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 > Short trip opinion

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Posted: 04/14/19 10:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My wife and I have been trying to get in the position of buying a travel trailer. Unfortunately life keeps getting in the way but we still want to scratch that itch. I think I've decided on renting a travel trailer for that purpose. It would be our first time in one so it will be a learning experience from start to finish.

That said, would a quick weekend trip be worth the steps of setting up and breaking down? Arrive Saturday, set up, break down Sunday and leave. Maybe add Friday if possible but I'm worried about setting up for the first time as night falls upon us.

Or should i just wait until we can have a minimum 4 days to really "enjoy" the whole experience?


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S Ontario

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Posted: 04/14/19 11:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JMO but you'd get far more out of the experience if you go for 3 or 4 days.

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Posted: 04/14/19 11:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

IMO, as a new traveler you won't find that much fun. We've owned ours for a year and a half and we are still trying to streamline the packing process and setup and tear down processes to make them simpler and for us to get better at them so it doesn't take as long. Generally at a campground you will have less than 24 hours for an overnight stay. In no earlier than 1pm and out no later than noon the next day is about what to expect.

Just learning how things work will be a big deal.

Would it be an adventure? Sure, but you won't have much time for fun, and the experience won't be anything near what it is like to own your own trailer. One of the great things about owning an RV is that your stuff is there in a drawer or cabinet where you don't have to hunt. The pillows, sheets and blankets are yours and just the way you like them.

If you want to try one, I'd plan on at least 3 days and 4 would be better.

John & Kathy
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Rick Jay

Greater Springfield area, MA

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Posted: 04/14/19 11:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator


Friday to Sunday camping is a very common scenario for many. Just watch the parade of RV's at any campground checking in on Friday afternoon and leaving on Sunday. Of course, you'll BE in that line of campers checking in on Fridays, so best if you can get there to beat the rush, or ideally, arrive and Thursday and then sit back and watch all of the Friday-Sunday campers get set up.

Only you will be able to determine if that's too much work. True story: A couple of years after we got our motorhome, I see this young family with two kids (under 10 years old), mommy & daddy arrive at the campground we were staying at. They arrived on a Friday and it was raining. Pretty steady, too, not just a drizzle. They had a pop-up. Since we hadn't made reservations until the last minute, we had to move our rig to another spot for the weekend. No biggee. So I'm watching this guy get setup in the rain while his wife brings the kids to the indoor play area of the campground. I decide to move to our new spot. In about 45 minutes, I had pulled up stakes at our first site, moved to our new site (which was right across from this guy's area), got all setup, poured myself a drink and enjoyed the view from our new site, which was actually closer to the water. I also watched this poor guy move large tupperware/storage containers from the van to the camper, all in the rain. I think he worked another hour or so after we had settled in at the new site. And it rained ALL weekend, including Sunday. And yup, on Sunday, he did it all in reverse. Now, in MY opinion, that was too much trouble. I give him a lot of credit for doing it, but that's WAY TOO MUCH work for me when I'm supposed to be on vacation. LOL But, everyone is different.

I do have a couple of suggestions.

IF you live on a property where you can store your RV, then just "weekend camp" in your driveway the first couple of times. Heck, you can even start the adventure on Thursday night, go to work on Friday and then the rig is already to go for you to enjoy over the weekend. If you forgot anything, you're right at the house. Go in and get it, then go back out to the RV.

If you can't keep the RV at your property, obviously that won't work. But you should still be able to bring it to your house to practice the setup procedure. Figure out the minimum you need to do & bring for a two night stay.

Another suggestion I'd make is to think about getting a motorhome that might be within your budget. It might require some fixing up, but there are lots of good ones available IF you know what to look for. The reason I suggest this is, in my opinion, setup time at the campground is minimized with a motorized RV. Heck, we're arrived at the campground at night and in the rain, and all I do is go out and plug in to the shore power. Then when the rain stops, I do any other connections needed. But leveling & slide deployment (if needed) is all done from inside.

Yes, I'm a creature of convenience! LOL Back when we were doing our research 18 years ago, we thought about a travel trailer solution, but we realized it wouldn't work for those short trips, or even day trips, which we knew we'd want to take with the kids. With the motorhome, we often use it for day trips. I call it the "Maxi-Van"! LOL

Ok, that might be a little extreme, but depending upon what your vacation time availability is, it might be something to consider.

There are lots of options and solutions out there. You have to find one that will work for you and your family, and the way you plan to camp.

Good Luck in your search.


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Posted: 04/14/19 11:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For quicker setup, you may want to consider renting a small motorhome instead. Setup on many of the class C rentals basically consists of shifting into park, setting the emergency brake, and plugging in the shore power cord. There's no hitching and unhitching, no slides to move in or out, no corner jacks to lower...and breaking camp is equally as simple.



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Posted: 04/14/19 11:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Arriving Saturday and leaving Sunday:

Friday night pack up trailer
Saturday morning wait around until distance to campground equates to an arrival time near the campground's check in time (varies but can be anywhere from 11 am to 4 pm). Hitch up trailer and load family.
Drive to campground. Setup camp.
Go for a hike or exploring, etc.
Come back to camp and relax for a short time.
Fix and eat dinner.
Enjoy a campfire or go inside.
Go to bed.
Sunday morning get up and fix breakfast.
Go for a short hike or exploring, etc.
Come back to camp and pack up to leave.
Leave by check out time (anytime between 10 am to 2 pm on average).

Leaving Friday:
Thursday night load trailer
Friday after work, hitch up and load family.
Drive to campground.
Stress a bit setting up as the light starts waning.
Fix dinner and eat.
Relax by the fire or go inside.
Go to bed.
Saturday morning fix breakfast and eat.
Play all day.
Relax in the evening.
Go to bed.
Sunday morning fix and eat breakfast.
Go for a short hike or explore.
Come back to camp and pack up to leave.
Drive home.

Unless the sleeping away from home is the purpose, two nights or more will always allow you to actually enjoy your camping rather than just doing all the work.

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Posted: 04/14/19 12:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What you are talking about doing, spending 1 day, just to get the camper, likely have to clean it some, load it, hoping everything works. Next day tow to camp, spend one night. Next day, get packed up, dump the tanks, head back home to empty everything out of camper. Next day return camper. Your first thought...WAY TOO MUCH WORK, camping is no fun. Spending 3-4 nights would be a better experience! Having your own camper, it is always loaded, clean, ready to go, maybe just need to fill fridge, and throw in a few extra clothes.

DrewE has a good point, to make it simpler!



Dixie --- N. Georgia

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Posted: 04/14/19 12:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have to agree with the group. There is a lot of 'stuff' to do just loading and unloading.
That said, put some bed linens in a bag, snacks in another bag and head out. It is not like you are setting it up to keep ready for an emergency or a few weeks on the road.
Just make sure the dealer/individual you rent from shows you how everything hooks up, including the tongue to the truck. How to turn the water heater on as well as the furnace or A/C.
Not a big deal, but you likely have a good idea how things work if you read this and other RV forums. Out break-in trip with the current coach was at a state park about 12 miles from our home. We learned a few things becoming familiar with this coach. You didn't become a dancer the first time you tried to walk, you had to learn how. This overnight is just a few steps before you run and dance. [emoticon] [emoticon]
I certainly hope you both enjoy it.


Ellicott City, Maryland

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Posted: 04/14/19 12:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For a weekend trip I try to limit my travel time to about an hour from home.
That gives me Friday night, Sat. all day, pack up Sunday A.M..
That works OK, not great in terms of effort required vs. time spent camping.

For a test/trial run I think you need 2 full days at the CG or at least a 3 day weekend. Arrive Friday, Sat and Sunday all day at the CG depart on Monday.
That's 2 full days to camp and figure things out and 2 travel/set up days.

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Posted: 04/14/19 01:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Would you be renting it just for the weekend or a longer term?
I suggest a week minimum. That gives you time to find the problems and techniques.
Many campgrounds won't give you one night on a weekend. And you usually have to leave before noon on Sunday.

David and Dayle

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