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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Forum Members:

I have noticed recently we have quite a number of Members that live or travel on Vancouver Island, BC.

The purpose of this thread is to promote a local Van Community specifically for “Van Island”. Hoping this can lead to local and locally traveling Van enthusiasts to meet-up, share local van related knowledge, trade, & generally help each other out with anything Promaster or Van related.

So I will start with this info on me;

I live on the Island in the Greater Victoria Area
I am currently waiting for Van #2 to be delivered which is a factory ordered 2021 3500 159” EXT

A word of caution; This is a public forum & consider that if you are posting personal information (IMO that is best done in a 1 to1 conversation).

Hope to hear from all local or traveling Members on Van Island.
 

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Good idea @RV8R ! You and I are already acquainted, but this is a great way to share info and experience with others hereabouts. Here's a few things to start with:

Back in 2017, Nanaimo Lowes was the only place on the island with poly-iso (1"). I haven't checked since then.

Marine supply stores can be a source of some "RV" parts. We bought our NovaKool fridge from TroTac Marine in Victoria. They actually had the model we wanted in stock. I believe they also stock electronics like solar chargers, inverters, etc. Bigger marine stores up-island may, too.

Lordco Auto Parts has a good selection of wire, terminals, fuses, etc. PrincessAuto (Langford) has bulk welding cable (2 and 2/0 AWG), smaller wire, and wire loom.
 

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Van #2 2021 EXT
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I’m up in Cumberland. Been waiting since last November for our van and it’s still not here LOL!
Hi @JCL

We ordered at the end of January & are being told to expect the van in Nov or Dec. So we are utilizing this time to research and design.

Are you planning on converting your van into a camper or some other use?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Good idea @RV8R ! You and I are already acquainted, but this is a great way to share info and experience with others hereabouts. Here's a few things to start with:

Back in 2017, Nanaimo Lowes was the only place on the island with poly-iso (1"). I haven't checked since then.

Marine supply stores can be a source of some "RV" parts. We bought our NovaKool fridge from TroTac Marine in Victoria. They actually had the model we wanted in stock. I believe they also stock electronics like solar chargers, inverters, etc. Bigger marine stores up-island may, too.

Lordco Auto Parts has a good selection of wire, terminals, fuses, etc. PrincessAuto (Langford) has bulk welding cable (2 and 2/0 AWG), smaller wire, and wire loom.
Thanks @SteveSS

I will add to your list of suppliers;

Propex Propane Heaters & Hot Water Tanks



Polyiso & many other products “Roofmart” Victoria & Nanaimo



nuts & bolts & screws (if you need to get McMaster Carr items) try Fastener Force Victoria;



Cabinet Grade BB Plywoods; PJ White

77157



Cabinet Hardware “Etc”; Richelieu “Victoria” (I assume they are up Island as well



Plywoods & Stains & All Sorts Good Stuff;




Aluminum & Metals;




Local RV Shop (I like these Guys) - Fennell's RV;



RV Parts Canada;



Truck Fridge (Canada);



Not Local - But Really Good (read expensive) Composting Toilets;



Which brings me to an inexpensive way to Import from the USA to Victoria

Seawings;


77158
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Some other items;

80/20 - Abbotsford (mainland)



All Battery (Where I buy my Rolls AGMs);

77160


CRL Windows (Where I get Mine);



Wheel Well Fresh Water Tanks (& other stuff) - Curious Campers (Penticton);

 

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Wheel Well Fresh Water Tanks (& other stuff) - Curious Campers (Penticton);
I got my SOK lithiums from them. They have DIY roof rack brackets and Thinsulate, too. They're in Penticton.
 

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Hi @JCL

We ordered at the end of January & are being told to expect the van in Nov or Dec. So we are utilizing this time to research and design.

Are you planning on converting your van into a camper or some other use?
I want it for various uses so it will have a modular bed for the wife and me and a small bed for my daughter that I can remove in about 15 minutes. Looks like I’ll have all winter to work on it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I want it for various uses so it will have a modular bed for the wife and me and a small bed for my daughter that I can remove in about 15 minutes. Looks like I’ll have all winter to work on it!
A Winter Build; I am assuming the same for me. My 1st van was about 70% research/design & 30% build time. So since Feb 2021 I have been slowly working on the research/design. 2nd time around is quite a bit easier. I am now in the process of trying to “negotiate” colours & finishes with my Wife. If I can get those resolved I can start to fabricate some of the cabinet / fitments work before the van arrives.

@SteveSS & I are both in the Greater Victoria area ( as is my Buddy @CDN_PM who is working on his 2021 159” ). The Forum is a wonderful place to get or vet ideas. Local knowledge to obtain materials & equipment can be very helpful.

Good Luck with getting your van soon & your build !!
 

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A Winter Build; I am assuming the same for me. My 1st van was about 70% research/design & 30% build time. So since Feb 2021 I have been slowly working on the research/design. 2nd time around is quite a bit easier. I am now in the process of trying to “negotiate” colours & finishes with my Wife. If I can get those resolved I can start to fabricate some of the cabinet / fitments work before the van arrives.

@SteveSS & I are both in the Greater Victoria area ( as is my Buddy @CDN_PM who is working on his 2021 159” ). The Forum is a wonderful place to get or vet ideas. Local knowledge to obtain materials & equipment can be very helpful.

Good Luck with getting your van soon & your build !!
Cheers RV8R. Good luck to you too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
For Those Vanners Who Hike:

We are fortunate to live in the Capital of British Columbia where there are many great hikes (mountainish) that are right amongst us in the Greater Victoria Area.

77560



Mount Doug
Mount Work
Mount Finlayson
East Sooke Park "Not a mountain, but a good one as it is up and down trails along a sometimes rocky ocean trail.


These are from Mount Work yesterday


77562


Right Under this sign was a Covid 19(84) sign. The (84) was spray painted after the 19 - I suppose in support of "George's" book


In the distance at the summit looking across at Washington State's Olympic Mountains
77561


If any of you Vanners have some great places on "Van Isle" to visit while out on your van trips please share here

😁 🙌
 

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2019 Promaster 3500 Silver high top 159"
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I would like to come up to the island this fall/winter and do some coastal camping/hiking.

I have been to the Tofino area a few times pre-van. I didn't get a sense of dispersed camping possibility. It is beautiful, but an all day drive for me from Seattle. I have no issue with splurging on deluxe accommodations and a fine dinner every three or four days... But I would really like to experience a solid coastal storm sometime.

Anyway, do you have suggestions where I should focus my plans for my first post pandemic visit to BC? Either the black-ball out of Anacortes or the BC ferry out of Tsawwassen works for me.

TIA
 

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Actually the Black Ball (Coho Ferry) runs from Port Angeles to Victoria not from Anacortes. The Anacortes Ferry to Sydney, BC is a Washington State Ferry. Neither is currently operating. The Coho Ferry is scheduled to resume service from Port Angeles on November 8 and will shut down for annual maintenance for 2 weeks in January. The Washington State Ferry out of Anacortes to Sydney will not resume service until some undetermined date in 2022. The BC Ferries Tsawwassen-Schwartz Bay (Victoria) is apparently running a normal schedule, so may be your best option for travel this winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I would guess for winter storms Tofino is a popular spot. The Island has lots to offer for van trips.

In Victoria there are local regional camping, but I am not sure the open/closed status. You can contact the CRD for that info;


Ferries; Well that is a bit of a toss up. Border line times, schedules, what route you want, & where you are going on the Island kinda dictates. BC Ferries will get you to “Victoria” or further up island to “Nanaimo”. Anacortes is nice. Black Ball sometimes seems like a cluster, we will take it if heading south & want to skip the Seattle area traffic or go the long way around by the West Coast.

Mid Island Rathtrevor is usually open & winter rates are something like $13/night


Mostly, we overnight at a reststop but depending where on the island you are going.

There is Pachena Bay as well (North West side of “The West Coast Trail”). Not sure of the camping status;


WCT;

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Actually the Black Ball (Coho Ferry) runs from Port Angeles to Victoria not from Anacortes. The Anacortes Ferry to Sydney, BC is a Washington State Ferry. Neither is currently operating. The Coho Ferry is scheduled to resume service from Port Angeles on November 8 and will shut down for annual maintenance for 2 weeks in January. The Washington State Ferry out of Anacortes to Sydney will not resume service until some undetermined date in 2022. The BC Ferries Tsawwassen-Schwartz Bay (Victoria) is apparently running a normal schedule, so may be your best option for travel this winter.
Yup;

 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
West of Victoria there is the Juan De Fuca Trail;


Victoria, Sooke, Jordan River (camp spots - not sure what is open - popular), & near Port Renfrew;

Also, there is a paved road between Port Renfrew to Chowichan Lake & from there you can go inland towards Duncan/ Nanaimo. There are pull off areas you could boondock just off the pavement.

Further up island is Strathcona Park (near Campbell River).

BC Parks

IIRC Vancouver Island is as large as Costa Rica, so there is lots to see.
 

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2019 Promaster 3500 Silver high top 159"
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Actually the Black Ball (Coho Ferry) runs from Port Angeles to Victoria not from Anacortes. The Anacortes Ferry to Sydney, BC is a Washington State Ferry. Neither is currently operating. The Coho Ferry is scheduled to resume service from Port Angeles on November 8 and will shut down for annual maintenance for 2 weeks in January. The Washington State Ferry out of Anacortes to Sydney will not resume service until some undetermined date in 2022. The BC Ferries Tsawwassen-Schwartz Bay (Victoria) is apparently running a normal schedule, so may be your best option for travel this winter.
Doh, I was being geographically dyslexic. Thanks for the correction. I never considered the Anacortes ferry as I assumed it was a milk-run - plus the Washington ferry system is dysfunctional right now.

Thanks for all the suggestions. Time to pull out the maps and make some calls. I would prefer non-campground, but at this time of the year that might be an Ok choice. Certainly the Washington coastal campgrounds are sparsely populated during winter months but they helpfully close down most spots and crowd the remaining campers together. I prefer trail-head and beach access overnight camping as I typically move from spot to spot each day and even busy places tend to empty out at night.

I recall a lot of undeveloped and wide open camping in BC from 20-40 years ago. I have checked a bit around Squamish and my favorites have become limited access, fee + host areas. Those boomers and their spawn... :rolleyes:
 

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We tend to boondock in the summer when all the campgrounds are full/crowded. We do campgrounds Sept thru mid-June, when many are also 1/2 price for seniors. A few close for the winter, so check their websites first. Lots of hiking on the south half of the island. Some of our favourites: Cowichan River has a huge trail system (bike and hike) and a nice provincial campground open all winter (no water/dump). We also love winter hiking/camping on the Gulf Islands. Salt Spring, Galiano, and Gabriola are our favourites. Goldstream CG is great for out-of-towners visiting Victoria.

BTW, the free Android GPS app, MapFactor Navigator (for cars), uses free OpenSource maps. The OpenSource maps for BC include most major trails and are usually quite accurate. We hike with it all the time. No cell reception needed.
 

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Was pleased to see that crossing the border (US -> Canada) a month ago was easy as can be. In fact we drove up to the Peace Arch crossing and there was literally no other cars there. None. It was like a scene from an apocalyptic movie. 60 seconds later we were accelerating to highway speed towards Desolation Sound. Now that we have that under our belt, you can probably expect some extra van traffic on your beautiful island in the future. There are a few sounds on the west coast that I would like to visit with a kayak. Appreciate the tips/advice.
 
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