08 Sep An Electric Family Camping Adventure
Last summer, my husband and I schlepped our toddler, baby, and dog to North Cascades National Park on a disaster of a camping trip. Our days were filled with digging through various canvas bags in search of a needed tool or demanded snack – or trying to keep the kids from eating/throwing rocks. After we had a bear lightly attempt to join us in our tent, sleep was non-existent. Growing up and as a pre-parent adult, camping was the backbone of every delightful summer. With small children in tow, the entire experience now felt like we were running the Gauntlet in American Gladiator.
This July, with a little help from an electric campervan and the adventure pros at PacWesty, we doubled down. What resulted was the most magical, convenient, and feel-good camping experience we’ve ever had.
After picking up our eTofino Pleasure-Way on Bainbridge Island, we headed west for the Olympic Peninsula. After a quick half-hour stop in Port Angeles to fast-charge the van while picking up a few groceries, we continued on to our seafront camp at Crescent Beach. Mere steps from the sand, flanked by thick evergreens, and with views to Canada across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the area was perfect for SUPing, birdwatching, kite flying, and beachcombing. One mile east at Tongue Point, we found rocky shoreline and tide pools filled with anemones, crabs, snails, and sea stars. In the evening, we sipped whiskey and watched the sunset while our kids ran wonderfully feral.
From Crescent Beach we ventured into the mossy depths of Olympic National Park, winding alongside shimmering Lake Crescent. Rolling into first-come, first-served Fairholme Campground on a Sunday morning was no big deal even in peak season, and we found a honey of a spot nestled in the surrounding old-growth forest. Though glacially carved, the lake was not freezing and wonderfully swimmable.
These places were special, yes. But the eTofino made our experience exceptional. When the kids needed to mix it up, play quietly, or take a break from one another, the van was a haven. When we forgot to pack pants of any kind, despite 14 years in and knowledge of PNW weather, the van was our windbreaker. The included gear from PacWesty had been selected and organized beautifully, with fun and functional extras throughout (our hero: magnetic mosquito net). Perhaps the greatest gift of all: We caught amazing shut-eye in the pop-top as the girls peacefully co-slept below in a queen pullout.
And of course, it felt really neat to go electric, even if we were only moonlighting (for now). Charging was a breeze and EV stations were plentiful, even in one of the more remote parts of Washington. This van might be the first of its kind, but it’s inspiring to know that the electric sea change is underway. In the meantime, you don’t need to wait to have a more relaxing, comfortable, and sustainable camping adventure – even if you’re traveling with small, unreasonable humans.