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Modified Vans and Pop-up Tents Are the Coolest Way to Camp
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Modified Vans and Pop-up Tents Are the Coolest Way to Camp 

RV makers have been on a roll lately. Between 2010 and 2019, annual sales rose from 242,000 vehicles to more than 400,000, as Americans’ cravings for wild spaces and time away from screens intensified. More recently, the RV rental platform Outdoorsy has seen a huge surge in demand: In May, nearly nine in 10 reservations on the platform were made by first-time renters. The site, which is like Airbnb for campers, says bookings were up an eye-popping 2,600 percent this spring.

Among the most popular RVs in recent years have been smaller, easier-to-drive models. Tapping into the trend, Mercedes-Benz in February announced the Metris pop-top camper van (fully equipped), with swiveling front bucket seats, a mini kitchen, and room to sleep four. The first deliveries are planned for this year.

For those who would rather ease into the vanlife, there’s the new Roofnest Sparrow, a roomy pop-up that fits on most vehicles with cargo racks, even smaller ones. The hard-top, canvas-sided system sleeps two and can also hold some of your camping gear, even when closed.

Even better, it sets up in less than a minute. And what regular tent does that?

A version of this story first appeared in the July 2020 issue of Travel under the headline A Better Way to Camp.

Mendoza, Argentina

This sun-soaked province famed for its Malbec also has top-notch rafting.

Margaret River, Australia

Known for its Cabernet Sauvignon, this remote wine region along the Indian Ocean draws surfers, too. The waterfront Smiths Beach Resort is within a short drive of 20 wineries. 

Northern Provence

The cypress-and-lavender-covered foothills of the Vaucluse Mountains make for scenic — and strenuous — hiking, on a route that On Foot Holidays has mapped through villages such as Le Barroux, Gigondas, and Mazan. 

Hood River, Oregon

This hip small town and wine region of the same name near Portland have dramatic terrain that attracts hikers, kayakers, and even windsurfers, who catch breezes on the Columbia River. The historic Hood River Hotel is within an hour’s drive of several epic hiking trails.

Prosecco, Italy

The hills north of Venice are perfect for pedaling, and the outfitter Dolomite Mountains does a weeklong tour punctuated by stops at wineries such as Marchiori and Sorelle Bronca. 

A version of this story first appeared in the July 2020 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline Go Wine Tasting, but Make It Active.

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