How you thought it would be vs how it really is

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by CamperChrissy, Oct 13, 2017.

  1. CamperChrissy

    CamperChrissy Well-Known Member

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    So I have just passed the 1 year mark of PUP ownership! Happy anniversary to me!

    I was reminiscing today about how I THOUGHT camping would be before we bought our PUP vs. how we did things those first few trips vs. our current "highly evolved" set-up and style. It makes me glad that we started with a simple inexpensive camper and didn't rush out and buy too much gear right at the beginning. I was wondering what "ah-ha moments" you all have experienced too?

    For example, before our first trip I read here how lots of people like to stock their PUP with stuff so that they only have to pack a minimal amount before each trip. Sounded good, so I gave that a try. And then when we got home, I realized that we were now going to park the PUP outside for several months before our next trip. And I didn't want to leave all that stuff sitting in the PUP in the heat, with potential rodents and bugs wandering in to check it out. So the stuff came back out! Now our PUP is nearly empty between trips and the stuff is in the basement. Plus I realized I needed some of that stuff for other reasons - such as flashlights and sleeping bags for scouts.

    And when I first imagined camping in the PUP, I had this beautiful vision of sunny and warm (but not too hot) weather. A breeze blowing through the window screens. All snuggly in my sleeping bag in the cool night air. And we would cook on the grill and maybe some campfire cooking and eat outside at the picnic table. I live in Chicagoland, what was I thinking? I realize inside space is much more important for us than I thought it would be. Because it rains, it gets over 90 degrees in the summer, it can be 50 degrees in the morning of a fall camping trip. Not so pleasant to eat outside then! So now we are shopping for a PUP with more inside space.

    What have you changed about your camping set up?
     
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  2. JPBar

    JPBar Well-Known Member

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    The New to Me wife and I going on 3 years of marriage so far. We talked about camping before we bought the camper, she said she would try camping again as long as it was not was not a tent. So we went to a local RV dealer we and looked at TT's, and Pop ups. Of coarse she wanted a TT until I told her we would have to buy a bigger TV, so a pop up was agreed on as long as it had a potty. Went on line looking for the right camper at a price we could afford, 3 weeks later we went to Dallas area and picked her up. This is my 3rd PUP since 1990.

    I do all the driving and set up of the camper, once the door is in place and the A/C is running she takes over the inside set up, and I finish up all the other stuff outside. She surprises me each time we go out with all the little things she does, sure makes set up and tear down a lot easier.

    As far as stocking the PUP, really the only thing that stays in there is cookware, utensils, and paper goods. We wash all the bedding after each trip and it is placed in plastic and stored in garage on the camper shelf until the next time we use it. Food is bought 2 days before we leave, meat is prepared and frozen in zip lock bags, everything is loaded in the camper the morning we leave.

    We are really getting good at all the aspects of getting things ready before the trip, and we unload everything when we get back home the same day. The next day I will raise camper and do a good cleaning inside and out so it will be ready for the next trip.

    We will walk around on the camping loop road to check out other campsites on what they have in their campsites to see if they have any new or different ideals that we may want to add or change to our campsite set up. We have seen a few things and have had a few people stop and ask what is that for or where did you get that.

    Anyway Happy Camping!!
     
  3. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    I had it easy. While growing up my parents camped in an old Jayco popup. So I already knew what to expect. I've also tent camped and back packed camped in my teens. After moving out I continued to tent camp. So I'm used to roughing it. Later my parents gave me their old popup we had as kids. A very bare bones unit, did not have hookups for a battery, only had a sink and stove nothing else. What I totally didn't expect and had to adjust to was the amount of Maintenance involved particularly the roof. How important it was to constantly check. I also tent camp so did keep something's in a tote in the car instead of the camper. That way it had a designated home and I could easily grab it for whatever camping trip I go on. When that old Jayco died my family situation changed also and I knew I needed something to include the creature comforts. Nothing has changed with how I camp, just where. My new popup is so much bigger.
     
  4. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    Were were tent campers for a long time, before buying our first pup. It was a glorified tent on wheels, though it did have a cook stove that we used in bad weather. We are always tweaking our equipment, as we find new items, old ones wear out, and our needs change. We have tried a lot of things with the TT - some work, some don't, some are only taken on certain trips. I take the TT out more than the pup, and we take more visiting or traveling trips than we usually did with tents or pups.
    Both of our pups were small, so the concept of having everything always packed was foreign to us. We were able to have some things packed, but bedding (chosen according to the destination and/or time of year), food, clothing always went in for each trip.
    The TT has more things that stay packed, but we still need to add food and clothing just before a trip. At least we now can leave most of the food in the camper, though we still use a cooler for some items, and the snacks are in the TV.
     
  5. davekkk

    davekkk Active Member

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    I blame Pinterest and memes! It can be a lot of work, but every year after the snow melts we get excited for our next trip. Leave the stuff in there, get some totes if needed or vacuum bags to prevent bugs. Get doubles if needed, we have dedicated pup chairs that never come out, one less thing to pack. I hate the cold in the morning too, but a nice warm sweatshirt and some hot coffee always helps. You will get it down!
     
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  6. GalsofEscape

    GalsofEscape Well-Known Member

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    We gave our first camper alot of careful thought before we bought. We had been tent campers for over 10 years and had a habit of going to RV shows during the off season. So we had a pretty good idea of what we wanted in a camper and had no surprises with it. Buying new, we could go with the exact floor plan we wanted and we were thrilled with our first camper, had it 6 years before our needs changed and we went to a hybrid.
    When we were tenters, it was too much work to camp for a weekend - we only camped one week a year at the beach. What happened when we bought the camper was we knew we would camp more but what was surprising to us is the huge increase in our camping range. Once we had the popup, we found ourselves camping not just in our home state of Maryland but now in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina. The second year we had the popup, we took a two week trip and towed the camper to Yellowstone and back from Maryland. We have seen more of the US than I ever thought we would all because we bought a camper.
     
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  7. nineoaks2004

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

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    My first PUP was a one wheel Sears, just a box with 2 pieces on top that folded out to make a bed on each side, the rest was a giant canvass tent, the hitch had two hook up points (one on each side of the bumper. I loved it until the wheel finally gave up and I could not find any parts.
    I think I traded an old generator for it. But had decided that it was much better than sleeping on the dirt in a wet swamp. I still think about the fun we had in it. My son was small and we used the PUP every weekend that I was home as I was still on active duty. It would not work on vehicles now as it required and actual bumper to hook to.
     
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  8. generok

    generok Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I thought I would be able to put everything I needed in the PUP and not have to pack the car like I did for tent camping. Well, even with the exception of food, and having an 8 foot covered bed in my pickup, I STILL fill the back of the pickup most trips. That kind of irks me. Mostly it is food, which I wish I could put in the fridge, but I don't want to pop up and down to stock it, and it doesn't stay lit on LP when in motion anyway. That irks me some too.

    The biggest thing I didn't account for was the need to almost always come home, open it up and dry it out because it was raining when I put it away. That irks me.

    But, I have been, in general many, many times more comfortable in the PUP than I would have been in a tent. I'd go so far as to say there are places I stayed in the PUP that I could not have in a tent. I've been warm and dry inside, even cozy at times.

    I thought having no shower and toilet facilities would be no big deal... I find the lack of these items has limited me. I now know a TT is more my speed. I've said for two years this was my last year in the PUP... now, I just don't know. Uncle Sam sure likes his share, and kids tend to go to school and stuff. Maybe this year is it, but spending another year in the PUP won't be considered a bad thing... just not the perfect fit any longer.
     
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  9. tzmartin

    tzmartin Not here for a long time but here for a good time!

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    I was surprised by the amount of work I have to do on my own. I don't mind tinkering and renovating but I found that just about all the systems in my PUP have needed some amount of work on them. Thank goodness for the portal here! Everything i needed to know was here.

    I was also surprised at how much setup crap we bring. I try to reduce each time, but there's always about 30 minutes of dealing will a lot of outdoor set up items.
     
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  10. Douggro

    Douggro Active Member

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    Going camping requires preparation now matter how you slice it. We're still in our first year of PUP ownership, and frankly we purchased it for making our one special annual trip because we were getting tired of tent camping and wanted more amenities, comfort and protection from the elements than we had with our tent setup. Most of our gear stayed loaded in the PUP this year and we made three trips with it; the durable items - pots and pans, tableware, etc. - stayed in it when we unloaded it after our last trip of the year.

    What I found out, as it pertains to my style of prepping for a camping trip, is that it was easier to do with the PUP. It eliminated a lot of the "double-packing" since we could open the PUP and load it up with what was needed, rather than having to first pack it in another carrier to load into our rig. And it was a more leisurely experience doing that - I could have most of the gear loaded up weeks in advance and then only have to account for perishables as the "last-minute" loading.

    So as it pertains to the title of the thread, how it has turned out to be versus how we thought it would be: different, but I'm not complaining or am disappointed in any way. We've thoroughly enjoyed the convenience of our PUP this year and are planning more trips for next year.
     
  11. Alan

    Alan Active Member

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    Pretty much how we do it as well, except we leave the sleeping bags in the trailer, as they are used like blankets. Sheets get laundered and other quilts or blankets come back into the house to be cleaned, if needed.
     
  12. chambo

    chambo Active Member

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    Here are a few of my "ah-ha" moments:
    1- no matter how much I leave in the HTT, i will still have a trunk full of stuff in the car.
    2- leave the propane tank cover at home. It adds little value and makes it impossible to swap/move tanks once the beds are out.
    3- I shouldn't have spent money on a camp kitchen. I rarely use it.
    4- cleaning up at camp before heading home was a game changer. Time spent at home after the trip is about 15 minutes now.
    5- I always bring way to much food.
     
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  13. durhamcamper

    durhamcamper Active Member

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    When we purchased our first pup, it was because a neighbor insisted we borrow his for our yearly camping trip. (I was doing some basement reno work for him and he wanted his pup out of his garage so he could clean and re-organize).The kids were younger and we tent camped, usually for 4 nights or so......one trip per year. We never even thought we would consider more than 4 nights camping per year.
    It was an eye opener borrowing his pup. No more rain coming through a tent wall, and no more uncomfortable air mattress. Getting dressed standing up was fantastic.
    We borrowed it again the next year, and then decided it was time to take the plunge and buy our own.
    We increased the amount of trips to 2 initially. Time went by and the kids got older. The oldest moved out and all of a sudden we were down to just 3 of us camping.
    Well, here we are today, and we usually get in at least 25 to 30 nights away per year. A lot of the time it's now just the two of us, but somewhere along he way the kids and grandson will join us when they can. We must be doing something right, because both have said they want one of their own some day.
    I can see a small travel trailer in our future because we are now not far away from both being retired and would like to venture on longer and farther trips (I just think it would be easier not having to pop up and pop down daily for that kind of trip).
    For now, just enjoying the freedom a popup gives us. We just finished our last trip away a couple of weeks ago, and are already looking forward to next season's start. (pop-up season is way too short up here.)
     
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  14. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ

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    We purchased our pup in 2008 about a week before our maiden trip to Yellowstone. We already had most of the equipment from tent camping. We decided to use the indoor/outdoor stove on that maiden trip. Mistake! Since it was a low pressure stove and we were using it outside a gust of wind would blow out the flame! We now use our Coleman 2-burner stove(s). Also, we learned that after a few nights we needed tire chocks. A quick stop at WalMart solved that problem! By the 5th day we had the setting up and taking down to a science. I also learned how to drive with a trailer!

    Today, we have setting up and breaking down to a science. We have a master list of what we pack/bring with us. We know how to pack for our long cross country trips vs our weekend trips with friends. I also got really good at backing up the pup into tight spots.

    I can't take all the credit for things learned. I have to give a lot of credit to the folks here at the portal! I have learned a lot since I joined.
     

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