What's been your biggest camping issue to-date? (equip, breakdown, etc.)

campagain

Active Member
Jun 24, 2017
256
In my youth, we were on our way to a campground in PA when something suddenly broke on my father's truck and we had to pull over. I think we still made the trip to the campground, but, I was too young to remember what ensured afterward (I was probably 8 or so).

In 2017, I had just gotten my first pup, and was taking my 2 children camping. I'd had it for maybe a month. We pulled out of the driveway, and were on our way!!! I got to the first main road, and turned onto it- as I headed toward the first stop sign on that road, I felt this loud CRRRRRRUNCHHHHHHH!!! I was a single father, and had my 2 kids in the back seat. They both looked at me, stunned. I jumped out to find out what had happened, only to find that the ball section on the tongue of the trailer had COMPLETELY BROKEN!! The campground was only about 10 miles away, and we'd already had a few hiccups about this trip before we even launched, so I did the MacGyver dad thing, and bungied and duct taped the trailer to the hitch of my Jeep, and off we went (slowly). Was it the safest choice? No. Did we still get to go camping? Yes. Is it fixed, now? Yep. :)

What were your biggest debacles?
 

campfire Joe

Active Member
Jan 27, 2015
385
peru new york
On my old 2000 sierra p/u while i was pulling into the campground i went over a speed bump and one side of the truck hitch broke away from the frame. It was pretty rusted. Lucky the safety chains were still attached. made it to the site and parked the camper then went to walmart to get a new hitch. It was a bear getting all the old rusted nuts and bolts off my p/u so i could mount the new hitch. Finally took it to a service station so they could torch them off!
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
We were on our way to Yellowstone, which was by far our longest tow to date. Was about halfway through Middle Of Nowhere, North Dakota, and BOOM... we had a blowout. My tires were only about a year old at the time. We had a spare but not a proper jack... we called my TV's road service number, and after waiting nearly 2 hours (most of it with a friendly state trooper hanging out with us), we were back on our way. I was pretty nervous about being not even halfway into the mileage of the trip and already being on our spare tire, which was over 5 years old at the time. But as luck had it we found a place that had a new replacement and got it mounted the next morning. We had already had some "slop time" built into that day so it didn't hurt our trip schedule much at all.

Another time we were leaving a campground, and as I pulled around a sharp curve just feet from our campsite, I heard a horrible "crunch" sound. There was a makeshift "curb" there made out of asphalt (most of the campground was dirt roads) that I had gotten too close to, and literally flattened the pull-out stairs. Once back home I spent several hours with a hammer and several large pairs of pliers and got the thing back into usable shape. We still use it.

Finally... last year we drove out to Glacier NP. My youngest started cranking up the camper, and a loud "Bang" happens. We inspect things and nothing seems out of the ordinary... but now the crank was nearly impossible to turn. Turns out the main cable jumped off the rear pulley (goshen lift system) and was wedged in pretty tight. And all of my available tools were... INSIDE the camper lol. As I sat there contemplating how to get set up, I finally remembered there was a crappy pliers inside the van. We used it to loosen the rear pulley and with some great effort I was able to leverage it un-stuck. Once we got the roof up I was able to properly tighten it with "real" tools lol.

Oh then there was the time we got to Great Smokey NP and there was a dispute about what site we were supposed to be on (my reservation said one thing, the sheet on the now-closed office window said another, and the camp host had yet a third one on his sheet lol). 2 of the three sites were already occupied, and they claimed someone else was coming for the third one lol. I'm like screw this, I'm setting up and it's going to be very hard to move me lol.. (they came back later in the evening to tell us we could stay put, that there had been a mix-up... duh lol)
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,827
Albuquerque, NM
Before popup days, we hit a deer while visiting Glacier National Park, late on a Friday afternoon. The state trooper took me back to the campground to quickly pick up essentials and tell the hosts we'd be back the next day for the rest, once we got a rental car.
With our first popup, we learned the hard way to keep actual track of mileage on tires. We had an entire wheel fly off, on the interstate, when re-torquing the lug nuts got missed - my husband being hit by a car the day or so before the trip, commuting to work on his bike. With broken ribs and spinal processes, we should have stayed at home, As it was, I was thankful for the road crew behind us, who saw what happened, changed the tire, had lug nuts to use, and could direct us the easy way to get back to Camping World, a few miles behind us. And, CW had us on the way in a few hours, on a busy Friday.
A year later, I had a blow out, not too much farther west. My friend and I grabbed what we needed out of it, my husband took it over, and we went home to pick up tent, etc. and do the trip without the camper.
With the Cobalt, not much drama, not counting the brake magnet that fell off.
With the Retro, on a solo cross country trip, I went to crank up the stabilizers and saw the steel belts glinting through the inside of the tires. Auto shop half a mile from the campground, new & better tires, and the diagnosis that we needed a new axle after the trip. A couple of years later, we had a bearing go on the road.
 
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jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,727
Northern Virginia
I was planning a big almost two week trip around New England in under a week. There was a couple quick things I wanted to put in the camper in advance before I forgot and figured why not take a quick weekend trip after work. Hit a ton of traffic on my way up and pulled into the campground at 10:00pm. Get to camp discovered I left the flashlight/lantern at home so really couldn't see the level figured it would be ok as is for just the weekend. Start to raise the roof and I heard POP and one corner is now drooping. I broke my lift. Luckily it was only one corner that was sagging. All I wanted was my dang bed figured the rest of the roof was fine and the cable that broke was on the door side. Come morning I hunted around the woods for a dead tree to raise the corner in question and continue my camping trip. Come Monday morning I'm calling 6 different RV shops only to be turned down by all but one and they quoted me something ridiculous. I live in the city with no garage and no driveway. The HOA does not allow campers on streets so I'm out of luck. No way to fix it myself and no RV shops willing to work on it. I emptied everything out of it and gave it to my brother. As far as my two week trip I pulled my tent and sleeping bag and camped the old school way. The way I look at it if the cable had to break I'm glad it was on that trip vrs my big trip. Of course more than likely it was because the camper was unlevel when I opened it. Painful lesson to learn.

flash forward a few years and my hunt for a new to me camper has finally ended. Drove 4 hours down on Xmas Eve to pick up the camper after inspecting it days before. It had an up to date inspection sticker figured everything was good. Got on the road for a 10 hour drive to the only storage lot I could find available. Pull into the median of the storage lot to sign the paperwork and get the keys to the lot. When I discovered my camper breaks were stuck for a bit. I just assumed I used the breaks a lot thanks to holiday traffic. A couple months later we had an unusually warm week and I figured let me pull the camper out to a campground and try my new toy out. Get to camp and as I was setting up when I burned my hand on the hub. That's when I realized I had a big problem. After camp I called an RV shop to look at it. Thank goodness it was only 20 min away. Turned out the whole break assemblies were complete rust buckets and therefore when I applied the breaks they sometimes got stuck and didn't release when called to. I didn't feel it or realize I was dragging the breaks which overheated everything. That was a big expensive lesson learned. Even though it had an inspection sticker apparently it did not mean what I thought it did or the seller paid someone off to get it put on without a legal inspection. I should have never driven it the first 10 hours without having it looked over by a shop. It was also sign #2 the seller lied about the camper being garage kept.
 

SteelPlayer

New Member
Jul 5, 2020
6
In my youth, we were on our way to a campground in PA when something suddenly broke on my father's truck and we had to pull over. I think we still made the trip to the campground, but, I was too young to remember what ensured afterward (I was probably 8 or so).

In 2017, I had just gotten my first pup, and was taking my 2 children camping. I'd had it for maybe a month. We pulled out of the driveway, and were on our way!!! I got to the first main road, and turned onto it- as I headed toward the first stop sign on that road, I felt this loud CRRRRRRUNCHHHHHHH!!! I was a single father, and had my 2 kids in the back seat. They both looked at me, stunned. I jumped out to find out what had happened, only to find that the ball section on the tongue of the trailer had COMPLETELY BROKEN!! The campground was only about 10 miles away, and we'd already had a few hiccups about this trip before we even launched, so I did the MacGyver dad thing, and bungied and duct taped the trailer to the hitch of my Jeep, and off we went (slowly). Was it the safest choice? No. Did we still get to go camping? Yes. Is it fixed, now? Yep. :)

What were your biggest debacles?
Living in East TN, any trip to the Carolinas involves crossing the Appalachian Mountains. Pulling our 18' trailer with our old Suburban was usually not a problem. However, the day before our Myrtle Beach trip, the carburetor (remembered those?) started giving problems. With the giant 454 CID engine, I decided to just bypass two of the four barrels and proceeded with the trip, since time was of the essence. At the top of the mountain into North Carolina, I was dismayed to see that the swimming pool-sized fuel tank was near empty! I turned around and made my way down the mountain and back home. I found I had caused all four barrells of the carb to be feeding gas continually. Better to have taken the time to fix it properly the first time!
 

campagain

Active Member
Jun 24, 2017
256
Living in East TN, any trip to the Carolinas involves crossing the Appalachian Mountains. Pulling our 18' trailer with our old Suburban was usually not a problem. However, the day before our Myrtle Beach trip, the carburetor (remembered those?) started giving problems. With the giant 454 CID engine, I decided to just bypass two of the four barrels and proceeded with the trip, since time was of the essence. At the top of the mountain into North Carolina, I was dismayed to see that the swimming pool-sized fuel tank was near empty! I turned around and made my way down the mountain and back home. I found I had caused all four barrells of the carb to be feeding gas continually. Better to have taken the time to fix it properly the first time!
So for starters, our truck that broke down was my father's green and white Suburban with a 454 :)

Second, I currently own a 1957 Chevy Panel Truck, so yep, I know what a carb is :D
 

sherpa

Member
Mar 1, 2018
20
Labor Day a couple years ago I had my then 9 year old helping me pack up the camper. He lowered it while I tucked, etc. He got done and put the crank handle next to the propane bottle. Where it stayed till we were on the highway. Totally my fault.

We get to camp to find NO crank handle.

I send everyone to the beach and hit a nearby hardware store. No metal stock, nothing square. Ended up getting some C shaped shelf brackets that nested into each other and got the top up that way with me inside pushing up and my older son turning it with a wrench.

We ordered a new handle and I made one out of aluminum stock. A 1: square, a 3/4" square stock and 3/4" L shape. The smaller square and L shape spoon together and fit perfectly in the larger square stock. I drilled and pop(up) riveted them together, drilled a hole and have a metal rod that fits in the hole to turn it. It's 12" long so it fits nicely in my tool bag and acts as a backup for the next time I do that.


It was either that or the time I put my beer and phone on top of the camper before raising it. Took 2 days to find out where they went.
 

bupkis

Howdy!
Mar 3, 2006
7,932
N. TX
bent rim and axle near Yellowstone (RockSprings gas station), flats every 750 miles home! No lug wrench, waited ~1hr for AutoZone to open, changed tire, bought new rim/tire @tire store next to AutoZone.
Burned out coil on back roads east of Ft Collins, CO headed to Lake Chambers Lake area. Thumbed to T in road with small store, used pay phone and yellowpages, tow truck hauled my truck and P-U into town. Arrived rater late to camp area!
 

bigm23

New Member
Jul 5, 2022
6
Alberta
Well, lets explain a bit. Bought a used POP which they said was good and ready to use. When got home, opened it up no problems, but had some rain coming so put back down and order stuff to do on it. Went to put it back up again and the cables broke. They said it was all just redone. Well, maybe the wires inside the lift but the ones underneath were not and that is where it snapped. So had to find those parts and figure out how to get to and repair that. Then make sure even lift. Get it back up again and was so proud of myself. Started working on some stuff inside and testing all the items to make sure works. They kept telling me stuff that did and didn't work. I went online and researched to try and find manuals. Really hard to do when it is a really old model like 1987. Found out how to work some stuff and stuff worked that they said didn't. Guess they didn't know how to find manuals. lol. I did some outside work and replaced lights and paint. Then, all a sudden, the one side came apart of from roof. Guess, started to break apart and found they had tried to repair one side. So again, trying to figure how to re-attach the one side to the roof again otherwise the POP is now useless. Figured that out and then buy more parts that still have to put on to strengthen that repair. One end had a hole they patched with the black duct tape, usual. They said just a small hole. After taking off the tape, found it was a couple of big holes. So patched that all up with canvas and waterproofed the whole unit just to be safe.

Took it on its first camping trip and the water pump was left on for a bit but not running and ended up killing the batteries so had no power from battery on trip. Thank god was at a camp site with power. I had rewired my plug so could charge battery on camper while towing. Guess that didn't work and still have to figure what going on with that.

So ya, went through lots of things.
 

Andrew Towne

New Member
Aug 6, 2020
4
In my youth, we were on our way to a campground in PA when something suddenly broke on my father's truck and we had to pull over. I think we still made the trip to the campground, but, I was too young to remember what ensured afterward (I was probably 8 or so).

In 2017, I had just gotten my first pup, and was taking my 2 children camping. I'd had it for maybe a month. We pulled out of the driveway, and were on our way!!! I got to the first main road, and turned onto it- as I headed toward the first stop sign on that road, I felt this loud CRRRRRRUNCHHHHHHH!!! I was a single father, and had my 2 kids in the back seat. They both looked at me, stunned. I jumped out to find out what had happened, only to find that the ball section on the tongue of the trailer had COMPLETELY BROKEN!! The campground was only about 10 miles away, and we'd already had a few hiccups about this trip before we even launched, so I did the MacGyver dad thing, and bungied and duct taped the trailer to the hitch of my Jeep, and off we went (slowly). Was it the safest choice? No. Did we still get to go camping? Yes. Is it fixed, now? Yep. :)

What were your biggest debacles?
I had a upper ball joint go doing 70 in NC luckily for me it was a Sunday morning had anyone been near me we wouldn't be having this conversation still don't know how I didn't wreck I was pulling My 2019 coachmen viking spent 2 days in Jonesville NC My truck is a 2005 Chevy trailblazer had All My Ball joint's replaced
 

SheaLoner

Member
Apr 12, 2021
83
Upstate NY
Bees. Got stung twice yesterday at Leo Carrillo campground
Quick tip for bee stings or bothersome bug bites. Find some plantain, the weed, chew a few leaves to release the oils and stick it on the sting. Cover with a bandaid to hold it in place. It will pull the sting or itch out quickly.
downloadfile.jpg

Worst camping trip was a few years ago. Meeting up with some family members who had rented the sites. Was a cluster from start to finish. At the time I was camping out of the bed of my truck with jerry rigged tarps for a canopy. Was running late, it was hot, couldn't find anything and everyone under the sun had something needing done on my way out of town.
Had to stop at my Mothers to check on her critters, she had headed out 2 days before. Her automatic feeder on her tropical fish tank glitched, and dumped all of it in. Spent 2 hours scrubbing that and saving her breeding stock before getting back on the road. Hit traffic the Whole way. Get to the campground and its one of those stack on top of each other ones, not 10 yds from the highway. Which I HATE. And then it started downpouring. Before I got set up. For a full day. Almost turned right around and went home. Probably should have. The lake was quarrentined do to an algae bloom and some poor block got killed by a lightning strike. Was not a restful vacation.
 

Hilldweller

Super Active Member
Mar 2, 2021
968
Hog Waller, GA
We were on a 2-week trip from GA to NM and back and camped in Palo Duro Canyon for a couple of days. Out on a hike with the DW and dog, I smelled smoke. Lots of it. Climbed a hill and saw the smoke. Lots of it. Heading our way. Biblical quantities of smoke.
Ran back to camp, grabbed the Power Wagon, headed to the ranger station. Which was all a-buzz with activity. I asked what was up.
"Wildfire; we're evacuating the canyon."
"Ummm, we're camping in one of the campgrounds. Nobody told us... ...do I have time to go back and get my trailer?"
"If you really really hurry."

So we really really hurried back and started through the loop yelling, "evacuate! Wildfire!"
Got back to our teardrop, tossed everything in, hitched up and scrammed. As we were scramming a helicopter flew by with a loudspeaker announcing the evacuation. Which was a good thing because none of the other campers believed us.

You can see the fire in the distance at the 41 second yardline in this slideshow. I took the picture from a very safe distance. If you've never scrammed past a wildfire before, they smell really bad.

 

Bowcampr

New Member
Jun 20, 2022
2
Two stories; one mechanical, one location. Headed up to Ossipee Lake in NH. Nice 2 hour drive. Tire blew on the camper and ripped a huge hole in the floor and wrecked the pull-out stairs. Changed the tire with a spare from a local shop. Used logs propped under for stairs for a few days. It was hot, it was scary, it cost $1,200 in repairs. Check the tires! Check the tires! the tires......

2nd story is about neighbors. We camped at our favorite campground for a week. During a torrential downpour a family of 5, (4 adults and one sad child...) moved in. They were horrific. Profane, filthy, drunken jerks. We felt sorry for the little girl who regularly made herself at home in our camper, :huh: and on our site. She had most of her meals with us. They fought every night and disposed of their trash in the fire pit. They seldom used the campground facilities but preferred to just use their site. Right outside their tent. In full view of my family. It was a nightmare. The campground had just instituted more 'tolerant' rules and did nothing. I literally cried for joy when they packed up a couple of days early and left. I often wonder how that poor little girl is.... to this day, our only hesitation to camping is the thought that we may have to be situated, during a hard-earned week of vacation, next to people who have no regard for others. It's tough out there.
 

Four Frys

New Member
Dec 23, 2021
1
In my youth, we were on our way to a campground in PA when something suddenly broke on my father's truck and we had to pull over. I think we still made the trip to the campground, but, I was too young to remember what ensured afterward (I was probably 8 or so).

In 2017, I had just gotten my first pup, and was taking my 2 children camping. I'd had it for maybe a month. We pulled out of the driveway, and were on our way!!! I got to the first main road, and turned onto it- as I headed toward the first stop sign on that road, I felt this loud CRRRRRRUNCHHHHHHH!!! I was a single father, and had my 2 kids in the back seat. They both looked at me, stunned. I jumped out to find out what had happened, only to find that the ball section on the tongue of the trailer had COMPLETELY BROKEN!! The campground was only about 10 miles away, and we'd already had a few hiccups about this trip before we even launched, so I did the MacGyver dad thing, and bungied and duct taped the trailer to the hitch of my Jeep, and off we went (slowly). Was it the safest choice? No. Did we still get to go camping? Yes. Is it fixed, now? Yep. :)

What were your biggest debacles?
I've been on lots of adventure trips by car, motorcycle, boat and now with new pop-up. I always try to do as much preventive maintenance as possible however there always seem to be challenges/debacles along the way big and small. A friend shared some wise words with me which are to always expect something to go wrong or challenge you when you are traveling. Adopting this philosophy has saved me much angst and frustration plus builds strong memories and bonds with my loved ones. Happy trails!
 
Jul 20, 2014
49
On the way to our campground, there was a pop and then the smell of burning rubber. It turns out the leaf spring on the axle of the driver's side of the camper broke... Had to prop it up with a block of wood and were able to make it to the campsite, and it worked for camping, but afterwards took it to the shop... new tires, new leaf spring (thank you insurance), straighten the steps (which somehow got twisted even on the other side of the camper!), and some light repair to the wheel well and floor around it.

Tried to get it covered under warranty (which is supposedly lifetime on the frame), but that didn't work...
 




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