Monday, December 2, 2013

Ask the right questions before buying your RV, Travel Trailer, Camper; YOUR Rig!

There are advantages and disadvantages for each of these selections.  I looked over a bunch of ideas before settling on my Cherry Baby and Sunline Saturn.   

My most important consideration: Do I want to park the camper, unhook, and drive to other locations?  You bet I do.  I'm a photographer, and "chasing the light" is my favorite sport.  Above image taken at camp, Valley of the Gods, Utah, Spring 2013.  I do bring a bike, and ride it every day, but sometimes the location I chose is a bit far and the camera gear can be heavy.  I tend to prefer dry camping, toting my water, and running electric from my deep cell battery and trickle charging from my solar panel. It's just how I roll.

Ask yourself:

  • How many campers will normally sleep and eat in your camper, often my friends meet me and bring their tents, and we share cooking outdoors if the weather holds.  My camper has a permanent full sized bed, and the kitchen table folds down for guests, a bit wider than a twin.
    • I know from experience that I use the outdoors a lot, as an extension to my living space. I use a picnic table and fire ring as my dining and living room, and I bring along comfortable camp chairs, as I cannot spend a weekend sitting on a rock, or in my crazy creek.  A good folding chair is essential gear. (more of that list on another blog)
    • Even in my current set up, when the kitchen table is used as the second bed, I like the bedding stowed early in the day, so I can enjoy the space, and set up my art supplies to hang out too.
  • It's important to ask about leaving camp to go anywhere, once the truck, trailer, RV is leveled.  Most folks bring bikes, scooters, etc.
  • How long do you plan to be out camping?  
    • On average, in the first year of towing my Saturn, I stay out for long 3 night weekends, and so far, one, two week trip to Zion, from Durango.
  • How much money do you have to spend on a rig?  
  • What do you want to bring with you?  
    • I load up on camera gear, my bike, art supplies, tripods, etc. And soon I hope to add a telescope for dark sky star viewing.
  • Because my Tow Vehicle is a Grand Cherokee, I am sometimes close to the maximum tow weight, so I pack light, even looking at light weight cooking pots and pans.
  • And lastly, but very important to me, is that there is a user group online who are the sunline owners, and whenever I have a question, I rarely wait 24 hours for those folks to respond, and they sure are helpful.  
  • Do you plan to dry camp often, or predominantly at campgrounds. 
  • Do you prefer hooking up to electric, sewer, water when available.
The main thing is that I kept at it, learning as much as I could, before a friend dropped the "just right for Kit" rig in my lap.


Used to describe a rig you drive, and can hop in the back anytime for lunch, potty break, use your imagination.  When you see these coaches on the road, they often have their cars trailing behind, sometimes called a "dinghy" or a tow behind.  These also come in small, medium and large, and the big "coaches".

  • Class A
  • Class B
  • Class B+
  • Class C

Travel Trailer

Describes a camper that you tow behind your car, truck (called the tow vehicle).  These campers come in small, medium, large, extra large and 5th wheel.

  • Airstream is the class aluminum brand
  • Casita is a premium brand
  • Today's all aluminum brands include Camplite, Avian and a host of others
  • Pay attention to the maximum weight your tow vehicle can handle safely.
  • Be sure to add trailer brakes and weight distribution hitch if needed.
  • Google aluminum travel trailer and have fun

Truck Bed Camper

This sweet rig comes in all shapes and sizes (google truck bed camper).  Some pop up, some have slide outs, some fit right up to the back of your truck bed, some hang beyond.  A lot of the beds in the truck bed camper fit over the truck cab, and the interiors range from rigs with dining rooms, bathrooms, good sized kitchens.  The main questions for selection include:  How many campers can you comfortably live with and share the space.

more to come.

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