So what do you do on a two week vacation when Teton Sports hands you the keys to a van, a wifi hot spot, and a gas card? You turn to your co-pilot and say, okay, it’s Your Lead!
And then you visit some National Parks, of course.
My #YourLead Road Trip with Teton Sports
In May, I announced I would be heading out on a two week road trip adventure as a part of Teton Sports’ #YourLead campaign. I am lucky my work let me go on such a long vacation, I started a new job in March and my introductory period ends in September…a two week vacation isn’t something a lot of people get take two and a half months into a new job.
During the Your Lead adventure, Alex and I visited Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Parks. We had a few moments where we considered adding more parks and destinations to our itinerary, but we decided to try and make our trip as relaxing as possible.
I’m not very good at relaxing, so having only a basic outline of our trip had me a little on edge. In exchange for this road trip, we agreed to “share the stoke” of going on outdoor adventures at some Sportsman’s Warehouse locations along our route. Knowing we had stores to hit and wanting to give them the courtesy of a day to expect us to arrive gave me a good framework for figuring out what parks to visit when and how we’d get there.
Thankfully, our trip (and Alex’s driving stamina) allowed us to knock out three of the stores on our list during our first full day on the road, so we could spend a long stretch of time at Glacier National Park before heading to the final store on our way to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. How’s that for planning?
A map of our #YourLead adventure
Here’s what our itinerary looked like:
- June 1 Fly into Salt Lake City, get the van, and head out!
- June 2 Drive from Lava Hot Springs through Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Missoula, to Glacier National Park
- June 3-5 Explore Glacier National Park
- June 6 Drive to Yellowstone National Park via Helena, Montana
- June 7 – 8 Cruise Yellowstone National Park, Head to Grand Teton National Park
- June 9 – 10 Hike around Grand Teton National Park, hang out in Jackson, Wyoming, drive to Salt Lake City
- June 11 Return the van, head to the airport, and fly home! Eat burritos to celebrate.
What was nice about this trip is we were able to adjust our schedule to what we wanted at the time. We decided to spend less time in Yellowstone NP than we planned because we hit a lot of the major things we wanted to see and we wanted to have a little extra time to hang out in Jackson, Wyoming, if we had the chance.
Originally, we were going to leave Grand Teton NP early on Saturday morning and haul ass to Salt Lake City in order to turn over the van and catch our flight, but after being nearly eaten alive by mosquitoes, we decided to drive into the city Friday afternoon to have a big dinner, shower, clean out the van, and repack our bags. It was one of the better choices we made on the trip, and it made our flight home more enjoyable knowing we didn’t have to rush to make it to the airport.
So, let’s talk about this van.
The #YourLead van is a Ford Transit that two of the guys behind Teton Sports kitted out to make it a moving home. You can tell that they put a ton of thought into each part of the build from the workstation at the rear of the cab, the straps to hold your gear in the back of van, and the mounted cot organizers for the bunk beds.
I was nervous to drive the van at first (the last time somebody lent me a van, things didn’t go too smoothly) but the rear-view camera and my experience driving big cars made my transition from chief navigator to driver a smooth one. The ride was smooth and it is very easy to park…Alex really wants to buy one for us to use on weekend (and longer!) adventures.
The very back of the van was like a command center.
This is where the Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Generator was housed (the solar panels were on the roof of the van), and that thing is a powerhouse! We were able to run the interior fan all night without the battery fully draining, which was necessary on warmer nights. We also used the battery to charge our electronics and to power the van’s interior lights.
Knowing what I know now, if Alex and I get to take Betsy out again, I will pack clear totes to better utilize the storage back there like Heidi shows in this photo. The best thing I packed for organization was a collapsible fabric box that we used to keep things handy at the front of the van. I used it to pack some snacks, travel books, and charging cables.
It’s a bit of a mess in this photo, but it was home!
It feels like climbing into a tiny cabin when you are inside the van. I loved the wood across the walls and ceiling of the van and the metal above the counter. The sink has a grey water reservoir that you can use to put out your campfires at night.
The drawers housed everything you need for cooking meals and some electronic goodies that we were encouraged to play with on our trip, and we used the extra space to stow our toiletries.
The bunk beds were heavy, but totally manageable for the two of us. Each bunk bed was outfitted with a super comfy camp pad and ridiculously cozy canvas zero degree sleeping bags, so going to bed each night was a treat on our tired muscles.
The mushy side of the Your Lead Adventure
As I follow the @YourLead_Van Instagram account to see where the van is headed next, I can’t help but be thankful for the few days we got to spend driving through new-to-us national parks. Our 1,550+ mile trip showed us parts of the country we haven’t seen before and we got time away from “real life” to talk about our first nine and a half years of adventures and trips we would like to take in the coming years. I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend two weeks with my best friend and favorite travel buddy.
If you’re interested in checking out some of the gear we used while on our trip, be sure to use coupon code KamAltar at checkout for 5% off your purchase when purchasing through the Teton Sports site.
- Camp pad – Because comfort is important!
- Camping pillow (with cover) I like the small size of these and think they’re a great addition to your car kit
- Trailrunner Hydration backpack – I like this small pack for stand up paddleboarding, because let’s be honest, I haven’t been a trailrunner since high school
- Mountain Ultra tents – I have a 1 person tent and a 2 person tent
- Rock1800 backpack is one of the most heavy duty day packs I’ve ever owned. This is part of the new Blackout line and it’s a great bag for everyday adventures. I like using this back when going climbing outdoors.
- Mountain Adventurer 4000 backpack is also part of the Blackout collection and was built with input from Teton Sports’ ambassadors, like me!
- Journey 40 ultralight sleeping bag Is a fleece-lined bag you can take backpacking, use as a sleeping bag liner if you’re borrowing a friend’s bag, and also makes a great blanket for car naps.
- Escape 4300 internal frame backpack – my current go-to backpack for overnight adventures. I won this beauty during my first time participating in #HikerChat many moons ago (I wonder if they’ll remember that!). Like all Teton Sports gear, this baby is ready for anything so I don’t hesitate lending it out to friends who need to borrow a bag for a weekend.
- Summit 1500 backpack After winning the bigger bag, I promptly ordered this bag to use as a daypack (it’s 25L) for weekend trips and day hikes.
- Deerhunter zero degree canvas sleeping bag – these are the heavy duty sleeping bags we used in the van. I wasn’t sure about the canvas at first, but when you’re throwing gear around, it’s nice to know nothing is going to rip easily. We rolled our bags during the day to great a daybed type situation in the van so we could read/lounge comfortably.
- ComfortLite inflatable pillow – a great options for anybody looking for something other than their clothes shoved into a Buff at the end of the day. I like that the pillow has a soft texture and I can adjust the amount of support it gives by inflating the pillow to fit my needs
- Cot Organizer – something I wish I had in my college dorm to hang next to my bed! I may or may not be adding one to my standing desk in my crafty work area.
Links to Amazon.com are affiliate links. Purchases made through these links may result in a commission for me. for affiliate-free shopping, visit the Teton Sports website (use coupon code KamAltar for 5% off your order). Their shop website allows you to purchase through some of your favorite websites without going through my affiliate links. I own the products featured in this post and know that Campfire Chic readers will get good use out of them. I would not recommend a product I do not feel would benefit Campfire Chic readers. Teton Sports sponsored my trip through several national parks and I am a member of their ambassador program, which means I may receive gear to help me go on more adventures. I want to thank Teton Sports for their continued support of close-to-home adventurers like me.