Our First Camping Trailer

Several years had now passed since I overcame my fear of camping and began reaping the benefits of becoming a “camping family.”  Tent camping had caused us to develop a full range of camp craft skills including where and how best to pitch a tent; the best ways to deal with inclement weather; and, mastering the selection of family campgrounds both near and far.  Conversations with other campers revealed there is a commonly held belief in the “Life Cycle of Camping” among those in the camping community.

This Life Cycle begins, as we did, with tent camping as the most affordable entry point.  Many campers then move on to pop up trailer camping as a means to add greater comfort and convenience to their camping experience.  Pop up trailers are then soon traded in for more expensive hard side trailers offering all the comforts of a mini hotel room on wheels hitched to the back of a larger, more powerful towing vehicle.  The Life Cycle culminates with the purchase of a self-contained Class C or Class A recreational vehicle (RV) motor home often preferred by retirees seeking to obtain and achieve a lifestyle of  continual mobility as they follow the seasons or stay connected with far flung family members.  I often see these larger RVs on the interstate towing a small automobile used for running around the local area at their next destination.  I have also spoken with many RV owners at campgrounds and am always impressed with new skills and added conveniences associated with their chosen way of life.

Our decision to take the next step by purchasing a pop up trailer camper came during a midsummer camping vacation in the Washington D.C. area where the “real feel” temperature readings were in the one hundred plus degree range cooling off to only the mid ninety degree range at night.  We decided to relocate our family to an air conditioned hotel room after a number of us began to succumb to the symptoms of heat stroke.  Everyone agreed to move beyond tent camping forever as we floated in the hotel’s swimming pool that evening!  Here then is the transition we traveled in the weeks and months that followed:

1.     Visiting one or more large scale RV and camping Show events where we:

a.     Met with a variety if manufacturer’s retail representatives.

b.     Sampled a diverse number of camper models and designs.

c.      Discussed our plans and challenges with other campers and sales staff.

d.     Determined, most importantly, the towing capacity and trailering characteristics of our preferred camping trailer.

2.     Attending these events allowed us to clearly understand the following:

a.     The ideal size and camper capacity of our trailer.

b.     The most comfortable sleeping accommodations (including air conditioning!).

c.      The best storage arrangements for our favorite camp toys including bicycles, canoes and other related gear.

3.     We were delighted to discover a camper store that could allow us to rent a pop up camping trailer to for a “camping family test event” which left no doubt on the suitability of the trailer for us.

That next summer all of us enjoyed the ability to extend the range of camping vacations deep into the western states of Colorado, Wyoming and Montana with the ease and convenience of our new pop up camping trailer.  We quickly learned the importance of selecting pull through (rather than back in) camping sites at scenic campgrounds whenever possible.  Each family member was assigned a job associated with setting up and taking down our campsite much like members of a pit stop crew at a race car speedway!  As a result, we mastered the skills of safely pulling in, plugging in and setting up in five minutes or less.  Mastering these important skills soon led us onto the purchase of a hard side trailer just a few years later which in turn ushered in the birth of our unique camping products Company called Barely Roughing It Incorporated.


Rick Riviere