Archive for the ‘Tent trailer’ Category

It’s Trailer Day!!!

April 20, 2009

After an agonizing wait, the day has finally come!  We have our trailer!  It was a long, exciting, confusing day.  There’s so much to learn.  There’s definitely more involved in the the set-up and take-down than I expected.  It’s also trickier than I realized to get the thing hitched and unhitched from the van.  Am I sounding like a total novice or what?

We got our new toy home and immediately wanted to play.  We towed it into the yard and then struggled to figure out how the hitch worked.  We struggled to get the trailer set up inside and out.  We struggled to get the awning out and up.   We tried out the benches, the beds and all the windows.  Then we wanted to make it our own.  My husband, Mr. Weather, installed an indoor/outdoor thermometer.  I strung up some solar patio lights, a very tacky wind catcher and my piece-de-resistance, the grizzly bear towel ring.DSC00548

At last, it was time to introduce the trailer to our son Liam and our dog Peggy.  The dog was excited and checked it out from top to bottom, then staked out a spot for herself on the couch.  Liam didn’t like the look of it and refused to go in.  He turned and made a break for it, running across the yard, never looking back.  I had to go catch him in the neighbours yard.  He wasn’t happy when we made him go in, but he soon learned to have fun climbing up and down on and off the bunks.  In the end, it was a great success.

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We haven’t slept in it yet, we’ve just practiced putting it up and taking it back down.  We can’t wait to take it out on the road and our practice in the yard will hopefully make for smooth sailing on our first excursion.  I’m looking forward to updating you with an actual adventure soon.  In the meantime, I’m going to stare longingly at it through my kitchen window.  sigh.

Maximising My Utility

April 3, 2009

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In first year economics the prof taught us that a util is a unit of happiness and that a rational person will achieve the greatest possible utility from each dollar spent.

Maximising the utility of every purchase is a challenging, and interesting exercise to go through, but when it comes to big ticket items its something most of us take seriously.

We did our best to maximise the utility of the dollars spent on our trailer.  I’ll run through the process we went through when deciding which trailer to buy.

First, we had to decide that a trailer was something we wanted to buy.  Buying a trailer wasn’t a given at first.  We could have gone in a number of directions.

Option one was status quo.  We could have chosen to do nothing, but doing nothing is boring.  Option two, we could have bought a new tent.  Not my favourite choice so lets just cross that off the list right away.  At the opposite end of the spectrum, we could have looked into buying a cottage.  A cottage can certainly be an asset, but it’s an asset with a lot of expenses and hassles.  A cottage would also mean that we’re spending our weekends in the same place all the time.  Lastly, we could buy a trailer.  A trailer is more comfortable than a tent, but isn’t as elaborate as a cottage and won’t appreciate in value.

Long story short, we decided to go with a trailer because it is affordable, comfortable and can be set up anywhere we want to go.  We had a winner!  Then the task was deciding which trailer to buy.  We wanted to get the biggest bang for our buck without paying for extras we didn’t want.  That’s the essence of maximising utility.

When we started looking at trailers, we went to an RV show and discovered just how many options there are.  We were amazed to see the high-end RVs.  There’s a huge range out there, some costing as much as a house.  There’s certainly something out there for everyone.

We wanted something basic, light and inexpensive to tow.  We decided that a pop-up tent trailer fit our needs best, because there’s so much functionality packed into a small, light unit.  We decided we wanted our trailer to have a space heater, a small fridge, a sink, and a three burner cook-top.  A bump-out may provide indispensable square footage to a larger family, but it seemed like an unnecessary expense for the three of us.  We knew, though, that going too small would result in uncomfortable accommodation and a loss of enthusiasm for our trailer adventures.  So, in the end, we opted to look at units that included one queen bed-end and one double bed-end and an extra bank of seating.

With our options and wish-list narrowed down, we started to look seriously.  In the beginning we looked at both new and used models, but soon discovered that a used trailer doesn’t often offer significant savings over a new one.  I’m sure there are great deals on used trailers out there, but we didn’t find one that met our needs and wants at an attractive price, so we went for a new one.

We found great value in the Viking 2107 and were happy with the price we got on last year’s model.  We’re looking forward to it being our home away from home for many years to come.  We took our time researching our purchase and shopping around.  As a result, we feel really good about our choice. We’re confident that we made a sound decision and are looking forward to hitting the road!  Consider my utility maximised.

Camping After Kids?

March 28, 2009

The last time my husband and I went ‘tent camping’ I was six months pregnant.  It was an annual camping excursion with friends and our only time out with the tent that year.  We packed our Mazda Protege with camping equipment, food, and the supply of pillows I had started using to sleep comfortably.  The car was stuffed to the gills and I turned to my husband with a realization, “next year we’re going to have to fit a baby in there somewhere”.

Our trusty tent had done well for us.  It was the only one we’d ever owned and it had helped us travel on-the-cheap throughout much of Eastern Canada, the US and parts of Europe.   On this occasion, though, we unfolded it to realize  it was still wet from being packed up in the rain the year before.  Smelling, moldy and ripped, we knew our old Zellers tent was on its last legs, but we got it set up and made due one last time.pzpg11-hpim05772

Ready to relax, my husband set his camp chair by the fire, but it was old and the canvas gave out as soon as he sat in it.  Great!

At the end of  a long first day we went to bed.  In the middle of the night I awoke amid a familiar air mattress hiss as my butt sank to the ground.  I used the extra pillows I had brought as a make-shift mattress and struggled through the rest of the night.

By the end of the weekend we’d had enough…all done.  We took our ponging tent, our useless chair and our deflated air mattress and chucked them all in the dumpster on the way out of the campground.  It was the end of an era.

So with a baby on the way, no tent, and a realization that we were never really ‘hard core’ anyway it became clear that it was time to shift gears.  It was time for an upgrade, if you will.  We started investigating pop-up camper trailers and realized that, with a little planning, we could make it happen.  That was an exciting prospect!  An exciting prospect that was nearly three years in the making.

We purchased our new camper this winter and will pick it up next month.  Our son is now two years old and we are psyched to set out on a whirl-wind of family fun and adventure.  I’ll keep you posted.