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By camper from Vancouver through the Rockies to Calgary?

switzerland
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By camper from Vancouver through the Rockies to Calgary?

I was wondering if if would be a good idea to rent a camper in Vancouver to drive through the Rockies to Calgary. We are a family of 5 who want to fly to Vancouver in early July 2013.

Can anyone advise me if this is a reasonable idea? Do the national parks even allow campers? Are the roads really steep or otherwise unsuitable? Our other plan would be to take the train but it it seems much more expensive and less adventurous.

Calgary, Canada
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1. Re: By camper from Vancouver through the Rockies to Calgary?

Welcome to the Canada forums, holiday39!

Your idea is much more reasonable than you seem to think; indeed, you may find that it's not adventurous enough!

Travelling from Vancouver to the Rockies with an RV (camper, camper van, motorhome, or travel trailer) is a very popular activity amongst Canadians and international visitors alike. The Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 1) is the main highway connecting all of Canada; it is the route you would take from Vancouver to Banff (and on to Calgary). It is also the main route for the heavy truck traffic from Vancouver to Calgary. So, far from finding the roads really steep or otherwise unsuitable, you may find them too easy and boring. Except for the scenery, of course.

The national parks not only allow campers, but there are campsites with full hookups (water, sewer, and electricity) for campers that need it. You must camp in a campground, of course; random camping by the roadside is not allowed in the national parks or in most other places.

For more information, have a look at this TripAdvisor Traveller Article, "RV (Motorhome) rentals for the Rockies":

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g659487-c104900/Canad…

Traveller Articles are written by TA members like you and me, in response to the most popular forum questions.

You may also want to look at this Traveller Article

on the various routes between Vancouver and Banff/Calgary:

tripadvisor.ca/Travel-g154922-c120076/Britis…

And please don't hesitate to ask any other questions you may have!

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: By camper from Vancouver through the Rockies to Calgary?

Hi holiday39 ~

My comment would be to compare costs between car rental and hotels/motels vs RV rental as you may find they are comparable. If you drive one way, there will be a one way drop fee, very likely for a car rental, not so sure for an RV rental.

You also need to consider how flexible you want to be. With a car you can check in to a hotel and continue your sightseeing adventures in the car for the remainder of the day. With an RV, not so much.

Our roads are quite well maintained. Some are 2 lanes each way, divided highway. Others are single lane each way with passing lanes built in every so often so those in slower moving vehicles can move over to allow faster cars to pass. None that you would be using would be considered dangerous. Although, drivers need to be driving defensively, i.e. being aware of what every one else is doing and anticipating possible traffic events.

Hwy 1 somewhere east of Lytton, BC, single lane each way:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCfzoZXSVRU

Hwy 1 east bound from Kamloops toward Calgary, divided highway:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wA5iNCogNLY

switzerland
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3. Re: By camper from Vancouver through the Rockies to Calgary?

Thanks so much for your reply, I will check out the links you sent.

Colchester, United...
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4. Re: By camper from Vancouver through the Rockies to Calgary?

We hired an a 30 foot RV in September out of Calgary and covered the plains on the eastern side, down through the Rockies passing into BC and then down to Lake Waterton on the American border just short of 3000k and easily in 21 days. You will have no trouble at all with a 30 foot van if you feel you are a confident driver. The roads are exceptional with only a few smaller roads but nothing to worry about. One warning I would have is that in the height of the season it might be a problem from time to time to get onto sites. There are a lot in the National Parks but I can imagine they fill early in the day. You cannot park on the road side and there could be 50k to the next one but it must be coped with. Fuel is not as cheap as I thought, about half the UK costbut at short of 10 to the gallon costly. I was thinking of posting an itinary as when I was planning I struggled to get day to day info. I could do this if it would help. It is a must trip. In September we had clear blue skies everyday and we saw bears. Colin Armstrong

switzerland
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5. Re: By camper from Vancouver through the Rockies to Calgary?

Thanks Colin! It sounds like it was a wonderful trip. Which company did you hire the camper from? I would be interested to see your itinerary.

Colchester, United...
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6. Re: By camper from Vancouver through the Rockies to Calgary?

RV through Canadream. Very good and I think they hire out of Vancouver as well. Probably one of the biggest. I dont think that the space on this site allows a great deal of text. I will put together over the next few days and see how I get by. Would always be prepared to send via e mail Colin

Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: By camper from Vancouver through the Rockies to Calgary?

Colin ~

Anything you post on the public forum about your experiences, especially about an RV trip would benefit many others who read these forums and are planning a similar trip.

You don't have to post "a great deal of text" although I've never discovered how long a post has to be before it gets the chop. And I've seen some long posts/threads. You can certainly post quite a bit of text and you can split a lot of text into 2-3 posts, by replying to your own post to extend the thread in manageable bits. Writing in paragraphs would be very helpful to keep the text readable.

I would encourage you to post on the forums. And secondly, I would encourage you to post a new thread with a Trip Report of your recent trip. A Trip Report would then be added to the collection which can be found in the Top Questions on this forum, and would remain to help an unknown number of future visitors. You can see how long or short some Trip Reports can be in the itineraries in the Top Questions. The spirit of TA is to share experiences in order to help future travellers.

Colchester, United...
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8. Re: By camper from Vancouver through the Rockies to Calgary?

Agree. Will deal with over the weekend and see if we run out of space.

Colin

Toronto, Canada
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9. Re: By camper from Vancouver through the Rockies to Calgary?

If you're writing a long post, your best bet is to write and save it first on your local computer (in something like Microsoft Word, Windows Notepad, etc.) That way, if there's a length limit or any other glitch when you press Submit on TripAdvisor, all is not lost (literally) and you can just rejig what you've saved into separate smaller posts.

And if you're willing to take the time to write it up, definitely better to post publicly than to have folks contact you directly. There are plenty of people reading the forums who haven't joined TripAdvisor and will never post. (Hi, all!)

Colchester, United...
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10. Re: By camper from Vancouver through the Rockies to Calgary?

I have now posted my report and I hope that you can access it as I am unsure where it goes. It is all on one page and lengthy

Colin Armstrong