Camping vs. Traveling

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by CarlaCB, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    One of the main reasons we bought a camper was to avoid hotels/motels and the little pest that people leave there. The last time I tried to book a hotel for vacation I couldn't find one that didn't have complaints of roaches, bed bugs, or both. We chose a PUP because a TT to sleep our family would be huge. I'll gladly do a minimal setup for an overnight stay. It takes less than 30 minutes to setup for sleeping. Sometimes it takes that long to check into a hotel.
     
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  2. Sotovoce

    Sotovoce Active Member

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    Your towing capacity makes a huge difference. The setup/take down of an A-frame is no problem for a small female solo traveler. I am 5' 2" and have done it on a 3,000 plus round trip with mostly one night stops and a much bigger camper than you are considering. Ours is the large Expedition because hubby is almost 6' tall. If it were just me, I would fit in a Ranger 10 with dual bunks (so one could stay a dinette). I know several who have added multiple dogs and cats to the mix in that sized camper.
    We don't have dormers and you usually don't need them to add usable space. In most A-frame campers dormers add visual space and some ventilation but also weight. These A-frame campers have really high ceilings where you need them in the middle anyway.
    Storage space is limited. It is key to pack the camper with a backpacking mentality (only what you need, weight evenly distributed, low and mostly over the wheels). Plan ahead to have what you will need during the travel day in the tow vehicle. Opening the roof and walls takes less than half a minute. On that 3,000+ mile trip I only disconnected the camper from the tow vehicle when the truck needed an oil change. The rest of the setup (leveling and hookups) takes longer without a partner, but you would have that with any camper. You can do this.
     
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  3. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    We try not to do hotels. If we are going somewhere that requires an overnight, I find a nearby park and make reservations. In a perfect world, we would stay at least two nights in a location, but it's not a huge deal to just do a one-nighter. Better than sleeping in a hotel bed that has cooties.

    If you do decide on a hotel, back your trailer in and block it with your tow vehicle. And have several good locks on the hitch and/or wheels.
     
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  4. crackerJack

    crackerJack Well-Known Member

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    We did hotels on overnight cross country trips. We prepacked the hotel night bag, so we could drive as long as possible, check in, sleep and go.
    Now with the our new hybrid, we are not planning on hotels. It can stay hooked up to the TV. So in theory it will be pull over and sleep.
     
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  5. penny

    penny Well-Known Member

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    I really dislike staying in motels in so many ways! I really love the ease of packing and comfort of having our accommodations going with us.

    We traveled for years in our VW Rialta. It was so perfect in so many ways. We would literally park and stay, pretty much anywhere. completely self contained, pretty small but all the comforts you could ask for. We loved to camp in it and travel in it. When we started to realize it was getting to be a very high milage vehicle, and harder and harder to find parts or mechanics, we reluctantly sold it.

    I often travel alone to see our kids and didn't want to attempt to set up the pup by myself for an overnight while traveling to a destination. Also, I'd feel vulnerable overnight in a pop up at a rest area or parking lot. For us, a travel trailer is the perfect solution. It is quick, easy and more secure. I miss the Rialta, didn't even have to get out of the vehicle to go to the bathroom or fix a meal.

    I see a lot of the newer van based RVs are very nice for touring and camping, but the price is hard to take, and one more vehicle to maintain.
     
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  6. yetavon

    yetavon everything is better around a campfire.

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    We moved from a Popup to a Hybrid for this reason. Large u dinet makes a true usable bed, slide can even stay in, full access to everything.
    Can even drop a bed without unhooking. 2 week trip from NC to ME coming up.
     
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  7. CarlaCB

    CarlaCB Member

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    Thanks to everyone for your responses to my post. I ultimately made the decision to buy a pop up, and to look for an older model to stay under my tow limit (2000 lbs) since there seem to be more lighter pop up models made in the earlier years than recently. I settled on a 1999 Coleman Redwood. Its dry weight was listed at 1400 lbs, but mine is somewhat lighter because the previous owners got rid of the fridge, awning, stove and battery. I got rid of the propane tank as well.

    I took it on a one-night camping trip and decided I probably won't do that again, at least not in the Florida heat, and not until I get much faster at set-up and take-down. It was physically too much. On the other hand, I'm retired and there's nothing to stop me from staying a minimum of two nights at each stop along the way. Also, I do have the option of sleeping in my van and not setting up at all if I only have one night. I took the seats out of my van and put in a comfy bed and porta-potty. I originally intended to camp in my car only, but I found there just isn't enough space for all the stuff (clothes, food, bedding, cooking equipment, cooler, water jugs, chair and table, etc.) I would need for longer trips. Having the bulk of the equipment stowed in the pop-up would actually make it easier to camp in the car if necessary once in a while.

    Altogether, I'm very happy with my little home on wheels. I would never have had the confidence to take this step without all the good advice and information from this site.
     
  8. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    Maybe as an option you might try this:

    https://slumberjack.com/roadhouse-screen-tarp/

    I saw one in the store the other day, and initial reviews from the overlanding folks seem to be pretty good. I plan to get one myself as it would come in handy on a couple scout trips where I may have the ability to use it in conjunction with my Aspen. If you can organize gear to easily moved bins then you could easily pull them out and stack inside the screen house while you sleep in the van.
     
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  9. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Some also use a drill to rasie and lower there top and stabilizers. So that can help with the set up part.
     
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  10. CarlaCB

    CarlaCB Member

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    I have seen that (in videos), but actually the stabs and the roof are the easiest part. They work easily with the cranks and take very little time. The hardest part for me is pulling out the beds, getting the canvas secured and the putting up the bed supports. One of my bed supports actually got stuck in the crack between the bed and the camper frame, making it impossible to move either in or out without a lot of effort. What a pain!
     
  11. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Lube up the bed slides. That helps. The tricky part is the poles. Can you lift the slide with you shoulder? Like put the corner on it and lift with your legs? I use my back as its easiest for me. Canvas ,is a bit tricky if your not tall, maybe tou need something like a small step or aluminum platform. It takes time to get it down and easy.
     
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  12. CarlaCB

    CarlaCB Member

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    Thanks for this advice. Yes, I do duck under the beds and lift with my back to get the support poles in place. I did not think of lubing the bed slides. What do you use for that? Thanks.
     
  13. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Any dry lube. So i used a silicone spray for garage doors. They make stuff specific for the rails. But you want something dry so gunk doesn't stick to it.
     
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  14. CarlaCB

    CarlaCB Member

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    Thank you, I will do that!
     
  15. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    I used white spray grease, will not make that mistake again. Slid good, but I got grease on me every time I setup the PUP. Cleaned up and relubed with spray dry lube and it works just as good without the mess.
     
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  16. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    Mine is a pain as well. The aluminum cross brace on my front bunk has a bow in it that got worse this year to the point that I couldn't get it back in. Was able to use a ratcheting cargo bar to tweak it in the middle to get it to cooperate but I fear I may need to fab a replacement.

    I find it to be too much work for one night stops, especially if it is en route on a longer trip.
     
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  17. kgesiako

    kgesiako Active Member

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    While you do that you may want to look for any grease fittings for your roof cables and lift system. Usually under the trailer.
     
  18. CarlaCB

    CarlaCB Member

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    I had to google "grease fittings", but thanks!
     
  19. BBQdave

    BBQdave Active Member

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    CarlaCB, I travel solo from NC to OH to help family and visit. If you find yourself traveling through NC and WV, the mountains are cool in temp and pleasant camping.

    I drive between 4 to 5 hours, which places me in WV and nice camping, cooler Summer temps. I pick a State Park with showers and hiking :) My tent does not take long to set up, and I have a sub sandwich in the cooler for dinner. The hike is nice to refresh and stretch my legs.

    In the morning, coffee and a granola bar, pack up, and travel on to Ohio :)

    I've been thinking MI and Summer camping with friends. You'll have to post your experience, camping in MI :)
     

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