To RV or not to RV?

I’m the daughter of RV’ers. In fact most of my immediate family and extended family own RVs. Margie and I have always been tent campers. We’ve car camped and backpacked a great deal in the 10 years we’ve been together. We did a fair amount before we met, as well.

We are now considering buying a pop-up tent trailer. I’m quite torn about this.

Margie and the kids spent the weekend camping with my family in Bodega Bay. I went for one day but had to return to teach a yoga class (and enjoy 36 hours to myself at home!!). The plan was for Margie, my mom, and the kids to camp in two of our tents while my dad, step-mom, sister and her family, and a few other friends camped in their RVs. Margie and the kids had a great time, but ended up sleeping in my dad and step-mom’s trailer both nights. Margie returned from the trip suggesting we buy a used tent trailer.

I really like the idea of buying a tent trailer, but I’m not sure I like the idea of going through with it. Here are a few of my concerns:

  • I want to raise tent campers. I want my kids to be comfortable in a tent.
  • The cost. Yes, we can buy a good, used tent trailer for under $2,000, but then there is the added fuel costs of driving the SUV and towing; registration; maintenance; propane; and higher campground costs (it generally doesn’t cost anything to pitch a tent in someone else’s spot).
  • RVs are another example of American excess. Yes, they help get more people out of their homes and into more natural areas, but at what cost?
  • The fights that inevitably come with trying to back a trailer into a campsite.
  • A trailer sitting in our driveway or garage.
  • It’s $2,000 that could be spent some other way or not spent at all!

On the upside:

  • We would go camping more often. I know we would.
  • We wouldn’t have to spray bug spray all over us or retire to our tents at 6pm when camping in the mountains in June and early July.
  • We’d stop being the moochers my family now thinks we are.
  • We have the money to buy the tent trailer and cover the other expenses.

I could go on, but my son is up from quiet time and I’m tired of thinking about this.

What are your thoughts? To RV or not to RV?


7 thoughts on “To RV or not to RV?

  1. I’m all about a small RV – and I refuse to camp anywhere that resembles a trailer park 🙂 Even when we camp now, we won’t go anywhere that allows large RVs, that just isn’t camping to me. If you can do it – I say go for it! I think you will enjoy it – and really, a pop up isn’t anything more than a tent with wheels. It’s not like it’s hard sided or anything. And your gear could go in it instead of the car which is nice too.

  2. I know the kids are too young now, but if you get a tent trailer, you may not be able to get the family backpacking. That’s where the real camping experience happens. You could get the trailer with the understanding that once backpacking is an option for the kids you trade in the trailer for backpacking gear!

  3. well in our family we’re all about camping so far from others we port in our own water. :o) we can’t wait for ian to be big enough to go backpacking! but we don’t have a family with RV’s trying to persuade us otherwise! :o) and, risking offending others, i rather prefer camping in nature and not in parking lots. but that’s just me!

    i’m sure that helps! :o)

  4. Our family tent camped for 20 years before we bought our first trailer. Yes, at times we also were moochers, but only because we allowed it. How can you resist Nana standing there with her lip stuck out saying,”they would sleep much better if they were in here.” Just remember, whatever you do, you have control, you are the parents. Also, like others have mentioned, you do not always have to camp in a designated campground and use their ammenities. Remember, in a lot of those places there is an overflow that charges much less. When we bought our first trailer we wanted something that we could get into tight places for hunting. Since then we have graduated to something larger, more comfortable, but our children are slowly moving out and on as well. Whatever you decide, just remember, you have control over what they do and dont’ do. Oh, yes, and I forgot. Even now that we have our nice trailer, we still bring a tent for all the extra kids that usually come with us and they revert back to olden days very easily and Clark and I get some quiet time as well….good luck with your decision!

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