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Author Topic: Camper/RV Newby (long time tent campers)  (Read 1478 times)

khr

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Camper/RV Newby (long time tent campers)
« on: January 31, 2016, 10:23:32 PM »
Hello Everyone!  My wife and I have tent camped for 27 years.  We started when our kids were small and have really enjoyed camping.  We just bought our first camper.  It is a 2011 19' Shadow Cruizer tongue pull trailer.  I will be pulling it with a 2013 F150 3.7 liter engine with the trailer/towing package.  Bought it in Farmers Branch, TX and pulled it back to NW Oklahoma without any problems (except for the poor gas mileage!). I have also purchased a 4000 watt (peak) generator from Cabela's.

We have typically tent camped at or above the 9500' level in south central Colorado and love it.  We like it because it gets us away from a lot of the casual campers and gets us up into the "wildlife zone" and access to near and above tree line hiking.  We would like to continue camping in those same areas now that we have a trailer.

We have always seen and been somewhat jealous of those we saw that didn't park their trailers/RV's in campgrounds, but we're just parked out in the forest wherever they wanted.  That is very appealing to us from the privacy aspect.  I would be interested in hearing from anyone that does that kind of camping.  Are there forest service rules concerning fires, gray water, etc????

Any advice (on any topic) you can give to first timers would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.

Very excited about getting back out into the woods with a camper and not a tent - sleeping on a real mattress instead of on an air mattress on the ground!!!

Ken
2011 19' Shadow Cruizer
2013 F150 3.7 liter

UTTransplant

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  • Salt Lake City area
Re: Camper/RV Newby (long time tent campers)
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2016, 08:50:52 AM »
Congratulations! We were tent campers for years too, but having a mattress and a bathroom at night is quite handy as you get older. As to rules, each Forest is different as a result of differing environments. Very few let you disperse grey water on the ground. With your tent camping experience, you should be well set up though. When we were limited in the fresh/gray/black water capacity of our previous trailer, we would wash dishes in plastic sinks (like when tenting) and use the shower area mostly to fresh up with a bucket of water and a wash rag. As you get more experience, you will figure out how to use the fresh/gray water appropriately.

If you really like to boondock, I would recommend getting two 6v batteries to replace your standard 12v on the trailer. I can double the amp hours available before running your generator. Running a heater needs a reasonable amount of battery power for the fan, and it sure is nice to turn it up at 9500'.
Pam and Kevin plus Minou and Lily (the cats) plus Lexi (the grand-dog)
2014 Outdoors RV Timber Ridge 240RKS
2015 Ram 2500 Diesel
http://toobusyforwork.com

denmarc

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  • "I put a spell on you!"
Re: Camper/RV Newby (long time tent campers)
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2016, 11:18:20 AM »
Congrats on the TT! Like many of us, we also started out camping in tents.

You will find along the way that there will be items you may need while camping. Especially boondocking. Don't sweat the small stuff. You will pick it up in time and have it on hand when you most need it. We are also campers that found the the CG style is not for us. We are on private property adjacent to Manistee National Forest in MI. Been here for over 20 years. I got a pretty good idea what you're talking about. With your number of years tenting it, you have a good start. The TT will just include items such as gas for the genny, tools for minor repairs, what is necessary for the grey and black tanks, fresh water conservation to last the trip, etc.

The list is long and distinguished depending on what you need/want to bring along on your camping trips. You will learn as you go. Experience is a great teacher. And there is a ton of boondocking info in the forum library.
Rules for camping on public land varies according to who owns the property. Be it local, state, or federal land.  Best advice is to check into that before camping and get a copy of the rules. Many state and federal camping land info is available on that states website. Worth checking it out.   
Mark

1994 Jayco Eagle 370FB on 24 acres of paid off paradise in Michigan.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
Dr. Seuss

Kevin Means

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Re: Camper/RV Newby (long time tent campers)
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2016, 04:03:33 PM »
We too are avid boondockers, and while I'm convinced that Winnebago didn't build our motorhome with the expectation that it would be used much for boondocking, we've been very happy with it after making several modifications. Yes, camping (if you can call it that), in the middle of nowhere with family and friends is the life!

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

Abendage

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Re: Camper/RV Newby (long time tent campers)
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2016, 12:00:56 PM »
I too boondock in the upper elevations of Colorado. Pretty much exclusively, I've actually never stayed at a campground with hookups.

1st and foremost swap out ALL of your lights to LEDs. There are multiple vendors that sell them. I went with the online book seller turned retailer route and paid around a buck a bulb.  Secondly, I switched out my batteries for the 2 6v golf cart batteries and installed 200 watts of solar from the above mentioned book seller. I removed my microwave (have an oven, and cook popcorn on the range, no need for a microwave) and my rig doesn't have A/C (not that you would ever need it in the CO mountains anyways) and run everything exclusively of 12 volt.  I don't even own a generator and with the batteries and solar setup I've never run the batteries below the recommended 50% state of charge. 

There are water considerations that everyone has to figure out on their own on how much they need and learn to adapt to the quantity you have available.   Grey water dumping is prohibited everywhere you can camp in Co, don't do it. If there are fire restrictions it will be very well known. Just look at the forest service website before you come and it will list any fire bans. I don't anticipate any this summer as it has been a heavy snow year.

Have fun with the new rig! 
2006 GMC 1500 4x4 Crew Cab 5.3L
2018 Rockwood 2509S

khr

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Re: Camper/RV Newby (long time tent campers)
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2016, 03:46:29 PM »
Thanks so much for the replies.  Abendage:  All of our lights were already LED's when purchased - glad for that.  You and UTTransplant both mentioned 2-6V batteries instead of the 1-12V.  I would like to look at that, but there isn't enough room on the tongue for 2 batteries.  In fact, barely enough room for the single battery when using the stabalizer bars.  So I'll have to do some thinking on that one.  We'll know a lot more about battery issues after we use it 2-3 times.  I did get the generator and we will be able to keep the battery charged as needed.

I got screens for all of the openings to keep mud daubers out.  I also got some 1/2" tubing to put on the refrigerator drain.  The original "flex" tubing had crystalized and just fell apart when I touched it.  We also bought a very nice mattress to replace the 5" foam original mattress.  It's hard to find a short queen - but we did!

Next thing for me to tackle is the electric hook up for the pickup.  When we drove it home after purchase, all the lights worked as they should until I turned the headlights on.  When I did that, all the lights went to full bright, so you couldn't distinguish when a blinker was on or off and the brake lights were just bright all the time.  By the time we got home (5 1/2 hours) the battery on the trailer was dead.  I plugged in the shore power and the battery quickly charged to full.  So not sure yet what to think about that, but I'll need to solve that issue before we hit the road.  The Ford F150 came with a trailer/towing package and the electric jack is factory installed.  So I would have thought they would have been compatible, but.....????  I'm hoping to look at it this week sometime and make sure they say they are wired correctly.  Then I'll just have to get out there with a meter and check them one connection at a time and see if I can rule anything out and locate the issue.

Again - thanks for the replies.  Anybody with other suggestions about boondocking for 1st timers or our electrical issues - chime in.  I'll gladly read your responses.

Ken
2011 19' Shadow Cruizer
2013 F150 3.7 liter

Abendage

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Re: Camper/RV Newby (long time tent campers)
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2016, 07:07:33 PM »
I'd try to see if 2 batteries can fit. I'm sure there is a way, have yet to see a trailer that you couldn't. It is likely that one battery wouldn't be sufficient to run your furnace for even just one night, let alone lights, fridge, radio, LP detector, etc. on mine, the stock battery tray was mounted too far back to fit the GC batteries, I had to trim the inside handles of the boxes to get the batteries as close together as possible and then move the battery tray as far forward as possible with them still fitting in the frame. They just BARELY fit!  I use a Fastway E2 hitch and the brackets fit just fine. They are off in this pic, but go where the rust marks are on the frame between the batteries and the propane cover.

« Last Edit: February 15, 2016, 07:31:55 PM by Abendage »
2006 GMC 1500 4x4 Crew Cab 5.3L
2018 Rockwood 2509S

robertusa123

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Re: Camper/RV Newby (long time tent campers)
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2016, 02:33:58 PM »
Our biggest challenge is rembering to bring everything with us. Theirs no camp store to just go to.... I also recommend picking up a battery charger.  A life saver when we killed the battery on our tow vehical I. The middle of no where. Was nice being able to charge off the generator
1996  26ft. 3 kids 2 dog and the wife too

khr

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Re: Camper/RV Newby (long time tent campers)
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2016, 09:28:09 AM »
robertusa123 - great comment about the battery charger.  Anyone have recommendations for a battery charger that is sufficient but won't break the bank?

Thanks,
Ken

Edit:   I found this one on Amazon.  Appears to be about middle ground on cost and features.  What do you think???

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000H94F6E/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000H94F6E&linkCode=as2&tag=carbattcharce-20
« Last Edit: February 17, 2016, 02:18:15 PM by khr »
2011 19' Shadow Cruizer
2013 F150 3.7 liter

denmarc

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  • "I put a spell on you!"
Re: Camper/RV Newby (long time tent campers)
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2016, 09:57:11 AM »
Don't get frustrated. We didn't forget you. I noticed you hadn't gotten a reply to your last post.
If you really love to boondock, and are considering a battery upgrade to accommodate that fact, then check the library for the proper batteries. A good article is...

http://www.rvforum.net/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=506:choosing-the-right-battery-for-your-rv&catid=39&Itemid=132

Start there with your research. Ask questions and build upon that. When done, you should have a power system that will get you alot closer to accommodating what your looking for.
Mark

1994 Jayco Eagle 370FB on 24 acres of paid off paradise in Michigan.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
Dr. Seuss

tanglemoose

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Re: Camper/RV Newby (long time tent campers)
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2016, 04:46:29 PM »
We top were tent campers for years... and still like to camp in forest or other federal lands... BLM Web site has some great camp spots..
 Most of the state parks in Montana and some in Wyoming and Idaho have dumps for dumping your grey and black water.. some charge a small fee but we'll worth it. Most of the Town Pump gas stations have free dump... so a easy fix to that concern.

I love this forum... if you have any question... it will be answered on here..

As for batteries, the 6 volt are a tad smaller and can go in one box, so may fit. We just went to solar and 2 six volt batteries and are super delighted!!! We just camped for 3 nights, in Wyoming   ran furnace, etc... and never got generator out of truck!. ... hubby did not believe in solar until we accidentally bought a used camper and discovered solar panel on roof!! Now he is hooked. The new charging stations are great for charging phones, cameras, dog shock collar...

Enjoy... and post away your questions... most of us have been newbies!

Best advice on here..
 Go on your first trip in back yard or next to a store.... you will forget something. .. and learning your camper goodies is a learning experience.. we just took our new one out for a shake down...enjoy...
Donna and Mark
and our Golden Lexie
New 2017 TT Keystone Cougar  Same model... but NEW Features!
2015 Keystone Cougar 1/2 Ton Series, 21rbswe, 26'
2013 Toyota Tundra
Living in Cold Montana Country.....

khr

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Re: Camper/RV Newby (long time tent campers)
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2016, 07:53:17 PM »
Thanks denmarc and tanglemoose for the replies.  Batteries is going to be one of those things we'll wait and see how we do before making any kind of decisions.  Also, what part of Montana are you from tanglemoose?  I grew up in SE Montana - Baker.

Ken
2011 19' Shadow Cruizer
2013 F150 3.7 liter

 

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