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Growing Up In A Volkswagen Westfalia Camper Van

A lot of people ask me “How did you get into all this hiking and camping stuff?!”.  Well, I have my parents to thank for that (they’ll be happy to read this).  Growing up my family was always active in the mountains, whether it be skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer, however most of our adventures took place in our family’s Volkswagen Westfalia camper van.  My mom had packing the Westy down to a science,  often keeping the pantry in the van as well stocked as the one in our house.  All we would have to do on a summer Friday afternoon was pack up our clothes, our Dad would quickly monkey with the fridge to coax it into working and we would be off, headed West to the mountains!

For those of you who are not familiar with this hippy looking recreational vehicle, it is a cargo sized, kitchen and bed equipped van with so much character it takes on a personality of its own.  Much of the interior is laid out like a cabin on a sail boat; compact and efficient. The kitchen has a two propane burner stove and a fridge that might be smaller than a bar fridge.  The back passenger bench folds down into a bed and the iconic roof pops up where a second bed folds down.  Although the van can technically sleep 4, I would reserve the top bunk for kids or little monkeys because of the coordination it takes to get up there.


The beauty of adventuring in a Westy is that you can go anywhere, anytime.  You have everything that you need for longer road trips and rainy days.  Some of my fondest childhood memories are driving down the Coquihalla highway in BC, barely making it over the passes, cheering on our van as transport trucks passed us.  Going down the passes was where I learnt the smell of burning brake pads, we would often have to pull over several times to let things cool down.  When we got hungry my dad would pull over and my mom would whip us up something in the kitchen.  Driving to Vancouver I felt like my family was on a secret mission. Often pulling into a roadside campground well after the gate attendee had gone and my parents coincidentally planning to leave well before they resumed post in the morning.


With memories like these it’s easy to understand that when I read about Wicked Westies, a company based out of Vancouver that rents out the camper vans, I got super pumped about reliving some of my early adventure days. This coming week, Mark and I will be renting a Westfalia and with it journey out to Tofino, BC! David, the owner of Wicked Westies has made it his passion and business to share the magic of adventuring in a Westfalia.  His interest in cars and mechanics has enabled him to fix up and maintain a fleet of 7 Westfalias, which is no easy feat judging from all the frustrations I saw my dad go through. Attesting the character of a Westy, David has affectionally named all of his vans; Ruby Slippers, The Sundance Kid and Nanny McFee to name a few. He’s equipped them with the basic equipment needed to live out of them, making it super easy to go on a Westy adventure of your own!

I’m looking forward to meeting David and his fleet of vans! Throughout the week I will be live blogging our trip out West and the adventures our Westy takes us on, so stay tuned!

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