Modapalooza 2.0

Modapalooza 2.0

Year two at the family garage was much less work. Our major customizations took place last year and we have been thrilled with the results. But a few problems in need of a solution have come up over the winter and we took advantage of the long weekend to knock some things out.

Our biggest complaint in the past year of trailering has been the lack of storage for all of our toys. Last year we built the kayak rack, but this cuts down on truck bed storage space. Our trailer came with a ladder rack for our bikes, but we never felt it was a particularly secure option. By the time we adequately bungeed the bikes, they tended to rub on each other and parts of the trailer. Continue reading “Modapalooza 2.0”

Ultimate Trailer Packing List

Ultimate Trailer Packing List

A first camping trip in a trailer can be overwhelming. What to bring? What to leave home?

One of the best pieces of advice I can offer is to take your first couple of camping trips within driving distance of a big box store such as Walmart. We joke that we are on a mission to visit every Walmart in the US as we have made so many quick trips to pick up a forgotten item while camping.

I also suggest making lists. I try to make a quick inventory every trip when packing up. Are we running low on soap, paper towels, or toilet paper? Right now, I jot it down in my phone, but I may try to come up with a better system at some point.

Continue reading “Ultimate Trailer Packing List”

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”

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”

What do I need to buy? (Part one)

What do I need to buy? (Part one)

As we approach one year of trailer ownership, I finally decided to sit down and add up how much this purchase has actually cost us. I saved receipts for this purpose but couldn’t bring myself to face reality until now. I survived the process and decided to share the results. New or potential owners should know that the final price on their purchase contract is just the beginning of the financial hemorrhage that can come with a trailer or RV. We have managed to drop a small fortune at Camping World, Wal-mart, and Amazon in the past year. I have particular sympathy for our UPS driver who had to deliver a few 50+ pound packages.

If there is a camping supply store attached, to your dealership, you may be lucky enough to get a discount coupon for a shopping trip. Be aware that online prices may be better. Camping World offered a shopping guide who helped us decide which basics we needed, but she wasn’t nearly as knowledgable as the nice folks on the internet. Camping World prices also trend high, even with the Good Sam membership discount. However, we negotiated a gift card into the purchase of our trailer, making the sticker shock of our initial trip a little less.

My current spreadsheet of purchases is well over 100 items, so I have decided to break down what we spent in sections, starting with:

The Basic Outfitting of the Trailer

These are the things you will need to get started on trailering. Unfortunately, the most important items are some of the most expensive. A few of these items may not be necessary based on how you intend to camp and what is available at your campgrounds, but it is what I would suggest a newbie buy to have a happily functioning trailer. Continue reading “What do I need to buy? (Part one)”