Roadtripper: Jennifer O.
Location: Colorado, USA
Vehicle: Jeep Grand Cherokee
My first foray into solo tent camping is what eventually brought me to my T.E. Lawrence Vintage Overland caravan. My husband and a buddy were riding the Tour of the Valley, a century bike ride, in Grand Junction one August a few years back. Since summer in the Colorado Mountains is short, I opted to take our two dogs car camping and hiking near Telluride and leave the guys to their ride.
The pups and I found the ideal dispersed camping spot off Silver Pick Road. The views of the surrounding peaks were stunning. After erecting the tent, establishing camp, settling down, and twilight set in, two archery hunters decided to access their chosen hunting area by walking directly through our camp. This unsettling experience left me feeling precarious. Since my husband’s knees were well worn from years of backpacking, skiing, and so on, he had switched to knee-friendly biking. I needed to find a solution to safely enjoying the high country alone with our dogs, because our days of hiking in the mountains together had come to an end. My creaky knees haven’t given up hiking just yet, and neither has my desire.
I began searching for a suitable solution when I returned home. A trailer made the most sense since I could unhook it and leave it at a campsite then drive up to trailheads, with sometimes nonexistent parking areas or sketchy roads. My original main trailer criteria were hard sides and the ability to lock all the doors. Sounds simple, right?
Well, after a couple of years of looking at various A-frame style trailers, all of which were too big and heavy with too much paraphernalia, I focused in on teardrop trailers. I looked at some well-known brands and found them disappointing. They all had inadequate ground clearance for the dirt roads that I travel in Colorado and Utah. Then I found their interiors to be cramped and poorly finished with unappealing linoleum-like products. The interiors were walled off, so the rear hatch door didn’t open up to the outdoors when lifted. This is part of why the sleeping quarters felt claustrophobic. Many had kitchens that were nearly useless for my purposes.
I had sadly given up on finding anything that would fit my needs, until I picked up our local paper one day and found an article featuring Vintage Overland. The caravan pictured on the cover was just perfect. So I contacted the Pursers and went to see a Vintage Overland, which exceeded my expectations. First, I found the design quite attractive as well as functional. It had beefy tires and the high clearance I needed. Second, pictures can’t convey just how beautiful the interior of these caravans are. The proportions are well designed with plenty of headroom, and the Baltic birch-lined interior is pleasing, calming, and smells nice. The craftsmanship is exemplary. Mine is cozy and comfortable inside.
I have taken my T.E. Lawrence on many “4WD Drive Recommended” Forest Service roads to splendid dispersed camp spots, often with mountain views. I’ve tucked in amongst trees, parked next to streams, and camped by wildflower-strewn meadows. The dogs and I enjoy opening the windows, dropping the hatch-door bug netting, lifting open the hatch and taking a rest after a long, strenuous hike letting the breezes waft through our caravan and gazing at the scenery. It’s so comforting to be able to lock up tight each night and sleep soundly, safe and secure to rise fully rested the following morning ready for another outdoor adventure.
My caravan’s other features are also just great: The solar panel; the Goal Zero charger; good lighting; the hatch area for gear and clothing storage when at camp; the spare tire; and the Fantastic Fan. I had Britton add two awnings that are quite helpful. My two-door T.E. Lawrence has opened my world up in new ways, to new adventures without any regrets.
“Another unexpected, unconsidered aspect I love about my V.O. is that it’s just the right height for easily entering and exiting. Surely, that’s dependent on one’s build. Yet, so many are just a few inches off the ground and not so easy to negotiate for geezer types, short or tall.” – Jennifer O.