Traveling with a Tent Trailer - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 21 Old 06-15-2005, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If this is not the right forum, I apologize.

We are considering purchasing a tent trailer for an upcoming trip and would love advice. Our family has never taken a vacation, apart from weekend camping, so we are pretty excited!

Our trip: Toronto area to the east coast of Canada for 15-16 days. We will be stopping at the following places:

-Boston area, including Salem
-Bar Harbor Maine for cat ferry to Nova Scotia
-Nova Scotia for a few days
-Ferry to PEI, PEI for a few days
-New Brunswick for a few days
-Around Edmundston for the night
-Quebec City for the night and day
-Home again (whew!)

We would like to camp with the tent trailer with stays in Kejimkevik National Park, PEI National Park, Acadia National Park, and Bay of Fundy National Park, and a few others for a day only each.

It's a bit ambitious, with two 10 hour driving days, but the other days we either stay put or drive 2-4 hours. It is meant to be a road trip, rather than just arriving at a destination and staying there.

The trailer we are considering buying is a 2005 Palomino Yearling with a 12 foot box. We want to keep it for many, many years, and want something big enough for a friend or two to tag along with our family of four (so far!).

We will cook our own food mostly (to cut down on cost).

Any information on bears in these areas? Any experience in these campsites? Anything else? Packing lists to share? Thanks!

Carolynn
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#2 of 21 Old 06-15-2005, 11:45 AM
 
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Seeing as you are buying new, I would suggest getting a travel trailer instead - easier set up, can be used on the road, has a bathroom, etc. But harder to tow.
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#3 of 21 Old 06-15-2005, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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A travel travel is just so much more expensive. And most of them are beyond our vechicle's towing capacity. Thanks for the suggestion though. I like the inside bathroom part! I haven't perfected my standing up technique yet...

Carolynn
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#4 of 21 Old 06-15-2005, 11:56 AM
 
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We have a pop-up and LOVE it. We had to do that rather than a trailer because the gas mileage would go up too much and put too much strain on our smallish SUV. I will say that even with practice it takes us about 45 minutes to set up and 30 to tear down. This does not include rolling and stowing sleeping bags and putting clothing, food, and everything else into the car. I am in the process of streamlining our procedure to make it easier as we will be taking it out 8 more times this season. I am scouring garage sales and second hand stores for a full set of cooking and camping items that can stay in the pop-up. This means plates, cups, silverware, can opener, pots, pans, pot holders, cooking and cutting utensils, strainer, cutting board, fans, extension cords, camp chairs, lantern with feul, sleeping bags, blankets, tablecloth, rugs, broom, wash bin, tin foil, paper towels, dish soap, simple spices, water jug, etc..... All of this can be packed tightly into the cabinets so I do not spend an entire day before and after the trip collecting and putting away all these items. This also cuts down on pack up time when leaving each site. In your case, clothing and towels could be kept on board too until the end of your trip. Raccoons and bears have no problem breaking into a pop-up if you have something they like. Check with each park for their recommendations for food storage. In many cases keeping it covered in the car is the best option. Other have storage places to put it. I find rubbermaid bins to be good for food when only raccoons are a concern. Just put something heavy on the lid.
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#5 of 21 Old 06-15-2005, 01:19 PM
 
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We just bought a used one, we are taking it out for the first time this weekend!

We have a porta-potty in ours, and it has a (very) small, hand held shower with a little tub.

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#6 of 21 Old 06-15-2005, 01:28 PM
 
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This is my dream (well, one of them anyway). I want to get some kind of camper and travel with ds next year. We are trying to figure out what kind of car I will need to get to pull it. Dh really wants me to have onstar since ds and I will be alone a lot.
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#7 of 21 Old 06-15-2005, 01:41 PM
 
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We don't own one but use my parent's Colman one all of the time. It is a little tricky driving specifically backing up but that's just because we don't use it that often. We love it. It takes us about 1/2 to set up. It has air conditioning, a small stove, and refrig. It also has a bathroom but we never use it-we just use the public ones at the campgrounds. We do use the outside shower to get sand off on our beach trips.
There are four of us and a dog.
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#8 of 21 Old 06-15-2005, 06:10 PM
 
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Am I the only one who doesn't feel safe in those things? There so easy for someone or something to break into and attack. Really no safer then a tent. I was looking at them this morning and have to say I would put out the extra $ for a tiny travel trailer but I dont even own a car that could tow it so moot point for me!

Seriously?
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#9 of 21 Old 06-15-2005, 06:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolynnMarilynn
A travel travel is just so much more expensive. And most of them are beyond our vechicle's towing capacity. Thanks for the suggestion though. I like the inside bathroom part! I haven't perfected my standing up technique yet...

Carolynn

What about something like this for a "toilet"?


I really want a teardrop, I think they're really neat. Not much room for lots of people though.
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#10 of 21 Old 06-15-2005, 11:53 PM
 
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What's a teardrop?
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#11 of 21 Old 06-15-2005, 11:58 PM
 
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We've used both pop-ups and Aliners. GET AN A-LINER, they are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO cool. It takes about 2 minutes to set it up or take it down, they're super light and the walls are hard. I'm thinking they're harder for bears to get into (though I'd never claim anything was imposible). check them out

Also, get AC. The thing I hate most about camping is stale, muggy August night air!

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#12 of 21 Old 06-16-2005, 12:06 AM
 
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let me second the aliner! We've had ours for a year now & just love it. We're able to pull it w/ our minivan! It's 1100 lbs., has a flushing toilet, fridge, a/c & heat! Taking it out this weekend!
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#13 of 21 Old 06-16-2005, 12:11 AM
 
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BTW, most minivans can tow up to 3500 lbs, which includes many non-folding trailers.
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#14 of 21 Old 06-16-2005, 12:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fluffernutter
What about something like this for a "toilet"?

Hey! I invented that when I was 15! People thought I was nuts but I wasn't about to go outside to use the outhouse with all the wildlife around there that would love to have me for lunch! I cant believe they actually sell those commercially!

Seriously?
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#15 of 21 Old 06-16-2005, 03:44 AM
 
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Our friends travel with their two kids in a tent trailer in Baja and it works just fine - we almost got one but went for the little teardrop trailer instead.

Happy trails!
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#16 of 21 Old 06-16-2005, 03:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beemama
let me second the aliner! We've had ours for a year now & just love it. We're able to pull it w/ our minivan! It's 1100 lbs., has a flushing toilet, fridge, a/c & heat! Taking it out this weekend!
I'm jealous! I so wanted an A Liner but our car will only tow 1000 pounds and probably not tow that very well. We never found a tent trailer our car could tow.

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#17 of 21 Old 06-16-2005, 03:54 AM
 
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Just a word of caution....When I was ten I rolled over in my sleep and awoke with my head caught in the canvas of the pop-up and my feet not touching the ground outside. My sister was sleeping with me and heard me fall out. If she hadn't I would probably have strangled.
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#18 of 21 Old 06-16-2005, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We're going to go in tomorrow and make our minds up about the trailer. Our van does haul 3500 lbs, but that is with only one adult (the driver) and all the gear. With water and propane, it all starts getting pretty heavy. I imagine that with food, water, gear, and fuel, we need to reserve about 700 lbs just for that. Also, I have heard that you should give a safety margin of 10% of the towing capacity. We have to factor in another 3 people as well (well, the kids are smaller than an adult, but I am bigger than the average adult), so we are looking at a maximum of about 2700 lbs. That puts at the top of the towing capacity of our Honda Odyssey, even with the special towing package and engine mods for towing.

Anyway, I think for now we will stick with the tent trailer and get the screen room option "with privacy flaps" and put the loo outside. DP is uncomfortable with the potty inside -- such a prude!! :LOL

I'd love to hear if other people have taken a similar trip to the east coast, or hit those destinations. Once we firm up where we want to sleep, we want to leave what we do open. I would like to compile a list of places to go, things to do, in NB, NS, and PEI, and just see how our days unfold.

Anyone have a camping packing list they could share? I don't want to forget anything!

Thanks -- Carolynn
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#19 of 21 Old 06-16-2005, 12:01 PM
 
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We have camped all over the East Coast but that was before our pop-up days. We used a tent and loved it!

I too agree that a potty in the pop-up is a little too close for comfort. I really just prefer to use the campground bathrooms. That was there is no clean up. In fact I do not even use our sink in the pop-up because flushing the lines can be not-so-fun.

Ours does not have AC but we found that two clip-on fans attached to the upper supports goes a long way to move air around (that is if you have power).

Do watch out for falling through the sides. I was very worried about this since dd is so small. We checked and double checked to make sure the bungies are very tight. There was no way she could fall through when they are tight enough. But someone could easily fall through if they are not.

As for a packing list.....mine is HUGE because we often go on 2+ week trips. Some of the things we have found handy over the years are:

Tonka Pie cookers (clam shell on sticks) - You can make anything in them over a camp fire and there are no pots and pans to clean up. We make pizzas, pies, veggie burgers, PB&J, etc....in them. If you serve on a paper towel there are NO dishes to wash. Very nice when you get in late and kids love it!

Tin Foil - you can cook anything by wrapping it and throwing it in the fire. We often do this for the first night out and have a meal pre-foiled to just throw on the fire while we are unpacking.

Christmas lights - we hang these on the awning to provide light (but not too much) to accomodate people with different bedtimes. Also makes it easier for little people to find home when coming back from the bathroom.

Rugs - one for inside and one for out. In sandy areas this will be a lifesaver!

Have fun!
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#20 of 21 Old 06-16-2005, 11:16 PM
 
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We have a pop-up camper, and it has served us well. If you're concerned about the cost, check around for a used one. We bought our 1996 pop-up a few years ago for about $1500. Although it's a little rough, it works great for our family, and I could never justify the expense of buying new.

Those Aliners look nice for a couple, but not really practical for a family.

As for your itenerary, it looks ambitious. We've done similar trips, but on in the western US. I agree with the a PP, don't underestimate the amount of time it will take to set up/teardown the camper. Although it becomes easier with practice, I'd hate to still be learning how to set up when you pull into a strange campground after dark when you've been on the road for 10 hours. I've BTDT, and it was incredibly stressful, DH and I had several strong words with each other.

I don't know if you've been there yet, but PopUpExplorer is the biggest pop-up discussion forum on the web. Tons of good info there. Many people there have links in their sigs to their personal pop-up webpages, filled with pics, iteneraries, campground reviews, packing lists, modifications they've made to their campers, etc. etc.
http://www.popupexplorer.com

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#21 of 21 Old 06-17-2005, 12:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the link! And I like the carpets suggestion.
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