
  8. Get your camper skirted, you will freeze up a lot less if you do. 
  9. Keep your camper clean, it takes 15 min every day to clean the WHOLE thing! A small mess in a normal sized house might seem like nothing, but in a camper it is noticeable.
  10. Enjoy living a simple life, take advantage of the traveling and enjoy your small space. 
the montana scene blog

Living in a camper can be hard at times, but 99% of the time it is truly wonderful. We take advantage of the simple way of life, and it has changed both Dalton and myself for the better. It has helped us save money, give up unnecessary items, and enjoy life more. The camper is OURS, we don’t rent so the space is ours to do with as we please! Our journey is just beginning and we plan on camper living for the next ten years or more. We can’t wait to see more places and continue learning all the quirks about our camper! 

Stansbury Island

Looking Down

The Great Salt Lake in Utah is home to many different hiking trails, and thankfully I decided to hike around Stansbury Island. This is the second largest island next to Antelope Island on the Great Salt Lake. The hike I decided to go on was just over nine miles one way but being short on time I only hiked four of the nine before I turned around. This place was surreal, I only encountered a couple of people, the sights were outstanding and the trail was easy to follow.

Back Side of the Trail

Getting to the island was fairly easy, you can google, Stansbury Island Trail and it will take you right out to the hiking area. Once you turn off the main highway, a dirt road takes you across what is known as the “Mud Flats.” To be honest I don’t know much about the Great Salt Lake, and driving on a road that is surrounded by the water was a little scary. The water was not very deep but I have no idea if the mud under it is soft and you could sink in it or if it is even safe to enter the water! It was beautiful though and once through the mud flats and onto the island there is just water on one side of you. The dirt road goes on for about six miles before you turn right into the parking area. From what I understand there is a shooting range before the parking area that you can start at but it shortens the hike and you miss out on some of the best views. If you go past the shooting range and find the parking area, which was kind of difficult to spot, there is a trail marker for where you should start.

For the first part of the hike we walked through a field at the base of the mountain. Here is where I ran into a couple of people, they were camping at this spot. For any backpackers out there it was a small site but is very easy to get to and has a campfire ring and a spot for a tent. Past here is the first accent up the mountain, the incline wasn’t too bad but is a little steep so be prepared! About half way up the trail is a flat landing area perfect for a break and some pictures of the lake! The dogs had to be coaxed a little to pose for a picture here! Once we accomplished that we kept going, the trail worked its way to the top in switch backs. At the top of the mountain you can see both sides of the Great Salt Lake. The view is mesmerizing!

Good Dogs

From here I followed the trail which cut along the side of the mountain, looping around the side and heading back inland. After four miles I stopped and took a second to look around! There are cows in the valley, and the trial kept working its way back up another mountain. I saw a couple of trail runners and one other couple with their dog. The hike is easy once you make it up the first hill. To hike 8 miles it took me just over two hours. The trail was easy to follow, it is kind narrow but no big obstacles to overcome. I plan on going back next time we are in Salt Lake and hiking the entire thing. I recommend bringing plenty of water because there is none once you get up there. I had to share my water with my dogs so that also contributed to cutting the hike short! If anyone is looking for a beautiful hike, that is fairly easy I say go on this one!

Pishkun

First Pike

Does anyone like to ice fish? I ask this because I used to HATE ice fishing! We would go all the time when I was younger and it sucked. I was always freezing cold, the wind was blowing constantly and we sat on five gallon buckets around a hole all day and never caught anything! Such a boring way to spend a weekend I always thought. Well if you agreed with me, I hope the rest of this changes your mind.

Dalton likes to ice fish, and I would never go with him because as I said above my experience with it was not fun. Fortunately for me though, Dalton convinced me to go with him one weekend. At this time we were living in Fairfield, Montana and the options of where to go were limited. We ended up driving to Pishkun Reservoir which is about 50 miles northwest of Fairfield. It was snowing and the wind was blowing like usual in that area. My mind was changed first when we set up our ice house. It is a four person Eskimo tent that is super easy to set up. All four sides and the top just pop open when you pull on a tab. The tent kept the wind out but not necessarily the cold. If I remember right the temperature was below freezing before the wind chill. Dalton had brought a small propane tank and a heater that attached directly to it. When this was running I was able to fish in just my t-shirt, no jacket, hat or gloves needed!

Soon enough I decided that I could learn to ice fish like this. A nice tent to keep the wind off, a heater to keep me warm, and I never had to go outside. When I was younger we never had the tent or heater. We were out on the ice for probably three hours and I started to get bored. I kept thinking about how typical it was to never catch anything ice fishing. We had brought Peyton with us, (we didn’t have Case yet), and her and I played outside for a while to keep from going insane. Bringing Peyton was not a horrible idea! She had a blast, but having her in the tent was a little crowded and I worried about her running around out on the ice. I didn’t want her to fall in. Nowadays we don’t usually take either dog when we go ice fishing.

After about another hour or two without catching anything we decided to call it a day and start breaking stuff down. Dalton had gone outside to reel up the six other holes we had drilled. I should mention that we had tip-ups, or for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a contraption that holds an ice fishing pole for you. You drill holes a ways from the tent, then take the tip-ups and place them over the holes. They are square so they won’t fall through the hole. Then the pole is placed in its holder and a spring loaded flag will pop up when something pulls on the line. We set these up to better our chances of catching a fish. As I was saying, Dalton went to pick those up while I cleaned up in the tent. Right then is when my mind was changed for good! One of the lines started going out so I grabbed the pole and started reeling in! I caught my first ever Pike and my first ever fish ice fishing! The experience was so fun and I regret not going more when I was younger!

Setting tip-ups

Also when we go, we use a big black sled to pull most everything, from the tent, to the auger, poles, buckets, heater and propane tank. It makes life so much easier and the sled doesn’t have to be anything special just something to pull everything in. We also wear YakTrax, which go over our boots and have small spikes on the bottom for traction on the ice. These are a life saver! Always be sure to check with your local Fish, Wildlife and Parks before going out on a lake. There are times when it is safe and not safe to go on the ice! Ice fishing started out as something I dreaded doing and now I look forward to it every winter. It is a great hobby to have in the cold weather and with the right gear it is enjoyable! I would like to mention that we do catch and release all of our fish.