Trailer Arrival and Departure Checklists

Trailer Arrival and Departure Checklists

Owning a new trailer can be a very anxiety-inducing experience. First-timers face a simple 46 step process to get in and out of a campsite. Skip a step or do something wrong, and you may be facing costly damage to your new investment. Don’t worry, someone from the dealer will walk you through the process once before sending you out on your own.

And if you are able to get through it the first time by yourself, you still have to remember all the steps in reverse to get back home. And then do it again in a couple weeks.

A year into camper ownership, much of this has become relatively second nature, but we never would have made it through without some good checklists. I found great lists online and adapted them to our specific needs. So now it is time to pass it on. Continue reading “Trailer Arrival and Departure Checklists”

Kayaking around John Pennekamp State Park

Kayaking around John Pennekamp State Park

The Key Largo Kampground, while on the water, is separated from the open ocean by yards of mangroves. The only way out is by winding through mangrove passages. Despite 30 years of visiting the area, we have done very little exploration of these paths. This year, since we drove to Florida, we were able to bring all of our gear, including our kayaks.

In past years, we have borrowed kayaks and followed the tides along the shoreline. One year we encountered a rental kayak and this has been an recurring inside joke. Continue reading “Kayaking around John Pennekamp State Park”

Key Largo Kampground

Key Largo Kampground

It seems many families have a vacation spot that generations return to year after year. There may be a cabin in the woods, a city on a beach, or a house on a lake. Our family has Key Largo. My grandparents started visiting when the island was little more than mangroves and mosquitoes. I first visited almost 30 years ago and have returned close to every year since. We have stayed in a large proportion condos complexes and hotels on the island. We even rented a trailer once, but nothing was ideal. So this year we were thrilled to be able to bring our very own trailer to one of our favorite spots.

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Admittedly, it is very hard for us to be objective about a place that is so sentimental. I have wonderful memories of swimming off the beaches or sunning on the docks in nearly every stage of my life. But visiting as a recent blog-writer allowed me to view the campground with an outsider’s lens. And I feel that I must share some of downsides of the campground. Continue reading “Key Largo Kampground”

What do I need to buy? (Part two)

What do I need to buy? (Part two)

After the sticker shock of Part One: Basic Outfitting of the Trailer, it is hard to imagine there is anything more a trailer owner could buy. And yet we somehow managed to spend another $2,000 in the past year on trailer accessories. Gulp. We became very friendly with our UPS driver this year.

This is the list of items we probably could have lived without, but we have been glad to have. Of course, one man’s optional is another man’s necessary. As with all things trailer-related, your mileage may vary.

Optional Outfitting of the Trailer: Continue reading “What do I need to buy? (Part two)”

5 Great Apps for Planning a Camping Trip

5 Great Apps for Planning a Camping Trip

Remember planning a camping road trip without the internet or a cell phone? It was not long ago that an atlas, a campground directory, guide books, and a sheaf of notebook paper were required for even a simple weekend away. If a trip was particularly complicated, we may swing by the local AAA office for an official TripTik. Never could we have imagined our 2018 selves – checking gas prices at upcoming exits, monitoring the number of available campsites at our destination, or talking to those ahead of us in traffic jams about the best strategy for avoiding delays.

The 20 hour drive back from our most recent camping trip seemed to be the ideal time to look at which apps we use most often. The following are the apps I have checked most frequently in recent trips and I would highly recommend checking them out.

1. Allstays


Hands down, I think the Camp & RV version of this is the best app out there for campers. Unless you are someone who only travels to local parks with which you are familiar, this is a must-buy. Sadly, it appears the app is only available for iPhone users. AllStays Pro is available for home computer or browser use for a $32.95 annual subscription. At that price, I may hesitate, but I have no doubt it is worth every penny of the $9.99 I paid for the app. Continue reading “5 Great Apps for Planning a Camping Trip”