Travel hacks: Where to camp in your rental van

Travel hacks: Where to camp in your rental van

Where to camp in your Rossmönster rental van

Travel hacks • Information • Camping • Vanlife

This blogpost is dedicated to our renters who know exactly where they want to go, but are unsure where to park their home on wheels once they get there. We get a lot of questions about “good” campsites, and this blog is about using one of our favorite methods to find them.

We have partnered with the app/website called The Dyrt, which hosts an exhaustive list of all different types of campsites across the USA to help people like you find a spot to put it in park for the evening.

The app is free to download and use, but also has some paid features that can come in handy. We love the free version of the app, but if you try it out and would like to have the additional capability to search for campsites when out of cell range, download helpful maps, and get discounts on campsite fees, try The Dyrt PRO, and sign up through our link! This link will let you trial the PRO version for 7 days to ensure you like the paid features before officially signing up.

Our tips for using the app/website:

  • The search feature on the app is great for finding the type of camp you want in the location of your choice, and makes planning stops on your itinerary really easy. It allows you to select the type of campsite you need and filter your searches to save you time while on the road. There is a very large selection of “dispersed” campsite options, which are our absolute favorite at Rossmonster!

  • Using the map search feature allows you to visualize your planned itinerary very easily, and can help you decide how far you would like to drive each day of your trip to maximize your days and get in the most adventure.

  • In The Dyrt Pro version, you can use a search feature called “Pro Map Layers”, which shows a detailed map of free/dispersed camping on Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, and National Park Service land. We recommend these dispersed campsites because you have the freedom and flexibility to set up camp wherever you like, and oftentimes, you’ll find that your group is the only one staking claim to this little slice of heaven!

  • Lastly, if you so choose to sign up for the Pro paid app, you get access to campsite discounts and even pro deals on tons of outdoor gear!


Where to go, when you’re on the go

Where to go, when you’re on the go

Where to go when you’re on the go

What to do when nature calls while you’re on the road

Information • Camping • Colorado • Vanlife

What to do when nature calls while out on the road is a source of stress for many, though lately, this stress has been magnified by the backdrop of COVID-19. We set out to provide you with a quick guide to a few tips and tricks that we found make going to the bathroom on the road less anxiety-inducing and allows you to avoid relying on public restrooms along the way.


All of the options outlined below (besides the doggie bags!) are available on our camper van add on’s page.

 1) The Luxe Option: Rent our dry-flush toilet, (available as a rental add-on)

These fabulous thrones mimic your standard home toilet base, and run on rechargeable batteries. This means that yes, you can carry them to any scenic mountain-top to do your business, if your sick little heart desires!

Instead of flushing to your plumbing system, when you flush, your waste is sealed automatically into preset cartridges. All fumes/waste are conveniently sealed permanently by the toilet, and can be disposed of in any garbage receptacle. 

2) The Portable Option: Rent our collapsible portable toilet add-on (available as a rental add-on)

These gems store as a space-saving suitcase sized portable unit when not in use. 

Simply unfold and lock into place the “feet” at the base of the toilet, insert the associated waste bags, and dispose of waste when finished in the sealable bag.

Can store portable loo in open position, or fold back up into a small/conveniently-sized closed position when not in use. 

This toilet can also be placed at any private location for bathrooming with a view!

3) The Economical Option (though neither traditional nor for the faint of heart!): 

We here at Rossmonster Rentals will never be ones to scam you out of a good deal, even if it is a bit stranger than the other options! 

Any current dog owners already have a handy roll of the green eco-friendly doggie-doo bags, and these are just as functional for human waste with a little added creativity!

Grab two bags, line a disposable plastic cup with bag #1, insert deposit, and simply tie off bag #1 when complete. Bag #2 can be used to ensure safe/clean disposal of waste. Deposit in any trash receptacle. 

This option is the cheapest, space-saving-est, and will definitely give you a good story to share with your friends when you return from your trip, if you are partial to brags of this variety! (Or you can tell no one, and it will remain our secret…)

Salida & Sand Dunes: Long Weekend (4 day) Extravaganza of Hiking and Hot Springs!

Salida & Sand Dunes: Long Weekend (4 day) Extravaganza of Hiking and Hot Springs!

Salida & Sand Dunes Long Weekend Extravaganza of Hiking and Hot Springs!

Information • Camping • Colorado • Salida • Sand Dunes • Road trip

This itinerary was designed to make you feel like you have travelled far from the Denver Metro area without having to drive many miles!


Start at Rossmönster Rentals, and pick up your sweet new ride. Pack all of your goodies (e.g. snacks and jackets), and you are ready to hit the road!

Drive south on Hwy 285 through the lovely mountain towns of Conifer and Bailey, and start to feel the stress melting from your shoulders as your deep breaths make the magical transition from city to crisp/fresh mountain air.

Be sure to stop at The Shaggy Sheep roadside cafe to pick up a coffee and amazing homemade hand pie! Or plop down at the bar and grab a beer and a full meal from their lovely comfort-food menu to ensure you are fueled for the days’ adventures ahead.

Head to Cottonwood Lake Trailhead for a relaxed, high-elevation stroll beside a lovely creek.

Take a well-deserved break (strolls are hard work, right?) in a booth at the cozy Casa Sanchez in Buena Vista for a cold beer paired with chips and salsa (or opt for a bathtub-sized vat of margarita- we won’t judge!).

After all this walking and snacking, grab your swimmies and treat yourself to the incredible Mt. Princeton Hot Springs, which includes hot springs running adjacent to a crisp mountain creek. This setup allows visitors to “dial their own” mini hot springs pools by moving rocks around to create the perfect temp pool for lounging, as well as the option for a mid-soak refreshment dunk in the cold creek water.


Before heading to bed for the night, make sure you save room for a nightcap at the irreverent Woods Distillery in downtown Salida, CO. The bartenders will mix you up some magic, and if you love it as much as we know you will, take home a bottle of hooch to keep the memories alive!

Book a room at the recently revamped 50’s motel Amigo Motor Lodge or park your van at any of the seven lovely riverside Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Campgrounds for an evening in nature.


Awake to the sounds of birds chirping, grab an perfect cappuccino at Howl Mercantile & Coffee while perusing their lovely collection of locally made & carefully curated goods, and head straight for the hills for a heart-rate bumping hike on Tenderfoot Mountain for panoramic views of Salida and the surrounding area.

After hiking back down from the famous “S”, spend a leisurely morning taking in the sights of downtown Salida. It is a guarantee you will not be bored with all of the quirkiness to be found around town!

Pick up a few sandwiches and a homemade baked good or two at Sweeties Sandwich Shop before hopping the van for the next adventure!

Drive South again towards the Great Sand Dunes National Park, and be sure to keep your camera out for entertaining signs hinting to surrounding alien activity.


Photo credit: The Outbound Collective

Grab a campsite within the park campground, and collect your preferred Sand Dunes enjoyment accessories (these could be a set of beach chairs and a novel, or waxed-up sleds/snowboards/helmets for those desiring more excitement).

After an afternoon of sandy entertainment, head back to campground for a fireside dinner and possibly a roasted marshmallow or two. If you time it right, there might be a park-led presentation as well at the entrance to the campground in the communal firepit area!


Wake up early, chomp down a hearty camp breakfast, pack a big back of hiking snacks and a thermos of tea (don’t forget a little splash of whatever tasty libation you grabbed in Salida), and head for the hills to the east for Zapata Falls Trailhead.

This hike can either be a leisurely 2 mile out-and-back to check out the lovely cascading falls (bring water shoes!), or it can be extended to a grueling but rewarding ~10 miler to a pristine alpine lake with old miners cabins on the way. We recommend breaking out the thermos with bonus juices at the falls on the way home, it will feel quite deserved at this point!

Drive back down the mountain and choose from two sociologically fascinating hot springs experiences to soak your aches away:

Joyful Journey Hot Springs: interesting setup in the valley of several indoor/outdoor pools and educational information about the associated health benefits. 

Valley View Hot Springs: incredibly charming clothing-optional hot springs resort set in the hills- not for the faint of heart, but quite entertaining for the adventurous!

After feasting your eyes and soaking your tired bones, drive back to Sand Dunes Campground for a sunset picnic al fresco, and another campfire before retiring to your cozy van to sleep for the night.


This may be the last day of the trip, but that does not mean the fun is over! Enjoy your last morning coffee or tea amongst the majestic surrounding mountains, and eat a light breakfast (ahem- leave room for lunch!) 

Drive the reverse route north towards Leadville, CO, the highest incorporated city in North America at a stunning elevation of 10,200ft.

Make a pit stop at the Treeline Kitchen for a lunch of locally-sourced meats and veggies on their sunny rooftop patio. 


Photo credit: Trip Advisor

After filling your bellies, take in some local culture by taking your pick of one of Leadville’s plentiful museums.

The final adventure is a short but very steep jaunt up to Windsor Lake above Leadville, where your eyes will be rewarded for the effort your legs put in! Collect all of the crisp air your lungs can grab, and head back to the van for a scenic drive home on I-70. 

If a final meal is in order before the van check-in, be sure to pit stop at Aurum in Breckenridge for an incredible happy hour between 4-6pm; do not miss their killer burger and cocktail options!

With bellies full, legs tired, and hearts contented, drive your noble steed back to Longmont and share with us your tales of good times and adventures!

4 Day Jackson Hole Adventure

4 Day Jackson Hole Adventure

4-5 day Jackson Hole Adventure

Information • Camping • Colorado • Wyoming • Sinks Canyon State Park • Skiing

Upon considering an upcoming trip for several days of (hopefully) powder-filled skiing up in lovely Jackson Hole, Wyoming, we realized we had an awesome opportunity to load up an adventure van with our trusty hounds and a bevy of ski gear.


Given the total journey time of ~8 hours from Longmont, CO to Jackson Hole, WY, we planned for a a brief camping intermission above the quaint town of Lander, Wyoming in Sinks Canyon State Park.


As is an absolute requirement on road trips, we made a quick morning stop for a coffee resupply from Coyote Blue Coffee in Dubois, WY (not only good coffee, but an awesome blueberry scone!). Shortly after, we hit the slopes for for a few hours while we waited to check in to the Fireside Resort, a super cool spot with cozy and well-maintained cabins that some of our group stayed in and an RV park for van lifers (complete with very clean shower and bathroom area!). The absolute highlight was the piping-hot tub for apres-ski soaks for our tired bones, but all amenities were quite lovely (including the very thoroughly-stocked front desk mini-store for snacks).

Photo credit: Fireside Resort

That evening, we needed both beer as well as dinner to get us amped for our second day of skiing, and were very pleased with selections of both at the infamous Snake River Brewery in downtown JH. Fun memories were also recalled from this lively brewpub from a previous visit during their raucous Oktoberfest celebration!


This morning and for (many) breakfasts/lunches/afternoon coffees during the trip, we ate at the impeccable Persephone Bakery, which was as adorable as it was delicious (both locations!). Do not miss the lovely goodies for sale on the walls of their shop, and take home a bag of their homemade cocoa nib granola if you know what is good for you. A croque madame breakfast immediately topped the list of all time best pre-skiing meals, and allowed for us to spend an entire day in search of powder fields without wasting time to break for lunch.

That evening, we all piled in our trusty adventure van to an in-town dinner of Melvin Beer and spicy Thai at Thai Me Up in downtown Jackson, WY. The best part was a cuddle with the hounds on the drive home, as we were able to bring them to town with us and keep them cozy with the heater on in the van while we ate.

Photo credit:


We again started our day at Persephone Bakery, in an attempt to eat as many croque madames as humanly possible before heading home.

After another glorious day on the slopes (and finally making it up on the tram to see Corbet’s Couloir – not for the faint of heart) we packed up our things up to prepare for an early morning departure.

That evening, we enjoyed a final dinner at a restaurant near our home base called Calico Restaurant, it was a lovely space in an old repurposed church. Be sure to try a “Maya’s Cookie” for dessert, as it was named after a childhood friend of Rossmonster’s own Lucy J!


With tired legs and new memories to look back on, we pulled out of the Fireside Resort bright and early, managing to pull back into Longmont around 1PM.


For the purposes of this blog, we will be brief with this topic, however, let it be known that the dry flush toilet proved very effective during a morning testing session! An absolute essential item for van adventuring, we are very happy to offer them to our renters as an optional add-on. 

The only regret from our fun voyage was that we did not leave ourselves time to stop for a sleigh ride at the Elk Preserve on the way out of Jackson! Though, we figure this means we will just need to come back for another incredible trip to JH!

Our list of camping must-haves

Our list of camping must-haves

A Quick-guide to packing for your next campervan adventure

Information • Camping • Colorado

We set out to create a resource for some of those camping great-to-haves that so often get left behind or purchased once on the road. These items will neither break the bank, nor take up a ton of storage.

Photo credit: Tommy Lisbon 

Games: This is a biggie – camping is the best possible time to lounge around a cozy fire or on a giant rock in the middle of nowhere with your loved ones. While this is ideally entertaining without any additional props, you will inevitably run out of titillating conversation points. That is where games come in – the more active the better! We highly recommend “Slammo”, (which counts as your aerobics for the day), or Kubb, which was an absolute winner at one of our coworker’s outdoor mountain wedding celebration. Don’t forget just a plain ol’ deck of cards and a bag of dice too!

A really good book: Be honest, when else do you feel like you have time to really flop down on the couch in your house and luxuriate in a good book? We are guessing never! Included in this suggestion is the obvious addition of a hammock for ideal outdoor flopping! We like this one: Eno Hammock Roadie Stand that’s available in our list of campervan add-ons.

Journal & pen: When the inspiration hits from the lovely mountains, lakes, creeks, and stars above, make sure you have a journal and your favorite pen handy. Plus, it’s always great to have a pen around to keep score during games!

Headlamps: This is one of the easiest things to forget, but may be one of the most useful! You realize very quickly on a camping trip where most of your time is spent outside that the sun does not shine all day! (Cue midnight pee-break, you will definitely want a headlamp to guide your way to the bushes!)

Photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo

High quality instant coffee (or go-to Tea Bag): Though we are very much fans of taking the time to hand grind and prepare a precious cup of pour-over, there are mornings where you just have to get on the trail as early as possible. When you have this lovely item on hand, all you need is a speedy boiled pot of water and a stir of the spoon! We like this brand: Swift Cup Coffee.

IPA’s, can of wine & some good whiskey: Believe it or not, we’ve come across some canned wine (Underwood Wines) that truly hits the spot (especially while camping). We think a good drink is one of the best additions to a lakeside picnic or post-hike chill out. When it comes to beer, it’s hard to find one we don’t like, but Wibby Brewing is a local brewery right down the street from our shop, so we’ll take this opportunity to give them a shout out. And for the campfire at night, there’s nothing better than warming up with a whiskey.

Snacks: There is nothing worse than being on a long road trip without sufficient snackery. We love deli turkey, kettlecorn, dried fruits, and veggies with hummus.


Photo credit: Tyler Lillico

Slippers/Slip-on boots: There is nothing more satisfying than slipping cold toes into a pair of slippers or boots during frosty morning of coffee-making, or to relax by the fire before hitting the hay.

Hat/sunglasses/sunscreen: Please don’t ruin your otherwise wonderful trip by getting a sunburn!

Swimsuit & quick-dry towel: As much as we highly recommend a good nature-inspired skinny dip in a frigid mountain lake, there are some occasions where you accidentally wind up at a lovely hot springs and there are children around, you would kick yourself for not bringing a suit.

Hand sanitizer: There is no reason not to clean your hands well on a road trip (hello gas pump germs). This way you can feel less bad while licking the Cheeto powder off of your fingers while you snack in the car :). Dr. Bronner’s hand sanitizer is a favorite of ours.

Nail clippers: There is absolutely nothing worse than having a hangnail on a camping trip – nuff said!

Body wipes: Not that we believe showering is actually necessary on a good camping trip (that is part of the fun, right?), sometimes a swipe from a good-smelling body wipe or face wipe can totally brighten your day! Here are some of our favorites: Sea to Summit Wilderness Wipes, Summer’s Eve (primarily for the ladies).


rossmönster rentals • rossmönster rans • vanlife •  packing list • underwood wine • eno hammock • slammo • swift cup coffe • kubb • campervans