Time to sell our camper? Maybe we are not ready for this...

Discussion in 'Camping with Kids/Pets' started by jcrew6311, Nov 12, 2016.

  1. XKPin

    XKPin There's no situation so bad it can't be made worse

    Oct 28, 2016
    Gloucester, Virginia
    Good for you! I take my two apartment bound grandsons camping, not because it is easy [EEK], but because I'd like to leave a legacy that would endure long after I'm gone. Much as my family did for me :). There are so many other miserable things kids can get into outside of camping [CP]. Developing an imagination, rather than the digital entertainment feed, will show them that THEY too can be part of REAL LIFE! In the beginning, campgrounds with fun amenities are essential. Then PHYSICAL social engagement that does not involve an iPhone ensues. Soon enough they will take an active roll and lead in the enjoyment of National Parks and beautiful state parks.
    --Heck, I never thought I'd see the day they could successful cast on their own with an open face reel!
    --As someone else said, you're paying your dues - and it is worth it! :grin:
    Adina*Moo likes this.
  2. Rideswithchrist

    Rideswithchrist Member

    Jan 18, 2016
    Buda, TX
    All kids should go camping with "nothing to do" a few times in their life. Children need to learn how to observe birds and bugs and play in the dirt. Boredom sparks imagination and creativity. Mine are 9,7, 5 and 6 months.
    When we camp, the only "toys" we bring are some trucks to play in the dirt, jump rope, balls and art supplies. The rest they do on their own. We will be making some explorer packs with binoculars and such, but our state parks here have them to borrow for the day already.
    Our rule is NO ELECTRONICS while camping. Even I leave my phone in the TV.

    I am also a Charlotte Mason homeschooler so we do lots of nature hikes and the kids have to go outside for a minimum of 2 hours daily anyway, but we have a large suburban backyard at least.
    We take the dog sometimes but mostly he stays home with the house-sitter.
    Rik Peery, momofEAP and BirdsNest like this.
  3. jndrake

    jndrake New Member

    Jun 20, 2008
    Can you tie the dogs to a tree with shade and a water dish till your set up? Do you bring any kind of pack and play for the baby? Could the toddler stay in the TV with AC and a movie while setting up? These are all things we did and I would fully help my husband set up our pop up so it would be quicker and easier for us both to get to the camping/exploring/playing part with our boys. Set up can be a chore but if you want to keep trying you will learn something from every experience and it will get easier and easier. We camped in our 1970's pop up and started each of our three boys as babies each under a year old. I definitely brought a pack and play for the baby and that made a huge difference! We also had a superyard- 5 sided baby gate that forms an enclosed space, I'd put a blanket down, my littles would play with toys in a safe place while we set up/ packed up and at night we set it around the fire ring for extra safety, it never melted or turned black. Those things really helped us keep enjoying camping. Good Luck :)
  4. 4xMeteor

    4xMeteor Active Member

    Jul 30, 2012
    Sounds like you are a little less stressed, but as many have pointed out, it takes time. I grew up tent camping, DW grew up RV'ing:grin:. After DW and I got hitched, let the camping begin!! Started out packing the '62 Willys Jeep and headin' to the Mountains - yes, everything we took fit in the little Jeep and we would camp for 4-6 days without heading back to civilization.

    Then we had DS #1, so graduated to a '97 Jeep, but still everything had to fit on/in the Jeep. We also started camping with DS before he turned 1.

    Pix when DS was 5 - getting ready to leave for a 5 day trip.



    Then 7 years after DS #1, DS 2 came along and we still took the Jeep - and had to pack everything in/on it. Graduated to our popup when DS #2 was about 2 and recently graduated to a 28ft TT.

    DW would only go camping if I did EVERYTHING, so I did (planning, shopping, packing, cleaning, cooking, etc...). At times it was difficult, but it was also my choice and so I chose to enjoy despite the work.

    Now that my DS' are 10 and 17, they absolutely LOVE camping. It is part of our life style, but it took time. Not every trip was perfect, but everyone learned together, so now it is much better. DS#2 loves to help with all the setup - it's awesome. DS#1 is a teenager, so he kinda hides - you know, Mom and Dad are no longer cool.

    Hope it all gets better for you - enjoy the journey, not just the destination:)

    As for the Big Buddy, yep used it all the time once we got the popup. We had the one that held 2 cylinders, would burn through both in one night if it was really cold (Snow). It came with a quick disconnect so I would connect it to the 20lbs unit up front. Never worried about it with any of the kids or the dog (Shepherd/Lab mix).

    Oh and here is DS#2 on his first trip
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
    Tylers88, Adina*Moo and Tracy D. like this.
  5. Dback2k4

    Dback2k4 Active Member

    Jul 16, 2017
    Not all dogs are good camping dogs. My first dog was 12 years old when I started tent camping. He really didn't care about anything but a shady place to nap all day and suppertime. He made for an excellent companion on camping trips. If I left the campsite to go hiking, he crawled into his kennel and took another nap. He's hard to see in this picture, laying under the picnic table.


    My second dog I got as a rescued 2-year old puppy and he wasn't a good camping dog until he was about 5 or 6 years old. It took a long time to get him past the wanting to chase other dogs and kids phase and to settle down on command. The first couple times out as a puppy he was running all over the place getting his tie-out caught on everything and knocking over chairs and people... as you put it, a real nightmare! Until he got older I and could bring him along he stayed at home or with a family friend and didn't get to go. Later, when I could bring him along I could keep him off-leash as he would not leave the site without permission and was much calmer. (Moral of the story--excellent training!). On the rare occasion a ranger noticed him off leash and said something (as I said, he didn't leave the site without permission), I could still put him on the tie-out and he wouldn't get tangled every 15 seconds. He would go along on hikes, etc and was a good camping companion.


    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
  6. Miller

    Miller '96 ColemanCheyenne - '14 Tacoma 4X4 DBL SR5 6spd

    Dec 15, 2015

    Great job!! I am glad to read your post(#45), and that camping and popups have remained, experiences and preparing have improved, as well as personal goals and expectations may change and vary each trip...YOU UPGRADED!!

    My two cents, a dad with two DS's 5 & 7 now, and we are currently Camping in our pup, in the pouring rain, with our girl(dog) Abbie on the Cold River in Mohawk State Forest...
    I am super stoked you hung in there!
    Camping with the family is awesome yet never perfect, but will always be perfect as memories!!!

    I think; post #17 by werjulian & post #28 by sawdusty
    Summize my feelings best for your OP.
    Great to have read you are still camping, upgraded and looking forward to taking them in the woods!!!

    Rik Peery and Jorja like this.
  7. Heilman_5

    Heilman_5 New Member

    Sep 25, 2017
    i got kids and tried taking everything I "needed" finally I said to the wife we don't need everything we take.
    Camp in the backyard/driveway. Kids will love it, plug in, carry two propane tanks (one in use one full). A protablebed side to prevent kids from falling out and the table bed makes a good crib.

    Leave the dogs at home until you get the kids use to camping.

    Keep going kids love this stuff, I have my little gilrl in a tree stand with me and she does home work there. Just do what you can to make it work. Don't fight with the wife, and remember KISS.
    DJS12354 likes this.
  8. kmbarreiros

    kmbarreiros Member

    Jun 17, 2014
    Fairhaven, MA
    Another idea of stuff to do is fishing. I have a 4,6 and 8 year old.
    I give them all fishing poles with a bobbin, weight, and a fake worm tied to the end and they will cast for awhile.
    I just started putting a hook on the 8 year old's fishing pole.
    And if the campsite area is big enough they can just practice casting on the grass. My middle child spent a good 2 hours just practicing his cast. Then they would compete to see who could cast the farthest and then my oldest would help the youngest cast.

    Normally the only toys I bring at the big metal tonka trucks and they could play in the dirt all day long.
  9. JHOP

    JHOP Active Member

    Oct 6, 2017
    Ya know, we took our 4, turning 5 year old camping for the first time last year. It was the most miserable when we were setting up and she was BORED. We made her find things to do but even then, it was excruciating: M, please get sticks for the campfire. She would bring back the tiniest little twigs. About 4 of them. And she was done. We're working on that. :)

    We also took our 2 dogs camping with us once, same problem you had. We quit taking the dogs. They peed in the tent, wrapped themselves up in the leads and barked at every little sound. They don't go anymore.

    We had a family camp next to us that had very young kids and babies. They pitched their tents at 8pm and were gone by 7am. [XX(]

    I say, give it time. Try, try again. Next time, go prepared for fixing the things that went wrong the first time.
  10. Mat Kyne

    Mat Kyne New Member

    Jan 22, 2018
    Central Texas
    I have been and still am where you are. We camp with our 3 kids, each starting when they are about a year old. Right now they are 6,5,& 3. I do the camping while the wife holds/entertains the kids. All you need to do is simplify. Camping can be whatever you want it to be. For us, for right now we at most cook 1 meal a day. Cold Pop-tarts, granola bars or cereal and milk for breakfast. Sandwiches and chips for lunch. Hot dogs for dinner. Hot dogs are hard to mess up and can (should) be cooked over a fire. Marshmallows. Plenty of marshmallows. Bag of Twizzlers for the ride home. Leave the dogs at home. We camped with our dogs before we had kids. We might do it again when they get older. Now we get a neighbor to watch them for a few days and return the favor. Paper plates and plastic silverware and cups. No dishes. The very nice thing about the pop-up (as opposed to the tent) is that we can throw all three kids in bed with a tablet mounted to the bunk tube (or whatever it is called) and mom and dad can go outside and enjoy a beverage by the fire. Remember that you like camping. You like your kids. And very soon, you will like them both at the same time. Hang in there!
    Adina*Moo, arge and jcrew6311 like this.
  11. mrkrag

    mrkrag Active Member

    Dec 22, 2017
    Palm Harbor, FL
    Hang in there.
    jcrew6311 and jnc like this.
  12. gardenbliss

    gardenbliss Well-Known Member

    Dec 9, 2013
    San Diego
    I realize this is a very old post that somebody resurrected, but I had to respond. I think the main reason for the OP's camping trip breakdown was the lack of heat. That ruins any good camping trip and is why I eventually moved out of the tent while living in the PNW. I was really tired of being cold and exerting the energy to keep my 2 toddlers warm. I too started in a Taos camper, which is the same the OP has, and I too had a family of 5, but we had a working heater and propane burners, so we were all toasty warm and I had coffee (the crucial element, lol). I bet if his furnace worked, the entire trip would have been different in a positive way.
    Adina*Moo, Orchid and jnc like this.
  13. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

    @jcrew6311 Any new updates?

    We've gotten quite a bit of time in camping with our grandchildren since your original post. One week with four of them (9 and under) and two weeks with two of them ( 8 & 5) and survived it in our pup. [:P]

    Everything was chaos on both trips, but made lots of memories. We DO have running water in our pup, though. I am so glad you upgraded to one that had that. It makes all difference in the world, which is why I never understand it when people remove sinks from their pup.

    Having a real bathroom in ours makes life easier as well. Since all of our grandchildren are boys, they can easily get covered in dirt on the way back from the bath houses, after a bedtime shower. [EEK] We can get them cleaned up inside to keep the beds clean.

    Hope you have had more family fun in your new pup, even if using it as a mobile home room. We do that at times as well.
  14. jcrew6311

    jcrew6311 Member

    Feb 24, 2015
    We have had a few more trips since this trip and they have been very enjoyable with the new camper! It has made a huge difference having all the amenities. My wife's biggest annoyance at this point is her perception of how long it takes me to get everything cleaned up and torn down and the camper put back in storage once we get home lol. Our 4 year old almost 5 has changed significantly with his behavior and ability to just relax when we go camping which has helped a ton. Our daughter at 2 is a total monster who cries over everything and can never be consoled but it brings me comfort knowing our son was mostly that way too until not too long ago so I know it will pass now. I think we honestly just needed the extra amenities with the kids at their age. I'd say the biggest thing I miss about our older popup is my ability to literally park our car approximately close to it and literally wheel the popup over to it and lift the hitch up with my bare hands to catch on to the ball. The new one is so heavy I have to back it up exactly perfect to get it on! Lol
    Tylers88, Mike76, Adina*Moo and 2 others like this.
  15. drglinski

    drglinski New Member

    Aug 23, 2017
    The outcome is not what mattered, it is that you tried. Yeah, it sucked. Trips go that way. Many a camping trips I went on as a kid I was sick, but I'm thankful my parent's packed me, some of my stuff, and my bike and took me on a vacation. Looking back I know they couldn't afford much but they always found a way to take us (I have three siblings) camping. I distinctly remember Dad working on the furnace when it took a crap in the middle of the night. Us being cramped in the pop up because it was storming to beat the band, and Dad having to tie the roof to a tree to keep it from swaying. Cramming 6 people into a very overloaded Dodge Dynasty that rode terribly and wasn't made for towing a pop up and breaking down a few times. Flats on the camper from dry rotted sun scorched tires. Do all of those problems make a difference? Not at all. It's important that my parents tried. Keep at it.
    Tylers88 likes this.
  16. Tylers88

    Tylers88 New Member

    May 18, 2018
    A pack and play with some toys will keep the 8 month old busy while you are cooking and taking care of things, have the 3.5 year old help you or just let them get dirty. My older son loves to help during setup, he brings me wheel chocks, helps set stabilizers and stacks small pieces of fire wood, I always just make sure to tell him how much he’s helping me and how good of a job he’s doing. Have them help you cook, you can turn pretty much any meal prep into a learning experience plus so many adults don’t even know how to cook it’s a valuable skill to have. Or just simply let them play in an area you can keep an eye on them but they can still be independent, I was always getting dirty as a kid and loved every minute of it, I’ll let my boys get as dirty as they can, the dirt and even grease wash away the memories don’t.

    For the dogs tie them to a tree or take a ground stake close to the camper but far enough that they don’t get tangled in everything or try kenneling them once to see how it goes without the dogs a couple times to get a routine down and then reintroduce them to the situation.
  17. starcraft76

    starcraft76 New Member

    Apr 14, 2015
    Hey JCrew, I have really found that camping with my 2 year old has evolved over the past year or so. We took my daughter out in our 76 starcraft at the age of 9 months, and we have tried to improve our approach after every lesson learned. May I suggest an ipad for the evenings? My daughter finds a lot of comfort watching her kid's shows before bed time, and it really helps settle everything down in our trailer when she can just relax and get comfy with some sesame street. Camping purists may not agree with me, but most parents of 2 year olds will understand.
  18. Caper

    Caper Member

    Jul 31, 2017
    We have 4 kids from 12 almost 13 down to almost 2 years.
    3 girls and a the last a boy.
    We have set up more hormone induced camps than I can remember. No camping trip is ever the same. It does get better. We still have trips that honestly suck. But for every one of those trips we have three great ones. Keep your head up.

    Ps. A little or never hurts. Lol
  19. Caper

    Caper Member

    Jul 31, 2017

    That’s suppose to have a little wine glass emoji and little beer mug emoji. Lol
  20. equest

    equest Member

    Dec 22, 2016
    Tampa FL
    So true - this is the best part of having a little 8 ft box pop up with no slides.
    Glad that JCrew and family are enjoying camping these days!

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