Adventures in Glamping: trial camping trip

This weekend we took the camper out for a trial test run. It's not glamped-out yet, but we wanted to make sure that, you know, the car could actually pull it and stuff. We decided it was best not to stray too far from home. Our good friends (who are full-time campers!) are here for the month of June and staying at a campground about 20 minutes from our house, so we decided that that was a good spot for our first trial camping trip.

The weather was frustratingly rainy--- I say 'frustratingly' because the weather couldn't decide if it was going to rain or shine. If it had just poured the whole time we would have been fine; I'd stocked the camper with plenty of rain-activitities. Or, if it had been sunny with some sprinkles that would have also been fine because we can handle some sprinkles. But instead it would downpour for 10 minutes, then clear up and be beautifully sunny so you'd be lured out of the camper, then it would downpour again. GOTCHA! 

The park was OK, but it was an RV park and I was surprised to see rows of campers parked side-by-side. I grew up in Upstate New York and as a kid we camped at campgrounds in the Adirondacks so I guess I have a bit of a spoiled view when it comes to camping.... where we camped (Nick's Lake, Old Forge, and Delta Lake) the campsites were separated by small stands of trees. Sure, you could see/hear the campers next door but you didn't feel like you were parked beside them. Our plan is to book several weekend trips at several different nearby campgrounds (none more than 80 miles or so away from our house) while we get the hang of this camping thing, and learn what Michigan camping has to offer. 

Some additional things I discovered about myself / my family / camping this weekend: 

  1. I am addicted to showers. 
  2. Bangs are not a camping-friendly hairstyle.
  3. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.
  4. THAT'S what flip flops are for. (both girls need flip flops before our next trip!)
  5. Showers, man. Showers are amazing! The first thing I did when we got home was to take ALL the showers!!!! 

All-in-all, it was a fun, if haphazard trip. A raccoon broke into our dry food bin which was full of chips and crackers and nuts.... he stole ONLY the S'moreos (S'more favored Oreo cookies) and the leftover marshmallows. I guess camper-raccoons have singular taste? 

I did learn a lot about our camper that will help me in making decisions about how to reconfigure it and stock it to best fit our family's camping style--- which we're still figuring out, of course.

More updates to come! If you have any recommendations of campgrounds in Michigan, please do share them in the comments below!  We have about 6 available weekends this summer and I'm looking for places to book! 

Adventures In Glamping: camper acquired!

I know, I know. I'm way behind on the posts I promised. Mermaid party? Luau party? Harry potter sundresses? Tremaine sister costumes?  I'm a bad blogger.  What's the hold up / what's my big distraction, you might ask?

Welllllll.... we spontaneously decided to buy a pop-up camper and I've been busy learning all about this new trend of "glamping".  What is glamping?  According to wikipedia: 

  1. Glamping is a portmanteau of glamour and camping and describes a style of camping with amenities and, in some cases, resort-style services not usually associated with "traditional" camping.

That's not exactly our aim, but I did fall down the rabbit hole of Pinterest camper makeovers and have been hard at work re-organizing our modest little camper's interior. To me, glamping is all about intentionality: not settling for the default interior design (why do all campers have itchy fabric anyway?) and instead letting your camper reflect your family's aesthetic. What is our family's aesthetic?  Well, I'm still figuring that out. Suffice to say, since my husband will be camping with us, it's not likely going to be a princess interior, though I do think a pink sparkly interior would be unto make!

Growing up my mom and I camped every weekend throughout the summers. My aunts/uncles/cousins also camped though we didn't camp together all that often. I think I learned a lot of valuable life skills from my childhood camping days, and at the very least it forces everyone away from our electronics-saturated home for a few days!

My husband, on the other hand, grew up near the ocean and while he's a big proponent of outdoors time he is new to the whole camping thing. It was quite an adventure camper-shopping with him! He was asking the most newbie of newbie questions! It was nice knowing more than him about something transportation-related! 

I'm still amazed that I was able to sell him on the idea of a family camper. We took the girls tent-camping two summers ago and it was fun but really labor intensive. I was not keen on all the set-up time required to tent-camp. We also can't fit the kids and the tent and all the camping gear in my hatchback, so we were looking at needing to either take two cars or buy a pull-behind for the gear in which case a small pop-up became the obvious choice in my mind.

It's amazing how far pop-up campers have evolved since I was a kid! Slide outs, whaaaaat?? We did have a few limitations with regard to size: my hatchback maxes out at 1500lbs which is really small for modern pop-ups. We will need to upgrade our vehicle in the future but I didn't want to do that just to go camping this summer. So, we found a tiny used Rockwood that was under $2k. It fits us for right now while the girls are little. If it turns out that we are not a camping family we haven't sunk too much money into it (hopefully we could resell it and recoup most of the cost). On the other hand, if we get addicted to camping then in a few years when we upgrade our vehicle to a full SUV-sized thing, then we can also upgrade our camper to something with all the bells and whistles. It's also easier to justify reupholstering and reappointing the interior when it's old and dingy, amiright?

So, here it is, our new-to-us 2002 Rockwood Freedom pop-up. 

Alterations we've made so far: 

We only just had the camper delivered this weekend (and have yet to install a hitch to the Toyota Matrix!) but I didn't waste any time in ridding myself of pieces that I think are unnecessary. Remember we're not thinking of our pop-up as a mini-RV so much as a self-contained tent. Sink? No thanks. That was the first thing to go. My husband took out the whole upper cabinet and shed a whole bunch of weight from the camper. Gas grill? The whole point of camping is cooking over an open fire, right? As goes the grill, so goes the propane tank and a whole bunch more weight. And, lastly, the "U" seating was just a family fight waiting to happen with everyone kicking everyone else's shins.

Farewell shin kicking! Look at all the legroom we have now!

Farewell shin kicking! Look at all the legroom we have now!

Farewell totally unnecessarily big cabinet for a tiny unnecessary sink!

Farewell totally unnecessarily big cabinet for a tiny unnecessary sink!

Right now I'm in interior-design research mode. I've started this pinterest board for inspiration! We're leaning toward a campy aesthetic for our camper--- I'm thinking hipster fox prints, with accent s'more pillows that I happened upon this weekend at the village wide garage sale! 

Some fabrics I'm considering for the cushions and curtains.... 


Thoughts? Do I have any readers out there who are campers also? I'd LOVE some suggestions!

Stay tuned for more! :-)