Time to sell our camper? Maybe we are not ready for this...

Discussion in 'Camping with Kids/Pets' started by jcrew6311, Nov 12, 2016.

  1. jcrew6311

    jcrew6311 Member

    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    19
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    So far almost all our camping trips w a 8 month old, 3.5 year old, and 2 active dogs have been absolute nightmares. We have a coleman Taos w no sink and no working furnace (I bought a mr heater but worry keeping it on too long. Yesterday we stayed in just 45 degree weather, all evening our toddler was crying and wailing bc he wants to be independent and when the sun goes down early it is AWFUL. dogs were constantly tangled up on their leashes, everything was crowded and tripping over stuff, everything was just messy and difficult. I had a 1 lb Propane for the mr hearer and it died out right before bed, no problem I bought a hose to link to our 20 lb tank. Well come to find out the hose doesn't come with a receiver so we couldn't use it at all. Our baby cried all night, the dogs were shivering and moving all around, my wife was cold and unhappy, I never slept. At 4am I went to Walmart to get a 1 lb Propane tank and used it but we were all still cold. Woke up to cook breakfast, the 20 lb Propane tank ran out so no breakfast. Our son again was trying to go everywhere before we were ready, crying, going wild, baby crying, dogs barking and shaking.

    Long story short it was an absolute nightmare and the trip lasted less than 24 hrs. It is so much work to pack food, sleeping stuff, clothes, diapers, toys, etc. etc. And it's still miserable. I am praying it will get better when our youngest is at least 3 but why should we continue down this road if it's really this bad? I just hate that I invested all this money into this hobby just for it to backfire completely.

    Anyone else in the same boat?
     
  2. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,916
    Likes Received:
    1,323
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Location:
    Kansas City
    Don't get discouraged. I raised three sons, two less than 22 months apart, so I feel your pain. As those kids grow, taking them camping and letting them explore nature is one of the best things you can do for those kids IMO. Hang in there, better days are coming...I promise. [:)C]
     
  3. jcrew6311

    jcrew6311 Member

    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    19
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    That's literally what I keep hanging on for. I have a vision in my mind that it can and will be great one day, in fact my son when we are doing stuff is in heaven, we go "ghost and bug hunting" at night with his lantern and he absolutely adores hearing sounds, seeing the other trailers lit up, looking on the ground for bugs, etc. He asks about doing it again even when we aren't camping, so I know for a fact it has become something special for him. It's just becoming extremely draining being the only one able to pack everything, drive, unpack and set up camp, cook, clean, and ensure everyone us warm because my wife watches tbe kids while I do all this other stuff. To be fair we have never seen other families out with babies and dogs and a toddler in a pop-up, they all have older kids and are in travel trailers or 5th wheels. Obviously you hear online about that elusive couple that take their 2 week old babies and dogs out camping in just a hammock in -20 degree weather no problem at all, but whatever.
     
  4. Fixitup

    Fixitup Active Member

    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    225
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2016
    So sorry to hear that. Please don't give up. Raised our 10 yr old camping in a pup. Started our now 15 yr old at age 5 as well. I will admit that it was rather trying the first few times with having one in diapers and the other wanting to explore but after a few trips everyone will get in a routine when out. Again please keep with it. I promise that it will get better. You will look back at these days and cherish the times. Best of luck. One thought I will suggest, get acquainted with your camper when weather is a bit warmer. That takes one factor out and less worry to keep everyone warm.
     
  5. Fixitup

    Fixitup Active Member

    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    225
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2016
    Yes you are paying your dues now by doing everything by yourself. We were in the same . Wife would monitor kids and I would set up. Well about all I do now is make connections. We're a team of 4. The boys do a lot of the work and wife takes care on inside. The days where you can be at ease will be here before you know it!
     
    Miller and geekgurl64 like this.
  6. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,303
    Likes Received:
    946
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2012
    Location:
    Northwestern New Jersey
    No use going if it is going to be an unpleasant experience. The kids will sense this and may develop negative attitudes toward camping. Many of the problems you described are fixable. Camp in electric sites and get an electric heater. The 20 pound tank going empty is your fault.
    I guess 45 degrees is cold in AZ. :)
     
  7. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

    Messages:
    5,308
    Likes Received:
    1,996
    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Location:
    Florida by way of WV and MD
    Did you and your wife do any camping prior to buying a pop-up or having kids? If so, is it something you enjoy?

    First thing I would suggest is that you find someone to babysit the dogs while you go. Taking our dogs makes things much more chaotic for me, even without children. If you could eliminate that one stress, it would help.

    Your kids are very young and they are going to be a handful anywhere. Sounds like this weekend, it was just cold and made everyone miserable. Avoiding that, by camping with hook-ups and getting an electric space heater would ensure that won't happen again. Mr. Buddy heaters make me very nervous with small children. I know lots of people use them safely and effectively, but you would be more relaxed and get some sleep with a safer heat option.

    I honestly believe that camping is so good for kids, today more than ever, that I would hate to see you throw in the towel. We tent camped with all of our kids, some within a few weeks of birth, and sometimes it got crazy, but the good times outweigh the bad, by a huge margin.

    I don't mean to sound critical, but seems like you were a bit unprepared. Making a list, and checking it twice, works for Santa and will work for you as well. [:D] Being prepared and having enough supplies makes for much more relaxed parents.

    The bottom line is, if you and your wife don't enjoy camping, the kids won't either and there is no point in continuing. However, if you can be better prepared, and possibly take your next trip in warmer weather, you may find that your entire family does much better. Some people are campers and some people are not. If you find that it's really not for you (after taking steps to reduce the stress) then by all means, sell and recoup your money. Then maybe find something your family enjoys more. But based on what you have described here, I would give it at least one more shot.

    Earlier this year, we camped next to a couple in a PUP that have 2.5 year old twin boys and an infant. I never could determine the age of the infant as they wore it at all times. Definitely under six months. I had never witnessed a calmer family in my life. I sort of watched them, intrigued by the fact that the kids never cried or made any kind of scene. What I realized is they were taking their cue from their very calm and relaxed parents. I could have used an example like that when I was a young parent. I never was one for being relaxed. [LOL]
     
  8. f5moab

    f5moab Retired from the Federal Government

    Messages:
    1,423
    Likes Received:
    468
    Joined:
    May 7, 2013
    Location:
    Somewhere in Idaho
    Camping is not for everyone!
     
  9. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

    Messages:
    4,796
    Likes Received:
    1,671
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    I also say give it another shot. Camp at electrical sites only, use an electric heater that has the anti tip feature and is safe to run all night long. Find someone to watch the dog(s) at least at first until you get a better idea how things work. Cook quick meals doing all or most prep work from home before the trip. Serve on paper plates vrs dishes (if possible with the toddler). That will minimize the stress of cooking and cleaning. Also try camping for 2 to 3 nights vrs overnight etc and see how that works out. Try not to stress the dirt/mess, your camping. Set up is a chore but I also try to keep thing minimal especially for weekend trips. I know kind of tough to do with young kids. I agree when it gets dark early it is always a problem with young kids. They still have so much excess energy but not as easy to let it all out in a tight space. When the kiddo was a toddler we camped at a family campground that had a field near by and a nice big playground. We put a glow ring around her neck and we kicked the beach ball around, or took her to the playground. Like you said, walking around the campground can be equally exciting for a youngster. Unfortunately at that age they are always moving, moving, moving so your not going to be able to sit by the fire and relax unless you trade off with the wife.

    Camping is not for everyone, but you do need to give it longer than a trip or two. You also need to figure out what your style of camping is. For some its staying at the KOAs with all the glammer, and some is dry camping at a state park, and others boondocking. Everyone is different, and every family dynamics is different. What works for some, won't always work for others.
     
    bob barnes and Tracy D. like this.
  10. deLuxx

    deLuxx New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    Location:
    Colorado
    Id say stick to warmer weather and get a heater that works. My wife and I camped with our 3yr and 8 mo old in August with two other families, with a bit older kids oldest being 10. It was great and tough at the same time. We got quite a bit of rain but made the most of it. When it was bead time for my 8mo old (now 11mo) my wife put her in the car and took her for a drive to get her to sleep. We left her in the car seat until she woke up later in the night and the transferred her to the bunk with my wife. I ran the heater off and on most of the night and when everyone woke up I fired it up good and warm. We camped in May as well and dos the same things (weather was better though). Just stick to warmer camping trips, get the heater situation figured out and don't run out of propane. Most of all have fun, in the blink of an eye the kids will be grown and won't want to go camping.
     
  11. adrianpglover

    adrianpglover Active Member

    Messages:
    1,481
    Likes Received:
    19
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    Location:
    Texas
    We got our camper when our first was just over a year old and about a few weeks before our second was born. Once he was about 4 months old we camped quite a bit. Some trips are worse than others and both my wife and I have felt close to what you are feeling now. We did have a trip that we came home from after only one night...the temps were just too high for our AC to keep up so no one was able to take a nap. Thankfully we were at a campground close to home, so we didn't have to travel long to get everyone home and in bed. We have only camped once when it got fairly cold, 28 F for the overnight low one night. That time our oldest was about 2-1/2 and our second was just over a year. We actually were just using the camper as a place to sleep and ate out for almost every meal.

    Right now we're taking a break from camping as we have a third kid under 2 months old, so now we have 3 that are 3 and under. While they're too young to walk around on their own it does get tedious with having to always pick them up and carry them, finding places to put them down where they won't roll off or fall off of a bed, etc. We also had to bring a lot more stuff with a little one, i.e. baby bath tub, bouncer, burp cloths, lots of diapers and little clothes, etc.

    My point here is that you're not alone. There are others that do the same thing. I don't know how many of them in your area would camp in those temps. We have always gotten sites with electric hookup, had space heaters when it's cooler, etc. I get the trailer backed into position, unhitch, and set it up just to the point where people can go inside, then my family goes inside. I pass in a tote and my wife sets up the inside with what's in that tote while I work on hooking up the electric, water, gray water drains, bungees under the bunkends, awning, canopy, etc. When she's done with one tote I take it back to the truck and give her the next one. The opposite of this is used when we pack up. To help with packing up we try to get as much as we can packed up the night before we're going to leave. This helps with the amount of time it takes to break camp and therefore reduces stress.
     
  12. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

    Messages:
    5,308
    Likes Received:
    1,996
    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Location:
    Florida by way of WV and MD
    Not my photo. I saw it on Pinterest and thought it was cute. One good way to confine the littles. [LOL]
     

    Attached Files:

    geekgurl64 likes this.
  13. adrianpglover

    adrianpglover Active Member

    Messages:
    1,481
    Likes Received:
    19
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    Location:
    Texas
    We tried that once...they played instead of sleeping. It does work for some people though.
     
  14. generok

    generok Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,481
    Likes Received:
    653
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    You may not be a good match for PUP camping. If you had a hard sided travel trailer with a bit more room that stayed warmer, and was able to stay packed and ready 24/7, you might have a different experience.

    I agree, until the kids are older, only go to sites with power. Get yourself an electric furnace for $30 and stay warm.

    I went to a program called Becoming an Outdoors Woman. It was a session for the husbands and male companions. They told us three main things with women and kids in the outdoors, and it has stuck with me ever since... if you want your kids and wives to enjoy the outdoors it is simple:

    Keep them:

    1. WARM
    2. DRY
    3. FED

    Cold sucks, and it appears it sucks worse for females.

    A travel trailer is easier to set up and take down, and it can be all pre-packed and ready to go.

    It think you have the camping desire, but a PUP just seems like a bad fit. Camping in a TT is STILL camping.
     
  15. ScoobyDoo

    ScoobyDoo New Member

    Messages:
    367
    Likes Received:
    13
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2016
    I agree with electric site/heat, and would add mattress pad, so once in bed they want to stay. Are your dogs trained to walk on a leash? How far away is the water hydrant? 100-200 feet? (Pick your site) When getting set up, put a 5 gallon bucket on the end of a bench. Give the toddler a quart bucket, (maybe 2 for balance) tell him to fill the big one so mom can do dishes, wash the little one what ever. (be sure to use the water, so he knows he did something useful) Save you some work, and burn some energy.
    Clutter in the camper. How often you changing the kids? Can most of the clothes stay in the TV? Cooking outside? Leave the food in the car until you need it outside...
    I have found that with active dogs that tangle the leashes if I tie a rope, stretched above the ground like a clothsline, and use short leads off that I can give the dog room to move, and control what to tangle with

    Didn't the hose come in a clear bubblepack, so you could see both ends before you left the store?

    Run out of propane is wrong. On a overnight trip, even more wrong. And can't fix breakfast because of no propane?
     
    Fbird and rich2 like this.
  16. Jimbow

    Jimbow Active Member

    Messages:
    1,345
    Likes Received:
    10
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Practice. We all have made mistakes, congratulations on getting most of them out of the way at once. There are still a couple more sputs to go.

    I would recommend restarting and adding extra parts slowly. If possible a night with just the dw. Then add dogs or children.

    Wait for warmer weather and only plan on cooking one or two easy meals.

    If possible camp driveway works wonders to practice.

    Sent from my SGH-M919 using Tapatalk
     
  17. WeRJuliIan

    WeRJuliIan If it's "Aluminum", why not "Sodum" and "Uranum"?

    Messages:
    907
    Likes Received:
    88
    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    I think what people are saying is... it gets better.

    We've all been there, but some of us are more ready to admit it than others. :)

    You try to do too much all at once, it goes horribly want and you think you'll never get it right. You pack too much stuff, then find out it's all the wrong stuff.. then you get rid of half of it, and it's the half that you actually need.

    Then, on your third or fourth or fifth trip out, it all comes together, the sun shines, the fire lights first time, and you find yourself sitting back and... well, dammit enjoying yourself.

    Simplify as much as you can.
    Plan ahead as much as you can - meal plans, preparing food and freezing it in a cooler, and so on.
    Sit down and talk about what went wrong and see if you can come up with a better way to do it next time.
    Adjust your camping to suit what you want... if you don't like the cold, camp in the summer, for example.
    Try things out at home. Camp Driveway is a good place to start.

    Good luck... I hope you don't give up.
     
  18. idler

    idler Member

    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2016
    It's totally not worth it to camp one night if you have intense packing and set-up needs. That's the worst night of camping, and you experienced all the lows. The next day and the day after that are the best times.

    I will recommend RV Family Travel Atlas as a podcast to listen to. The pup'ed it for a while and then got an RV. I am sticking with my pup, but, as parents of twins and one younger son, Jeremy and Stephanie have my respect. They give tips for organization and kid control and had a show on kid behavior and how they and other parents handle the little ones. Most people on this site are intensely pro-camping vs RVing for themselves and pro-whatever works for others for others. You might benefit from a campground with child activities planned during the day to give you some relief and have a confined space for kid shenanigans.

    Two dogs? I agree, get them in a kennel that has day camp for them to play while the family camps. Or hire some kid to camp with you as dog and kid nanny / extra hands.

    I'm not a parent, but I am a teacher. You will need to practice with your kids before going again. What do you want them to be able to do? Make a list and work on the oldest. Should he or she be able to play with a toy while you set up without endangering him or herself? Practice at home with gentle corrections and increased expectations. Maybe use a blanket and say that all playing happens on the blanket while you do some yard work or set up the camper in the driveway. The other parent watches for safety. It IS possible to get kids able to be independent and avoid danger. It just takes practice. First, you have to believe that your 1 year-old will be able to do it, and then expect and encourage it, and then reward it. You have all winter. Maturation and practice. Envision a kid who feels like he or she is helping you, and you have your winter's work ahead of you.
     
  19. yetavon

    yetavon everything is better around a campfire.

    Messages:
    3,344
    Likes Received:
    199
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2010
    Location:
    Western NC
    Please don't get disheartened.
    At the age of 5 my 1st camping trip, I was bitten on the butt by a loose dog, trip to the Dr for couple stitches and shots. then a major storm hit pouring rain and the tent collapsed due to the wind. two younger cousins screaming.....
    As a parent with two at the age of 5 and 8 we tent camped 6 days at a music festival, no power or fires, rained about non stop for 5 of them. everything was soaked. Temps down in the low 50s at night.
    We spent 25 years in several pup ups, none ever had any modern conveniences....below freezing to 100+ degree trips
    They are camping memories that last forever...
     
    bob barnes likes this.
  20. shfd739

    shfd739 Member

    Messages:
    530
    Likes Received:
    8
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    I feel your pain as well.

    We had our pup before the kids came along and in thinking ahead we got one that was big and had all the inside amenities-fridge,furnace,shower/toilet,full galley and AC. We knew that would make it easier on us along with all the space. Ours was a Coleman Niagara low wall.

    One of my efforts that seemed to help was trying to be as low drag as possible. Minimum of clothes, food and kid crap. After each trip we reevaluated the load out and stuff that didnt get used or eaten didnt go the next time.

    At setup time we'd leave the kiddos in their car seats so my wife and I could both get it leveled and opened. Then the kids could be moved inside while I handled the rest of the outside stuff like power and water hook up, unloading the car etc.

    Give it a few more trips and some trial and error.Nearly every camping trip we come up with a better way to do something.
     
    Michelle S. likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.