Did going dark side keep you from quitting camping?

Discussion in 'Going to the DARK SIDE' started by 97Widerider, Jul 18, 2017.

  1. 97Widerider

    97Widerider Making Memories

    Dec 15, 2012
    I am so tired of popup camper camping. It seems to be so much work. Putting the camper up the day before to load gear, putting back down, putting up at site, taking down, getting caught in the rain (almost every time at some point in the trip), worried if and when my camper is going to leak , storing gear back in garage , hoping I didn't forget to load something at next trip etc., etc. etc. I would love to just keep everything in the camper and only have to upack clothes and the food.

    Just as I am about ready to quit, my wife shows me a small aluminum hard side she wants me to look at. I am hoping less work will rejuvenate my interest in camping. I have three small kids who like to camp but it is wearing me out.

    Has this been the case with anyone? Did going with a hard side rejuvenate your interest when you were about ready to quit? If you did, did it make it better?
  2. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

    We virtually never pop up before the trip. If you are to the point where you hate pop ups then by all means sell.
  3. giadiep

    giadiep Active Member

    Sep 5, 2015
    Syracuse, NY
    Yes. We actually bought a Hybrid this year and have been camping once every 2 or 3 weeks. It does take the hassle out of packing, unpacking and popping - mostly (hybrids still have some work involved). We have 3 kids as well so our 3 bunk hybrid gives us much more space than our old pup or similar sized TT would. Just be careful with buying a "small aluminum hardside" that may be too small for the family. We realized that for us, we would have to have a 25' TT to be comfortable or a 20' 3bed hybrid.
  4. chambo

    chambo Active Member

    Apr 27, 2015
    Southern California
    I would hate it too if I had to pop up before and after each trip. Can you open your door when it's popped down? I kept mine fully stocked so all I need to pack are clothes and food, which go in the TV. Before heading home I clean it at the campsite, make a list of anything I need to restock before the next trip, and load up the TV with anything that won't stay in the PUP.
    All that being said, I recently went to the grey side and it is WAAAAAYY easier. The fridge alone is a game changer in that stuff goes right from the grocery bags in my trunk to the fridge/pantry in the HTT. Taking the PUP out of your camping equation will no doubt introduce some new challenges, but it sounds like it will solve your biggest frustration.
    Tracy D. likes this.
  5. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Well-Known Member

    Sep 9, 2013
    Kansas City
    Aside from a couple trips a year, we normally camp at one of two lakes about 1.5 hours from home. The lakes are 15 miles apart and we keep the Pup and our boat in a storage shed about half-way in between. Everything that goes back and fourth (food, clothes and fishing poles) goes in the F-150.
    Everything else we need we keep in the Pup.
  6. JPBar

    JPBar Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2016
    Setting up and taking down has not been a issue for me, but I don't have 3 kids either I have just 1 (5 year old daughter). Each time we go camping the smile on her face and the new things she learns makes setting up and taking down all worth it. If the PUP is not working out then get something that will. Good Luck on what ever you decide.
  7. Adam H

    Adam H Active Member

    Aug 22, 2015
    Coming FROM the dark side back to a PUP actually kept me from quitting camping...

    FWIW, Adam
  8. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    In our case, going to a small TT allowed me to not depend on DH to do a lot of the work, as well as continue to keep making solo trips. For my almost 60-year-old (at the time) back and joints, the packing, cranking of the roof, flipping galley, moving things around inside, etc. just got too difficult. Our pup was only 8', so there wasn't much space to leave supplies in it between trips, and I had to shift things inside to reach the bunk support poles, then move some to in-camp configuration.
    The TT has lengthened our camping season even more than the popups did, and making things easier has meant I take more solo trips than before. (I'm also determined to take solo trips while I can.) Do I miss the popup? - at times, last week it would have been great. I'd rather be camping in the TT than not camping. I can spend as much time outside, whether I'm camping in a tent, popup, or TT. We go to the same places as before, often in the same campsites we've used for all forms of camp housing.
  9. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

    Oct 15, 2006
    Graceville, Florida
    We actually camp more. Less fuss, easier to pack and unpack items, more secure, Ours has a bath room with shower and basically all the conveniences of home take about 20 minutes and all is set up and we are enjoying camping. We went dark after my 2nd back operation andhave never looked back. Good Luck and Happy Camping
  10. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2008
    We used the PUP no more than 4 times a year. Set up and tear down was a 1+ hour process. We use the TT 7+ times a year. Set up and tear down is less than 30 minutes.
    jumpoff likes this.
  11. yetavon

    yetavon everything is better around a campfire.

    Mar 11, 2010
    Western NC
    We did move to a Hybrid after 25 years of popups....Not because of set up...DW wanted AC Fridge and a Bathroom. Defiantly easier set up, and found ourselfs camping more often.
    With the Pups we found totes that fit when closed, and packing up everything went into its place and ready for the next trip. Clothes food and such packed in totes and stuck in the truck. only reason to pop up at home was to dry or repair.
  12. bsandey

    bsandey Active Member

    Jun 9, 2005
    Red Wing, MN
    Yes, it is a lot simpler to set up, and I can get it done a lot quicker. But that's not the reason I went to the Dark Side. I was ready to, and had a new pop-up on order, but issues with the dealer made me cancel my order. While I was looking at other campers (mainly small pop-ups and A frames), I saw the one I have now, and it fit my requirements, the biggest one being the weight. I don't have 3 kids either (I do actually have 4, but three are grown, so it's just one that goes camping with me in the camper at times - any of the others have their own tent they use if they go with), so the space wasn't an issue.

    As for forgetting items, I still forget things once in a while. Last trip, I had dog food all ready to go, but left it on the counter at home. Had to make a drive into town to buy a small bag. And one trip, I forgot the coffee beans! That first morning, we drove into town, found a coffee shop, and bought a bag of beans. I do have a lot that is packed up in the camper, but you can also do that in a pop-up. There is no reason you have to set it up and unload everything from it.
  13. JustRelax

    JustRelax Active Member

    Feb 20, 2013
    I was not going to quit camping but must admit that our 3 bed hybrid is much easier in the aspects that you are having issues with which is why we switched too. Everything does have its place and no more living out of totes and using the back of the vehicle as a closet is another added bonus to what you've listed as well. Also don't overlook hybrids as they are so much easier than a popup as well including dealing with the canvas. Good luck and I hope you find a solution that allows you and the kids to continue camping.
  14. 4xMeteor

    4xMeteor Active Member

    Jul 30, 2012
    Recently moved from a 8' popup to a 28' TT - love it so far. I also had to pop up before to load, etc... I would usually popup the weekend before to start loading and leave it up until the day we left. Load most everything by the night before, then pack and load ice chests the morning of, crank it down and head out... a major pain. I was not enjoying the setup & packing part of camping, so TT it is. Between home issues and traveling for work, we haven't been going as much but not because we don't want to. We picked up the TT in March/April and have a third trip planned in 2 weeks:) I say go with what you like - TT, Hybrid, popup, etc...
  15. NorcrossFlyer

    NorcrossFlyer Active Member

    Oct 26, 2015
    North Georgia
    We're in the process of transitioning from pup to TT camping due to the limitations of the pup. The set up and breakdown time is too great especially on a short weekend. I got to the point of hating 2 night trips because the payoff for all the work wasn't good enough.

    We just purchased a new 30'ft TT. Sub 5000lbs and no slides. What I'm looking forward to is putting everything I need in the camper before the trip by simply opening a door rather than setting up the pup. Food, clothes, everything. I also want the ability to stop at a Walmart or KOA for a night on a long haul trip. Scouting out hotels for long trips suck because you have to ensure that you can park your rig in their lot and not every hotel is set up for trailers. I also like the idea that if we pull in to the CG late at night I can just plug the thing in (Or not), go to bed and worry about set up in the AM. Absolutely no work is required to do that.

    What I will miss about the pup: Easy to tow and relatively good gas mileage. After 8000 miles with the pup I no longer have any anxiety about crowded highways or tight gas stations. It was cheap to buy, own and I could keep it for free in my garage (The TT will cost me $30/month which isn't bad). Honestly the limited bathroom facilities on the pup really didn't bother me. Sure having a full bath in the TT will be great but living with the cassette potty didn't feel like a drag on the experience. If I somehow totaled the pup on a long trip I would collect what belongings I could and then just dispose of the pup without any worry. There is a lot of freedom in all of that.
  16. West Coast Canuck

    West Coast Canuck Jumped to the dark side ......

    Mar 3, 2005
    I have to admit, I was tired of pup camping but hadn't realized how much until I bought a new TT in 2012. Set up is so much easier, still have the king bed and no canvas to deal with. Best part is having a on board bathroom as a bonus on long trips and we can still sleep and access our fridge
  17. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2015
    DFW, TX
    I haven't made the jump yet, but I am close to the point that I have narrowed it down to one or two specific floorplans. I enjoy my pup, more importantly I enjoy having a camper. However - I do think it depends on how you use it. As I have found, a great deal of pup owners camp without electric/water, sleep with the windows open and don't need or use AC that often. They don't carry near as much stuff as I do, and spend more time outdoors than I do. I enjoy getting out of the city, and I love hitting a campground. What I do not enjoy is staying at that campground the whole time. I am not a fisherman, I don't enjoy hiking that much nor do I bike. I treat my pup as a base camp with which to explore the area. We go to museums, visit small towns, etc. Often we will eat locally for lunch, and cook at the pup for breakfast and dinner.

    I don't build campfires until winter, and even then I am more inclined to not even bother. I prefer cooking on a stove or grill. If I want the ambience of a campfire I'll use my propane firepit instead.

    The issues I have are that my son and I are active with his Boy Scout Troop. Much of our gear is used for camping and in the pup. I can't store it in the pup, and I don't want to buy duplicates either. I have to pop up before every trip to pack, and because of the way the dinette and galley fold in, everything has to be put in just right. I have very little room to put stuff in when it is collapsed, and I can't get to the fridge unless I pop it up. Often when we get back we are too pooped to mess with the pup, so it will sit for a week until I have free time to pop it up, pull stuff out, etc.

    We are committed to still using it this year, but I see a small TT in our future. Our recent road trip to SD pretty much cemented that sentiment. We did not take the pup, instead relying on hotels and family we were visiting. No way could we have done the trip with a pup, but a TT might have made our trip a little easier in some respects, and a little cheaper. We shall see.
  18. cs1984

    cs1984 New Member

    Mar 7, 2016
    For us it has really made the whole camping process more enjoyable. Last year we got out maybe 4 times all year with the pup. We got a travel trailer in June this year and have already been out 5 times this year. We can keep mostly everything we need in the camper so all we have to do is load up clothes and food. Also, having AC has been a godsend on those hot days (especially when you have a site with little shade). Setting up or taking down camp in the rain is no longer a concern and having a bathroom and shower is about the most convenient thing ever (well next to convection oven for cookies!). We weren't contemplating quitting camping with our pup but definitely didn't look forward to it as much as with the TT.
  19. bsandey

    bsandey Active Member

    Jun 9, 2005
    Red Wing, MN
    I don't have an indoor shower, but I do really enjoy the setup of my micro-TT over what we used to have with our popup back when I was married. Almost bought s new popup, and would have really enjoyed it, but my trailer I have now is so much easier to set up, I will have a hard time going back.
    cs1984 likes this.
  20. Alice Mccutchen

    Alice Mccutchen New Member

    Aug 9, 2017

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