Family Camping

How many take the whole family camping (whether in tents, trailers or motorhomes)?

We’ve found this to be a GREAT family bonding time. My kids are 6, 4 and 4 months and we go 7-8 times a year, with at least one trip longer than just a weekend.

You are forced together, taken away from TV, phone and house projects, you go to bed early rise early, see nature, get exercise, see new places and don’t spend much money. What could be better family bonding time?

It gets hard to do in tents with kids, so we bought a popup camper we pull with the family minivan. It wasn’t cheap, but cost less than one week long flyaway trip to Disney would and we’ll have it forever now. No sleeping on rocks and roots, heat, dry in the rain, toilet facilities on-board… It is everything we loved about tent camping with very few of the things we hated.

I’ve read in RV industry articles that sales of these popup campers have been dropping sharply in recent years and I can’t figure why. Anybody else here love it as a family activity? Ever try tent camping and love some of it, but not the discomfort? Maybe its for you! Tell stories.

We just spent our first camping vacation at Big Bend National Park. We rented an RV and it was worth it. We went through a few challenges but we really enjoyed it.

I got there wearing shorts and t-shirt and I left in the middle of a snow storm (4" to 8" in a couple of hours). Even if I learned to drive with snow storms during my years in Wisconsin I still was worried of doing that at night with a 30 foot long RV.

My 11yo son claims that it has been the best time of his life. My wife did enjoy the RV better than a tent especially considering that the tents close to us were blown away by the wind.

My son was quite impressed when he found himself next to a group of javelinas. A day later he was making snow angels in the middle of the RV parking lot.

I am planning to do it again but I will never buy an RV. Too expensive to buy and to maintain (10miles/gallon $3/gallon). I cannot see a way to amortize the cost over a reasonable period of time.

Motorhomes are obscenely expensive. But our popup brand new was $7,000 and I expect that garage kept it will last us at least 15 years like the one my folks had did. I deliberately picked one that could be towed by a minivan so it didn’t affect our vehicle choice or non-towing gas mileage.

I like camping, and so does my dad, but my mom and one of my other sisters hates it… We have a collapsible tent trailer as well (though no toilet facilities?) that we can pull behind a vehicle. We call it ‘Metoo’ as it seems to bob eagerly behind the van whenever we take it somewhere. :stuck_out_tongue: So yeah… I’d do more camping if the rest of my family enjoyed it more. And I’m also on crutches right now… so that kind of makes it difficult.

When our kids were young we began taking them camping. We bought a lot in a camp ground and bought a trailer. Our kids are all grown now but my husband and I still have our trailer and our lot. It was a great way for our family to vacation together and even to just get away for week-ends.

My family of origin always took what we called “Poor Man’s Vacations” by going camping (we never had a lot of money growing up). We had a huge tent, sleeping bags, a portable potty, and of course, the family dog. :smiley:

My folks have pictures of my mom at 8 months pregnant, chasing after a 2 year old (me) and a 1.5 year old puppy, out by a lake. They are some of my favorite photos.

My husband and I haven’t been camping yet with our toddler, but I’d like to go sometime after this new baby’s born. (I’m not as brave as my mom… I won’t go camping out in the middle of nowhere 8 months pregnant. :wink: )

The wife and I started out doing the camping thing untill I got older and I found out its better to stay in a cabin or a condo. So if you want to camp out in my condo in Daytona Beach Fla, let me know I rent it out. By the way the fire wood is free.

I love people who camp!!!

(US Forest Service Employee):smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

DH and I took our first camping trip together last summer. In fact, it was the first time I’d ever camped. We borrowed a tent from his boss and set up camp in a state park. It was a blast, except for the one night when it it was raining so hard for 5 hours straight that the tent roof got saturated and leaked. We’ll be doing it again, but with a sturdier tent and a nylon tarp to cover the tent and tie down if needed.

We’d love to get a pop-up trailer someday. I think those are just about the right size. The big fancy RVs always seem like too much. IMO you might as well stay in a hotel. If you’ve got a tent or pop-up, it’s so cheap to rent a campsite, and all else you need to pay for is food and gas for transport there and back. I think it would be a great investment for a family with kids.

I do NOT sleep in the dirt with bugs.

I leave that to the boys. It makes for a good ‘father-son’ bonding time.

One time, they went to the lake, and I got a room at a Bed and Breakfast for my best friend and I. It was wonderful! :smiley:

I’ve been wanting a pop-up camper trailer for that very reason. When I was a kid we used to have a Volkswagen Camper with the pop top, and I always thought that was a great way to go camping. We did a ton of it.

For where I’m at in life though, I think we are going to stick to tent camping.

I’d really love a VW van for camping. I have to say, we don’t get much tent camping in the campgrounds on my forest compared to the RV’ers. And the RV’ers are all retired.

Yeah, when we were at the state park, our site was one of the only ones with a tent. It got aggravating when we realized that our lake view was blocked by three giant RVs, and especially at night when the RVs on either side of us would have their lights blaring and their TVs up loud. And some of those things had nicer kitchens than what we have in our house! I’m sure it’s convenient, but is it really camping?

forest service campgrounds require quiet by 10 pm. I’ve had to call the law on folks before. :frowning:

That is the purest form of camping!

Assuming that your concept of camping goes to setup camp. Historically that was done in order to achieve the maximum comfort with the things that a person could carry along.

I personally would not consider camping any accommodation that does not include a tent. However, when I go “camping” I want to have a good time with the whole family, and if that involves a pop-up or an RV then it is still fine with me.

That’s what the tent is for, Silly! :smiley: Keeps all the little bitty critters out.

I’m with you, Jen. It’s not really camping when you have access to a TV, kitchen, and indoor shower.

I have a question just out of ignorance. What do you do with the empty propane bottles that you use for your gas lamps, mini stoves etc. I am talking about the green ones the size of a quart of a gallon with a screw on top (the Coleman type)? I am starting to collect them!

Do you have a Home Depot or Lowe’s near you? You can have them refilled (so you don’t keep collecting them), and I’m pretty sure you can just drop off any empty ones that you don’t need.

Oh, you could also call your local municipal solid waste department (the trash/landfill/recycling people) and ask if they take empty propane tanks.

Thanks, I guess I will get a shot at having them refilled. I read someplace that it is illegal to transport them if they are refilled. But it is still nice to have a backup if you loose power at home.

Did you hear that about all propane cans, or just the small ones? We have our big tanks for the outdoor grilled at least once per summer and that’s no problem.

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