If you are looking for a camper/adventure van rental, or just an incredible weekend in the Colorado area, we’ve got some great ideas for you. We had the pleasure of taking out an adventure van for the weekend from A-Lodge out of Boulder (and Lyons), Colorado.
In this article, we are going to tell you about our experience with our A-Lodge adventure van, show you how van life for a weekend was, and hopefully give you some ideas to make your next adventure spectacular.
Before we hop in, you can book your own adventure van out of the Boulder area here: https://vans.a-lodge.com/
About The Van
All A-Lodge Adventure Vans are Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans 2018 models and newer. They include an induction stove, plus size sink, 20 gal water tank, outdoor shower, mini-fridge, queen+ bed, 300W of solar power, fan, furnace, lighting, cookware, and storage for gear and bags.
Specifically designed for bikers, climbers, skiers, and hikers, their Adventure Vans can take you wherever you’d like to go. Through a partnership with Titan Vans (another local Boulder business) they have developed a simple modular system so that you can pick the configuration that best fits your trip. Pick the Explorer for more storage. The Cyclist for the interior bike rack system, or the Shredder for the skier/snowboarder. Or you can always customize your experience by building your own personal configuration.
For our trip, we weren’t hauling the bikes, but our fishing gear, which nicely fit inside the van. A removable storage shelf was perfect for storing our shoes and fly gear during our drives.
This van is absolutely awesome to drive. The engine is by no means underpowered, meaning you can cruise along at highway speeds comfortably, and with no problem. It powers up hills, and handles high elevation with ease. It doesn’t feel heavy or big at all. The size of this van is also convenient, you get used to sitting up higher and driving a slightly bigger vehicle easily.
This certainly isn’t like driving a big truck, or towing an RV behind, this is far simpler.
The ride is quite smooth, and the sitting angle for both driver and passenger is fantastic. Super comfortable driving conditions in this van.
This van is just small enough to really be able to fit in almost any single normal parking spot. You can even parallel park in a lot of places easily. The van has a great turning radius, making it quite a bit easier to fit into smaller spots than you would think. Obviously this won’t fit in every spot, but it is just small enough length wise that you won’t have trouble parking in nearly all places.
We found ourselves actually parallel parking successfully on two separate occasions in Gunnison National Park.
While driving, the seats are extremely comfortable. We were also pleasantly surprised with how comfortable the bed was in this van. A queen sized bed (maybe slightly bigger than queen), with a fantastic comforter and awesome pillows meant we had some really great nights of sleep. The air conditioning kept us at a great temperature during the warm days and nights. We didn’t have the need to turn on the diesel heater, but we gave it a try just to see how it functions. It was pretty clear that it would keep the whole van warm easily even on the coldest winter nights.
A charging station next to the bed was great for charging watches and phones, and the fan above the bed was awesome for bringing in cool air, or great for those that love a constant drowning out sound to go to sleep.
Cooking was awesome! The induction stove heats up soup, water, or anything extremely fast. With some counter-space, a sink, and an induction stove, you can pretty much cook just about anything with ease. We made a nice pasta and veggie dish, soup, and more with ease. The storage space in the kitchen has pots, utensils, and a fridge with plenty of space that makes breakfast, lunch, and dinner enjoyable.
Versatility and Customizability
This might be one of the best features of an adventure van, specifically one from A-Lodge.
These vans are great year round. They will keep you cool in the summer, and efficient heating systems keep them warm for skiing trips, snowshoeing trips, or other types of trips.
In addition, A-Lodge has various attachments, like a bike rack, external tables, and other customizations that can make your van suitable for just about any situation. The van is fitted with pots, pans, utensils, a foldable table for eating outside, camping chairs, napkins, and more to make sure you are stocked up and ready for all situations.
This van is awesome looking. I’ve never driven in a vehicle that got so many head turns. We had people asking us how we enjoyed the van, where we got it from, and others just stating how awesome it was.
A-Lodge features two fantastic locations, in Lyons and Boulder, both exceptional locations for easy access to downtown, and straight into the mountains for adventure. In addition to the two locations, the A-Lodge features van rentals (just like the one we are discussing in this article) for some even more awesome adventures.
With an array of room choices, van rentals, tentsites, and premium locations, these lodges make a great fit for those looking to seclude into the mountains a bit, experience downtown boulder, enjoy climbing, hiking, fishing, mountain biking, or just about any other outdoor activity that Colorado has to offer.
We were lucky enough to also stay at the A-Lodge in Boulder on a separate weekend where we enjoyed incredible fishing nearby, dinner in Boulder, and an amazing hike to Blue Lake & Mitchell Lake.
You can read more about A-Lodge here.
On a Friday afternoon, we picked up our van from the A-Lodge in Boulder, loaded the fridge up with some goodies, and started driving West towards Gunnison National Park. The drive was absolutely beautiful, and we were able to pull over for sunset with a a gorgeous view while we made dinner inside the van.
We then drove to our destination at Gunnison National Park in the dark where we had perfect views of the Neowise comet. After a great nights sleep, we arose before sunrise to watch the sunrise over Black Canyon of Gunnison and avoided all crowds in the park. Waking up with sunrise views, and quickly cooking breakfast in the comfort of your van is amazing.
We did our touristy activities of Gunnison National Park driving through the most popular areas early in the morning before driving down into the canyon to a premium fishing spot where we could hike all day along the canyon and fish. Returning back to the van mid afternoon to fix up some lunch before driving over to some more hiking destinations.
Returning to the van after another 7 miles of difficult terrain, we opened the fridge, drank some cold well deserved gatorades, and hit the road towards our next destination. We hit a terrible accident, which stopped all traffic for 2 and a half hours. Unlike others, we had a great time. We cooked dinner stopped on the highway, played some card games, and enjoyed some van time before the accident was cleared, and the highway began moving again.
Monster Colorado Rainbow Caught Thanks To Our Van
I have to thank A-Lodge for what may be the best fish of my life. Without this weekend, and this van, I wouldn’t have been in the right place at the right time to land this monster fish.
On our way east from Gunnison, Viqee (photo left @viqeeinthewoods) was a bit tired and wanted to nap. Given we had a lovely bed and kitchen setup, I decided to pull over to let her rest. Without that bed and comfy setup, that pullover would have never happened. An hour and a half later, she wakes up, walks on down to the river to find my struggling to land this absolute monster.
Some Ideas For When You Rent An Adventure Van
While we had an incredible time using this van to experience hiking and fishing in a new and unique way, you can use it for a wide range of adventures. For starters, this van was a cyclist’s dream. With the space below the bed to store your bikes, you won’t have to worry about it getting it taken in the night. Plus, when allowed, being able to sleep at your destination with your bikes easily packed in the back makes early mornings in your favorite spots easy and convenient.
Aside from cyclists, this van is a winter sports enthusiast’s best friend. Imagine heading over to your favorite ski mountain the night of some snow so you’re the first one to ski down the fresh powder. Everything you need is just below your bed and to the left of your kitchen, pretty sweet right? Plus you can save on some of those ridiculous hotel bills during the winter skiing season.
Of course what I’m saying can be really applied to any outdoor adventure. This van helps you get ahead of the crowds and helps you comfortably “camp” out at your beautiful destinations. We could not recommend this van enough for any climbers, fishermen, cyclists, hikers, skiers/snowboarders/snowshoers, and more!
General Van Life Thoughts
We have always wanted to travel the country in a Van visiting national parks, going on incredible hikes, and fishing the best rivers in the U.S. and Canada. If you are considering something like this, an adventure van rental is the perfect way to test out this lifestyle. Even a weekend will give you a great taste, but at least a week is recommended to get a more in depth van lifestyle experience test.
Our little test here is definitely going to spur a longer test, a week or two, which then may eventually lead to the real thing.
Want to give an adventure van a try? Have questions? Want to book with A-Lodge? Send us a message and we’d be happy to help out!
Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and sharing experiences with others. Max is a published author for various outdoor websites and digital marketing websites. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about