SFR: tent trailer opinions?

Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by Josh, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Josh,

    I've gone the route from tent to VW camper van to Coleman tent trailer and back to a tent again. Here's what matters: what do you like and what will you endure? And far more importantly, what does your wife like and what will she endure? Did she grow up sleeping on the ground in her dad's canvas elk hunting camp tent? Or is her definition of roughing it mean staying at the Holiday Inn? Her answer sets up the side boards of your family camping solution.

    It sounds like the shortcoming of the VW camper is the mobility your fishing requires and has nothing to do with the VW as your camping shelter. I got the Coleman tent trailer for the reason you mentioned along with the notion of sleeping up off the ground - made it easier to find a suitable camp site. If your objective is to combine family camping with fishing, a tent trailer should serve your needs pretty well. You can do it as simple or as elaborate as you want. For me simpler has been better, but people's preferences vary all over the map.

    You'll know you made the right choice if everyone is having a good time.

    Sg
     
  2. Josh

    Josh dead in the water

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    My wife doesn't mind a little roughing it. She's a low maintenance gal (in that regard) and a tent would be fine with her. But the issues with the VW are twofold. The first, as I mentioned, is the "pack up and leave" thing. She likes to go somewhere and then hang out in that spot. She doesn't like having to pack back up and move every time I want to head down the road for a fishing hole or to pick up beer and snacks at the country store. The second is just the idea that making life a little easier will yield big dividends as far as getting out and camping with kids successfully (and at a younger age). I'd rather "wuss out" a little bit with a tent trailer or a camper and have my kid(s) be excited about the great outdoors from an early age than to try and rough it too much and frustrate kids/wife/myself. There is plenty of time to hike in the backcountry with a 2 man tent in the future.

    If that makes any sense.
     
  3. jessejames

    jessejames Flyslinger

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    We have had just about every camping option there is. The tent trailer worked for us for awhile it got us up off the ground in the tent. the problem with the tent trailer is that there is almost no storage. If it doesn't fit in the few drawers or under the dinette seat it needs to go in the tow vehicle. That for me was a big deal.
    Often our camping adventures are spur of the moment and getting all of the "stuff" together and loaded up was a pain. With a tent trailer you only have a lot of room when it is unfolded. Because the ends slide in and the counters hinge into the floor space when it is travel ready there is no room for the stuff.
    After the last trip in our starcraft to rock creek 4 years ago when it snowed, leaked on my bed, got our food wet then the cable broke and the last night we held up the top with an oar from my pontoon boat, a 2x4 three rocks and a full roll of duct tape that was it.
    I came home and bought a travel trailer. All of our camping and fishing supplies live in the trailer all we do is stock the fridge with the perishables and hit the road.
    One option is a hybrid they have storage room and the convenience of a travel trailer but some of them are way smaller and lighter. When you set up you just pull out one or both ends for the sleeping accomodations.
    Good luck.
    jesse
     
  4. tippet

    tippet hardcore flyfishing addict

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    Get a TOWLITE trailer. They are hard-sided and have a hydraulic lift. They have far less wind resistance than a regular hard-sided trailer, giving you much better gas mileage, and they fit in a regular garage if it is deep enough, depending on the model you get. When you get to the lake or stream, hit the hydraulic lift button and 2 seconds later you have a full-size hard-sided trailer with all the comfort and safety that entails (shower,etc.). I have a 21 footer that has all the comforts we need, and have used it to fish lakes and streams in B.C. Washington, Idaho, etc. My Ford Expedition has no trouble pulling it over high mountain passes and over reasonably maintained logging roads. My wife loves it! Check out Towlite trailers! They obviously cost more than a tent trailer, but are well worth the extra cash in my opinion. One caution, check out the garage situation before you buy. My 21 footer needs a 26 foot deep garage to accommodate the 21 feet of trailer and the front extension that has the propane tanks and the part that attaches to the trailer hitch on my Expedition, with a little bit of cushion distance front and back. To easily get it into a garage, I had my Expedition modifed so I can put a trailer hitch on the front of the Expedition to push it into the garage. It is amazing how easy it is to put the trailer into my garage with 6 inches or so to spare on either side, whereas I personally would never be able to back it into my garage without wiping out the trailer against the side of the garage.
     
  5. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Jesse does bring up a good point. One I hadn't thought about in years. We didn't have any room to store anything. The small icebox didn't hold much, so we always had a big cooler that sat outside. We did keep alot of our clothes in the trunk of our Comet and would get out what we'd change into the next day and put it into the tent with us. But I'm sure the new trailers must've made better storage by now.
     
  6. Tom Bowden

    Tom Bowden Active Member

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    For several years, we rented tent trailers for an annual trip to Chopaka. The tent trailer is a lot more comfortable when it's cold and rainy, which is often the case in May. This was back in the 80's and 90's, and I'm sure the models have changed, but I remember that the Jayco's were really nice.

    Renting a rig like this makes sense economically if you only use it occasionally.

    Tom
     
  7. sroffe

    sroffe Active Member

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    Josh,

    We had a tent trailer for 10 years, before getting a hard sided trailer. Camping in Yellowstone during a snowstorm in a tent trailer was a memorable experience...:)

    I liked our tent trailer. It could be a pain to set up and take down when a person is tired, but, they have a lot of room in them for the size. We liked it because of that.

    Going back 10 years before we got one, we were camping at Lake Wenatchee. It gets pretty windy there. We're camping in our little REI dome tent one night, me, the wife and three kids, and a dog, when a branch came crashing down on us. No one was hurt, the tent survived. The next day we packed up went home, and ordered a tent trailer...:)

    A scamp was mentioned too. If it wasn't for the kids, I think I'd have one of those. But, you need room with kids.

    Sam
     
  8. EasyE

    EasyE Member

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    Depends on what model you have and how old the kids are. We have an 8 year old and he loves our 13 footer. It has a bunkbed at one end that he sleeps in and sometimes brings a freind. We sleep at the other end in the larger bed. Works well for us but some may find it tight. When we are camping, the amount of time we spend inside the trailer is quite limited anyhow. For those who want something a bit larger, they also make a 16 ft and a 19 ft.
     
  9. SpokaneFisherman

    SpokaneFisherman Member

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    Oddly enough that was the last time that Jesse and I fished together.:rofl:
     
  10. Joseph Freeman

    Joseph Freeman dUMB aRKiE

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  11. Joseph Freeman

    Joseph Freeman dUMB aRKiE

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    Josh, have you ever considered a teardrop camper, (ever heard of one) I was in the same quandry as you. They are realitvly easy and cheap (around 800.00) to build. Just google " Teardrop campers". if you want the plans just PM me and I will scan them in to the computer and e-mail them to you. Joseph
     
  12. michaels

    michaels Flogging the water, one beach at a time.

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    Josh.. Looks like you're getting some great input from both sides of the coin. I could ramble on and on about tent trailers with all the research I did before we finally bought ours. We absolutely love ours. We ended up getting a 2006 Fleetwood brand new and have logged over 55 nights in it so far. Here's my two-cents and some random info I hope you find useful:

    - Fleetwood for the longest time owned the rights to put the Coleman name on their tent trailers. A few years back there was a dispute and now Fleetwood puts their own name on their trailers. Bottom line, Fleetwood and Coleman are the same thing.

    - My "Top 3" would be Fleetwood/Coleman, Jayco (a very close 2nd), and finally Starcraft.

    - They are surprisingly comfortable in bad weather with a couple of exceptions; they're loud in the rain. The aluminum roofs really "ping." Also, they don't do wind real well. Ours withstood a pretty hefty windstorm, but I really hope to never have to do it again.

    - Newer models have improved breathable fabrics. Fabrics that don't breathe cause condensation inside the trailer. Condensation can lead to mildew. A lot of manufacturers put in ceiling vents or fans to increase the airflow. Our trailer has really good tenting material and even without a vent, we've never had condensation and we've had zero mildew.

    - Storage problems? I guess between backpacking and car camping I've learned that if it doesn't fit, I probably don't need it.

    - Like others have said, they need to be dried out after being in wet weather, but while my buddy is paying over $100 a month to store his travel trailer, I keep mine in my garage.

    Well..I told you I could ramble. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.
     
  13. sroffe

    sroffe Active Member

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    I hate to admit, but, we've kind of wimp out when the weather gets cold and windy. So, the wife wanted a trailer that we could all stay in side comfortably with 2 kids who are 19 and 10 right now, and the dog.

    What really crowds things out in a trailer is all my fly tying stuff ;)

    I do like the Scamp, in all it's sizes. With the price of fuel, you don't need a large vehicle to pull them.

    Sam
     
  14. luv2fly2

    luv2fly2 Active Member

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    i have 2, a little one and a big one. they are for summer when no heat is needed. they are for sleeping of the ground and for playing cards and drinking. they are light and easy to tow. i take a small generater for a light to tie flies. mike w
     
  15. Bill Aubrey

    Bill Aubrey Active Member

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    I just sold my Fleetwood Evolution pop-up. These are manly campers, with 15" wheels (better clearance and towing) and well built.
    A couple of considerations. If you are going to national parks, and some in Canada, you will be a little limited in where you can set up a soft sided (Tent-type) trailer by bear regulations. The Fishing Bridge campground in Yellowstone, for instance, prohibits them.

    The door does lock, from the outside or the inside, but the upper sides are canvas.

    I find the seating in the dinette to be "too cozy".

    I had a 3 way fridge, but always ended up with an extra ice chest. Even though I had a cargo shelf on the front of the camper, the ice box had to remain in my vehicle when in the campground, unless someone was physically present. Those pesky bruins, again.

    My heater was on a thermostat and kept me fine in a Yellowstone snow and rain storm.

    If you get one, look at the Evolutions. There is a great dealer in Kennewick worth price with. Also, take a look at tear drop trailers.

    I envy the VW camper. My wife, 2 yr old and I moved to utah in one in 1975 and ended up living in it for 3 1/2 months. When we wanted to get about, we dropped the top. It's really too bad they stopped making them.