When did it start for you?

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by Orchid, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    As a little girl, we were avid campers and caught fish providing much of our freezer meat for the winter. We always camped in a tent, until I was about 11.

    Anyway, most people camped in tents back then. Even so, every once in awhile, someone would have a travel trailer. Then one day, riding my bike through the campground, I spotted it .... a PUP! I stopped dead in my tracks and stared like only a child can get away with. I tried to figure out what it was, unsuccessfully.

    I pedaled back to our site as fast as I could to tell my dad about what I had seen. He told me what they were called and explained that they folded up into a little box. I was intrigued and wanted to see this happen. I couldn't figure out how it could have stuff in it, when it folded up.

    There were a couple of kids camping in that PUP. When I saw them at the playground (we were all free range kids back in those days) I made of point of making friends with them, in the hopes of seeing inside their camper. I never did completely inside, but I caught some glimpses, when the door was open.

    I asked my parents if we could get one. My dad said no, they are a waste of money, just a tent on wheels. [LOL] He clearly had never been in one. As the years past, I was able to see more of them, both folded up and open, but never managed to be there at the correct time to witness set-up or take-down. They remained a mystery well into my adulthood.

    When my own kids were young, and we upgraded from a tent, I mistakenly thought a PUP would not have enough sleeping space for the 6 (sometimes 7) of us. We went with a TT for some years. Once our two oldest were married, we got a Class C for awhile, but it ended up too cramped and we went back to a tent.

    That's when I decided to go for a PUP, like the ones that had intrigued me so many years ago. When I started looking for one, I found and fell in love with, a hard sided Apache. It still had all the "transformer" action going on, but solid sides and way cool neon green.

    There have been a few PUPs in my life between the Apache and now. The one I have now has all my requirements, so will likely stick around awhile.

    I wanted to tell this story because I read of so many people reliving their childhood memories of camping in a PUP. I am just the opposite. I am living the dream that I had a child to have one of those cool, fold-up campers. My parents did eventually buy a truck camper, but it can't compare to a PUP. Now they drive a nice Class A. MY dad has changed his tune about PUPs not being real campers, since he has seen mine. :)

    So what influenced your decision to become a PUP owner?
     
  2. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    I had wanted a PUP for the last 20 or 30 years. Unfortunately life didn't work out. Couldn't afford one in college, and living in an apartment after graduation meant nowhere to store it. Marriage and kids meant no money for such a purchase, especially when I was the only one who really wanted it. No my son is 13, and we have our first, and likely last PUP. It is perfect for our needs, and realistically just the two of us use it, and my wife gets a girls weekend once a month or so as my son and I head out somewhere for weekend trip.

    When I was a kid my dad had a number of RVs. VW pop top in the 1970s, then a 27' Titan, 33'Holiday Rambler and last was a 37' Winnebago Elandan. I loved hitting the road and seeing the country. We never tent camped growing up, although I did some in college and do a lot more now that my son is in scouts.

    For me a PUP was the cheapest route back into the world of RVs. I imagine I'll keep this one for a while until I get to the point that physically it is just too difficult to keep setting up. When that happens I already have a TT in mind that will be perfect for my anticipated needs. By that time I should be able to find a cheap one on the used market as well.
     
  3. generok

    generok Well-Known Member

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    We camped as kids with my parents for a brief period in the mid 1970's whilst listening to C.W. McCall, but that was about it. I do recall some church camping trip where someone loaned us a PUP which we towed with our Jeep Wagoneer. My wife and I camped some when we got married, but mostly in rental TTs from the Air Force. Once my son joined Scouts, we really began tent camping. Then I got stationed in Alaska, and we tent camped like crazy.

    When we retired and moved back to Alaska, I was in my 40's and had spent enough time professionally living under a tent ceiling that we decided to get an RV. The PUP fit our budget and parking space at the time when I had just left active duty. Now, the DW and I are actively looking for toy haulers. Our first PUP was the right RV for the right price at the right time.
     
  4. StageLover

    StageLover Member

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    It started for me around 1964 when my dad decided to build our own. He designed the frame and had it built at the local iron works. Once we had that, he and I began building the walls and I bolted the 3/4" plywood floor to the frame. We installed the walls and I wired it (no power, just the running and brake lights). The end bunks were plywood sheets, attached with piano hinge which formed doors over the top when closed.

    Meanwhile, we had purchased a 3 room Sears tent and my mom removed the floor and finished the edges. The tent was one of those old ones with a totally external frame from which the canvas hung. The tent floor, that she had removed, she made into a cover for the box.

    We mounted special receivers for the tent poles on the outside of the walls and permanently assembled the top section. Setup consisted of opening the "box", fitting the poles into the top section of the frame then slipping the poles into the receivers. Then one of us, usually me, would get inside and lift the tent to hook onto the top of the frame. Then we'd hook the corners and the "room" corners onto their hooks, lift the bottom of the tent out and attach elastic cord under small hooks to hold it down. Pack up was the opposite, throw the poles on top of the tent then the top frame assembly. Finally, we would close the plywood bed extensions over the top and cover it with the old tent floor. It also was held down with elastic cord to the same hooks as had held down the tent.

    Prior to this, our camping had been in rented TTs. Now we had our own tent trailer. We had a few years of camping in it and, then, it had to be sold when we moved across the country to Vancouver. I often wonder if it is still giving people wonderful memories somewhere in New Brunswick.
     
  5. Fred cook

    Fred cook Member

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    As most when i was little parents went camping and we had pup the whole time. We used to go in big groups, multiple families always had a great time. I camped as i grew up in tents and so forth. My kids enjoy it and now that we have decided to purchase or first pup and embrace all the memories that will unfold. We travel alot for baseball and can see this being our weekend home during the tourneys. Looking forward to alot of pictures and laughs as we begin this next adventure.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  6. AtlDave

    AtlDave New Member

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    It started for us after I broke my wife's nose. But let me explain....

    The DW and I were tent campers as newlyweds. But, as the children came along we had to give it up to be mom and dad. So we gave our goodies away. As the kids got older and heard our stories about camping, they asked why we never went anymore. Heck. We didn't think they'd even like it! No TV, no computer, no cable? Well we went out and re bought all the things we gave away earlier. Then one evening in Northern Michigan it happened. Daytime temps where HOT, but the nights got cold. We had to go out and buy a propane heater for the tent. I stayed awake all night the first night waiting for one of the kids to kick it over. It was the second night when the real disaster struck. While climbing into the crowded tent, I had to climb over my wife. I told her to keep her head down as I climbed over. I started to make my move when all of a sudden her head popped up and she said "What?". You could hear the snap all over the campground as the heel of my foot connected with the bridge of her nose.

    Well, that ended our tent camping. DW slept in the car and a week later we had a used popup. Eventually that became a 30 ft TT when the PUP got too crowded. That was sold when the kids no longer wanted to join us. Now were back to the PUP world!

    [PU] [PUT]
     
  7. jumpoff

    jumpoff I'm in a camping state of mind

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    "we were all free range kids back in those days"....

    I'm stealing that, it's priceless
     
  8. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    I was in girl scouts we camped often. One particular trip the leader came in pulling a popup. However she forbidden any kids in the camper. We were so curious but could never get close enough to see inside just glimpses. It looked neat, like a real life transformer. Years later when my brothers were 8 and 11 and they threatened they would never camp again, mom went out and bought a popup for the family. An 1990 Jayco, a bare bones tent on wheels. Every summer we took these awesome trips, we always had a beach trip, but it was the three week vacation trips I loved the most. We even got to go camping sometimes when dad had a business trip. Yeah he got the raw end of that deal. Instead of flying he had to drive, instead of staying In a hotel he got a tent on wheels. While we played and saw the sites, dad was working. The camping bug was ingrained in me good and strong. when I moved out and started my life, I was camping in my tent. at that time I didn't care if I was sleeping on the ground or off, I was camping and that's what mattered. Eventually when my brothers moved out (sort of) mom upgraded to a 30' TT and gave the camper to us. My brothers could use it, but it was essentially mine. They never really liked to camp and had their own hobbies. Now I have upgraded to a bigger fancier version of a popup, I just couldnt upgrade to a bigger unit yet. I love my smaller campsites and the mountains more and I didn't want to tax my only vehical too much.
     
  9. durhamcamper

    durhamcamper Active Member

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    I occasionally tent camped when I was a teenager. My wife was an avid girl guider from a young age.
    When my youngest was about 3 yrs old she suggested we take the kids camping. I was skeptical to say the least.
    We borrowed one on the girl guide tents and had a great weekend. The next year we bought a large family tent.
    Many years later I was doing some basement work for a neighbor who asked if we were camping that summer. I told him yes and he suggested we take their older Coleman Sun Valley popup. I initially declined but he was pretty insistant. (he wanted some time to clean out his garage lol.)
    That did it! After many camps in a tent in rain, and tired of blowing up air mattresses and struggling getting dressed etc we were hooked.
    We bought our own NTU pup the next year and never looked back. We used to camp for 3 days per year......Now it's our main focus from Father's day until fall.
     
  10. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    We didn't camp when I was a kid, but we had a cabin in the woods about 20 minutes from home, so I spent a lot of time there. We also spent a lot of time at a state park, but didn't camp or stay in the cabins. However, friends of my folks bought a popup when I was in my teens to camp at the SP and I thought it would be fun.
    After moving to the SW in my 30s, I met my husband and we began ground camping. It saved us a lot of money and gave us a wider experience of the places we visited to hike and explore.
    After a particularly wet trip to Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier NPs, we began to think about finding a popup so we could visit the Olympics. We didn't have a TV until our car was totaled by a deer on a trip to the Cascades and Glacier the year after the wet trip. We were limited by the capability of the Outback, but found an older bare bones popup. We used it and the tent for a couple of years, then it was idle after the canvas disintegrated, until we renovated it over the winter of '09-10.
    That pup was tiny, a 6' box with one bunk, no 12v power, but did have a stove. After 2 seasons, we tired of the cramped quarters, and upsized to an 8' new one, with 2 bunks, lights, furnace, and stove. That all seemed quite luxurious!
    We planned to keep the popup for many years, but after 2-1/2 seasons, my back and other issues made camping solo in it no longer possible. While the Retro is about the same length as the Cobalt was opened up, it does have more floor space. We now have a good 'fridge, plumbing, water heater, etc. (I know some pups and HTTS have all that too.)
    Going from ground tents to pups expanded our camping season by 3 or 4 months; we now tend to camp almost any time March - December, though don't always get put every month. The TT has not expanded the season, but it has increased comfort in many types of weather. (Good since I no longer tolerate cold to the extent I once did.)
     
  11. TDS-MN

    TDS-MN Active Member

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    My first exposure to camping was with my parents and my younger sister. Camped out of the conversion van the first few times, in the mid-seventies. Eventually we got an older StarCraft popup from my Dad's brother, which he wasn't getting much use out of. We camped in that a couple years, and then in '82, my parents purchased a new Palomino popup. We continued to camp as a family for several years.

    As my sister and I grew up, we didn't camp as much, but my parents kept going, while we had school and work starting to take over much of our time.

    Fast forward to mid 90's, I got married, and ended up camping a couple times, using a tent. My wife and I enjoyed that enough, but did not get out all that often. My father passed away, and my Mother was looking to get rid of the Palomino. Unfortunately, my wife and I weren't convinced that we would get the use out of the popup to buy that from her. (Do regret that often, knowing what I do now, versus what we did back then).

    A few years back now, I started a new job, met some new people, and it turned out that one of my new co-workers was looking to get rid of a popup, and had plans to get a travel trailer that was a bit larger and more civilized. We went to check it out, and decided that, for the price being asked, we could give it a try, and if we found it wasn't going to get used enough, we could re-sell and probably end up money ahead.

    I knew what to expect, but my wife really found staying in the popup to be enjoyable, enough so that we have continued to use it, and personalize it to fit our needs a little bit each year. We are reaching a point where I think she is ready to upgrade to something with a bit more creature comforts, but we're not really ready to throw a bunch of money into something new yet. Having some close friends pick up a new hybrid has opened my wife's eyes to some of the modern features out there, I don't know how long we will be able to go on without making some sort of upgrade.
     
  12. PaThacker

    PaThacker Well-Known Member

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    Mid seventies in a popup and class c as a toddler. Lifetime progression through many travel trailers, class c , class a, diesel pushers and prevost bus. Onto my own 4th camper with pups, hybrid, and travel trailer and pup combo.
     
  13. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    This is incredibly impressive. It blows my mind how creative and handy people could be prior to having internet. Reminds me of my grandfather. He had a 3rd grade education, but was very intelligent and build or create anything, and often did. He built entire homes single-handed, even the wiring, plumbing, etc. And what he built always had really cool hidden features.

    My aunt built her own truck camper in the 70's. She was married, but she did it herself because she wanted one and couldn't afford it. Turned out really nice, too!

    The description of your parents' camper sounds a lot like the early Apaches. Very cool. I hope it's still alive somewhere!

    Sweet! Share the pictures with us please. We love pictures!

    OUCH! Yeah, that would turn me off from tent camping for sure.

    My dogs do that to me, except I'm always the one that ends up getting hurt. Stepping over sleeping dogs is dangerous business around here! They WILL raise a body part and trip you at the exact wrong moment. [LOL]

    We share the same childhood awe of forbidden PUPs. [LOL] I now call them transformers, but when I was a kid I called them "spy campers," I think because of Inspector Gadget and all his instant stuff.

    Yet another, "Hey, check that cool thing out ...." [:D]

    You were one of the lucky ones that got to see the inside and how they set up and break down. [:D] As a child, this was so intriguing to me.

    I have read on this forum of so many people that camped in them in the 70's, with their families. The lucky ones. [LOL]

    It didn't help that Brady Bunch never showed the inside of theirs, or them setting it up. For me, it all remained a mystery until adulthood.

    Feel free. We all know it's true. [:D] Kids today will never know the freedom and independence that we did.
     
  14. Ryanm

    Ryanm Member

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    I was in Boy Scouts, my wife's family did the group camping thing. For years I was in the Guard and told my wife that I don't go camping without a paycheck. Then I got out and she said I had no excuse any more, but I really didn't want to sleep on the ground.

    To her, pop ups are the dark side- she'd have been just as happy tenting. But she's gotten used to the comfort. :)
     
  15. sea-piner

    sea-piner Member

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    My kids do! :)

    I have to tell you its hard to let my kids out of sight when we are out camping, but I do, because they need the independence and to discover life all on their own. A couple times they come back bleeding from doing something they would not have done had I been protecting them, but that's ok by me. Stats show kids are safer then ever before. What is horrible (IMO) is that social media makes the world look worse then it is.

    In fact that is one of the reasons we got our PUP--to get the kids outside more. I use to do a lot of tent camping, but after starting a family we got the PUP to basically make camping easier without the cost of a TT. When I was a kids we had a PUP and my parent took us all over southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky. It was a blast for me.
     
  16. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

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    I didn't fully understand how the door worked until just a few years before buying one. I also had no idea that most cranked up manually, and always wanted to see one being set up or collapsed, but every time we camped near one I'd miss it lol.
     
  17. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    This is great! I agree the media, social and other, makes the world seems more scary than it is.

    Those are both things I wondered about as well.

    The answer to the door as turned out to be different for each of the PUPs I've owned. My current PUP has my favorite door set up. The others all seemed to have alignment problems.
     
  18. SBradley

    SBradley Member

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    Prior to owning a PUP this past summer, I had slept in one once, had not operated any of the mechanisms and never towed a thing in my life! My brief story is, I wanted to carry on the family tradition of camping, and a PUP was a great place to start.

    By the time I was born, the 4th of 4, my parents had graduated from a tent with no floor to a TT. We traveled across America, a different location every summer with the 6 of us, plus grandma and grandpa, in a station wagon with 2 canoe's on top pulling a 24' TT.
    On top of that we would camp for weeks locally with other families, my dad driving back and forth to work every day. Like others have mentioned, we explored all day and showed back up at the campsite when we were hungry!

    Our longest adventure was a 4 week vacation from Ohio to California. Also, every 4 years we would have a family reunion camping at the Outer Banks meeting up with our family from the Carolinas. In college I tent camped, and my parents continued family vacations now in a motor home, together with grown kids and now grand kids.

    My father, Fred, passed about 6 years ago. One of my last memories with him was a camping trip to the State Park where we grew up camping. Fred was a McGyver and could do anything. The only experience I had first hand is watching him, MANY times, and following directions as his helper even as an adult. That's why the PUP community has been so helpful giving me advice and encouragement to fill in where Fred would have! (Thanks!)

    It's because of my dad, I purchased a PUP to carry on family traditions and create memories. Although the grandkids are now grown, we still spend time together-a gaggle of girls in a campsite! With a PUP, we are now off the ground and my mom who is now 80 can join us! I figured a PUP was affordable, and not too complicated to learn how to manage and tow.

    While writing this, I realized I think it's because of my dad that I have been able to forge forward into the unknown, learning as I go. He never told me that I wasn't able to do something (except stay out late), so it never occurs to me that I can't. So when I post that I've done something crazy, you will know why!

    Here's a shout out to the fathers (and moms) who inspire your children without even knowing it. And to all of us grown kids, take a minute to thank your parents while you still can.
     
  19. sea-piner

    sea-piner Member

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    Fantastic post and I blame you, Orchid, for starting this, because this one brought a tear to my eye. I hope to do for my young kids what this fellow's dad for him.
     
  20. theyellowbeard

    theyellowbeard Active Member

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    I started camping as a kid in Military surplus gear. My dad was in the Army and at some point he bought an Apache from the 60's off a relative and we had fun camping in it for a few years. As I got older I joined the Boy Scouts as a leader and have been camping with various troops for 30 years. In the early 90's I bought a 72 starcraft popup with no slides to take my brothers and sisters camping. I even snuck it into Boy Scout summer camp for two weeks once. The Scouts frowned upon their use. Best two weeks of sleep I ever had. Then I moved to the darkside with a 24 foot travel trailer that ended up flipping over in the highway median in Wisconsin. Was flattened like a pancake. Then moved onto a class A Motorhome which became too costly to operate 6 miles to the gallon. This past summer I took my family tent camping for the first time and had a blast. I then remembered all the great times I had in a pup and started looking for one. My DW said that if I cleaned out the garage I could buy one. I now have a Coleman Yorktown In winter hibernation in the garage next to all my other Coleman camping gear waiting for next year's camping season.
     

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