Western Canada is one of the best places in the world to go for RV camping. With multiple national parks, thousands of protected areas and provincial parks, and some of the most stunning landscapes and scenery you will find anywhere in the country, RVing through Western Canada is not something you will want to miss.
Whether you prefer to explore the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains, go fishing in crystal clear lakes, or take a trip to the Pacific Ocean, you can create unforgettable memories when you camp or RV in the area. With your stability pads ready, RV loaded and family ready to go, here are 5 of the best Western Canadian accommodations and camping areas:
Located in the Okanagan Valley, Shuswap Lake is an excellent place to go camping in Western Canada during the summertime. Whether you want to swim in the lake, rent a kayak and explore the water, or just relax in the summer sun on the sandy beaches, Shuswap Lake is a great destination for relaxation and unwinding. Since it’s located in the Okanagan, you’re close to wine country and wonderful cities and communities like Oliver and Enderby. For camping, the Shuswap Lake Provincial Park has a lot of sites and is recommended in the area.
If fishing is something you are passionate about, camping near the Campbell River is highly recommended. It is touted as the salmon capital of the world and lives up to its name. No matter what time of year you visit you will be able to catch stunning fish. There are a lot of places to stay on the Campbell River including the Elk Falls Provincial Park, home to a huge waterfall.
The Moutcha Bay Marina is also a popular choice since it is located at the start of the Nootka Sound. The Campbell River Fishing Village is another option if you would prefer to be close to the city centre and want a lot of amenities close by.
E.C. Manning Provincial Park
E.C. Manning Provincial Park is a popular family destination because it is only a few hours away from Vancouver. Situated in the Cascade Mountains, it is a park that can be accessed throughout the entire year. There are many outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, or fishing—many people visit this park because it is part of the Pacific Crest Trail. In the center of the park is a ski area and resort as well, making it a great place for RV camping during winter if you would like to ski.
Tofino is a popular town located in Western Canada and is known for being one of the best places for surfing in British Columbia. There are a lot of accommodations for camping in and around Tofino that give you great access to hiking trails near the ocean, going on whale watching (or bear watching) trips, or catching a few waves. Crystal Cove is one of the most popular RV camping destinations in Tofino but you may want to consider nearby areas like Ucluelet as well.
Haida Gwaii is one of the most breathtaking places on earth and highly recommended for any camping trip. With a temperature rainforest scene, the huge trees and surreal scenery are worth a trip to the area themselves. There are also beaches to explore, islands to hop, and thousands of years of local culture to be immersed in. There are many places to find accommodation in Haida Gwaii including the cities of Masset and Queen Charlotte. Misty Meadows Provincial Park is one of the best RV park camping grounds in the area.
Whether you are a first time RV user and want to see if the lifestyle is for you, or you have bought a motorhome and want to hit the road full time it is important that you keep safety in mind at all times. To make sure that you and your family stay safe when your wheels hit the road, here are a few things to keep in mind from essential RV parts and accessories to general tips:
Perform A Safety Check Before You Depart
No matter how experienced you are, having a safety check before you leave is one of the most efficient ways to prevent accidents. Since many accidents are caused by simply forgetting something, such as leaving steps attached or a hatch unlocked, taking a step-by-step approach will help stop common oversights:
Check your tire pressure before every trip, and examine your tire tread for any wear and tear.
Check batteries for any smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Do a brake test for both your parking brake and air brakes.
Check for fluid leaks under your RV or motorhome.
Make sure you have RV leveling pads.
Check your jacks and hydraulic jack.
Examine your oil and other fluid levels.
Disconnect all of your water, sewer, electricity, phone, and TV attachments.
Check your safety cables.
Make sure all doors are latched closed.
Make sure no burners are turned on, including the oven.
Take Corners Using The SAFE Method
Driving an RV or motorhome is not the same as driving a standard car, truck, or SUV especially when you go around corners. Due to the RV’s extra height and weight, it is recommended that you take corners using the SAFE method:
Slow down before the turn. Don’t try to slow down while in the turn. Slow down first then accelerate while turning.
Arc into the turn. Because your vehicle is longer you need to arc into your turns, but be careful with your signal lights so you do not confuse traffic behind you.
Finish your turns fully. Make sure that the rear of your RV or motorhome is past the pivot point before you straighten out.
Experience matters. The more you drive your RV, the better you are going to be. Don’t give up and keep practicing.
Use Proper RV Leveling Pads When Parked
Making sure your RV is level not only keeps you and your belongings from rolling around, it is necessary for things like an absorption refrigerator to work properly. To keep your RV level it is ideal to use a high quality synthetic RV leveling jackpad or level pads for your wheels. Without pads for your jack or wheels you could sink into the ground and get stuck, and wooden pads can break and splinter or cause damage to your tires.
Synthetic outrigger pads or RV leveling pads should be considered essential RV parts and accessories because they are as strong as steel to support even the largest RVs, they are light weight so they are easy to use, and they last for years and years without any signs of wear and tear.
Be Aware Of Your Height and Width
An extremely common RV accident is due to not remembering how tall your vehicle is. While it seems like a simple thing, hundreds of accidents happen due to this every year with RVs hitting bridges or an overhang. A great way to stay reminded of the height of your RV is to simply write it down on a sticky note or piece of paper and tape it to the dashboard. Every time you see a clearance sign you can glance down at the dash and make sure your motorhome will fit as a safety check.
You should also keep in mind that most RVs are much wider than a traditional car or truck. Many RVs are at least 8.5 feet wide, only 1.5 feet thinner than a 10 foot highway. On a traditional road that gives you less than a foot of room on either side of your RV so make sure you take extra care in traffic or on single lane bridges.
While a lot of people think that an RV or a motorhome is something to be used in the summer months, taking your RV out during the winter to see the wonderful winter scenery can be just as rewarding if you prepare properly. Because temperatures can get so cold during the winter, especially if you are traveling in areas like Canada, making sure that you winterize your RV and have necessary winter RV parts and accessories is important to prevent any damage and keep you warm. Here are a few tips to help you get your wheels on the road during winter in your RV or motorhome:
Create An Enclosure Around Your Holding Tank And Sewage Tank
The obvious issue with RVing in winter is the fact that temperatures can get so cold that it can freeze the water in your vehicle. This can be especially problematic for your holding tank and sewage parts. To make sure your holding tank doesn’t freeze, it’s recommended that you build an enclosure around it to keep it insulated and warm.
Building an enclosure is as simple as creating a frame around your tanks and using standard fiberglass batting as an insulator to keep the cold from getting in. By using 2 40-watt light bulbs inside the enclosure you can provide a heat source that keeps everything inside the insulation warm without using too much power.
Keep Everything Insulated And Replace Hoses If Necessary
In addition to keeping your holding tank from freezing, you also have to make sure that your RV or motorhome pipes don’t freeze up. In the sub-zero winter temperatures, water will freeze and quickly expand which can result in your pipes bursting. To prevent this, having foam insulator tubing are essential RV parts and accessories to keep with you. Make sure you are using proper RV leveling techniques as well to prevent nay water from standing in your pipes. If necessary, keep a tap dripping during the coldest nights as the small amount of movement can keep the water freezing within the pipes.
Have Quality RV Leveling Pads
In addition to having all of your pipes and tanks insulated so no water is able to freeze, you need to make sure you can properly level your RV. As mentioned, RV leveling can keep water from standing in pipes but it can also prevent other problems as well. If you park your RV at night when the air isn’t too cold, your hydraulic jack could freeze in the ground if it sinks in overnight.
Using a high quality RV leveling pads or a jackpad will prevent you from sinking into the ground. If you use professional grade jackpads designed to work with jacks on big equipment like a crane outrigger, you also eliminate the risk of your RV leveling pads cracking in the cold or sticking to jacks as you try to remove them before departing.
Have Backup Heating Sources Available
Obviously having a quality furnace available to keep your RV warm during the cold winter nights is preferred, but having backups is extremely important in case something goes wrong. If you are in areas where temperatures can get below zero, having space heaters that can draw power from your RV’s electrical supply can keep everyone warm.
In addition to spare emergency heaters, make sure you stock plenty of extra blankets. Electric blankets can be plugged in before sleeping to keep the bed warm, and extra blankets will keep everyone insulated through the night, even if the furnace stops working. Make sure you have enough blankets for all of your guests when you are packing up.
A Few More Tips
The biggest priority for winterizing your RV is to have all sources of water well insulated to prevent freezing. This includes your water tanks, sewage system, and all of the pipes. In addition to that, there are a few more things you can do to make sure you are ready for RVing in winter:
RV antifreeze can be added to potable water as long as it is the type designed to be human friendly. Having it on hand in case things get very, very cold can keep your potable water from freezing up.
Insulating under your RV is a great way to keep pipes warm because the heat from your RV’s floor will be trapped under the motorhome. Cutting out Styrofoam blocks that are the same height as your RV’s floor to the ground will create a great barrier from the cold.
Make sure that your RV has proper tires. The right wheels will give you traction even if the ground is frozen and prevent you from getting stuck.
Avoid wooden RV leveling pads. If your pads are made of wood, even the smallest amount of moisture can freeze in the wood making them expand and much more likely to crack and cause splinters.
When you take your RV or motorhome out for a trip, making sure you are level when you park is very important. Obviously you don’t want the discomfort of having your feet above your head when you’re sleeping, or have to deal with constantly rolling into the wall a night. The idea of all of your food rolling off the countertops when you’re trying to cook probably doesn’t sound too great either. RV leveling is not only going to prevent those issues, it’s necessary for your RV or motorhome to function properly as well.
Some appliances within your motorhome or RV need to be level due to their design. Refrigerators, for example, have a cooling system that is based on liquids inside the coils (typically liquid ammonia) being able to flow downward. Without proper leveling, this can’t happen and your cooling system may not work as efficiently as it is supposed to or even work at all. To ensure your RV leveling is done properly, whether you have jacks or just your wheels for leveling, here’s what you need to know:
Proper RV Leveling Pads Are Essential
When it comes to RV parts and accessories, none may be as important as your RV leveling pads. These are the pads that either go under the wheel of your vehicle when you park or work as a jackpad to sit under your jack if you have an automatic leveling system.
There are a few reasons RV leveling pads are important. If you are parking in an area with loose terrain, your wheels or jacks may sink into the ground. As time passes while you’re parked and you begin to sink into the ground, you will start to become unleveled and you can even end up getting stuck where you parked as you try to leave. Using an outrigger pad gives you a wide, sturdy surface that prevents your vehicle from sinking into the ground.
Additionally, RV leveling pads are easily stacked which make them ideal for leveling your motorhome if you do not have a hydraulic jack system. This allows you to easily adjust your vehicle to the perfect height no matter what kind of terrain you are in or how much of a slope you are dealing with.
Remember that the quality and type of RV leveling jackpad you have is something you need to watch for. Using a synthetic outrigger pad such as ours gives you a lot of strength in a single pad so you don’t have to worry about it cracking while being extremely lightweight. It’s not advisable to use treated wood for your stability pads as they can retain moisture, crack under extreme temperatures, and cause splinters when they fracture.
How To Level Your RV With Blocks The Right Way
If you have an automatic leveling system with a jack or multiple jacks, making sure you use a synthetic outrigger pad is still important. You want to make sure that your jack is perfectly centered on the jackpad, directly below your hydraulic jack so it sits evenly and eliminates any possible slippage.
If you don’t have any type of jack for your RV or motorhome, driving onto the RV leveling pads will allow you to level out your vehicle quite easily. Not sure how to do that? Here is how to level your RV on pads in 5 simple steps to guarantee safety:
Determine where you want to park your RV and park about 2-3 feet away from that point (this may differ slightly depending on the size of RV leveling blocks you have).
Set the parking brake and turn off your RV or motorhome so it doesn’t move at all.
Figure out which tires need blocks underneath them and how many of each you will need. You may need to adjust things your first few tries, but as you get more experience RVing you will quickly be able to gauge this by eye.
Place your blocks against the tire in the direction that you will be driving onto them, either at the front or the back. If you have to stack multiple blocks on top of each other it’s best that the pads are slightly offset so your motorhome can easily roll onto them.
Start up your RV and release the parking brake. Putting your motorhome in gear will let you idle speed up the ramp blocks very slowly and safely. Make sure you stop exactly when your tires are over the center of the RV leveling pads.
That’s it. Just check to see if you are level and put your vehicle in park and set the parking brake if so. If you still aren’t level, back off the blocks and adjust as necessary.
Remember, safety is a very important issue when leveling your vehicle. It’s absolutely imperative that you have high quality pads under your jacks or your wheels when parked and leveled. Our pads are designed to be as strong as steel at just a fraction of the weight, so you don’t have to worry about them cracking underneath you.
The blocks are also wide enough that they keep the weight of your wheels evenly distributed. If you use wood to level your RV and it’s too thin, it could damage the exterior walls of your tires which could cause them to blow out while you drive. With our jackpads and RV leveling you never have to worry about things like this because they were designed specifically for safety and strength whether used with an RV or as crane outrigger pads.