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. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    I have never felt the urge to go camping when my kids were in diapers. My wife would not of been happy. We rented a Mountain side condo when we went on vacation with the kids in diapers. We would go hiking and swimming during the day and relax in the condo at night.
     
  2. chambo

    chambo Active Member

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    To each his own. Camp if you want to camp, don't camp if you don't want to. It's not for everybody, but it sounds like you would like for it to work out. I would make a list at the biggest pain points you had and figure out how to overcome those before your next trip. Bring extra propane, keep a stash of diapers in the pup, figure out how to minimalize the packing operations, etc. Camp in the driveway for a night and see how things go. A sink can be installed, as can a heater if these are deal breakers for you. I've had plenty of trips where things just seemed to go wrong, but it was still enjoyable in the end. A bad day camping is better than a good day working. :)
     
  3. rjhammetter

    rjhammetter Husband, Dad, Engineer & Camper

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    Well definitely don't sell as your subject states. You already have the PUP. I like the amount of encouragement here. It will get easier and better. Definitely stick to it. It will eventually become the best family hobby you could have hoped to have. Yes, you're only two years away from your youngest being 3 when camping becomes awesome.

    I think (duly noted that it doesn't really matter what I think because everyone is free to live their life) camping with a baby and young toddler would be very difficult. Certainly too difficult for me. We waited until our kids were out of diapers (5yo and 2.5yo) to buy our PUP. I can't imagine much enjoyment if they can't walk, eat, potty and communicate independently. Adding diapers, formula, pack 'n' play, carrier, strollers, burp clothes, spit up, changes of clothes, etc to the mix sounds like the nightmare you described. Even without a baby along, my wife and I consider camping a ton of work, but it's all to facilitate our kids having fun. I barely get to relax, but I love watching the kids enjoy the fruits of our labor.

    I agree with the person who said one night isn't enough. TT yes, but not with a PUP. Setup and teardown simply takes too long. The days between arriving and leaving are when you get to enjoy life, visit the beach, swim, build campfires, cook and relax. It takes time to settle into the camping trip. It sounds like you tried jumping two feet into the deep end: baby, toddler, two dogs and no furnace on a cold night with an early sunset. I would learn from this and make it easier on yourself next trip.
     
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  4. Ryanm

    Ryanm Member

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    We both had camped as kids, and I went on to live outside in all conditions in the Army. We got our pop up when our first child was 2 and nothing went right. It rained so much we couldn't even get a disposable aluminum grill that came with charcoal to burn, and our site was popular with skunks and raccoons. Camping with babies is just as hellish as doing anything else with babies, but you're building a foundation for them.

    Within a few years we had two avid outdoorskids. They swim, boat, make fires and smores, explore the woods and build fairy houses, and every night mom takes them to a field or shore to say goodnight to the stars. Last summer I got them a tent and we nearly get a riot when we won't let them sleep in it on the last night of our stay if we're expecting rain. Last year we also had our folding chairs in the lake reading together, and our then 9 year old had her chair with us, also reading while her younger brother was exploring in the 8' kayak nearby. This summer we had a huge argument when I made us turn around and go back up to the rim of the Grand Canyon because (among other things) we had gotten down to half of our water.

    That's worth going through some disasters for. Just think, in 20 years you might look back on them and laugh. But it was 2012 or 13 before we started bringing the dog camping. The dog already loves the outdoors, and is a whole 'nother project.
     
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  5. BamaCamper

    BamaCamper New Member

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    Don't sell it, hang in there, even if you under-utilize it for a time. Camping with small children is like anything else with small children: more complicated at best, difficult at worst. The good part is they get older, so it will only get easier and your camper will still be there. Ours are old enough now to have a few real setup/teardown jobs, and then they can run off to the playground while we finish.

    If you don't have electric mattress pads, get them! I scoffed at them when we got our pup, but even at 50-60 degrees those bunks can get cold at night; you are sitting out on a piece of plywood over open air, after all. I don't have an answer for your younger one; until he/she gets a bit older you may want to wait for warmer weather. Heaters are an inefficient and ineffective way you give you a warm night in a pup, IMO, vs mattress pads, electric blankets, or sleeping bags. The furnace is great for warming it up in the morning, though.

    All the other tips are good: simplify, especially food. Instead of hot breakfast, pack in breakfast bars, peanut butter, etc and just have hot coffee/cocoa for breakfast. Cook hot dogs, sandwiches, etc for lunch. Or order a carryout pizza from town and have them deliver, or drive to town to eat. You can do "real camp food" later, if ever. Also, I don't worry with raw meat for the grill but I smoke batches of chicken thighs/etc and freeze it in bags weeks/months ahead of time, then pack it up for the trip and heat it on the grill wrapped in foil.

    Keep trying and take notes during/after for what you can simplify or eliminate. And one night trips are almost all work even for veterans. You'll want two nights to make it fun, and three is the sweet spot once you get the hang of it.
     
  6. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    [:O] Now that's a nightmare camping trip!
     
  7. Txbum

    Txbum Pop up, Pop Top, Chill....Ahhhh

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    My two cents worth, get an electric griddle. I thought I would never like an electric griddle , but first time using it I am sold! I can make pancakes without burning them. Eggs too just come out great. Electric coffee maker. I still use fire for grilling meats though, I use an Old Smokey 14 inch grill pretty much set. We also use an electric ceramic heater to warm the pup. Hang in there , you will get the hang of it . Txbum
     
    Miller likes this.
  8. sawdusty

    sawdusty San Antonio

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    I agree with what the others have said and they have offered lots of advice. Going anywhere with two as young as yours and two active dogs is a recipe for utter frustration. The dogs and the toddler need lots of exercise. The baby needs to be cuddled. The parents need to be calm, not overwhelmed
    Camping in a pup is not easy at first. It takes time to learn what to take and what to leave home. I start preparations about a week before a trip (I'm old and slow). This includes putting as much of the food I'm taking in the freezer so I need less ice, getting propane tanks filled, checking propane hoses and connections, checking appliances, making sure the tires are in good shape, and I pack all non-perishables in the pup at this time. The day before leaving I check tire pressure, pack the totes with necessities and try to get plenty of rest. When leaving throw in the totes and the ice chest and enjoy the trip.
    Leave the dogs with friends or at a kennel. Prepare to meet the basic needs of you and your family. Don't overpack as it takes up valuable storage. Plan simple meals. Make lists and revise with each trip. Make friends with other campers and you will never be on your own.
    Some things in life just don't work out. If camping isn't working for you then stop. It isn't worth the stress. And it isn't a failure. Move on.
    Best wishes for you and your family.
     
    Miller likes this.
  9. LjohnSaw

    LjohnSaw So many fish, so little time...

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    I refuse to do 1 night, really hate 2 night trips as well. My minimum is 3 nights with 5 being optimal. Five gives you the opportunity to explore the surrounding area. Also, as much as I like my dogs, they don't go camping with us. Too many state parks don't allow the dogs on the trails and you can't leave them alone in camp.
     
  10. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

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    Maybe pack it up until better/warmer weather and longer days prevail. We camped with kids that age in a tent so it's possible. Note that there WILL be issues... keep flexible, and try to keep it fun. And learn from the issues. Until you get more used to it, camp somewhere close to a town that has a Wal-Mart or other camping supplies place... that way when you run out of propane or forget to bring the sleeping bag you're not ruining the whole trip (so long as you have the money to cover it lol)

    You *will* learn from those mistakes though... you'll always make sure you have propane from now on lol. We had a major snafu the first year we got our PUP where my wife 'lost' the keys to the camper and hitch while we were camping... I knew I gave them to her after unhitching and locking the hitch but she swore otherwise. We were completely packed up, bikes ratchet-tied to the top of the pup, etc and had to undo it all and comb through the entire pup, only to come up empty. In a panic I headed off to a Home Depot to buy a hacksaw or something and got a sheepish call from my wife on the way... they were in the bottom of her purse the whole time (she had 'looked' before but didn't see them). Long story short, we had duplicates made that stay in the TV now and never get used except in case of emergency!
     
  11. jmullan99

    jmullan99 New Member

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    I'm with everyone else on this. You only learn from mistakes. You have learned that you need a different connector to use a 20lb tank with your Buddy heater. You learned that you need at least one FULL 20lb or bring a second one along. You learned trying to bring absolutely everything for a one nighter is too much work.

    Most of all, you learned that PopUpPortal will tell you everything you need to know to make things go more smoothly!!

    Cheers.
     
  12. Adirondack PUP

    Adirondack PUP Active Member

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    Like many have said, one night trips are all the work with less return than a 2 or 3 night trip. Don't give up.

    If your next trip only sucks a little than that sounds like huge improvement! The pop up families I've meet so far seem to be Optimists. I think it helps when everything seems frustrating.

    I think your dogs and probably your kids were picking up on your stress and anxiety. It happens. Maybe have dinner a few times in the Pop Up while it's set up at home. Make the experience fun and relaxed for all even if it's only for an hour at a time.

    lastly, find some friends that would be willing to camp with you. In exchange for cooking thier food they would be able to help out with the kids and dogs. Even getting a 30 minute break can make a HUGE difference when all you feel like your doing is working instead of having fun camping.

    It does get better. My young daughter is now a pro at setting up the pup. My wife takes the dog for a walk to explore the new surroundings while we set up camp.

    Best of luck! We've all been there.

    AP
     
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  13. ute_fan

    ute_fan New Member

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    Don't give up! I'm speaking from the other end of the spectrum as my kids are now grown and married, but we camped a lot when they were little. There was one memorable camping trip, when my daughter was 2 and my son was almost 5. Started off with getting to the campground, putting the PUP up, and having one of the cables snap so it was only going up on 3 corners. Camp host came along, saw our issue, cut us a piece of a down aspen to tie to the broken corner of the trailer and help support it. Then it started raining. My daughter would walk outside, slip in the mud, and get dirty every time she went in or out. Got to the point where I was putting her dirty clothes back on her after they dried out and I could brush most of the mud off.

    Then my hubby and I went fishing, and I managed to fall in the lake when I went to get in the little inflatable raft we had. We all laugh about it now, but that was NOT a fun camping trip while we were experiencing it. Camped until my kids got to be late teens, and didn't want to come with us any more. Sold our trailer (by when we had a regular TT), and most of our gear. Fast forward 12-15 years or so, and my daughter is now married with a child of her own. She asked if we could please get another trailer so we could go camping with them as she wanted those same experiences for her little guy. We're current owners of a fairly small hybrid, and have camped with both my married kids and their kids and love having that opportunity.

    Still not sure what our final RV will be. We need to decide if we're going to try to provide room for them to stay with us -- but it's getting harder as their families grow. I'm hoping that they'll eventually get their own PUP and between 2 trailers we would have room for all of us (they've both got 2 little kids and aren't done yet), and we can get something a little easier for us to get in and out of bed in as we continue to get older. Nothing quite like camping for building family memories, even if not all of them are good at the time.
     
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  14. Doctorphate

    Doctorphate Member

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    wife and I don't have kids and likely wont ever but the advice my mother gave me was this; If you have an only child, get them to bring a friend or go camping with friends who also have kids. The moment you have kids paired up, you no longer have to worry about entertaining them as they'll entertain themselves whether it be at the beach or just biking around the park exploring.

    As far as the rest, I totally understand and I can tell you that 100% it does get easier. As you start to understand what you need/don't need to bring and start to build up a "Don't have it, do without it" attitude towards camping you'll find it a lot less stressful.

    Every time my wife and I go camping I forget things and I've been camping for over 20 years. Its a running joke between us now that our meal plan will include grilled cheese and I'll have forgotten the margarine so we joke we're having dry toast + melted cheese for dinner.

    Don't try to setup your camp perfectly, don't try to control everything. Go with the flow.

    That being said. Camping isn't for everyone, it certainly isn't for my wife. If its not something that you as a family enjoy doing, don't do it. Do something else.

    Hell, use your pup to travel but eat out every night. Or learn to camp in a minimalist manner.

    My camp setup is basically back in, unhook, setup trailer, pull out the chairs, pull the cooler out of the truck and crack open a beer. Done.

    We don't dick around with crazy tarp cities or dining tents, or any of that crap. If its nice we eat outside, if its miserable we eat inside. 90% of the time we don't even pull out the awning on the trailer.
     
  15. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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    That describes at least one of every meal we camped this year. Hell we went for Pizza one night. Sometimes the day runs long, and "Just Cook Something" turns into a field trip to find a restaurant.
     
  16. Doctorphate

    Doctorphate Member

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    My wife and I tend to use our pup as a hotel replacement. We travel and setup in a different place every night or couple nights.

    Long drive days(12hr+ of driving) we will grab subway or pizza or something on the way into camp.
     
  17. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    We have only had ours for a year now. My son is 13, and it primarily gets used by the two of us for weekend trips, and a longer week long stay in Austin during the summer. After having used it on some shorter trips, it is definitely more of a pain to deal with for a weekend trip. I find myself not using things like my tension rod shelves, screen room or extra canopies. As much as I enjoy them, they don't make sense for a short trip, as it takes a couple hours to get everything packed up and collapsed. I admit I am still learning, and finding things that work and don't work, and figuring out ways to help streamline the process.

    I have friends that camped with their baby in addition to an older sibling. It is not easy, and not being a dog person I would be hesitant to bring two of them plus young kids unless the dogs were well trained/behaved for campground stays.

    I have about 5 or 6 trips under my belt now, and I am still learning.
     
  18. Ryanm

    Ryanm Member

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    Better is to bring friends with kids of like ages. Batches of kids can occupy each other really well with less parenting than one set on their own, and being with "their kind of people" makes kids happier just like it does with adults.
     
  19. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

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    We used to camp with a group where one family ordered a pizza delivery for several meals. Of course that only works if you camp within range of a pizza joint :)
     
  20. sawdusty

    sawdusty San Antonio

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    Don't think anyone has noticed, but the OP has not responded since the the beginning of this posting.
     

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