A few readers were interested how we setup for camping, so while this post won’t be fancy, it will most definitely be informative. Here are our all time favourite tips for camping in a travel trailer.
A little history…
We are camping veterans. It all started with my mom and dad’s travel trailer. I borrowed it one time to go camping, and from there, it was trailer or nothing.
To make matters even more interesting, instead of buying one, for a few years I bartered an actual motorhome! I ran a stripe and graphics biz so I use to stripe a bunch of RV’s in trade for using their finest during a slightly off season. And boy, talk about spoiled. We’re taking real queen beds and the works.
But one time we attempted to get it but it wasn’t avail. That enticed my then husband and I to purchase a 24 foot used travel trailer. It was wonderful! It even had bunk beds and a living room with a couch! My son basically grew up in that thing as we parked it full season at a nearby campsite resort for many years.
But then one day, I ended up on my own with a little truck that couldn’t pull the big guy. So I sold it and purchased this 16 footer. And that’s where we are today. I can tow my own travel trailer which is the coolest thing ever!
Our Terry isn’t fancy, but it’s nice. It’s super clean and in good shape and not too terribly tacky by tacky standards. (you can see the inside of the trailer HERE) It could use some updating like many see online, but to be honest, I haven’t been inspired to do a thing to it.
Here’s the thing… we go camping to go camping. And when we don’t camp, I work on the house. So! Maybe one day I’ll be inspired to do something cool to it if we hang onto it.
But as these travel trailers get older, they continue to need upgrades. I’m a one woman band here and repairs mean I have to hire out. $Ouch. Owning a trailer is not free. But for this summer, it’s running great and we are getting our money’s worth! Yay!
Anyway, let’s look at how we set things up…
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When we were full season campers, we did things a lot differently such has had a pretty patio with flowers, a fancy painted picnic table and cute benches, the works. Campers always stopped and asked when the magazine shoot was to transpire. But these days, it’s about smack a table up quick and get to the beach!
Short term camping means quick setup and take down and our outdoor kitchen works awesome with a collapsable Costco table. This is where we bring all the riff raff outside that won’t fit indoors. I just prefer to cook outside if it’s nice out. We have a lovely stove indoors, but outside is more fun! And more room.
Boards at work
See that board underneath the table? Simple boards will change your camping world. If you are on unlevelled ground, boards come in mighty handy!
Levelling a travel trailer
See how the tires are on boards? When I drive into a campsite, I grab the level and place it on the floor inside the trailer. I then know how unlevelled things are, and start propping up boards. In this case, I knew one side of the trailer was very low, so I pulled ahead, placed boards behind the tires, then backed up onto them.
You can get all kinds of fancy expensive tire level things and wheel chocks that keep your tires stationary, however boards work just fine.
Keeping your trailer out of the ditch
Chocks are necessary so your trailer stays put. You place them in front and behind the wheels so it can’t go anywhere on you. One time I parked on a slight grade that trailed down toward a river. Kinda freaky! Nothing like wondering if you’ll end up in a house boat the next morning. But with wheel chocks, you aren’t going anywhere. It’s kinda like cheap breaks.
These are cheap wheel chocks. You can go as fancy as you wish RV related. It’s quite a little business this RV stuff. You can spend a few dollars to HUNDREDS of dollars on the same thing, depending which selection you choose. And then there’s free boards…
Automatic trailer jack
Here’s where I’m slightly spoiled.
Above is what most trailer hitches look like. This trailer jack has a crank you have to wind (until your arm falls off) that highers and lowers your hitch.
For guys, it’s probably not that big of a deal. But for a girl? It’s a little more so.
Mine now has an automatic trailer jack. With the flick of a button, I can higher and lower the trailer onto the ball hitch attached to the truck without issue.
If you are still cranking, throw that thing away and get one of these. You will want to send me presents, you’ll be so thankful!
See that beat up black paint? I just spray painted it tonight so it looks all shiny and new again. A spray bomb works great! But.. you know… I don’t primp when I camp.
For those that go camping with a travel trailer on a regular basis, they will laugh at my carpet. This is NOT adequate.
Camping carpets truly save your sanity. The bigger they are, the better they keep the mess out of your trailer.
I threw ours out a few years back because we were camping at a spot that had cement patios at the time. If we continue to camp, I’ll need to get another carpet soon.
Clear sewer hose adaptor
First off, get a splitter for your water, with two turn offs.
What this does is allows one for your drinking water, and one for your septic water.
Allow me to explain…
Bear with me, this connection is clean.
This see through device is a clear sewer hose adaptor extension that allows you to check if your tanks are clean or not when they are emptied.
Every trailer has a tank of grey water (dish and shower) and a tank of black water (sewer). When you empty a tank, you always empty the black first. Then you open the grey so the cleaner water further cleans out your hoses.
See the green hose? Right after you’ve dumped your sewer, you turn on the green hose and the water will shoot back into the tank. You let it fill the tank until it starts running out again, turn off the green hose and allow the works to flow out. This is repeated until everything runs out perfectly clear.
THIS IS A MUST HAVE for any travel trailer. It truly leaves your tank spotless.
How to back up a trailer
Ok, so towing a trailer is yet another hurdle I had to accomplish. With good instruction and a little practice, it really isn’t that hard to tow a travel trailer and doesn’t take strength in order to do so.
Here’s the best tip I’ve ever got on backing up with a trailer…
1. Put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel.
2. If you want your trailer to go left, turn left.
3. If you want your trailer to go right, turn right.
That’s it! Really.
If you’re new at towing, take lots of time to practice. I like driving down country roads, and attempt to get myself into a bind of sorts, then work my way out of it. Practice really does build your confidence.
Tent or trailer?
Travel trailers are a BLAST to use. But they are maintenance and it’s best to use them all the time so all the parts stay working.
Tent trailers are another option if you can’t pull a trailer. They are much lighter in weight and are in between a tent and travel trailer, which makes them a super nice option.
But I’m afraid my tenting days are over after having a trailer. Once you go trailer, you cannot go back! So if you are still in a tent, you have been warned…
And on this note, we are off AGAIN to do a short little camping stint with a group of friends this time! Be back soon!
( I’ve replaced the lights so let’s hope they don’t come home needing tape again… )
Do you have any must hear camping tips? I’d love to learn more!
Other great camping and trailer posts you’ll enjoy:
The $1.67 travel door repair, and a lesson