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Caroline Whatley is standing on the left pulling her jacket open with her hands and looking at Erin McGrady who is also standing an pulling her jacket open while looking at Caroline.
Caroline Whatley (left) and Erin McGrady (right).

Authentic Asheville is a blog created by Caroline Whatley (she/her) and Erin McGrady (she/her) that reflects our passions. We are filmmakers, photographers, writers, and content creators who share stories about camper van travel, the outdoors, and what it means to take up space as members of the LGBTQ+ community. We are committed to making the outdoors a safer and more inclusive place for everyone.

Our blog started out in 2016 as a way to share about our Ram Promaster City van with a Wayfarer Conversion Kit. But over the years, as we’ve grown, we’ve expanded to include more articles such as gear reviews, the best places to eat and drink, and LGBTQ+ safe spaces.

We recognize that the land we live and play on, in what is commonly referred to as Asheville, North Carolina, is the ancestral land of the Anikituwagi, more commonly known as the Cherokee.

We’re happy you’re here. Welcome to our community!

Asheville Adventures

The best things to see and do in Asheville, North Carolina.

Best Places to Hammock in Asheville, North Carolina

There are so many fun things to do in and around western North Carolina. The region has miles of scenic trails, more…

Best Instagram Spots in Asheville

One of our favorite things to do when we travel is to find murals. It’s fun to walk around and discover them…

Best Outdoor Breweries and Bars in Asheville

There are a ton of great places to grab a beer in Asheville but if you’re looking to take advantage of some…

Camper Van Life Adventures

Stories and ideas from the road!

How to Choose a Van for Van Life

Ready for a new adventure? One that involves travel? And possibility living out of your van? We’ve spent many, many hours discussing,…

The Best Camper Van Bed is a DIY Bed

On our most recent van life adventure through Canada in our Ram Promaster City Camper we left our Exped Sim Comfort Duo…

DIY Van Window Screens

They say necessity is the mother of invention, right? Such was the case for our DIY Van Window Screens. We spent about…

Recent Adventures

Come explore with us!

The Best Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in Asheville, NC

Calling all vegans and vegetarians. Asheville has an abundance of vegan and vegetarian restaurants to choose from. Not all of the places listed below are solely vegan or vegetarian. Many of them have more than just one or two plant-based options, though, and a few are dedicated vegan spots. For those of you who need…

Best Places to Drink in Hendersonville, NC

The beer scene in Asheville gets a ton of attention but there are also a bunch of great breweries and wineries in Hendersonville, NC. (Hendersonville is about 35 minutes south of Asheville.) These are our top picks for the best places to drink in Hendersonville, NC. Whether it’s a beer or a glass of wine,…

A Gift Guide for the Outdoorsy Person in Your Life

It’s that time of year again when many of us are faced with the daunting task of purchasing gifts for others. We’ll help you take the stress out of things with our curated list. Each of these pieces of gear has been tested by us out in the field for at least 6 months, if…

Gear Reviews

Our top picks for camper van travelers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Solo Stove: Bonfire 2.0 Review

We recently had the opportunity to test out Solo Stove’s new Bonfire 2.0! This is the latest version of the already very popular smokeless fire pit. Keep reading to see our thoughts on this cool piece of outdoor gear in our Solo Stove: Bonfire 2.0 review. What are the Specs of the Solo Stove’s Bonfire…

Review of the Coleman Atlas Series 65-Quart Cooler With Wheels

Hey y’all! We’re back at it again with another gear review. This time the piece of gear we’re taking a look at is the Atlas Series 65-Quart Cooler With Wheels. Keep reading to see why we think this cooler is perfect for your next vacation, tailgate party, or sideline soccer game. Specifications Width: 22 inchesHeight:…

Sea To Summit Sleeping Bag and Mat Review

In this post we’re going to share our thoughts on the latest Sea To Summit Sleeping Bags and Mats. Specically, we’re taking a look at Sea To Summit’s Altitude AtII Sleeping Bag, Ascent AcII Sleeping Bag, and the Comfort Light S.I. Self Inflating Mat. Up until now we’ve been using Kelty’s Double Wide Sleeping Bag…

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