Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Our camper: The Beginning

Our Teepee tent. 
Clara at 8 months camping
 We have tent camped for about 4 years now. It gets a little tricky and stressful during camp set up and take down since I am the only fully able bodied adult. Last year the older kids (then 8-6 years in age) tried to help me out several times, but it proved to be a better idea to just let me do it. Camp set up takes a bit and I just want to get it done so I can start dinner.

We don't stop camping if it rains.
 My only requirements for camping are that it is under $30 a night for our spot (tricky with a family of 8) and there needs to be water near by. We don't need electric. I am ok with port-a-potties and vault toilets.

My 6 plus my Bonus Child. 
 Last fall my best friend and neighbor brought home a pop up camper that she was trying to sell. I figured it would be much more than I could talk my husband into. To make the story short, I bought the popup for $600 with the understanding that it needed some work done to it, but not too bad. A few smaller holes in the canvas and the front end storage needed work.

We used this one all last year

My neighbors were kind enough to bring it over into my driveway, position it for me, and then teach me how to put it up and down.

What type of pop up is this? It's a 1994 Coleman Destiny Rio Grande. I am told that the front end storage is known to have leaking issues. Also the type or roof will sometimes get cracks in it as well, but you can refinish it and have no issues. So far we have no leaks in the roof. I do plan on refinishing the roof next year as well as painting the outside.

When we opened it up this spring, we discovered some mice had gotten into it over the winter and caused more damage to the canvas.

Good news: We can patch it and still use it this year.Bad news: Our camper will look a hair on the ugly side

I know many people would turn up their noses at this, but this is truly a blessing for our family.

 Please keep in mind, all these pictures were taken before any cleaning was done.

To the left is a large hole that had a wasp nest on both sides of the canvas.

On the right, you can see the damage the mice did to the curtains. There are also some small holes in the canvas.
The galley is fine. The water and stove top works. Although I plan on taking it out. I have no intentions of ever cooking inside the camper, even if it is raining. I have a camp kitchen that sits under an EZ up canopy. One year it rained all Memorial Day weekend. I cooked under my canopy and the kids played under it and we had a lot of fun! So for us, this is a pointless feature. Although, with 6 or 7 kids going camping with me, I do need space. So out it comes!

This camper also has a small heater in it. I have no intentions of using it either. The kids and I have been camping with weather down to 42* at night and no one got cold. It is all about being prepared.
The other bunk end

Yes, there are a few holes. We are not in a position to replace our canvas this year. Still, I would like to be able to use this pop up camper this year. I can set this up in 15 minutes all by myself. That is much faster than a tent. Also, I do not have to set up any camping cot for The Elder. His Cerebral Palsy makes it hard for him to sleep close to the ground. So we invested in a camping cot two years ago.

The holes in the canvas can be patched for this year. It will be on the ugly side, but usable and keep us dry. This fall we will be putting in an order for a new set of tenting for our pop up.

Now to clean this up and start making it uniquely ours!