Dark Side is Good Side

Discussion in 'Going to the DARK SIDE' started by rjhammetter, Jul 24, 2019.

  1. rjhammetter

    rjhammetter Husband, Dad, Engineer & Camper

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    Not sure if this goes in "Let me tell you about my trip" or "Going to the Dark Side." It's mostly promoting the Dark Side.

    Our first trip with new TT is in the books and we couldn't miss the PUP any less.
    • Day one: Tow through Chicago, heavy stop & go traffic, 95F heat wave, heavy winds, all non issues. Our Odyssey handled it so well. Cruising around 60 mph. Back into site, level, plug in electric, hook up water, extend awning and slide out. Open bag chairs, sip beverage, enjoy scenery, watch kids playing.
    • Night one: hot, terrible storms, loud thunder and bright lightning, but family cooked dinner and ate inside with cartoons on the TV. We slept great thanks to A/C keeping it cool and providing white noise over the storms.
    • Rest of week: perfect weather, swimming, playing, campfires, more of the same. Towing home went just as well being only 80F and less windy.
    Key takeaways:
    • OMG is it nice to have enough space to exist happily out of the rain. The physical protection and noise insulation from wind, rain and thunderstorms is nice too.
    • OMG is having a kitchen nice. Our PUP stove always went outside and never came in. The fridge was too small to use, so food stayed outside in a cooler (getting wet in melting ice). This kitchen is an amazing upgrade. Now, we have a stove, microwave and fridge to make dinner and breakfast without ever leaving the trailer. Oh and our fridge has a freezer that can make our own ice cubes! No more buying bagged ice!
    • OMG, whether it's the rain, middle of the night or middle of the day, having a bathroom is an amazing upgrade. No more dark, cold walks to the outhouse, or grabbing an umbrella and flashlight to walk to the toilet to do your business.
    • OMG, even if the shower stall is ridiculously small and the shower head is low on the wall, just having a shower is delightful. No more gross campground facilities, hair, bugs, shower sandals, etc. Every day starts or ends clean after a quick Navy shower.
    • Dumping grey and black tanks isn't as gross as anyone suspects. In fact, if you even see or spill any water at all, it means you probably did something wrong. It's totally sealed, easy and clean.
    • Setting up our TT for camping took about 30 min. Setting up our PUP for camping used to take 2 hours. Tear down is same way. No more rolling up sleeping bags, breaking down tables, packing up totes, moving stove and closing the PUP. TT was mostly sliding stuff in, loading stuff into Odyssey and disconnecting from hookups. Took under 30 min compared to PUP over 1hr.
    • When we got home, we backed TT into driveway to empty fridge and clean it out. This is an awesome feeling after years of getting home with the PUP and having to set it up merely hours after closing it up simply to clean it, dry out canvas or winterize it.
    Literally, the only TT drawbacks compared to a PUP are towing (which isn't even that bad) and storing it (if you live in a neighborhood that doesn't allow parking it in driveway).
     
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  2. eoleson1

    eoleson1 Well-Known Member

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    I have to echo each and every sentiment. Having moved to the dark side this spring, I felt the exact same way when we started using it. The only thing I have an issue with is the power my TV has. It stops great and handles great with the TT behind, but I wish I had a few more horses under the hood. Maybe after we pay off the TT, we'll think about a new TV.

    BTW, you should update your signature to reflect the new unit.
     
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  3. J Starsky

    J Starsky Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the Dark Side!!! It's nice here, you'll like it just fine!
     
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  4. Shaman1

    Shaman1 Well-Known Member

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    Have to agree with all of you. Best summed up in one word "convenience". I got caught in construction for 2 hours once in Colorado. Pulled into the no facilities rest area off the freeway. The whole family had a bathroom break, lunch and I took a nap. No unhitching no popping up, just convenience.
     
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  5. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Glad you are enjoying it!

    Don't forget to test out dry camping. Having all the hookups is nice, but being able skip the hookups opens it up even more.
     
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  6. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Well-Known Member

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    Our TT or is it an enclosed trailer? Has no water and no power accessories but does have a heater. Fancy? :grin:
     
  7. nineoaks2004

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

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    Glad you are so pleased with the decision to go dark There are many reasons to go dark, mine was mostly medical and age and the easier /faster set up and take down time, the extra amenities also helps. There are plus and minus
    for both and we all have to weigh our wants and needs. I only gets better with time.
    Good luck and Keep on camping
     
  8. Buckmaster81

    Buckmaster81 Active Member

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    Sounds like a TT fixes everything I don’t like about camping in a pup and I’ve only been out twice! I loath cranking up the roof, lack of bathroom and kitchen is a big inconvenience , having to unpack everything then Stowe it again, all with three young kids is simply exhausting. But somehow I feel like it’s more like camping in a pup. I’m sitting next to a huge TT right now at a campground and it just seems like a hotel on wheels and less like camping. If I had that with the huge TV they have and cushy couch I may just have trouble getting outside. Lol.
     
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  9. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    The trick with any RV is to use it the way you enjoy it. There is no rule that says you have to put/keep a tele in it. There is no rule that says you have to spend your time indoors. It's yours to use as you want.
     
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  10. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations! The darkside is a wonderful place.
     
  11. rjhammetter

    rjhammetter Husband, Dad, Engineer & Camper

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    We had a electric motorized lift on our PUP and still hated setup and teardown. Trying to do all that work for two hours with two kids begging us to go play. My simple summary is that PUP and TT are two different experiences. PUP is camping, being outdoors and connected with nature, in a really fancy tent. TT is hauling your portable cottage/cabin to the campground to use as a home base for outdoor activities. I know what you mean about the huge TTs & 5Ws - what's the point of ever leaving a mansion like that?

    Just remember, if they choose to spend their entire "camping" trip inside their huge, luxurious camper, then they're wasting both their money (just owning the thing) and they're missing out on quality, memory-making family time.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
  12. Balthisar

    Balthisar Active Member

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    It's interesting that I see setup time mentioned as being a big benefit, and at least two posts indicating a two-hour setup time for the pups. I usually get my entire site ready-to-use in 30 to to 35 minutes. It's a point of pride, and I'm always asking my wife to time me for it. When camping with my cousin (who has a TT), it takes them a couple of hours to set up, but I usually attribute this to their use of easy-ups that aren't easy, and a fondness for strings of electric lights dangling everywhere.

    Of course, this 30 minutes doesn't account for all of the preparation and proper packing at home, or having to set up again at home in order to perform cleanup.
     
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  13. rjhammetter

    rjhammetter Husband, Dad, Engineer & Camper

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    Good point on setup time. It's really about how you prep and store stuff. For us, it went something like this:
    • Back in, level, hook up (same time for PUP/TT)
    • Open PUP (raise roof, pull beds out, grab bunk supports, roof supports and shepherd staffs) (all PUP time, no TT time)
    • Door down, unload totes, set up cushions, set up tables and flip up galley kitchen (all PUP time, no TT time)
    • This is the point at which wife and I could separate:
      • I would
        • Move stove outside, get propane in all the lines so everything works, start stove and water heater, set up grey water pail (all PUP time)
        • Set up awning (which is brutal) (all PUP time, TT is push of button)
        • Move luggage from minivan into PUP (same time for PUP/TT)
        • Walk to nearest spigot to fill Aquatainer (same time for PUP/TT)
      • While wife would
        • Work on inside, setting up beds, bunk end fans and bed heaters (all PUP time, TT is already set up)
        • Untote essentials like kleenex, toiletries, electronics and coffee maker (same time for PUP/TT)
        • Basically everything required to make the place livable (all PUP time, TT is already set up)
    The first two bullets only take 30 min. Everything else takes the additional hour. Packing up is the same 1.5 hrs in reverse, but folding up can be a little slower based on making sure everything goes where it's supposed to for ease of closing/unpacking.

    PS: All of this setup and teardown is exponentially worse if it's raining... as in miserable... and don't get me started on if you forget a step, like the time it was about to start raining, our PUP was loaded up, beds pushed in and roof was ready to come down, when I realized the door frame was still in. In that moment, I recall being mad at myself and hating nothing more than our PUP. Then it started raining.

    I assume you don't travel with kids who you have to keep an eye on while setting up your PUP or who want to help set up the PUP? Start to finish, I could imagine it's possible for a one-man-band to complete an entire setup in 30 min, I suppose if working fast, without interruption and packing lightly. I doubt any parents of young kids agree that they can complete the whole process in under an hour.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
  14. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    I don't know as it should be a race to set up, no matter what style of camping, unless weather is coming in. With both popups, the two of us could have it parked, leveled, and basic set-up in 20 minutes or so. There was more shifting around inside to be done so we could sit, sleep, etc. Since both were small - 6' and 8' - there was a lot of squirreling things away for travel and digging them out again, plus having to make the bed, since we couldn't leave anything but a sheet on either bed. We also carried food supplies in the tow vehicle, and extra clothing and other supplies in the roof top carrier. That was one of the things that was difficult for me to do with my bad back on solo trips, on top of cranking up, etc. With our ground tenting set up, it probably took an hour or so.
    With the travel trailer, it's maybe 15-20 minutes, though I often take longer if it's hot or I'm tired. We still have some shifting around inside, since we secure food boxes, top of the counter items, etc. for travel.
    As with the popups, we have simpler overnight set-up routines, and ones for longer stays. Yes, we still use rain/shade structures on longer stays, so we have a sheltered place to sit outside; the awning on the TT isn't much use. We'll be using our screen house on our 9-night Labor Day trip. I've already been warned it's a bad mosquito year and the campground tends not to have the sudden winds that can take the screen house down.
    How we each use our camping facilities is our own choice. There are people full-timing, or at least taking very long trips, in everything from tiny teardrops to popups to huge rigs, so they may be more or less apt to be outside versus weekenders. We go camping to explore and experience the outdoors, but I have ended up sitting inside the trailer more than I expected, because my bad back, neck, and shoulders do well at the dinette. I also usually have 3 or 4 different chairs outside, so I can move between them. Extra stuff yes, but it helps me enjoy my time outdoors.
     
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  15. Balthisar

    Balthisar Active Member

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    I've got the 17 month old; she was 15 months last time I used the pup. This means that I get to sit and relax and watch her once the pup is up so that her mom can prepare the beds. She doesn't actually slow me down much because the only thing my dear wife helps with is the beds, and handing me the bungee cords under the bunk ends so that I can secure the canvas below them.

    Probably the biggest variation from your list is how we setup, because all of your bullet points are pretty similar to my bullet points. Probably the difference is that we have everything in totes, in the back of the SUV, organized by function or owner. To me, this would actually be a benefit of the TT, not having to pack, sort, and organize totes, which takes a lot of time at home to prepare. At the campsite, though, it's literally a one minute job.

    Teardown is another case I could see the TT being a winner, for me. My quick setup depends on exacting organization, which I repeat when I teardown. Asking my wife to apply her makeup in the bathroom instead of the pup would probably also save some time!
     
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  16. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Well, for ease and speed of setup, I go with my clipper:

    Pull up; back in; level; turn on propane; light fridge and water heater; pull out two chairs and a small table - done.

    With my FnR, it takes slightly longer:

    Pull up; back in (takes a bit longer than with the clipper); unhitch (if desired); level; raise roof and walls (1 minute); move parrot cage to counter and insert parrot; move pillows from couch to bed; move hanging baskets from floor to wall; turn on propane; light fridge and water heater; set out two chairs and two small tables - done.

    5 minutes for the clipper and about 15 for the FnR. But that has a lot to do with my preferences and why I chose the campers I did. I didn't want a lot of setup, so a standard popup wasn't my choice. I also try hard to follow the rule "if it doesn't have a permanent storage spot, it doesn't go" - that eliminates a lot of back and forth with stuff.

    I cook inside - it conforms to my simplistic style. I don't use shelters, etc. - they defeat my "minimal setup required" - I just move my chairs into the shade, and if it rains, I go inside.

    With both campers, I can park and go to bed with minimal work required. And I can leave very quickly also.
     
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  17. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Im leaning and looking at tt. Its not the time nessassarly, i can get the pup set up and taken down quickly. Its more of , and ill quote someone above, the sguarling away of things , and then not finding them or in rushing not puting it exactly back in the same orientation that eventually leads to the last thing not fitting in the draw. And, when i get home, setting up the pup is almost the last thing i want to do. But usally its wet, and i uad a 9 hour drive, so i have to set it up and unload the food etc. Additionally, when packing, i always forget something, then im setting up the pup because i forgot to put in something or other, or i have to check to see if i packed such and such. I forgot my shampoo last trip, well lost in the pup. Didn't notice untill day 2, and not convenient to get untill day 5 of the trip. I need a better way!
     
  18. penny

    penny Well-Known Member

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    I agree with everybody! love my TT, but at times really would like the low profile, light weight and out-door feel of a pop up. Loved my little rialta class B, amazingly convenient for travel but didn't love having to take the whole RV everywhere we went. Love the TT in for winter camping and rainy days, for long stays and exploring the area in the 4 runner. If we want to be outside, we have the big automatic awning, grill and comfortable camp chairs with plenty of space to keep everything packed in the camper. I also enjoy it for having our own living space when traveling and visiting family and friends. I'm sure everyone has different pro and con lists, and depending on time of life, they will change.
     
  19. generok

    generok Well-Known Member

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    If you're able to store the TT at home, you may even get to the point where you don't empty the fridge, and just keep the routine stuff in there all the time. We load the fridge in May, unload in Sept, and just bring the fresh stuff for each trip.
     
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  20. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    That is the exact layout of TT that I want. Just perfect size. Keystone makes one laid out the same. Glad you posted so I can make note of this model.

    I am kind of shocked that you're towing it with the Odyssey. I think I'd be afraid to try that.
     

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