Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

Tell Me About Camping

iLander

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 23, 2010
Messages
6,731
I've never been camping in an RV before, and DH and I are thinking of renting one this summer.

I camped once, with DH. But it was in a tent, and a giant centipede knocked over a coke can in the dark. It was easily 6 inches long and we ended up sleeping in the car. :shock:

Apparently, we are bored and willing to try again. :)

So here's the question; can we just drive around and find a campsite? At an RV park? Or do you need reservations? Do parks generally have something available? We know state parks need reservations way in advance. Is there an app that lists parks with open spaces?

DH and I both agree that making reservations would suck the spontaneity right out of it. We just want to drive, then park somewhere and hook up to power, water, whatever.

We're considering a tiny thing, about 20 feet long. Just a couple of nights.

Any other tips? Camping stories? We're not in bear country, so I'm willing to hear those stories. :)
 

sonnyjane

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 13, 2008
Messages
2,476
Unfortunately it totally depends on where you're planning to go. Some sites take reservations just like a hotel that you can book online, others are first-come-first-serve (which always makes me a little nervous), others are lottery systems depending on the demand of the spot. Do you have a destination in mind?
 

amc80

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 18, 2010
Messages
5,765
My parents were full time RVers for several years.

You'll need reservations for sure. Some of the popular places fill up months and months in advance.

I probably know more about this than I realize, so feel free to ask specifics.
 

dk168

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 7, 2013
Messages
7,586
I can go on about camping in a RV (as in a tin tent) is not real camping (my new tent is a proper Dutch cotton canvas made in The Netherlands, and I have been tent-camping on my own with the dog since 2009), however, each to their own! :bigsmile:

I can only speak about my experience in the UK.

I personally would never just turn up at a site un-announced in the hope of getting a pitch.

However, a lot of people do in the UK, especially when they go off peak.

It is never a good idea not to book for busy periods such as public and school holidays.

As for camping in the wild, there are very few places where one can do that in the UK.

When I was researching for a RV holiday in the Rockies, I read something about locking the door as one goes to sleep, and do not open it when one hears sounds outside, in case of bears and other wildlife etc...

I would advise hiring a RV or two to try it out first, to see if the lifestyle suits, and to find an outfit that suit one's needs and wants.

A small RV may be cheaper to run etc., however, it will have less room inside and pokey, the water and waste tank will be smaller, it may not even have a toilet let alone a shower, etc. etc...

Good luck!

DK :))
 

marcy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 27, 2007
Messages
24,159
azstonie|1457576216|4002341 said:
Camping is when room service ends at midnight :lol:
Kristie you and I have the same opinion of camping.
 

marcy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 27, 2007
Messages
24,159
You should make reservations ahead of time because slots can fill up fast. If your DH hasn't pulled many trailers you might want to make sure places are easy to get in and out of wherever you are camping.

Because RV's aren't really well insulated they can be pretty cold at night and get really hot in the day. Of course if you have power you can run the AC during the day.

If you plan on cooking your meals we always used as many paper / plastic plates, cups, utensils to cut down on dishes and I made a lot of meals ahead of time so we could just reheat them in the microwave.

Take games, books, magazines along for those quiet times.

Make sure the trailer is level or your refrigerator won't work very well.

If you are putting down the awning stake them in the ground rather than on the RV because they are less likely to get ripped up but if it starts getting windy it's best to roll up the awning anyway.

Keep all food or trash in containers if it is outside even if there aren't bears food can attract all sizes and kinds of varmits.

We live in Wyoming and generally did dry camping - no hook ups on the prairie. You haven't lived until you've taken an ice cold shower in a tiny shower because the water heater blew out. :lol:

BTW I hate camping. Too many bugs.

Have fun!
 

AprilBaby

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 17, 2008
Messages
11,438
If you are good you go to heaven, if you are bad you camp for all eternity.
 

sonnyjane

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 13, 2008
Messages
2,476
AprilBaby|1457586671|4002401 said:
If you are good you go to heaven, if you are bad you camp for all eternity.

It's not all horrible. This was the view FROM MY CAMP while camping in Baja last year. We kayaked and camped for a week. I'd do this one for eternity.
image_511.jpg

image_512.jpg
 

Scandinavian

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 23, 2016
Messages
2,074
Buy a tent. And a big backpack for your DH. Go for a long walk and find a nice picturesque spot :). Skip the RV. Just my personal opinion off course ;-) :bigsmile: Camping can be fun. But it is not very luxurius.. and a centipede is not dangerous, I promise! :) Jokes aside, I like the hiking part best of camping. So I try to do the hiking without the actual camping and stay at a nice hotel instead, lol. Hope you'll have fun!
 

missy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
41,887
marcy|1457577210|4002348 said:
azstonie|1457576216|4002341 said:
Camping is when room service ends at midnight :lol:
Kristie you and I have the same opinion of camping.
Ha my opinion of camping is roughing it in a motel vs a nice hotel. :lol:
But then I am not a fan of camping. Though I love hiking like Scandinavian. After a hard long hike just give me a soft comfy bed after a good dinner and I will be content.
 

jordyonbass

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Dec 6, 2014
Messages
1,902
As far as camping sites goes, each region would be different so it would pay to check what regulations or facilities are available to campers.

I love getting out in the bush here in Australia, we usually take our own one-man tents that we can carry on our backs as we may hike anywhere up to 20 miles per day while hunting or trying to do vermin eradication. I'm trying to figure out what would be the best way to basically take no kind of shelter and set it up in the outback, I'm leaning towards just carrying some kind of fly-net and constructing or finding shelters.

I'd love to go and live in the outback with nothing more than a couple of essentials for a month or two. Maybe a machete, a metal match, a pot to cook/clean water, the knowledge I have in my head and that's it. While I would only just survive rather than thrive, there is something about our ancestor's lifestyle that presents itself as being the ultimate freedom.
Plus Mrs Jordy wants to see me in a loin cloth :lol:
 

mary poppins

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
2,579
I go to multiple day music festivals where camping with tent or RV is an option. As I told DH, I'm a trooper, not a camper. Not doing the tent thing. I like to have a bed and shower with hot water, so either RV or hotel. DH is fond of air conditioning, so he is fine with that.

I've rented RVs from Cruise America to go to music festivals recently and Mardi Gras many years ago. If you are going to rent an RV, I had good experiences with Cruise America and would recommend them. There are also smaller rental places as well as a website where you can rent from private owners.
 

the_mother_thing

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 2, 2013
Messages
6,224
For several years, we were AVID campers - in tents, a pop-up camper, then our upgrade to a 30' toy hauler that slept 10 ppl and had a kitchen, bath, etc. One year we camped at least twice/month on weekends, and that was probably my least stressful year EVER. We camped locally (state parks on the lakes), Nascar races, as well as long distance trips to Disney, etc. What you get out of camping really depends on what type of camping you're doing. Are you camping to alleviate hotels while seeing touristy type attractions, or are you camping to decompress, explore nature, be in a different environment, etc.? When we did it, it was usually for the latter, and we did it as a family as well as with friends. It made for great weekend getaways.

My 'tips', perspective and experience are as follows:

1) Camping is about unplugging (to some extent), spending time with family/friends, appreciating nature/surroundings, decompressing. Camping is NOT about wifi, at-home comforts like your favorite 1000 thread count sheets & down pillows, etc. When I accepted that I will likely not have 100% of the comforts of home, it became so much easier to get on board with the idea and enjoy myself when we camped.

2) Make reservations. There are TONS of campgrounds both public & private. If you want to get the most out of your trip, do some research on campsite options in advance and make a reservation. Nothing sparks a fight or frustration quicker than pulling into the 3rd campground of the night at 10 pm, tired & hungry, and finding out the only site they have available is for a smaller rig, or they don't have one open at all. State run parks & rec agencies usually offer a LOT of campsite options. Ours in NC have multiple campgrounds that accommodate tents & big rings with electric & water hook-ups for $30/night. They usually offer maps of the property so you can see how close you are to restrooms, the water (if on a lake), any curves in the road so you can plan for arriving early to see clearly as you park, etc. We also belonged to a couple of the campground clubs.

3) Plan ahead. I always had our camping essentials ready to go either in the camper or in rough tote bins stored in the house. Bedding, pillows, cookware & utensils (separate from my 'home' stuff), fire starting materials, water floats, a pump to blow them up, etc. And I always planned ahead for what we were going to eat, and went grocery shopping the night before leaving to get those items, and put them in the cooler so they were ready to go/load in the morning. This made it easier to start making something to eat when we arrived while others were setting up the camper/site, or kiddo went in the lake to swim. And if you have pets, be sure to check with your campground on the rules/allowances before you bring them to make sure you have the necessary arrangements for them.

4) Accept that there will be some 'discomforts'. Bugs, smoke from neighboring campers' fires, etc. It's nature, after all. Take some bug spray or have a net-tent to keep bugs out when you're 'outside'. You're not sleeping in the same bed as at home, so you'll wake up with some aches & pains, but I often found that breathing in the fresh air, taking in the scenery, and enjoying the peace far outweighed those aches & pains and made me quickly forget about them.

5) Be smart about your safety & security. I've not once run into a situation where I felt our safety and/or security was at risk by anyone we came across, in fact, quite the opposite. Everyone we met on our many camping adventures were nice, family oriented, kind and fun to get to know. However, it would be crazy to assume you won't ever run into someone who intends to steal or something. Camping isn't the time to show off bling, so I never wore anything of value in that regard for fear mostly of losing it on the ground/in the water. But I also didn't want to risk something being stolen while we ventured out in the boat or into town. And (not to start a gun debate), we always carried but didn't make it obvious or known.

6) Check the weather. Last thing you want to be doing is pitching a tent or setting up a campsite in the middle of a monsoon. Lesson learned on one of our first trips. That SUCKED! :lol:

Our first camping trip, I didn't really think through all of those things, and had a long list of 'lessons learned' for next time, things to add to the camping totes, etc. So if it's the first ever time you're camping, consider doing so near somewhere that has some stores/supplies nearby in case you discover something you absolutely can not live without, or close to home so if it just turns out to be a bust, you can pack it up and head home.

But have fun ... it is what it is, and it isn't what it's not intended to be. And remember, people lived for centuries in "camp"-like environments, and lived. :wavey:

ETA; I know all of that seems like it sucks the spontaneity out of things, but for me, the spontaneity is in what I will see, experience, enjoy while I'm there; and having planned ahead for the basics (above) made my enjoyment of those trips so much more fulfilling and relaxing so we could focus on the fun stuff when we arrived vs. making a dozen trips to the general store.
 

redwood66

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
Messages
7,241
Great write-up jocojenn!

I love camping but am to the point now that sleeping on the ground, even in a tent, is a no no.

This couple is great with their reviews and some of the vids are funny. Definitely reservations if you research and find a campground you like.

http://www.gonewiththewynns.com/
 

Matata

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 10, 2003
Messages
7,457
My husband considers staying in campgrounds and especially in anything that is not a tent to be slumming. His version of camping is schlepping a 40 lb backpack through mosquito infested forests, up steep trails, through thick underbrush and over downed trees or crossing hot deserts in the height of summer while an arid wind sucks the moisture from our bodies and we slowly wither into something resembling a raisin to find a place to pitch a tent on hard ground so various rodents and other critters can keep us awake at night by scratching around, over, and under the tent. For sustenance, rehydrated food that comes in a pouch. The water comes from streams, some of which were not within easy reach and had to be sterilized first.

I learned how to poop and pee in the woods for that man.

I did that for 12 yrs. Then on my last few trips, it took 4 Advil before I could even get out of the tent to put my boots on. Now we motel camp. Might spend 10 hrs hiking through rough terrain but I have a hot shower, real food, and a nice bed to look forward to at night.
 

BeekeeperBetty

Shiny_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 15, 2015
Messages
272
Where are you planning on going? I used to camp quite a bit when I was younger and had fewer kids. My husband still takes the kids on camping trips while I stay home with the ones that are too young to go.

Maybe you should look in to glamping. It might be more up your alley. It's like camping, but not so rustic. We haven't done the RV thing because there are not enough seats with seatbelts in them for a family our size, but it is something I want to do.

Have you seen the movie Paul? I imagine RVing is something like that. Minus the alien (probably).

Scandinavian|1457616037|4002630 said:
Buy a tent. And a big backpack for your DH. Go for a long walk and find a nice picturesque spot :). Skip the RV. Just my personal opinion off course ;-) :bigsmile: Camping can be fun. But it is not very luxurius.. and a centipede is not dangerous, I promise! :) Jokes aside, I like the hiking part best of camping. So I try to do the hiking without the actual camping and stay at a nice hotel instead, lol. Hope you'll have fun!
Actually, centipedes are venomous. They won't kill you (most of them), but the bite can be quite painful. Millipedes on the other hand are perfectly harmless and kind of cute. We're lucky to have both around the place. And a pest control company so they don't get in the house.
 

VRBeauty

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
10,312
Don't plan an extended RV trip until you've tried a short run first - rent an RV for a weekend or so and see how you like the experience first.

My parents had an RV for a few years but only took it on a few extended trips. It turns out my father really didn't like driving it. He was used to fairly sporty cars, and hated being that guy who held up traffic going up hills. And unless you tow a car behind the RV you're driving that big thing everywhere while you're on vacation. Some people love it, others not so much.
 

BeekeeperBetty

Shiny_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 15, 2015
Messages
272
That's a good point about driving the behemoth all over. Some places, like the Going to the Sun road in Glacier can't take an RV, so to get to some of the really cool stuff you have to tow a car as well. And think about every time you go anywhere you have to drive it through town, try to find a place to park at every restaurant or shop etc etc.
 

katharath

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 5, 2013
Messages
2,835
AprilBaby|1457586671|4002401 said:
If you are good you go to heaven, if you are bad you camp for all eternity.
LOL!! Yes!!

I spent about 9 years growing up in Alaska, and my parents (plus my high school friends) dragged me all over the place for camping and fishing (I drew the line at hunting) - and I've resolved never to do it again. It's just not my thing, and I've had plenty of experience to figure that out.
 

amc80

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 18, 2010
Messages
5,765
sonnyjane|1457587613|4002408 said:
AprilBaby|1457586671|4002401 said:
If you are good you go to heaven, if you are bad you camp for all eternity.

It's not all horrible. This was the view FROM MY CAMP while camping in Baja last year. We kayaked and camped for a week. I'd do this one for eternity.
Where in Baja were you? When I was 14, my parents and I moved to Cabo for a year. We lived in an RV at an RV resort. We spent several weeks driving down Baja. Great memories!
 

sonnyjane

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 13, 2008
Messages
2,476
amc80|1457646723|4002927 said:
sonnyjane|1457587613|4002408 said:
AprilBaby|1457586671|4002401 said:
If you are good you go to heaven, if you are bad you camp for all eternity.

It's not all horrible. This was the view FROM MY CAMP while camping in Baja last year. We kayaked and camped for a week. I'd do this one for eternity.
Where in Baja were you? When I was 14, my parents and I moved to Cabo for a year. We lived in an RV at an RV resort. We spent several weeks driving down Baja. Great memories!
A place called Coyote Bay... Halfway down the Baja peninsula on the Sea of Cortez side, near Mulege.
 

Cozystitches

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 2, 2010
Messages
1,164
I love this thread! Hubby and I are in the process (read: saving for a few more months) of getting our camper. We love to travel, however with 3 kids staying in hotels is expensive. Add the possibility of bedbugs and I'm not a fan. We have gone camping a few times, I did a ton when I was a kid, and I STILL :angryfire: LOATHE :angryfire: sleeping on the ground. Even with an air mattress. Our last camping trip cemented the camper plans. I so look forward to getting our camper and traveling. :appl:
 

artdecogirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 27, 2009
Messages
1,142
Hello Ilander, I love camping and we do a lot of it. Where I live (Minnesota) and I know Wisconsin as well the state parks are run by the DNR so go to there website and look for camping then put in the dates and general area you want to camp in and if you want a water/electric site and it will tell you what parks have sites available for reservation. If you are not used to driving a big rig you can often put in if you need a pull through site versus a back in as well. Most state parks also have about 25% of their sites non reservable, on a first come basis but if you are going for the weekend unless you leave on Thursday do not count on getting one of those, they are usually all taken by Friday afternoon unless you are in the off season for the area. And like others have said if it is a holiday weekend or any school holiday like MEA and also most of August because people are trying to get in late season trips before school starts they are all most likely already booked up.
Some other things to think about, like someone else said if you are renting an RV remember you will be driving it wherever you go unless you get a travel trailer so if you are in the mountains or going through a big city make sure you are comfortable with that.

When picking a camp site consider where the toilets are and dump stations, you may want to be by a restroom even if there is one in the rv some things you do not want to do in a small enclosed rv bathroom with poor ventilation. But you do not want to be too close to the restrooms either, then you get a constant flow of people by your campsite as well as potential odors.

Remember many state parks do not allow alcohol consumption and often have quiet time after 10 or 11 pm, most are strict about quiet time, not so much about the alcohol if you use a can koozie and are not obnoxious. Don't be surprised if a park ranger stops by your site if you are outside just to visit.

Bring stuff for the outside, most state parks do not allow outside wood to be brought in for fires so it must be bought at the park but bring a lighter and some newspaper for fire starting and outside lawn chairs, there may be a picnic table at your site, bring a citronella candle for it and a cheap vinyl tablecloth if you are planning to eat outside.

And have a great time!
 

iLander

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 23, 2010
Messages
6,731
Thank you, everyone! :wavey: :wavey:

We've looked into renting a tiny RV (fits all spaces, easy to drive) and it's actually a bit expensive. The best rate we could find is around $100 a night (it's usually $170 per night!!) , plus $40 a night per state park. Then it's a few dollars per hour of generator time, plus mileage fees, etc., etc. Seems like, for the minimum 3 night rental, we can easily spend $600.

Honestly, for that much, I can find a hotel. :knockout:

I agree, the parks need reservations, after looking at their websites. There should really be an app that shows vacant camping spaces.

And frankly, I'm not a huge fan of camping and the RV seems tiny. We were trying to figure out who would sleep on the dining room table (converts to sorta-bed) and who would sleep in the claustraphobic "sweater cubby" (that space over the drivers seat). DH and I both have back trouble, and a couple of days with poor beds would tie us in knots.

Sleeping on the ground stopped being an option when we passed age 30. :lol:

So, I think we'll try something completely different, and visit Washington DC. I'll try starting a thread for that and see what all you smart PSer's can tell me. :)

You guys gave some awesome tips, and it will be an excellent reference for others. :appl: :appl:
 

rainwood

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 29, 2005
Messages
1,489
I'm so glad you changed your mind. Sounds like a much better decision for you (and me if I were deciding between the two).
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!
    Upgrade to Five-Stone
    Upgrade to Five-Stone
    Elizabeth Taylor's Diamond Heart
    Elizabeth Taylor's Diamond Heart
    Tips for Black Friday Engagement Ring Shopping
    Tips for Black Friday Engagement Ring Shopping

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top