A. 10 Must Read First Timer Tips (When Camping With Travel Trailers)
Going camping for the first time can be a scary and exhilarating experience. If you are new to trailer camping you have probably spent a lot of time reading, asking questions, and learning how best to camp. But there is no better way to learn than through action. Even though we had seasoned campers to help us, we were able to learn a lot of lessons the hard way. We have many, many tips to share. There are some camping tips that should be heard beforehand that should not be ignored. So we have some lessons that we have learned that we hope will help you on your camping adventures.
As a kid, you love to get out of the house, play in the dirt, and live outside. Whether you live in insect-infested Florida or the snowy mountains, there is always fun outside. We want that for our children. We want them to have the experiences we had and more. The trailer we bought is a 2005 Coyote Hybrid. It’s a mix of pop-up and caravan. Beds bounce like a pop-up trailer. But the entire trailer is rigid like a normal caravan. It is very spacious compared to most caravans.
1. First, some advice about campers:
Park the trailer at home at least 2 days before your departure so that you can pack it and turn on the refrigerator.
Before you leave, keep checking everything to make sure all brake lights, equipment and the motorhome are working properly. (Here is an RV checklist to help ensure that you have everything done and checked before you leave)
A level package…. Yes, the level tool that you use to hang pictures on the wall. When lowering the stabilizers, make sure that the trailer is level and that the sides are not too high or too low.
Practice towing and pulling back in the trailer … every camper has a story or two. You will thank them later for doing some practice runs.
a. Tip 1 … Put everything in bags
Put groceries, bedding, and camping gear in separate bags. Once at camp, you can unpack anything you need to put it aside. All containers can then get out and stowed under the caravan. You’ll want to pack the trailer well, and bags are the answer.
b. Tip 2 … Arrived at the camp, put everything aside
Make all beds, clear away the food, put all clothes and towels where everyone can get them when they need them. Have everything nice, clean, and organized. Everything needs a place or you will feel like the walls are crumbling with everything everywhere.
c. Tip 3 … get some command hooks
We have command hooks for our keys near the door. There are 5 in the tiny bathroom for our towels. There’s one near the fly swatter. And a few others spread out around the camp.
d. Tip 4 … bring extra shoes for the kids
My kids get so muddy … They need to be attracted to mud. They literally had to wear wet and muddy shoes for a day before the sun came out for a couple of hours to dry them off.
e. Tip 5 … bring money to do the laundry
There is usually a money changer in the laundry room where you can exchange your dollar bills for coins. But if you don’t have the money, you have to find something. Washing machines usually only take quarters … no cards.
f. Tip 6 … Do some research at your campsite
Do you want to be close to the toilets? Do you have a warehouse in case you forget your salt and pepper? Are there trees to provide shade? Do you have laundry Does the camp have a full connection (cable, sewer, electricity, water)? Do you have a picnic table or fire pit? Do you have cellular or WiFi? These may not be things you need / want but if you are looking for something specific I would check it out because not all camps are created equal … (don’t skip this one)!
g. Tip 7 … Don’t remove the yellow blocks too early
… only when everything is connected and you want to pull the trailer out of the garage. I got these little yellow triangles too soon. The trailer was on the rise. He managed to get kicked by the ball and almost rolled into the back of the truck. (don’t skip this either)!
h. Tip 8 … grab a great outdoor mat
You will need a mat for the outside of the trailer. Trust me: the bigger the better. You will need it for all muddy and dirty shoes / feet.
i. Tip 9…. make a list of everything
You need a checklist to make sure your trailer is ready to leave your garage. You need a list of cooking and grocery products. You must bring a list of clothing and accessories. It’s overwhelming when you don’t have a list for everything. You will forget something. My in-laws … who have been camping for 40 years still have a list. It’s a lot smaller than mine, but you get the picture. (Don’t ignore this one)
j. Tip 10 … don’t take too many games for rainy days
Don’t bring 3 board games, 2 movies and a card game for the kids in case it rains or is bored. If it rains, go play. If they’re bored, get out there and explore. All of these extra things just take up space. Travel trailers don’t have a lot of space to get started, so use them wisely and leave everything at home.
B. 13 Tips For The Perfect Campervan Trip
The caravan craze covers the whole world. Scan your social media accounts and you’re sure to end up in one of these converted vehicles on a journey through the Pacific Northwest, New Zealand or Iceland. Its popularity makes sense. Often fitted with miniature kitchens and beds that transform into dining tables, these vans allow travelers to enjoy both the comforts of modern luxury and the freedom of the wilderness. Unless you have taken a trailer trip for yourself, it is destined to make your wish-list. Here are 13 tips to keep in mind when planning your own adventure.
1. Be sure you can drive
Your trailer won’t be of much use if you can’t get it out of the parking lot. It can be more difficult to drive a van than a car if you are not used to the size and turning radius of a larger vehicle. Make sure you know how to drive the car you are renting and ask about manual or automatic transmissions before checking out. If you’ve never driven a manual car before, this is no time to study.
2. Enjoy the flexibility
Don’t forget the van part of your trailer. Hopefully your new home is so comfortable that you forget you spend the night in the car. If you cannot forget this fact, think about the benefits of your choice. You are temporary, flexible and free. If you want to visit a new place in the morning, you can just sit in the driver’s seat and start walking. You already have everything you need. Be open-minded when driving and hiking. If you see something interesting, stop. If a neighbor at the camp tells you about a great hike she did the day before, consider extending your stay and giving it a try. Allow yourself the freedom that the van offers you.
3. But I’m still planning a little
While it may seem like you can just camp anywhere with your van – after all, your room is on wheels – it is best to think about your campsites beforehand. A little exercise is required on a tour, but knowing where to park on each leg can relieve a lot of stress. If you can’t manage a precise plan, map possible stops along your route. Once you have this information, you can take as much time as you need to go and choose the location that is most convenient at the moment.
4. Bring someone you really like
There is no getting around it, you will be in a small space. If you take this trip with a partner, relative or friends, make sure you enjoy it – a lot. If you’re uncomfortable cuddling, you’d better hope you don’t rush into a rainy day on the street.
5. Check the equipment before you go
Before you get to the van, check out what’s included in the rental, make a list of what you’ll need for the trip, and compare the two. After you pick up the trailer, take a good look at what’s there. Make sure that everything you expected in the van is actually there. If something is missing, ask for it. After receiving your keys, get your list and reevaluate your needs, then go to the store. A little preparation helps a lot here, because running out of towels in the middle of the woods is not the right way to start your camping trip.
6. Don’t forget the essentials
Yes, you have a car. But no, you don’t want to spend your vacation time driving around looking for a can opener. To make sure you have everything you need, refer to these packing and shopping lists. Some suggestions: baby wipes, shampoo, a decent knife, cutting board, sandwich bag or waste container, a small broom, repellent, and sunscreen. Make the most of your trip by catching up on these things early so you can focus on the fun.
7. Do some meal planning
It’s not much fun to rummage through an empty refrigerator at 8 p.m. after a long day on the trail. To avoid an empty stomach or three simple dinners of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, do a little preparation before heading out. Find out how many meals you will need and decide what to eat. Remember to consider food storage, likely a mini fridge or cool box, and choose dishes that are easy to cook over the fire, like peppers, roasted vegetable skewers, or loaded fried potatoes.
You don’t have to plan exactly what you are going to eat each day, but with everything waiting for you in the van, you won’t go to bed hungry and stocking up on some basic breakfast ingredients will help you wake up focused on the day’s adventures. At the beginning of your trip, go to the grocery store with your meal plan and ingredients list. There may be shops during your trip, but if you’re exploring national parks or secluded beaches, make sure you don’t miss out on any key ingredients before starting your trip. Tacos just aren’t the same without tortillas.
8. Stock up on additional snacks
Sitting in a trailer allows you to venture into more remote destinations, and that means there likely aren’t many pit stops available. Enjoy it when you can because your body won’t worry about the lack of shops nearby after an epic journey through the woods. Before you leave civilization, buy some extra fuel, such as sandwich ingredients and trail mix, to go on your hikes, bike rides, or paddle tours. And don’t forget to indulge in the inevitable nightly campfire sessions.
9. Don’t overpack
You have limited space and some will be occupied by you. Do you really need three swimsuits and four sweatshirts? No you do not. Think about what makes your trip really enjoyable, then drop everything else. You don’t want to fiddle with things that you would have liked to have left at home when you want to get dressed in the morning.
10. Choose the right camp
While you are more flexible with a van than with a tent, it is still important to be careful when choosing your campsite. At first only camp where you can sleep at night. This mainly depends on local laws and parking rules. So do some research before you hit the streets. When looking for your website, keep a few things in mind. You will want to find a level spot. This will prevent you from waking up huddled on the side of the van or your blankets from sliding off the bed. Also try to stay away from the camp lights, which can keep you awake at night and which are sure to get in the way of stargazing. If possible, try to choose a location that shows the best that the camp has to offer. If it’s on the beach you have that ocean view. When you are in the mountains, pay attention to the view.
Camps usually come in many different sizes and shapes, so don’t be afraid to drive around a little to find one that will fit your van. Some national park websites even offer photos and reviews of each location so you can make an informed choice by booking in advance.
11. Stay organized
Clutter leads to stress. Find a place for everything at the start of your journey and save everything when you’re done. Remember to consider the direction you are going to take, so keep anything fragile in a safe place.
12. Keep a flashlight nearby
Sitting in a van doesn’t change the fact that you’re still camping. Keep a flashlight nearby for night trips to the bathroom or to spot unwanted wildlife.
13. Find a place for your shoes
This is not a metaphorical suggestion. You should really plan where to put your shoes when you are in the van. You’ve likely climbed a rocky cliff or stepped onto a sand dune by now, so they’re covered in dirt. You don’t want that in your bed. And do yourself a favor – keep it out of your mind.