AKontheGO spent a recent spring weekend enjoying seamless camping with Get Lost Travel Vans, based in Anchorage, Alaska.
Seeing Alaska by automobile has long been a popular way to transit among the few highways and byways we have in the Last Frontier, especially for those with an independent streak, loose schedule, or both. There’s something liberating about turning the key and heading into Alaska’s wild, open spaces and settling when and (almost) where you want.
RV’s typically fill this space in Alaska, with several companies offering coaches of varying sizes out of hub cities like Anchorage and Fairbanks. Built as a “cabin on wheels,” the RV market is popular with those on the move during their Alaska vacation. RVs are terrific options for larger groups and travelers not willing to sacrifice a bed for the sake of mobility.
Smaller, more nimble vehicles have appeared on the road tripping scene in the last few years that provide some middle ground between camping in a traditional sense and full-blown RV travel. Perhaps you’ve seen them, trucks or vans of many different makes and models in varying stages of tricked-out-edness, covered in road grit and often with bikes or tents secured to any available outside space. Get Lost Travel Vans is one such business looking for a mid-price, family-friendly, explore-Alaska sweet spot in the travel industry. And I think they’ve found it.
Get Lost Travel Vans is a company offering smaller, affordable alternative to a more traditional Alaska RV rental opportunity. In each Dodge Caravan camper vans, guests can be assured of just about every comfort of home but without the big price tag – giant vehicle – to go with them. These vans are not a knock-off of the old conversion vans from the 1970s and 80s. No, these are beautifully-appointed, spotless minivans with all the cool gadgets to make you go “Wow.”
What do you get?
The camper van rentals come with kitchenettes, sleeping areas for 4 adults, and plenty of advice on where to go and what to see in Alaska. AND: Every rental includes Unlimited Mileage! So let’s talk specifics:
- Kitchenettes are found in the back of the van and call for the chef to be outside, under cover from elements thanks to the tailgate. Don’t worry about running car batteries down, though, because the unit comes with a self-charging batt pack, so you can leave doors open without a worry. Find a sink, camp stove, refrigerator, small counter, and all the things you need for camping comfortably.
- The interior of each van is set up with bench seats and a table that conveniently hides out of sight until you need it. It was a little wiggly, but definitely functional. The bench seats, table, and some additional cushions also allow for a bed for two (or three littles).
- The tent atop the van is a two adult or three-kid pop up rooftop style, complete with memory foam bottom which means NO MORE SORE BACKS OR BEHINDS from sleeping on a shifting pad. All hail the rooftop tent.
How does it drive and set up?
Easy as pie, I tell you. Whereas a full-size RV can be intimidating for those of us who don’t drive them on a regular basis, in a strange location, the Dodge Caravans of Get Lost Travel Vans are, well, much like the minivans and SUVs we parents drive daily. Without the french fries under the back seats and dog hair on the front, I’ll add. As far as setting up camp, I was impressed with that as well. I had a few helpful and curious kiddos assisting, and we had the kitchen set up, tent popped, and table arranged in less than 20 minutes. Plus, no fussing about “Are we parked level?” and “Will the sliders work here?” Bliss, I tell you.
Get Lost Travel Vans come with several options for extra gear as well, including kettles, coffee pots, chairs, travel guides (oh hey, guys, you need MY guide!), and other fun things. They also have car and booster seats for the young passengers, so you don’t need to schlep yours along.
But was it comfy?
Good grief, yes. The secure, yet open feel of the rooftop tent was a delightful way to fall asleep in Alaska’s Midnight Sun, and the kitchenette was almost effortless to navigate, even before my morning cup of coffee.
How expensive is it?
Summer rates for Get Lost Travel Vans start at $199/night, with a three-night minimum. Traveling seven days or more? The company offers a discount. I’m angling for a fall trip, myself, perhaps across the Denali National Park Road on the famous Road Lottery Weekend (please, for all that is holy, let me win this year!).
Camping without the ‘roughing it’ part? Sign us up.