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First time RVing Electrical Hook-up v Non Campground Advice

Isles of Scilly
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First time RVing Electrical Hook-up v Non Campground Advice

My husband and I are visiting Canada and having our first RV experience – we pick up the RV (Vanconversion) on the 20 May from Calgary and return it to Vancouver on the 10 June. We have a rough route of; Calgary, Banff, Jasper, Mt Robson Provincial Park, Wells Gray Provincial Park then a bit vague about which way to Vancouver. We understand that not all the campgrounds will be open at this time of year and that not all the campgrounds have Electrical Hook ups. What we were wondering was how practical it is to stay in campgrounds that don’t have Electrical Hook-ups? How quickly does the battery run down? Also with the propane for the heating – how much would you expect to use and is it easy to get refills along the way? Any advice on this, campgrounds, and RVing are very much appreciated.

Blind Bay, BC
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1,002 posts
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1. Re: First time RVing Electrical Hook-up v Non Campground Advice

This will give a bit of a start on planning your trip :

Here are some campground reviews to help you along :


Some campground choices here :


Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
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62,989 posts
63 reviews
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2. Re: First time RVing Electrical Hook-up v Non Campground Advice

There is a large contingent of RVers in Canada so there are forums pertaining to RVing that might be helpful to you, as well as TA.


The following has a general forum for first timers: http://www.rv.net/forum/

Vancouver, Canada
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13,745 posts
65 reviews
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3. Re: First time RVing Electrical Hook-up v Non Campground Advice

Almost all campgrounds will be open by then, unless they are in the alpine.

Destination Expert
for Vancouver Island
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2,514 posts
165 reviews
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4. Re: First time RVing Electrical Hook-up v Non Campground Advice

Provincial campgrounds typically don't have hookups - just centralized water spiggots. They sell campfire wood, so you can sit around a campfire and not use electricity :)

Private campgrounds - usually referred to as RV parks do have hookups.

Most cities in BC have a sani-dump location somewhere in town, and many Canadian Tire stores have a sani-dump.

You can get propane at many gas stations. How much propane you use depends on how cold it is at night and how much your furnace runs all night (the furnace uses battery power for the fan) as well as how much cooking you do. You coud safely guess to get a week from a 30 pound tank if it's running a lot at night. YOu may get much more.

You can google RV parks for the locations you intend to stay at and see what may be available. We have used Provincial campgrounds in the Thompson/Okanagan area, and we've stayed in RV parks in 100 Mile House, Kelowna, Penticton, Summerland, Westbank.

Vancouver, Canada
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29,011 posts
59 reviews
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5. Re: First time RVing Electrical Hook-up v Non Campground Advice

You could be very, very cold camping in the Rockies at that time of year. Be prepared.

Provided you are driving every day, you won't have any battery problems.

Is this a Wicked Campervan?

Don't camp outside of campgrounds. Just generally not a good idea, and usually not allowed anyway.

Kamloops, Canada
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571 posts
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6. Re: First time RVing Electrical Hook-up v Non Campground Advice

FYI...this list could be expanded for other parts of Canada but since you are primarily in BC and Alberta that is all I have added.

Canada has several 'types' of campgrounds available and are located in different settings. We start with Canadian National Parks, Historic sites and Marine Parks


The next level are provincial parks; Alberta


and BC


BC also has Forestry Recreation sites but these tend to be a bit more secluded and rustic so I will not add a link.

Next on the list are private campground/RV sites both in BC and Alberta, here is the BC link


select the specific category for campgrounds/rv sites.

Lastly some cities and occasionally service groups in cities have campgrounds available to rent, you would have to look at each individual city/town you plan to visit to see what is available.

Each 'type' of park has reservations available, some may be set when you can start to book by (example BC Parks starts accepting reservations for 2013 on March 15th). Be forewarned that long weekends in western Canada are very popular for camping and a lot of people start booking campsites on the magic March 15th date. As was mentioned earlier not all campsites have power hookups, usually when you search the above links they will usually mention if they do or do not. Also as mentioned earlier, propane will not be an issue. Alberta and BC are major producers of petroleum products! If not 'hooked-up' limit use of lights as much as possible, have extra blankets/comforters available to keep warm to limit use of the furnace as it is the main power user.

Hope this helps, enjoy the planning and your visit :0)

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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7. Re: First time RVing Electrical Hook-up v Non Campground Advice

datthecoast, note that in the national parks, campgrounds use staggered opening dates at the beginning of the season. In Banff NP, for instance, at the beginning of the OP's trip, only 4 of 13 campgrounds are open (and none of any of them are in the alpine); by the end of their trip, all but two (which open at the end of June) will be open. The situation in Jasper NP is similar, with 5 (of 11) not open when they begin their trip, 1 more opening between May 20 and June 10, and 4 not open until after they finish.



BC Parks campgrounds are open, but not all areas of all campgrounds will be open.

Don't worry, though, NeriH - these are based on demand... there will be plenty of sites available when you are here. But the camping season really doesn't get into full swing until school gets out closer to the end of June.

If you have decent sleeping bags, you won't need to worry too much about heating overnight. We did a 2-week camping trip last May - in a tent. Some heat will be nice on some mornings though!

Isles of Scilly
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8. Re: First time RVing Electrical Hook-up v Non Campground Advice

I really appreciate all the advice and information, we'll get going with some more planning now! Thanks very much.

9. Re: First time RVing Electrical Hook-up v Non Campground Advice

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