Best Winter Road Trips

4 Winter Escapes to Beat the 4 Season Blues

Don’t let winter put a chill on your outdoor adventuring. The so-called “off-season“ might be the best time to visit these Western hot-spots.

death valley dunes

Death Valley

Highlights: best time to visit, mild temperatures, hot springs.

Temperatures this time of year range from 40 to 70 degrees on average, with a monthly precipitation of .5 inches.

With temps topping 120, it's practically impossible to visit much of Death Valley in the Summer months, making winter trips ideal. Temperatures this time of year are almost perfect for camping. And with more mild temperatures, activities like hiking the dramatic, Eureka Dunes (above) and more remote overlanding can finally be done safely. And if you're still a bit skittish about the cold, a great way to cut the early morning chill or relax into an evening's stargazing is to visit the Saline Valley, where numerous hot springs offer a warm, welcomed oasis.

Big Sur ridge camping

Big Sur

Highlights: less crowded, milder weather, available camping, hot springs.

Temperatures this time of year range from 40 to 60 degrees on average, with a monthly precipitation of 9 inches.

Big Sur is know for its spectacular coastline and dramatic display of land and sea, but it's also known to be notoriously difficult to book a campsite. Luckily the winter months can offer a chance at reserving some of the finer spots, like Kirk Creek, Plaskett Creek, and Ventana campgrounds. And even if things still look tight, a passing rainstorm may keep many campers from honoring their reservations, offering up last minute spots to the intrepid and well outfitted. Also, make sure to check out Esalen and Sykes Hot Springs for some winter-time warmth.

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Yosemite

Highlights: less crowded, streaming waterfalls, seeing the valley covered in snow.

Temperatures this time of year range from 27 to 50 degrees on average, with a monthly precipitation of 6 inches.

With annual visitorship climbing to over 6 million, Yosemite’s popularity can be felt acutely. And while the warmer months bring the crowds, winter offers a rare opportunity to see the Valley in its raw and natural form. Head to the Park to see the waterfalls in full stream or the valley floor blanketed in a cloak of white. Nothing animates Yosemite’s towering granite walls and spires better than a passing storm, so if you’re up for a little precipitation and a lot of 'wow' moments, then winter is your season. We recommend visiting during the second half of February to catch the annual "firefall" from Horsetail Falls, where the setting sun appears to ignite the falling water as it cascades to the valley floor. Read more about when best to visit and where to camp in Yosemite

eastern sierra hot creek camping

Eastern Sierra

Highlights: Alabama Hills, Mount Whitney, remote hot springs, skiing Mammoth Mountain, bouldering the Buttermilks.

Temperatures this time of year range from 25 to 55 degrees on average, with a monthly precipitation of 1-4 inches.

With so much great stuff to explore in California, it's no wonder the Eastern Sierra is overlooked. Its unsung status as a vacation spot belies its sheer splendor and unique pleasures. There's world-class skiing, rare winter rock climbing, tons of dispersed camping, and sweeping views of the Sierra Nevada's rise from the Owens Valley up to the highest point in the lower 48 at Mount Whitney. We suggest you grab a beer cozy and head to one of the many backcountry hot springs, where even in the middle of January these naturally heated pools can hover around 104 degrees. Picture the face of Japanese Snow Monkey as it bathes in its snowy, mountain spring and you’ll get a pretty good sense of how good this feels. Looking to explore the Eastern Sierra backcountry? Read more about Dispersed Camping below.

5 Day Central Coast Road Trip

big sur road trip

Written by Meghan Young - Jul 30, 2018

If you are looking for world class adventure on land *and* the sea, the Central Coast of California is hard to beat. Here is how we spent a week of outdoor adventure, food and fun.

First things first, you need an epic road tripping rig, especially for bombing sand dunes and the unmaintained forest roads of Big Sur. We went with the awesome 4x4 Jeep from Pacific Overlander, complete with a rooftop tent. It was a beast!

Day 1, Ventura: Kayaking Santa Cruz Island

No visit to the Central Coast should go without a trip to the Channel Island National Park, and there is perhaps no more breathtaking way to experience them than by Kayaking Santa Cruz Island, the largest of the islands. 

The crossing to the Islands is spectacular in and of itself so board early for the best seats. If you’re lucky, you’ll see several species of marine birds and mammals as you push through the deep blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. Keep your camera handy. You never know when a friendly pod of dolphins will come say hi!

Road to Outpost Giveaway

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Win an Epic California Road Trip + All-Inclusive Badges To Outpost + Stay In An Airstream + Over $15,000 Worth of Gear

Few things are better than a great road trip, except maybe winning one. Which is why we are delighted to offer you a crack at winning our most epic road-trip giveaway to date. Together with the Outpost Trade Show and our friends at Harley-Davidson, we are thrilled to offer two unique Northern California road trips, one in a Pacific Overlander rig and the other in, you guessed it, a Harley!

And with prizes from partners like Harley-Davidson, Airstream, DJI, Merrell, Saxx, Roam, Topo Designs, Taylor Stitch, Mission Workshop, Fuji Bikes, and The Outpost, who wouldn't want to sign up.  

Outside Magazine Gear Interview

The Gear Pacific Overlander Uses to Build Badass Trucks

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Written by Graham Averill - 5/29/18

Thinking about designing your own rig? Here are some tips from a pro.

It’s safe to say we’re obsessed with overlanding. Combine the self-sufficiency of the pursuit with the sweet gear needed to live out of your truck for days on end in the middle of the wilderness, and we’re smitten. Mason Schreck understands the allure of overlanding as much as anyone. He’s the founder of Los Angeles–based Pacific Overlander, a first-of-its-kind company that rents off-road-capable and fully equipped trucks and SUVs.

“We’ve been building out trucks so we could sleep in them on surf trips through Big Sur and Baja for years,” Schreck says. “We just didn’t call it ‘overlanding’ back then.”

Schreck started Pacific Overlander in 2016 after a surf trip through Chile in a less-than-optimal camper van that didn’t have the 4WD capabilities to handle rough terrain or a burly enough rooftop tent to handle strong winds.

“The idea was to build and rent fully capable vehicles so people don’t have to own their own,” Schreck says, adding that he started the business with his own personal vehicles—his dad’s Defender, his wife’s Land Cruiser, and his own Tacoma. He now has a fleet of six Toyotas and Jeeps, and they’re fully equipped with the best overlanding gear on the market. Here are Schreck’s top picks for the gear to put on your own truck, in his own words.

ASN features Pacific Overlander

Curious to know who we are and how we came to be? Adventure Sports Network wrote a great article on our founding and vision.

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Written by Ryan Brower

San Francisco Company Offers Overlanding Rentals for Off-The-Grid Camping Experiences

Pacific Overlander removes the hassle of owning while offering the freedom an overlanding vehicle provides.

Mason Schreck grew up surfing and exploring up and down the coast of California. He eventually fell in love with Big Sur, not just for the surf, but also for the trails back in the hills that (back then) offered private camping.

“You could surf during the day and then take off and have a private camp," Schreck, 34, recently told ASN. "You needed a four-wheel drive then to be able to do that. My friends and I would do just that - it would be our 'secret' getaway back then.”

Unbeknownst to Schreck, this was his first encounter of many, with what he would come to learn was referred to as overlanding. Overlanding, as Overland Journal has described it, is “self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations where the journey is the primary goal.”

Schreck, kept embarking on various camping/road trips throughout Central and South America, eventually going on a surf trip with his brother to Chile in 2015. Renting a camper van, they came across limitations that sparked an idea.