First time taking my pop up to camping - at night?

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Camper054

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Hi all,

Most (if not all) of you are experienced campers and someone like me (totally newbie) pop up camper is asking for some help :).

We have a trip coming up in two weeks, which was planned earlier with few friends.  Unfortunately, one of my kids have a marching band obligation that evening and we cannot leave until he is done.  Basically, I will be arriving at the campsite late at night - around 11ish.  I have set up the camper at home but this will be my 'very first' trip with the camper.  I am worried if it is a good idea or not.  I do not wait until the next morning as this trip is only Fri and Sat nights and traveling Sat morning would make us lose most of the morning. I have some flash lights I will take, plus I also have a 'flood light' that we can use.  Did you have to set up the camper at night?  What are some of the things I should be 'extra' careful - other than ensuring the camper is level, wheels are chock, etc.?  Maybe I am worrying too much and your comforting words will help :).

Many thanks in advance!
MC
 

NY_Dutch

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Flashlights or headlamps should be enough for setting up for the night. Please be respectful of your neighbors and try to as quiet as possible at that hour.
 

Joezeppy

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Upstate NY - Kuyahoora Valley
We had a pop-up for 2 years and set up a few times at night. Just be extra careful backing in. Turn the headlights off if possible. Once you're level and unhooked you can always turn the car/truck around and use the headlights. As was mentioned though, be courteous of your neighbors. And remember, voices carry further than you think at night when it's quiet!
 

Arch Hoagland

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Clovis California
It's good to setup your RV at night....makes you REALLY appreciate setting it up during the day.

You'll be fine. i think I'd leave the leveling, etc until the morning.  Being off level won't hurt anything for a night.
 

Camper054

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YES! fortunately, we do have a couple of headlamps that I will be taking with me.  I did not think about being quiet - it is very important!  Fortunately, we have four/five families going - so hopefully my friends will be closer and others are bit away :).

I also thought about going early to set up.  But the campground is about 2 hours away!  The only other option is for my wife to drive my son to the campground at night while I go before and set it up.  We'll see :).

Thanks all!
MC
 

Isaac-1

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My advice also involves having a spotter while backing, thankfully with a pop up they will not have to worry as much about overhead limbs and to do the minimal amount of setup needed to get through the night, saving what you can for the next morning..
 

RVMommaTo6

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Rochester, NY
I've set up many times at night, not as the first time, but if you practice a few times at home and can handle it, I say go for it. Are you comfortable backing it up? I would think as a newbie, that would be the hardest part at night.
 

UTTransplant

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Cedar Falls, IA
We set up a pop up a number of times at night. Be considerate of neighbors (no light glaring into their tents!), be quiet, and never put your feet or hands somewhere you can?t see (don?t ask me why I say that - similar to the fire pit story I bet).
 

Camper054

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RVMommaT06,
You are absolutely correct!  Backing up the trailer is my biggest concern.  This is counter intuitive of regular backing up.  I realized that when I first pulled the trailer driving home and when I stopped at the truck stops, and when I backed up in my driveway.  So, yes, this will be somewhat challenging as the space and the roads in the campsite are not very wide. So, THANKS for the cautionary note.

Arch Hoagland, your suggestion to leave few things for the morning is also a good one, I am taking a 'to do' checklist and initially thought I'd do all, but you are correct - few things can wait for the morning as long as they are 'acceptable'. For example, obviously, if the camper is tilted more on one side, I'd want to take care of it, but not if it 'looks' level :).

BinaryBob, UTTransplant, you got me interested and probably many others curious to know your 'stories'...would you care to share, please? :).

Thanks all!
 

RVMommaTo6

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Rochester, NY
Put your hand at the bottom of the wheel and move it in the direction you want the back end of your trailed to go. Small movements are the key, a slight turn of the wheel is really all it takes or you'll jack knife. Practice backing into your driveway before you go. Do it a couple times. And know it gets way easier. I remember the first time I brought my pop up home; I thought, this will be easy because I'll just pull inti the neighbors driveway across the street and back straight into my driveway. It was the middle of the day, everyone was at work, and after a half hour of not even being able to get the back end anywhere near my driveway, I called my friend who drives a fire truck in the area. He came over and had it backed up in 30 seconds lol, I was so embarrassed. Now, I could drive from coast to coast backward lol, so just practice and you'll get it!
 

Rene T

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It sounds like you're going to have issues with backing up. It takes time to learn how to do it and 11:00 PM at night while your neighbors in the CG are sleeping, is not a good time to practice. If I was you, I would pack up the RV, have it all hooked up, go to bed early and leave at O Dark Thirty and arrive at the CG when they open. You won't loose anything that way. Call the CG and verify that it would be OK with them. You'll still probably have to pay for that 1st night or maybe they can cut the price a little. Explain the situation to them.
 

UTTransplant

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Another way to deal with baking in is to unhitch and push it into your site! We did that a number of times with our pop ups when we wanted it turned 180 from the way we came in. Of course this won?t work on sloped sites or on the huge pop ups, but it is a definite possibility if you have a tongue wheel.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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West Palm Beach, FL
Since you will be part of a group, remember to resist the urge to call out to the others.  Sound carries a long way in the dark of a quiet campground so folks several sites away will hear every sound you make.
 

maddog348

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Bakersfield,CA
Camper054 ~~ 2 vehicles would be my choice. Everyone will be more relaxed ~ Your buddies can help.  I would rather drive the 2 hours after the event than FIGHT the in the dark set up..  Second choice ~ depending on size of pop-up is to unhook and place him by hand. Did that a lot if terrain was agreeable ~ Even had a little 2wheel mover (looked like small push lawnmower ) to give more control.

JM2?  ~`  YMMV
 

blw2

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Saint Johns, FL
In my thinking, the set-up isn't any big deal in the dark.  The issue is how comfortable are you with backing in?  I think Rene is right about that.  Some sites are no issue at all even if you are less than comfortable, but some CG's have rather tight roads and sharp angles into the sites.
regardless, the night doesn't really change anything with that either, maybe just a bit slower because of blind spots and shadows...  Just take it as slow as you need to...inch by inch if necessary...and don't rush it.  At that hour you're not likely to be stopping traffic.  Just be mindful if your headlights are shining into someone's tent, and if your tow vehicle is loud (diesel or hotrod) then you might should rethink the night arrival unless it's sure to be a very quick back in or pull through...so little to no loud idling time.

Arch Hoagland said:
It's good to setup your RV at night....makes you REALLY appreciate setting it up during the day.

You'll be fine. i think I'd leave the leveling, etc until the morning.  Being off level won't hurt anything for a night.

Unfortunately, the leveling likely needs to be done....because for most if not all PUPs..at least several years ago.. it's necessary to be level before jacking up the roof.  There's an order to things...If I recall correctly, it's level first, then i can't remember which comes next  either roof up then last is stabilizers down or visa versa.... a point often debated among pup owners who claim doing it out of order can lead to bent frames.  I'm pretty sure the stabs were last...
Anyway, regarding the roof... I set up mine once when I was lazy with my leveling and got it "close enough".... but then the roof once up was leaning so far in that direction it was near impossible to attach the door.... and then it kept popping loose...so I lowered and leveled
If you're not familiar...and if yours is single axle...the BAL leveler makes short and easy work of it....in fact I have one in my attic I'd like to find a good home for....

Otherwise I totally agree with Arch and others, leave anything you can till morning....the awning, chairs and such would be one of those things to wait on...but now that I'm thinking about it I had to unroll my bag awning before raising the roof.

The only other thing I can think to add is to be a bit more careful about looking up for tree branches, etc...

For your own peace of mind, can you set up in camp driveway a time or two before the trip?
 

HappyWanderer

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Just to echo what others said about pushing a pop-up around by hand, we did it all the time. With kids on the back bumper for counterweight, one person can pick up the tongue and point it in the direction desired.
 

PancakeBill

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Benson - Tucson, AZ. West Yellowstone,MT
You can tell if you were quiet enough about 7AM if your neighbors all yell hello to you or not.

We had someone setting up next toy us a bunch of years back, they arrived some time around 11, I think first time setting the tent up, banging metal poles, playing the radio and leaving the engine running.  (radio had to be on loud to overpower the bad muffler)


 

TheBar

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Jun 25, 2018
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MS
I have a jack similar to this one with a big 4x8" wheel. No backing required. I can just push my popup into the campsite.. It rolls easily even on gravel. I bolted my jack on the side of the A frame and it swivels up horizontal out of the way when parked. Took 15 minutes to install.

It needs to be level before cranking the roof up. After the stabilizing jacks are down the door may be hard to open. You may need to adjust the jacks to get the door centered in the frame.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/SeaSense-1500-lbs-Mighty-Wheel-Swing-Up-Trailer-Jack-with-Brake-Seacoat/44709064?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=3604&adid=22222222227033556144&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=84269720928&wl4=pla-116570746368&wl5=9014092&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=113510227&wl11=online&wl12=44709064&veh=sem&gclid=CjwKCAjwqNnqBRATEiwAkHm2BK_4yHLsjbEtJwCXZ-0aGNBHWN14YmFQP3HpVjbyGbncrI7wAgre-xoC2M8QAvD_BwE
 

Camper054

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Jul 21, 2019
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51
blw2/Brad, and all,

Hi, I've been busy all day today with out of state guests.  What a coincidence! I did what you were asking - set my camper up in the evening to show my uncle and aunt.  You are correct. I think the leveling is bit off and the door is not closing properly - the opening is not 'square' and I had a hard time putting it in place.  So, yes, I would do the leveling.  Otherwise, it is not bad to set up in the evening. I had my headlights and got help from my boys as well. So, they are also getting used to :)

I heard about these BAL levelers, but I am not sure how to use them or what do.  If I were closer to you, then I could use the leveler you have :).  It would have a 'good' home...

So many thanks to you all - I am so glad that I asked this question, which I thought was a simple one.  Amazed to get all your thoughts and suggestions - so nice of you all.  Many million thanks!  Please keep the comments coming...

MC
 

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