Travelogue: Weekend Camping with the Model 3

August 2018. California.

Late last summer we decided to head out of town for one last weekend getaway before the kids started back to school. So we loaded up our Model 3 for a weekend of camping in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

The Model 3 does not have the storage capacity of our other EV – a 2012 Toyota Rav4 EV, but storage in the Model 3 is similar to that of other mid-sized 4-door sedans like the Honda Accord. We got everything we needed for our family of 4 in the trunk, the frunk, and the space between the kids in the back seat.

9×9 tent, 4 sleeping bags and pads, 4 folding chairs, a cooler, dry foods and a box of knick-knacks.

Trip Logistics

The campground was about 190 miles from our town (~300 km), so easily reached in the Long-Range Model 3. But the campground was 75 miles from the nearest Supercharger, the route included an ascent of 8500 feet (all cars use more energy driving up mountains), and there were no destination chargers in the park. So I wanted to have enough in the pack to get to the campground, drive where ever we needed over the weekend, and then get back down to the Supercharger for our trip home. With the Model 3, No Problem

We started from home with 245 miles in the pack, drove 105 miles up to Corning, and stopped at the Supercharger for 50 minutes. While charging we ate an early dinner at the Olive Pit and picked up a bottle of Road Trip Red – this seemed like the perfect complement for our weekend getaway. We continued on our way with 292 miles in the pack.

We picked up some Road Trip Red from the Olive Pit during a pit stop at the Corning Supercharger.

The drive up to Lassen was beautiful. We enjoyed the scenery, drove into the park as sunset approached, and stopped to check out fumeroles at the Sulphur Works.

Views from the side of the road as we approached the park. Those hazy clouds over the horizon on the right were smoke from the Carr fire.


After driving 192 miles we arrived at the Summit Lake North campground with 164 miles in the pack. More than enough to get us home, especially considering that we’d be descending 8000′ on the way back.

We drove 192 miles to the campground and arrived with 164 miles of rated range in the pack.

We set up our tent, secured our food, and walked down to the lake to watch the moonrise in quiet stillness. Moments like that are priceless.

We sat by the side of Summit Lake and watched the moonrise after our tent had been set up and gear secured.

Summer Fun

We made this trips with friends, and there’s not much better than spending time outdoors with good friends. The next morning after breakfast we hiked over to Echo Lake, ate lunch, cooled off in Summit Lake, and then settled in for some campfire cooking. 

We hiked to Echo Lake, cooled off in Summit Lake, and enjoyed typical campfire cooking.

Sunday morning we got up early, prepared breakfast, watched the sun rise over the lake, and made plans for a final hike on Lassen Peak before heading home.

Sunrise over Summit Lake.

We took this trip when several wildfires were raging in California, including the Carr fire near Redding, CA. Smoke from this fire blew into the campground Sunday morning as we were packing up. The smoke was bad, too heavy to hike very far… I can only imagine how bad it was for those directly affected by the wildfire. Reluctantly we headed home.

The peak of Mount Lassen shrouded in smoke from the Carr fire.

Driving Summary

On the way back we stopped for 15 minutes at the Corning Supercharger, mainly to pick up another bottle of Road Trip Red at the Olive Pit. Our total trip was 385 miles; the car reported using 83 kWh for the drive; Supercharging cost $16.90 and could not have been more simple. No worries about range, and we managed to fit everything we needed in our Model 3. A longer camping trip for my family in the Model 3 would probably require a 2 inch hitch and a cargo tray….  so I’m seriously considering that for now.

The California wildfires of 2018 were ferocious. Many lost their lives, and thousands lost their homes, livelihoods, and possessions. Making a direct link between the fierce wildfires of recent years, climate change, and pollution requires extensive research. But, the evidence is undeniable that we need to reduce our impact on the environment as quickly as possible. Reducing carbon emissions by driving an EV is one way to make an impact today. Working together we can each do our part to safeguard the future. It is absolutely necessary that we care for the Earth in the same way we care for cherished possessions.

Ektor Rivera’s ‘Arbol de Vida’.