Winter 2020 www.advanturemagazine.com
VAN BUILD the cosy cabin by Brad Watson
HOW NOT TO CROSS A RIVER IN SOUTH AFRICA +
TYRE UPGRADES BUYERS GUIDE.
a magazine dedicated to #vanlife culture
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LITTLE, BIG ROAD TRIP
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This issue's cover photo, and the photo opposite, were taken by the talented Paedii Luchs. You probably have seen some of his images across Instagram. With an appetite for reaching pretty remote places in the mountains Paedii waits for the perfect moments to capture stunning moments, that are now curated into a 2021 calendar. Head to his website and get yourself a copy. Wanderlust infused.
W H AT I S I N I S S U E 4 07 08 16 22 26
EDITORS NOTE PARK UP HOW NOT TO CROSS A RIVER VINTAGE VAN FORAGING FOR FUNGI
30 34 38 42 46 50
LITTLE, BIG ROAD TRIP TALLER: VANLIFE WORKSHOP TRAVEL BLOGS TYRE BUYERS GUIDE VAN BUILD: COSY CABIN A SIMPLE LIFE DEDICATED TO SPORT AND HEALTH
RENÃ&#x2030; BAUER, JESS ALLARD, STEFAN CHRISTIANSEN, BRAD WATSON, HEIDI KINDERMANN, MASCHA BLOME, LISA & DANIEL MEENE
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COVER IMAGE WINTER IS COMING PHOTO BY PAEDII LUCHS
One year ago I remember putting the first words on the empty page in front of me. Advanture Magazine. What a perfect name to build a community around. But was I to be the o n e t o d o i t ? Wa s i t e v e n t h e r i g h t t i m e to launch a digital vanlife magazine? A lot of uncertainty but something was telling me it was now the right time to push what I had been thinking about for quite some time. Out there we have the DIY crowd, the low down/retro scene, the explorers and all sorts of other people discovering what it is about vanlife that gets them excited. There are people who live full time in their vans, literally homes on wheels. And then there are people like me, who get away for the weekend or on a few longer road trips to connect to something desirable whether it's the great outdoors, some sport or even just to sleep in a different place for the night.
There is space for nothing, except everything you need. Original artwork: @Alortizjr
The ter m "advanture" is totally ours to own and interpret however we want. Over 10,000 people have already joined my vanlife vision on Instagram, Facebook and subscribed to the mailing list for the magazine. That is such a crazy number to think about because this time last year when I finished writing the manifesto, there wasn't a single person on the entire platfor m. Thanks for becoming interested in the Advanture Magazine. A publication to celebrate those enabled by their van, to get out there and have an adventure.
ALEX BROWN. @alexbrowndop
PARK UP One day we'll be able to look back on these days of lockdowns and, h o p e f u l l y, have a laugh.
Lockdown 2.0 hit pretty much everywhere in Europe once the days of summer drew to a close. But that hasn't slowed down everyone, that is for sure. Va n l i f e r s m u s t h a v e s e e n t h i s second round coming. Many of you found sweet places to pitch up for the foreseeable future. Greece became a very popular spot and we heard some great stories of small plots of land opening up to allow people to park their vans with safe distance t o o n e a n o t h e r. W h i l e t h o s e n o t
Not on social media? Then send us your stories via email! firstname.lastname@example.org
currently on the road have been seen tearing out the guts of vans and stocking up on materials, ready for all sorts of upgrades.
NazarĂŠ (Portugal) saw a monster swell arrive, which may have reminded us all what it is about nature that keeps us on our toes. That lovely blue water turns black as it rises, and only the bravest of the brave even attempt to make the drop, looking like ants on the liquid landscape. W ith regards to the magazine, we are overwhelmed by the growth of our audience from the back of issue 03. 2020 was an interesting year for us to launch a vanlife magazine and the more feedback we get, the more sure
we are that this is a publication you want to be reading.
Constructive criticism accepted. British reader David contacted our editor to share his thoughts regarding the lack of full time vanlifers and diversity we have been covering. We held issue 04 back to think about where we want to take the m a g a z i n e n e x t y e a r, a n d w o u l d love to expand on what we have been covering. So, tell us your stories! If you have a great story about life on the road, you whipped up some delicious new dish to eat, or are just genuinely stoked about vanlifing ... then y o u m u s t g e t i n t o u c h ! AM
"I keep downloading your magazine, only to be disappointed at the content being mostly aimed at the VW Transporter brigade. I am currently locked down with about 100 vehicles in Greece. VW T vehicles here are very few, used by weekend surfers, or those having an extended break. It would be great if your magazine was more diverse"
→ Monster waves climbing out of the Atlantic Ocean. Thanks for this insane photo @thistimeoneway
# A D VA N T U R E M A G A Z I N E @advanturemagazine
W E K N O W T H AT A H U G E PA R T O F T H E VA N L I F E C O M M U N I T Y A R E R E A L LY A C T I V E O N Y O U T U B E . N e x t y e a r, o u r g o a l i s t o m a k e s o m e short films to showcase wonderful people and their stories. This short film from Jürgen Thoma caught our eye.
OUR AUDIENCE HAS DOUBLED SINCE THE LAST ISSUE, AND Y O U A R E TA G G I N G U S I N S O M E A M A Z I N G A D VA N T U R E S !
THANK YOU TO THE 10,000+ VANLIFERS WHO ARE JUST LIKE US. YOU SUBSCRIBED, FOLLOWED & HELPED START A NEW COMMUNITY IN 2020.
The VW T4 might be the most adapted commercial vehicle for DIY Builds. This example from JĂźrgen is a great example of why. JĂ&#x153;RGEN THOMA
I love the flexibility of living and sleeping at different places, that I travel to for stunning photos. In the wilderness is where I feel most alive. For me itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the best compromise about comfort and freedom. My favourite environment are the alpine forests. Exploring deep in the woods for hours with my van and my camera makes me happy and thankful for life. I love remote camping spots in the wilderness. If there is also a river nearby and a spot to light a fire, my life is perfect. JĂźrgen Thoma, Germany. @juergenthomaphotography
These images were taken in Puglia and Sicily, during a trip this year in Italy. We left on 8 June and crossed our beautiful country on-board BIG OZ, our campervan. 170 days of travel, 11 thousand km of discovery, spectacular places. We like to start or finish the day with yoga in the warm sunlight and feel the cool breeze flowing through your hair. Practicing yoga outdoors creates mental and physical well-being, as well as allowing you to be more present. Veronica & Stefano, Italy. @keepenchanted
Yoga and vanlife goes hand-in-hand. Requiring nothing more than a roll mat, it is a perfect activity to enjoy while travelling. KEEPENCHANTED
HOW NOT TO CROSS A RIVER IN AFRICA Photos & words by Andrea Kaucka, RenÃ© Bauer
Zimbabwe´s scenery is unique. The whole country is full of round granite rocks balancing o n t o p o f e a c h o t h e r, d i s t a n t l i t t l e A f r i c a n villages and animal pastures among an incredibly beautiful landscape. In Zimbabwe´s North the m i g h t y Z a m b e z i r i v e r f l o w s a l o n g i t s b o r d e r, a f t e r having dropped into the deep gorges at Victoria Falls. At its banks, wildlife is teeming and the Kariba dam is a paradise for crocodiles and hippos. In the country´s South, there is another national park, bordering on Mozambique and South Africa, called Gonarezhou. This is where we will take you n o w, because of our stubborn v a n
deciding to present " e x c i t i n g " s t o r y. . .
Bumping and rattling towards the river along some bad bush track we would see our camp o n t h e o p p o s i t e b a n k . A c c o r d i n g t o t h e r a n g e r, there were no other people in the park and we should be careful with the aggressive elephants living here. He recommended a ford on the river close by the park entrance as it was more s h a l l o w. I w a s h u n g r y f o r a d v e n t u r e a n d b e f o r e I could stop it I had blurted out: "Pah...We will do the other river crossing, it will be way more exciting...!" My wife Andrea nodded, but still recommended to take the one up here. I lured her with adventure and fun though and she was easily convinced - because in many ways she is the same nut case like me. On the way to the river we drove up an escarpment and had spectacular views , here and there a herd of elephants chased us off, which had our adrenaline pumping. Imagine going up a hill
← Preparing for a deep river crossing in Africa. There is a lot at stake when everything you need to survive for the coming weeks, is on a floating raft.
w i t h a f u l l v a n a n d a t r a i l e r, a grumpy elephant cow chasing you and you are trying to get away "as fast as you can'' which for underpowered vans is a serious issue. Eventually we saw the river coming up ahead of us. A glittering blue ribbon cutting itself through the bush. In the background we could see the orange and white stripes of the Chilojo Cliffs. The views were breathtaking. Our T3 stuttered, not from excitement but more from the timing being a bit out, I would need to adjust that again. Runde River on this day was about 150m wide lined on both sides by a stripe of sand. Our track went down to the river from a little hill, disappeared in the water and came up again far on the other side. It looked … well … adventurous and exciting. Andrea turned her eyes and started holding on to any handles she could find. "I told you to cross the river by the park entrance!". Our team behind wasn't aware of what lay ahead. It was their first time in Africa and they trusted the van. My eyes were sparkling, I had a big grin on my face as the adventure-lust set in. It felt like the van was revving its own engine, eager to t a k e o n t h e r i v e r. T h e r e s t o f o u r t e a m h a d t h e i r c a m e r a s r e a d y.
"TOOK A DEEP BREATH AND HAD A GOOD LOOK OVER MY SURROUNDINGS. I COULDN'T SEE ANY AGGRESSIVE ELEPHANT HERDS OR CROCODILES" The T3 4x4 has been developed by the Steyr Puch AG in Austria, was marketed under the name "Syncro" and only 45,000 or so pieces were built worldwide. The principle is pretty simple: The gearbox transmits its power to the rear wheels, and by a prop shaft to the front wheels as well. At the front differential there is a visco-clutch and when
the rear wheels slip, the visco "locks" and the front wheels s t a r t t u r n i n g . T h e d r i v e r d o e s n ’t need to engage 4x4 or the lock wheel hubs as in classic 4x4 cars. On top of all this, most T3s come with 2 diff locks. All in all we have made a number of superb off road experiences with this T3 Syncro, digging through sand, mud and rocks. I saw a few envious glances by Landcruiser drivers who were stuck in the salt pans in Botswana while I sped past them in our Syncro c o m p l e t e w i t h t h e t r a i l e r. In the river I could just about see a line of rocks. Some markers left by the last person to attempt the crossing. I will try and follow it. Without any further waiting I shifted into 2nd g e a r a n d s t a r t e d d r i v i n g . S l o w l y, we bumped along and as our bus dipped into the water it started pushing a bow wave in front. In the rear mirror I could see the t r a i l e r. I s t i l l h a d t h a t b i g g r i n on my face, the others filmed and took photos as the African sun burned down on us. I could smell the aroma of adventure, everything was going perfect. But just as it goes, things rapidly changed. Without noticing it I had drifted off to the right a little and my right-side wheels slid off the rocks and onto the sand. We had crossed two thirds of the way when the van slowed, the engine screamed, and my grin vanished. Andrea called “just keep going!”, I shrugged and slammed my foot on the pedal. The only thing I felt was the rear wheels digging in and I immediately backed off the gas. I had a look around for crocodiles before jumping out o f t h e v a n a n d i n t o t h e w a t e r. Luckily the river was quite s h a l l o w o n t h i s d a y, b u t i t h a d reached the top of the tyre. The
exhaust bubbled and our trailer stood slightly raised at the end of a little sandbank. I shook my head and thought why would the bus not drive forward, instead of digging into the sand? Did we lose power in the front wheels, running only 2x4? Whatever the problem, we needed to get out o f t h e r i v e r. Q u i c k l y. T h e c u r r e n t would start stripping sand away f r o m u n d e r o u r t y r e s i m m e d i a t e l y. I gave out instructions - the team would push the car while I carefully peddled the gas. The engine roared as seven people pushed. The rear wheels dug in a bit more and the bus didn't move at all. I felt the first beads of sweat emerge, but got out of the van with a grin to motivate everybody to start digging. I took the hi-lift jack but we needed a firm base. Part of our team was busy collecting big rocks to try and dam the current. I wanted to try and lift the bus up so we could put rocks under the tires to get some traction. The water reached over our knees and the jack slipped off many times. We sweated, we swore, the river bank insight j u s t 5 0 m e t e r s a w a y. I t w o u l d b e sunset in forty-five minutes and I was nervous. There is a lot of wildlife in these parks that are not exactly vegetarian. To t r y a n d s a v e t h e b u s i n t h e dark would be nearly impossible, but to leave it in the river till the morning could be fatal - we would certainly lose it to the park so had to make a plan. Is this kind of exciting I am always talking about. No safety net, just raw reality and it makes me feel alive! Andrea and I decided we should save the bus and leave t h e t r a i l e r i n t h e r i v e r. W e h o p e d to find it again in the morning without being washed away or trampled by an elephant. I got back in the bus, told everybody to push as hard as
try and save the bus in the dark would be nearly impossible ...
Photo by Damir Bijedic
... but to leave it in the river till the morning could be fatal.
they can and with shaky legs I stood on the clutch a n d g a v e t h e s i g n t o p u s h . Tw o r o a r s b u r s t o u t : one from me yelling at the bus, the other from the engine driving it forward. The African bush quietly watched, waiting for what would happen. Seven people grunted, moaned and pushed. We m o v e d . B i t b y b i t . S l o w l y, t h e f r o n t o f t h e b u s c a m e o u t o f t h e w a t e r, t h e r i v e r b a n k e d g i n g c l o s e r. I l e f t t h e o t h e r s b e h i n d a n d c o u l d c o n t i n u e on my own. Upon reaching the deep sand of the river bank it was then that I noticed there was NO 4x4! The front diff had stopped working. The bus slowed down again so I floored the pedal, and with enough momentum I climbed up the bank high enough. As the sun set I turned the ignition off. Here by the river would be great for tonight's camping spot. A few of the team ventured back into the river and took the things we needed: sleeping bags, tents, cooking equipment. That night next to a roaring fire as my boots were drying out, I realised what had just happened was not just a dream. Opening my tent the next morning I was happy t o s e e a l i t t l e w h i t e s p o t i n t h e r i v e r - o u r t r a i l e r. It had survived the night and didn't get washed away nor trampled. Interested in an African tour? Enjoyafricatravel.com
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V I N TA G E VA N Words by Jess Allard
The sense of freedom I get out on the road is like no other. To pack a bag on a Thursday evening so that I am ready for a trip after work the next day, will never be a task I get bored of. To know I will wake up somewhere new on Saturday morning, and brew my coffee at the beach is what I live for. My T25 is priceless. It is your kitchen, your bedroom, your bookshelf, your board rack and most of all it is your safe haven where you can shut out the ‘real world’. Having a vintage van always sparks interesting conversation with others on the road and many smiles from passers-by. It’s that very essence which has led me to meet some incredible and like-minded people this year. Some will just be a memory in passing, some that will remain friends for life. I find that there is some real magic to be found in the smiles of those passers-by, and especially from those you end up sharing a rum around the fire with. Part of being a van owner means getting very used to stepping out of your comfort zone, and I think that quickly becomes the most useful tool in your box.
Actually, one can’t forget the other necessary tools required for vintage van owners. That adjustable socket set? You will probably find yourself needing to tighten your window screen wipers through fear of them falling off … or the need to give your starter motor and good old whack to get going on a cold morning. As for the reliability of an old van, if you own one yourself you'll know that every time you put that key into the ignition, your plans for the day could be about to change dramatically! But you close one eye, hold your breath and pray!! Once you are parked up with a cup of tea in hand watching the sunset over the sea, most of your worries will just float on by anyway. Sometimes, you do have to remind yourself that what you may see on social media is a very romantic slant on reality as it's not all sunflowers and rainbows when travelling in a van. I remember seeing a photo of a half-naked woman cooking dinner, thinking how can she make that look so beautiful? When I make dinner on my tiny hob, if I've not set fire to my hair or dropped the chopping board full of onions, both probably caused by tripping over my board leash, I am winning!
There is some real magic that comes with travelling. There is a sense of freedom and chance to be a part of an ever-growing community, to see people exploring their country or further afield sharing their stories, tips and friendships too. I have been very lucky to have met some wonderful people along the way, from those who live in their van full time teaching yoga to adventurous photographers all inspiring us to get outside and just live. To step aside from the rat race and take each day as it comes and to notice how beautiful this world really is. If you have dreamt of getting a home on wheels, just GET OUT THERE AND DO IT. I recommend it wholeheartedly. It doesn't need to be a full-time home or for a mad long journey. It can be a little van like mine. Something you can escape in on summer evenings. Drive it locally, or drive it far. From the Lakes to Lands End, or just over to the next town. Hit the road and you will not be disappointed. Step outside of that sliding door onto the sand. Lay on your roof looking at the stars. Kick back and read a book in the cab. Pack your bags, and maybe we’ll too meet on the road.
â&#x2020;&#x2019; AM editor, Alex, is making sure to enjoy the incredible conditions in the Pyrenees this winter.
Photo by Harry Baker
Far up north, there looks to be a wonderland of wild camping spots. Bleik Beach in Andøya Norwary, the northernmost island in the Vesterålen archipelago, situated about 300 kilometres inside the Arctic circle. @BERNIES_AND_THE_BEAST
DISCOVER WITHOUT L I M I T S Words by Jose and Laura
Tr a v e l , a d v e n t u r e , w o r l d , p h o t o g r a p h y . . . S U P, VA N L I F E . W o r d s t h a t e v o k e a d r e a m world for us. A world of wonderful illusions and an incredible way of life.
Glute Quad Combo
FORAGING FOR F U N G I : cooking wild mushroom and steak pies in the camper van Words & photos by Mascha Blome, Alex Brown
have a friend here in Spain who goes nuts come Autumn e a c h y e a r. I t ' s a l l a b o u t t h e mushrooms. Forests packed full of mushrooms. He loves them and I worry that during this period it is all he eats for b r e a k f a s t , l u n c h a n d d i n n e r. Becoming a bit of a foodie as I g e t o l d e r, I f i n d i t i n t e r e s t i n g to lear n more about where our food comes from, its nutritional properties and how handled it might have been from earth to table. This year I knew that I could not miss out on the mushroom season and kept a keen eye on the weather as the summer started to draw to an end.
Foraging for mushrooms (bolets in Catalan) could almost been seen as a national sport. The region is famously known for it's pretty wide offering and you will be hard to miss them when visiting any restaurants or market between October to D e c e m b e r e a c h y e a r. H e a d i n t o the countryside and there will be people of all ages bent over in the grass, wicker basket close b y. F o r t h e p a s t f e w s e a s o n s I
have been wondering if they actually taste that good? Having learnt that the Spanish Pyrenees offers optimal conditions for the growth of edible mushrooms, this season I could not wait to take a look for myself. At altitude, the mixture of war m daytime temperatures with much cooler nights, offers the perfect incubator for the spores when the first rains come. My girlfriend and I had our campervan packed and a nice location picked out d e e p i n t h e b a c k c o u n t r y. A f e w hours after leaving Barcelona, we had a sweet wild camping spot with the most stunning vistas for the next few nights. This year I had also started cooking on the Omnia stove top oven which allows an endless list of different food one can prepare on the typical two burner stove of a VW camper van. After a bit of research, I decided that a simple steak and mushroom pie would be a dish worth the effort, on my first mushroom foraging a d v e n t u r e . AM
Visit our IG TV to get a video guide on making the steak and mushroom pies in the Omnia stove top oven.
STEP 1: find your mushrooms. Use a guide book to find out what edible species are growing in the area. We found the Lactarius Deliciosus, or Saffron Milk Cap, which grow abundantly around Europe. For the pies, we'll need around 100gr of washed and chopped mushrooms.
STEP 2: lightly sautĂŠ the mushrooms and garlic in some tasty extra virgin olive oil. Do not combine with other ingredients as to preserve the flavour. In a second frying pan, lightly fry some chopped steak of choice (200gr) with pepper and salt seasoning.
STEP 3: pour in one jar of mixed garden vegetables with the steak. Warm up. Add 1 cup of vegetable stock, and half a teaspoon of corn starch. Simmer on low and allow the sauce to thicken.
STEP 4: prepare your pie crust. I made my own from scratch, but you can use store bought also. Simply roll out to a sheet 3-4mm thick. Roughly cut out circles of dough and line an Omnia muffin ring. No need to line the ring, the silicone is non stick!
STEP 5: now is a good time to start pre-heating the Omnia stove top oven. Back in the large frying pan, combine the sautĂŠed mushrooms in with the sauce and add a little salt and pepper to taste. Then, carefully spoon the mixture into the empty pies.
STEP 6: the pies can be cooked with or without a pie lid. I opted to cut some lids with the pie crust leftovers, and then pinched everything down.
*Next time I make these, I will brush on some egg yolk to the tops of the pies in order to get a crispier surface.
STEP 7: carefully lift in the muffin ring to the pre-heated Omnia stove top oven. Set your timer for 45 minutes and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Get ready, because your van is about to start smelling incredible!
STEP 8: et voilĂ ! Let the pies cool off for at least 10 minutes, which will also help them to set. Just leave them in the Omnia with the lid off. And that is is. Wild mushroom steak pies, in the van.
Ingredients for one round of pies (6x) - 100 gr mushrooms of choice - 100gr steak chopped to small pieces - pie crust (self made or store bought) - 1 clove fresh garlic - 1 jar mixed garden veggies - 1 teaspoon cornstarch - 1 cup vegetable stock - salt and pepper to taste - 1 egg to glaze top (optional)
W E H AV E 5 O M N I A M U F F I N R I N G S T O G I V E AWAY ! Simply upload a photo on Instagram of your favourite meal you have made in the Omnia stove top oven, and use both the tags #advanturemagazine and #omniasweden to enter. We'll pick our favourite 5, and send you a muffin ring.
* A dv e rt o r i a l* B u s s t o f f. d e
LITTLE, BIG ROAD TRIP Words & photos Stefan Christiansen
This year's trip will be a little bit different. Vino instead of whiskey and the Mediterranean instead of the Atlantic. Staying on mainland Europe let's do a road trip to the destinations that have excited many vanlifers before us. Embarking from the Hamburg area in Germany, the first destination would be Bruges, Belgium. There we spent a nice day strolling through the beautiful old town. In the alleys around the market square there are
several independent restaurants to be discovered that look forward to guests and delight the palate with traditional cuisine and at a reasonable price. We enjoyed homemade soup and fresh bread. After a short drive, we found our first campsite at Camping des Noires Mottes Ă Sangatte (1) below Calais. Located on the North Sea we spent a quiet night here, after watching some ferries crossing in the sunset ... ooh, what a sight !
he next day on board the Little, Big Bus, we continued to Omaha Beach and stopped at the Musée Mémorial d'Omaha Beach (2). The beach including the monument is within walking distance. In the vicinity, there are other collections of war equipment and merchandise accessible for a fee. We camped at Flowercamping Omaha Beach (3) upon the cliff. Local farmers offered fresh goat cheese and goat yoghurt. We were hungry so enjoyed both for dinner. Driving further into Normandy, next we visited the Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey on the monastery island of the same name. Unfortunately, against our expectations, it was totally overcrowded. So the visit to the monastery will be saved for another visit. We were impressed by the sacred building and it was a nice hike around the bay at low tide. Ending the day with a wonderful sunset at Yourte A La Ferme (4), a private parking space on the farm of Florence and JeanLuc in Bouin, in the middle of the flat land. Within easy reach of the sea and very quiet,
it was easy to lay back in the camping chair and feel at home. Florence and Jean-Luc run both the farm and the campsite, with a good dose of pragmatism, definitely a lot of heart and joy. We'll certainly visit them again. We interrupted the way south with a detour to Bordeaux where we enjoyed the evening at the Chateau d'Esther vineyard (5) directly at the Dordogne River. Here we had such an enjoyable wine tasting of the Demeter wines from Thomas ... so good in fact that we bought some bottles for the rest of the trip. Below our Busstoff shelf for the VW California, we like to have a bottle of wine ready for the next dinner, wherever that might be. Not far to the West we find the Dune du Pilat which is the largest shifting sand dune in Europe, and has a few wonderful spots on offer. We decided on Camping Panorama du Pyla (6) and WOW, what impressive place for a van camping spot. The view from our pitch looked directly over the massive dune, and out to the offshore oyster beds. Conveniently for someone
↑ A dream of storage space! DAPASSTWAS is simply hooked into the pop-up roof of the VW California.
* A dv e rt o r i a l* B u s s t o f f. d e
who loves oysters, like me, fresh specimens are available at the campsite restaurant. A truly relaxing and wonderful place where you watch the paragliders flying around in the constant updraft, all day and even into the night. A reservation a few days in advance is advisable for flying, due to how popular this place can be. Plan at least a half day for the crossing of the Atlantic Coast towards the Mediteranean. The French countryside is idyllic on a summer day and I shot many photographs. Carcassonne is known to many as a board game, but is also a real life Medieval fortress city. We took time look around the UNESCO world heritage site and could easily have spent many days here exploring all of the tiny streets and shops. Covering around 14 hectares, La Cité is considered the largest and best preserved fortress in Europe. The two wall rings are together about 3 km long and have 52 towers in total. An impressive building! Camping de la Cite (7) is only a 15-minute walk from the fortress for easy access. Continuing towards the Alps, our next
stop was planned at the Grand Canyon du Verdon, a gorge measuring up to 700 meters deep through which the turquoise waters of the river Verdon flow. Following a nice route that I had found online, we started on the south side at the Hôtel du Grand Canyon du Verdon, and headed out for the Sentier de l’Imbut trail. Unfortunately, the constant drought over the previous weeks made the forest dry out so badly, the path left a very eerie impression. The Huttopia Campsite (8) was not far away and, in addition to hiking trails, also offers bike tours and
rafting. We will be back for some of that another day! Soon after crossing the border into Switzerland, we arrived at the Aletsch Glacier (9). An impressive hike on the Panorama Trail in wonderful weather, with incredibly clear air at the glacier, We will certainly remember these moments for a long time. Avalanches in the area extended the hike form a planned 5 hours to a huge 9 hours, so arriving back at the camping site we were all the happy about our Busstoff
Lieblingsplatz, allowing us to enjoy some very relaxed hours both inside and outside of the Little, Big Bus. Perfect as a mini kitchen and additional table. One last thing to tick off on the way home to Germany. Bond, James Bond, drove over the Furka Pass (10) in Goldfinger 1964. We moved over the Grimsel Pass and up into the clouds, and then further north towards home. Read more on the Little, Big Bus at www.kleinergrosserbus.de
→ Plenty of space to let off steam while cooking. Calitheke SPIELPLATZ counters from BUSSTOFF, to hang on the sliding door.
BUSSTOFF plug and camp gear - individual camping gear to use your van’s space to the max, easy to install for a trip and just as easy to dismantle for your daily drive www.busstoff.de (1) www.campingdesnoiresmottes.fr
(5) www.www.chateaudesther.com (6) www.camping-panorama.com/stellplatz-frankreich-dune-von-pyla
TA L L E R VA N L I F E W O R K S H O P S
a c k t h i s i s s u e i s o u r Ta l l e r s e c t i o n . W e are continually inspired by the vanlife c o m m u n i t y, a n d w i t h t h a n k s t o y o u w e s e e no end to the creativity that is possible.
If you would like a feature, email us and tell us how you are funding life on the road. email@example.com
Pollypixelt. Do you also spend so much time with your van (or any other favourite piece of gear) that you gave it a name and have the feeling it should be on every family photo, hanging on your living room wall? W h e n w e s a w P o l l y p i x e l t â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a m a z i n g portraits, van profiles and much more, we had to get involved and tell you all about it as we knew you would want one of these! Think outside the box, think c o l o u r s , s i m p l i c i t y, i n c r e d i b l e d e t a i l s a n d loads of little pearls and at the end stands a portrait which leaves you speechless as you could not imagine it becoming that recognisable. It is not only the most special idea to capture your identity or memories, it is also the most unique present and biggest surprise as not many people know about or could even imagine
Check out our web article about Pollypixelt here, and also head over to Ina's instagram to see what new creations s h e h a s b e e n w o r k i n g o n l a t e l y.
Niamh Creation. Over in the USA, things were not really any different with regards to Coronavirus getting in the way of things during 2020. But this vanlife couple controlled their situation, to turn their van into a mobile craft workshop. Prior to the pandemic, we both travelled around the world - year round - to work. During lockdown, we had the time and space to get dreamy and decide what we wanted our "new normal" to look and feel like. When things started to open up again, we realized we could safely social distance and focus on creating and making jewellery from our sprinter van. We spent the summer forging new creations and running our businesses f r o m t h e r o a d . â Ł O u r f a v o u r i t e m e d i u m s t o work with are brass, silver and turquoise - hues inspired by the rustic landscape of the west coast.
It is no surprise that most vanlifers work with mobile kitchens that are a fraction of the size of something you'd find in any home with brick walls. And Nic, a u t h o r o f T h e Ve g a n Va n l i f e r, i s n o different to the rest of us!
It wasn't hard for her book to catch our eye. Bowls of delicious looking salads, nutrition packed grain ideas and how easily a small number of simple ingredients can be brought together to form numbers of belly pleasing meals. Nic brings her passion for clean eating to the vanlife world, which she discovered on a f o u r m o n t h r o a d t r i p i n a n o l d c a m p e r.
At a time where we are faced with ongoing travel restrictions or other mobility issues, lear ning a few new recipes ready for your next road trip sounds like a fantastic idea. As a bonus, the majority of i n g r e d i e n t s t h a t N i c u s e s i n T h e Ve g a n Va n l i f e r, can be found in nearly all countries around Europe and boast long shelf lives outside of the fridge. Pick up a copy of her ebook and jump right into y o u r c u p b o a r d s . T h e Ve g a n Va n l i f e r b u y h e r e A M
ADVERTISE IN AN INTERACTIVE, D I G I TA L M A G A Z I N E We built a new community of over 10,000 people across our platform in 2020. They are adventure travellers and passionate van campers, who love to be outdoors. Contact us to find out why print magazine value can not compete with digital, and how we are well underway towards being the number one publication in the industry. STATISTICS
Plug-and-Camp Gear for Your Bus
The original #Calihook ABHĂ&#x201E;NG is simply attached into the pop-up roof of your VW Bus California. The practical clothes hook fits into all California pop-top roofs installed from the VW factory from VW T5 on.
Your new LIEBLINGSPLATZ? Inside and outside: for bread and rolls, for the stove and coffee, for the hot or cold buffet ... there is more space and eating together is much more relaxed. The additional table is made of high-quality, foiled multiplex plate, your van is protected by rubber buffers.
For the pop-up roof in the VW Bus California T5, T6 and T6.1 we have developed the #Calishelf system DAPASSTWAS. It holds all by itself, without glueing, screws or the like - A dream of storage space!
Whether VW California Beach, Coast, Comfortline, Ocean, whether Multivan or Transporter ... Volkswagen T4, T5, T6 and T6.1 ... we drive the bus ourselves with passion and a lot of fun on small escapes over the weekend and great pleasure in long tours on vacation in the mobile home. We design our unique articles ourselves and use the leasing-capable original campervan gear on our trips. Each part comes original, aesthetically in shape, well thought out in detail and proven in function to your bus.
At Home in the Bus www.Busstoff.de
< T R AV E L B L O G S > Words & photos Lisa and Daniel
We set off in July and immediately drove south to the Italian boot. This was our first van life experience and it was really good for us! When asked where we are going to be next, we always a n s w e r t h a t w e d o n ’t k n o w. T h i s i s w h a t w e l o v e d a b o u t the prospect of vanlife, that we would be so free and can always go somewhere else if we feel like it, or not. We wanted to get close to nature, as close as we could, and spend time together and with our dog. Now in the van, we spend almost the whole day in the fresh air and it makes u s h a p p y t o f e e l s o f r e e e a c h a n d e v e r y d a y. B u t o f c o u r s e , t h e r e a r e s o m e t h i n g s t h a t y o u d o e n d u p w i s h i n g f o r. B e it more space, warm water or not having to worry about e l e c t r i c i t y a l l o f t h e t i m e . B u t r e a l l y, t h i s i s t h e t y p e o f experience we wanted to get out of vanlife. We wanted to become the type of people who perceive life much more consciously and to take nothing for granted such as we did back at home.
isa, Daniel and Bonnie have been living the van life since late summer 2020. For a long t i m e t h e y w i s h e d t o b e a b l e t o t r a v e l e v e r y d a y, and during the restrictions of the Coronavirus l o c k d o w n e a r l i e r i n t h e y e a r, t h e y d e c i d e d t o m a k e t h e i r d r e a m s b e c o m e a r e a l i t y. It all went pretty quickly in the end. We did a lot of research and in June we finally found our van, then put some work into the renovation and installing technical equipment which would make things comfortable for us.
Our day always starts with a look out of bed through t h e r e a r w i n d o w o f o u r c a m p e r, a n d e a c h t i m e w e e n j o y o u r e v e r- c h a n g i n g g a r d e n t h a t s u r r o u n d s u s . T h e r e i s something really unique about the feeling of not really knowing where you had ended up parking the night before. Then there is handmade coffee, which we celebrate like i t ’s s o m e t h i n g n e w e v e r y d a y, l i k e a r i t u a l ! A f t e r c o f f e e t h e day then starts for our dog, Bonnie, by the opening of the v a n d o o r. W e f e e l l i k e w e l i v e t r u e t o t h e m o t t o :
"GET OUT OF BED - INTO PLEASURE" I n c i d e n t a l l y, w e a r e n o t a n g r y t h a t t h i s m e a n s t h e c l a s s i c d o g w a l k i n g i s n o l o n g e r n e c e s s a r y, a n o t h e r a d v a n t a g e o f v a n l i f e . B o n n i e a l s o e x p l o r e s t h e n e w s c e n e r y, t h e s w e e t pleasures of life as a vandog. The rest of the day is spent pretty dependent on the w e a t h e r. S o m e t i m e s s u n b a t h i n g a n d s w i m m i n g i s a b o u t a l l we do. Sometimes we have to work. But luckily we have j o b s t h a t w o r k w e l l f r o m a n y w h e r e . I t ’s a p l e a s u r e t o f i n d a coffee shop with some WIFI to check the emails. We
support founders of companies and people who want to build their own foothold, both online and offline. We like to inspire a free life, just like the one we chose to pursue. Food is very important to us and a point where we try not to compromise compared to a normal life in a house. For us, good food is more important than anything and every day we are amazed at the delicacies that can be made on the go. We like the food in Greece very much because it h a s t h a t M e d i t e r r a n e a n t o u c h w h i c h w e d o e n j o y. I n t h e van we make a lot of (and very typical to the area we are currently exploring) grilled vegetables with feta, which we rarely ate in Austria if not at all! When we were doing the upgrades on our new-to-us van, running water and the food mixer were essential add-ons, and also we don't want to do without our hotplate. But u n f o r t u n a t e l y, j u s t l a t e l y w e h a v e h a d e l e c t r i c i t y p r o b l e m s . A combination of too little sun and old batteries, so we definitely have to retrofit a new one very soon. For us, vanlife means to have the freedom to have our bed in (almost) any place in the world, and to wake up every morning from natural light and because of an alarm clock. Our trip started in Salzburg Austria and we drove straight to Ancona in Italy to catch the ferry to Greece.
StayFree on this route LEFKADA: 7 nights in total stood directly on the beach, but it was difficult to get there. We drove a lot of switchbacks, there was no civilization at the bottom. The nearest water point was half an hour away by car so come prepared. However, it made exactly what it was: unique, just the sea, a wide beach, and a few other campers. The sunset was a big highlight here every day - we are sure that we will come back to this place. PLATANOS: 4 nights discovered on our own, parking right by the sea. A shower, cafes and a small supermarket in the immediate vicinity. We went out to eat from this pitch to enjoy some of the local area. A big bonus was that there wasn't really any garbage, which surprised us in a very positive way!
In Greece we have travelled to Patras, Lefkada, Athens, Crete and now Peloponnes. Our motivation for the types of places we explore can change. On the one hand we love deserted places where we can be completely alone with nature. This is mostly by the sea or in the mountains. On the other hand, we are drawn to a trip to the city with people and good local cuisine and drinks. That's why we go back to a local town after a week at the latest and mingle with the people. After a maximum or about two days, we find we want our rest again and are happy to move on and back to more r e m o t e a r e a s . R e a l l y, w e o n l y c a m p i n t h e t r u e w i l d , u n l e s s laundry has to be washed or there is lockdown. For us, that's exactly what vanlife is: short term living in various parking spaces, all with their advantages and disadvantages. We like to stay longer in one place, but then after a week at the latest we are always ready to change. Follow Lisa, Daniel and Bonnie on IG @likebonnieandclyde
TYRE UPGRADES BUYERS GUIDE.
Photo by @fj_vanlife
F o r m a n y, t y r e c h o i c e s t o p s a t deciding whether or not youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like white sidewall writing on your next p u r c h a s e . A l l - Te r r a i n ( A / T ) t y r e s a r e designed for off-road driving, so if you are in fact planning to pull off the highway and hit the road less travelled, a new wheel on each corner could be the right thing for you. In comparison are Winter tyres. They are optimised for freezing road conditions, and when you are more than likely going to be driving on wet snow slush. Function before looks. Firstly it is really wise to ask yourself if you need a set of A/T or Winter tyres on your vehicle. Do you expect months of low temperatures, will you be driving on mud/snow/ice often, and how many off-road km are you really expecting to cover? Those white letters on the side wall ... they definitely look cool but could also detract from that stealthy look next time you are parked up in a residential street in any case.
POPU LAR AWAR D
BF GOODRICH ALL-TERRAIN T/A K02
- Suitable mixed 50% road / 50% off road driving - All season - 3PMSF & M+S symbols - Pricey
GOODYEAR ADVENTURE WRANGLER A/T
- Quiet on the road and long lasting - Summer tyre - M+S symbol - Kevlar walls
- Winter tyre - Light truck category - 3PMSF symbol
U l t i m a t e l y, d o y o u h a v e a f o u r- w h e e l d r i v e , a n d a r e you going to be going off-road? If you answered no to those questions, you are better off sticking to a tyre designed for road use. Use this guide for i n f o r m a t i o n a l p u r p o s e s o n l y, a n d s e e k p r o f e s s i o n a l advice from your local tyre fitter once you have narrowed down your choice according to your needs. ALL-TERRAIN OR ALL SEASON All Season tyres are designed to drive well in a r a n g e o f b a s i c r o a d c o n d i t i o n s t h r o u g h o u t t h e y e a r. A/T tyres have a much more aggressive-looking tread, which is designed to provide much greater traction control on difficult off-road conditions s u c h a s d i r t , m u d a n d l i g h t s n o w. WINTER Winter tyres are specifically designed for improved grip on the tarmac when it is covered in i c e , s n o w a n d w a t e r. T h e y p e r f o r m b e t t e r i n c o l d temperatures but are likely to wear out faster in the summer if left on. The softer compound of the rubber can wear out incredibly fast, which is going to mean replacing the tyres all over again. As the temperature drops below 7c, rubber in AllS e a s o n a n d s u m m e r t y r e s g e t s m u c h s t i f f e r. T h i s
GO ULTRA GRIP 2
reduces the ability to grip the road which can lead to an accident. This is why winter tyres are put on for the colder months and removed again once things start to warm up. There is no legal requirement saying you need to remove your w i n t e r t y r e s i n t h e s u m m e r, b u t i n a l o t o f p l a c e s , i t i s a l e g a l r e q u i r e m e n t t o r u n t h e m i n t h e w i n t e r. LEGAL REQUIREMENT In a large number of countries around Europe, you are legally required to change out for winter tyres when that temperature does start to drop. And t h a t i s n â&#x20AC;&#x2122;t j u s t f o r r e s i d e n t s . M o u n t a i n a r e a s a r e becoming stricter on the compulsory equipment requirements, where you might even get spotchecked by the police. And it is for good reason. But one should note, there are A/T tyres marketed with the M+S symbol, but they are not true winter tyres. See below about M+S vs 3PMSF symbol ratings.
Check out this information on Winterised.com for country-by-country regulations. M + S R AT I N G , S N O W F L A K E S Y M B O L Many people now disregard the M+S (Mud and Snow) rating on a tyre. Manufacturers use this
GOODYEAR CARGO VECTOR 2
- Suitable mixed 50% road / 50% off road driving - All season - 3PMSF & M+S symbols - Improved fuel economy
GENERAL GRABBER A/T3
- Suitable mixed 50% road / 50% off road driving - All season - 3PMSF & M+S symbols - Mid range pricing
to indicate that a specific tyre will operate better in off-road conditions than a regular model designed for non-winter use. But, there is no performance standard or tests applied to any tyres, in order to award them this rating. The M+S rating simply refers to the tread pattern and does not correspond to the rubber compound or how the t y r e p e r f o r m s o n s n o w, i c e a n d s l u s h y r o a d s .
winter in any case. On top of that, A/T tyres have a different tread pattern to standard highway tyres, resulting in greater rolling resistance. The c o n s e n s u s , a b o u t 3 % d e c r e a s e d f u e l e c o n o m y.
The “3 Peak Mountain Snow Flake” or 3PMSF symbol is the t h i n g t o l o o k f o r. I t i s a s t a n d a r d controlled by EU authorities, ensuring that the tyre is optimised for the challenging conditions e x p e r i e n c e d i n w i n t e r.
It might be worth pricing up a set of chains at the same time as looking at your tyre upgrade. The most expensive set of A/T tyres without chains are not going to be half as good as a cheaper set o f t y r e s a n d s n o w c h a i n s a t t a c h e d . W e w o n ’t b e going into snow chains in this article, but you can join a Facebook group such as W interized to get s o m e h e l p . AM
*Please note: A dedicated winter tyre with 3PMSF symbol offers superior traction to the road compared to both A/T and All-Season tyres ( e v e n t h o s e w i t h M + S o r 3 P M S F s y m b o l s ) . Wa t e r i s d i s p e l l e d q u i c k e r, b r a k i n g i s s a f e r a n d s n o w m a n o e u v r a b i l i t y i s b e t t e r.
SNOW CHAINS No matter what tyres you have, at some point, you are just going to need a good set of chains in the mountains. Even a 4WD could get caught out in a surprise snowstorm, so be sure to carry these onboard when you venture out.
R AT I N G Yo u r v a n w e i g h s c o n s i d e r a b l y m o r e t h a n t h e t y p i c a l c a r, s o y o u s h o u l d e n s u r e t h a t t h e c o n n e c t i o n between you and the road is as safe as possible. Make sure to check your vehicle technical sheet where it should state the correct tyre sizing for your vehicle. This is the starting point to choosing a size of tyre that will physically fit the space in your wheel arch, the speed rating and the load rating. SPEED, NOISE & FUEL ECONOMY Going up any size tyre will change the speedometer a c c u r a c y. T h i s i s b e c a u s e t h e l a r g e r o v e r a l l circumference of the tyre will travel more distance o v e r o n e c o m p l e t e t u r n . Yo u c o u l d e a s i l y b e travelling 5-10kmph faster than that your dash is reading. One of the biggest questions people ask online is how noisy A/T tyres are. Well, that is somewhat hard to answer because every vehicle and its e n g i n e r u n s a t v a r y i n g l e v e l s t o o . G e n e r a l l y, t h e s e tyres may only be somewhat more noticeable w h e n o n t h e h i g h w a y. O f f - r o a d y o u ' r e g o i n g t o b e driving slower and crunching around on whatever it is below you. Our advice, ask around on a Facebook group to find someone with the same vehicle, motor and the type of tyres you want to get first-hand feedback. Ve h i c l e s
Photo by @planbwagen
HANKOOK DYNAPRO ALL-TERRAIN AT-M
- Agressive off-road tread - Summer - M+S symbol - Increased puncture resistance
MASTERSTEEL ALL WEATHER
- All season - 3PMSF symbol - Good balance between noise lvel and fuel economy - Cheap from €55
CHEAPE ST WINTER
MICHELIN AGILIS ALPIN
- Winter tyre - 3PMSF symbol - Light truck category - Most expensive
GOODRIDE SW612 SNOWMASTER
- Winter tyre - 3PMSF symbol - Light truck category - Cheap from €55
C O Z Y C A B I N VA N B U I L D P h o t o s b y B r a d Wa t s o n
hen a van build is approached, there are a few items at the top of every DIY project list. A bed, the cooking area, some storage space. Then things can start to become a bit more stylised to personal tastes and requirements. When we saw the p h o t o s o f B r a d Wa t s o n ’s b u i l d , w e k n e w there must be some interesting back story that must have inspired this unique looking space. 30 years old and from Hampshire in the UK, Brad chases the winter season as a snowboard i n s t r u c t o r. A t t h e b e g i n n i n g o f t h e y e a r h e was located in Japan last season, but due to the Coronavirus, resorts around the world w e r e f o r c e d t o c l o s e e a r l y. S o w h a t d o e s a snowboard instructor do in his downtime? He converts a van into a chalet on wheels of course. Brad didn’t acquire the keys to his van like most. A new 2008 2.2L Fiat Ducato SWB was purchased by his fathers friend from the showroom. The Ducato was used as a race van for his sons Go-Kart Racing back in the UK, and then later for carrying around spare
engines and parts for his D Class Fiesta Championship stint. W h e n t h e v a n c a m e u p f o r s a l e , B r a d ’s f a t h e r was offered the vehicle for a good price. Having very low miles and coming from a r e l i a b l e o w n e r, i t w a s a d e a l t h a t c o u l d n o t be turned down. “Over my Dad's ownership, he mopped up all the engine oil in the rear and inserted a fixed bed frame and a closed off garage area. I think he did about 10,000 miles in it as a ‘Stealth Camper’ and even took it as far as the Arctic Circle just for a laugh and bragging rights. - Classic. Then things took a turn for the worst in my personal life. I got the news that one of my closest friends had suddenly passed away in a n a c c i d e n t t w o d a y s b e f o r e m y 2 8 t h B i r t h d a y. A f e l l o w S n o w b o a r d e r, I c e H o c k e y P l a y e r a n d F r o n t R o w D r u m & B a s s r a v e r, h e w a s t h e closest carbon copy to myself that existed on this planet.”
â&#x2020;&#x2018; This 2008 Fiat Ducato SWB has a 2.2 turbo engine, has been painted NATO grey, and needs naming. Send Brad your ideas!
L o s t a n d s h a k e n u p , B r a d ’s f a t h e r o f f e r e d u p t h e van. This gave him a project to focus on. W ith just a few weeks to go until he was due to arrive in Meribel, a ski resort town in the French Alps, Brad had to ready the van for some cold months ahead. Now preparing for the 2020/2021 season, we were eager to catch up with Brad to hear first hand how it is to live the vanlife in the mountains, and get paid for it! AM: What have you been doing to your van in the last weeks to winterise it? Brad: The van was and still is a pure labour of love, it symbolises and triggers a lot of mixed e m o t i o n s b u t t h a t ’s g o t i t t o w h e r e i t i s t o d a y. Over the last three months I have been updating the exterior and cracking on with phase two of the interior build. I’ve turned what was essentially a white builders van into an off-road inspired rig ready for the harsh conditions in the Alps. I p a i n t e d i t N AT O G r e e n b y h a n d o n m y d r i v e w a y and fitted some hefty BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres. I’ve also added a set of Hella Comet 450 spotlights and a 52’ inch lightbar for those twisty night time mountain roads! AM: A few of your essential items for winter van camping? Brad: For any van to feel like a ‘home’ you need
warmth. So number one would have to be the d i e s e l h e a t e r. Yo u j u s t s i m p l y w o u l d n ’t b e a b l e to cope in the cold without it. A diesel heater is perfect for drying out my snowboard boots too! Second is without doubt the hip flask. If t h e h e a t e r d o e s n ’t w o r k f o r y o u , g e t t h a t a l c o h o l jacket on!! AM: How is it to actually live in the van in winter conditions? What do you do for a shower and bathroom? Brad: Throughout the season there are normally only a handful of super cold nights. I think the coldest I slept in was -12c at the top of Meribel Mottaret (1750m). I read somewhere there was a little vanlife community up there and yeah, when I arrived I was the only vehicle in sight! The heater a n d d u c k d o w n d u v e t c a m e t o t h e r e s c u e t h a t ’s for sure. B e i n g a S W B v a n w i t h a l o w r o o f I d o n ’t h a v e t h e l u x u r y o f a h e a t e d s h o w e r. F r i e n d s a r e u s u a l l y willing to swap a few beers in exchange for h o t w a t e r a n d t e r r i b l e c h a t . To i l e t w i s e I u s e a Thetford Porta Potti stored under the bed. If you keep up the maintenance it never smells - no one wants their van to smell like a festival portaloo. Check out Brad's IG and website @bradblogz w w w. b r a d w a t s o n . c o . u k
TOP LEFT: Kilian racing at the famous Zegama race in northern Spain. TOP RIGHT: Finding time for a brew between mountain adventures. BELOW LEFT: Running on the high alpine routes during the summer months. BELOW RIGHT: Kilian at home in Norway, with a huge selection of trails and routes to run and ski year-round.
Follow Heidi on her travels for a mix of sports and destinations that will make you want to leave in your van immediately. @away_heidik
ISSUE 05 OUT E A R LY 2 0 2 1 We ' l l m a k e s u r e t h e v a n s a r e b i g g e r, the journey is more wild and the mix of people just as interesting. Explore what it takes to make excellent camp coffee. Winter photography tech tips.