2016 camping plans
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  1. #1
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    Default 2016 camping plans

    What are your camping dreams and plans for 2016? Are you planning shorter or longer travels? Do you have all the equipment you need, or are you planning to save up for any expenses, or maybe have a list of camping related DIY projects?

    Our major plan is for July-August: 6 weeks, 5000 km in an electric campervan, visting Sweden, Åland, Finland, and the Sami regions in the north of Finland and Norway. The car can only go 100 km before stopping to charge the batteries, so we will be seeing a lot of places. It is only me and the girls for most of the trip, DH will join us for a couple of days in Stockholm, Åland and Moominworld in Finland but he is not fond of long camping trips. Also, he doesn't fit in the bed with us.
    2016 camping plans-sommerferie-2016.jpg

    The car is ready to go, but we have a few improvements we would like to do.

    -The bed framework needs to extend over the back seats. Now there are several different levels in the bed, and that is not very comfortable.
    -We have one good sleeping bag, and either need to buy two more, or just bring the ordinary duvets. The Nordic countries are cold in summer time.
    -The bed is 120X200 cm; two children and one adult are sharing it. It is not a big issue, but we would like to test a decent hammock to see if the oldest child could sleep in one of those instead of sharing the bed.
    -I'm not really happy with the propane stove we are using. It is not very efficient, and is uses fossil fuels that we have to bring with us. The EZY rocket stove looks lovely, DH thinks he would be able to make something like that if we invest in some welding equipment. EzyStove | Wood-fuelled Camp Cooking | Rocket stove cookers | Wild Stoves In the far north there is no wood available, so there we would have to buy fuel. But we should be ok at least north to the polar circle, depending on how high in the mountains we go.
    -We need a good table and chairs. I love this idea of a combined map and table: http://lovelygreens.com/2015/09/how-...ravel-map.html DH thinks a triangular one would be more stable, and has a couple of ideas of how he can make removable legs instead of foldable ones.

    I love planning for these kind of trips almost more than I love going on them.
    Total paid/saved: $103 800
    Total goal: $272 900
    To do: $169 100

  2. #2
    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    That rocket stove looks interesting. I've seen instructions for making similar stoves online. Most parks here don't allow people to salvage twigs and wood, etc, and we can't move firewood due to emerald ash borer beetles and other pests, so anywhere we go we have to buy wood if we want any kind of fire. We can bring our own charcoal though.

    I would love to take your trip! Wow, that sounds so fun and exotic to me, just because it's there and not here.

    I like that table with the state maps on it. I don't like the legs though. The table seems like it would tip easily because the legs don't seem far enough apart. We have three state maps, one stuck on clear plexiglass that stays in the house, one that's an old child's puzzle with the pieces being in the shape of states, and one smaller one that we had inside the screen of our former camper. We love looking at them and remembering the trips when we visited each one. I'm trying to figure out how best to put the small one from our former trailer on or in the current camper.

    I love trip planning, too. And modding (modifying) the camper. We've done a lot of mods already but there are a few I'm looking forward to. We have an A-frame camper (brand name Aliner) and love it, but space is at a premium in it. Not as crowded as your van, but we're spoiled. Here's our rig at Lake Bronson State Park in northwest Minnesota, near the Canadian border.


    Our travel plans this year are completely dependent on our dog Sugar, the dog in that picture. She is fourteen now and can no longer travel, so we'll be staying home as long as she is still here. We're hoping she'll be here a long time yet but not really expecting that.

    One thing I want to do as soon as it's warm enough outside is get the new cabana I bought two years ago modified to fit the camper. The cabana is intended to fit a much shorter camper with a flat roof, rather than the high peak our Aliner has. I don't think it'll be difficult to modify and I've already done some preliminary work on it, but because of all the fabric involved, I think I'm going to need to an assistant to help me move the fabric as I sew. Husby will be good for that. That poor guy gets drafted all the time to help me with my various schemes! Here's the cabana on a camper with a flat roof, so you see what I'm talking about. I got mine about three years ago when someone was closing out a huge inventory for $180, quite a bargain compared to what they cost now! Dometic Cabana Awning for Pop UPS 13' | eBay



    I also want to remove the counter top on one section of our counter inside the camper. If I cut a narrow strip off the side that goes against the wall, I can add hinges to the counter and modify it so the whole counter flips up, like a chest. Then I can put a shelf a short distance under it and add some storage for long, flat stuff like boxes with things like foil, Ziploc bags, small utensils, etc.

    I also want to cut the lids of our two cubbies in half because we can't get into them without pushing in the bed and/or lifting it, and that's a pain.

    I've organized that camper to the nth degree and love it. It's so much more organized and easier to use. I still have some small tweaks I want to do but for the most part we're very pleased with what's been done so far.

    Our next trip, whenever it happens, will most likely be to Kentucky and Tennessee or out west again to the Black Hills of South Dakota, or maybe into Colorado. We're not sure yet. I hate to even think of it or discuss it because it's like putting a hex on our beloved doggy. So for now I'm mostly thinking about mods for the camper.
    Last edited by Spirit Deer; 01-17-2016 at 03:18 PM.

  3. #3
    Moderator nuisance26's Avatar
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    ~Last year we took out the camper every other weekend all summer plus a two week jaunt out to The Outer Banks, NC. So about 40 nights in the camper and about 6500 miles driven. I absolutely love getting away from the house that often(it is my workplace after all)but with three kids and two adults in our tiny pop-up camper so often, I don't get all the alone time I need.

    So this year I decided to go less often but make the stays longer to see if that helped. Plus a two week jaunt to California to see Malibu, LA, the Giant Sequoias, Yosemite and Vegas on the way back. Should be more like 30 nights this year and about 4500 miles. Should save about $600 over last year, more if the gas prices stay low.

    I'd love to have a camper van or truck back camper set-up so I could take weekend trips alone. If only I'd thought of that before we gave our old minivan to my BIL. :/ I do have some ideas for using our mid-size SUV that way a couple weekends this year but we'll see if I get to that or not. That's our only vehicle right now and I don't like the idea of leaving DH at home with the kids all weekend without a vehicle.~

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    Registered User wunsagin's Avatar
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    I have 3 camping trips planned so far this year with my dd. I have a '63 13ft trailer that I pull with my car so I try to keep the trips close to home. I really would like to get some work done on the trailer, needs lots of repairs and I want to redo the inside to make things 'work' better. Of course I've been saying that for 3 years.....
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    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Oh, man, the fun you could have refurbing that! I've seen pics of some amazing redo's people have done to vintage trailers. Of course it takes a lot of time, but there are some really cute ideas out there. https://www.pinterest.com/search/pin...yped&term_meta[]=vintage|typed&term_meta[]=campers|typed

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    Moderator nuisance26's Avatar
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    ~Will make the final booking for all our planned trips this weekend. Reservations for Utah are a little weird. Should be camping 30 nights this year, which doesn't sound like nearly enough even though it's a full month. I love to go!

    We took the camper out for a trial night at the park nearest to us, mostly to test if it was still leaking near the back window. We got a lot of wind and rain and it still leaks. Luckily, I'd planned to put it in the shop for adjustments and repairs sometime in May-early June so I didn't book any trips then. Nothing should be costly to fix/maintenance unless the tires need to be replaced.

    Should be towing only about 4000 miles this year which helps with gas costs. Camping fees, park access passes, and reservation fees for everything will come to about $1200(about $35 a night average). Gas for all trips should be about $700(we get 17mpg towing). Registration and insurance on the camper is about $250. I'm guessing about $600 for maintenance in shop and on us. That leaves about $850 in my budget for sightseeing, souvenirs, eating out(very rare), and all those other extras. I already know $275 will be spent on train tickets for the family on 4 different rides this year.

    It always sounds like so much money when I write it out, but we really get a good value out of our trips. I feel so blessed to be able to take our kids to so many interesting places and National Parks. We're making such wonderful memories and the kids really love it all. ~

  8. #7
    TDN
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    30 days is amazing nuisance! Where are you going in Utah? We visited Utah last fall, first time, no camping though. My best friend lives there in st George area. We went to Zion and Bryce.....they are amazing! Especially Bryce Canyon! We loved Utah! Well except for the food. They are definitely NOT foodies there. Even when I researched where to eat we were disappointed. The sights were amazing though so we could overlook the food.

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    Oh...and camping plans for us are as usual. Weekend trips close to home. Out and set up and drink in hand in1 hour or less is our goal. We do not pull our trailer cross country. We bought it for weekend relaxation and it has served us well!

  10. #9
    Registered User CookieLee's Avatar
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    My idea of "roughing it" is not having room service. DD, however, is going on a 10-day wilderness backpacking trip. My "camping dream" is her off having a good time while I get to relax at home.

  11. #10
    Moderator nuisance26's Avatar
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    ~We'll be in the Moab area. I love Utah too. It's incredibly beautiful! But we more or less just pass-through Utah, not camping for long periods of time. No-one else seems to gt the kick out of that I do. But I like being alone and Utah is so expansive and sparsely inhabited(Eastern/Southern)that it feels wonderful to me. And the star viewing.....wow!

    This year I tried to book where I would have an electric hook-up(not possible in most National Parks though). Reason? So I can bring along my Vitamix. I don't know how I could eat anything without it. I love cooking in my little camper kitchen. It's like playing house. Should be only 4 nights in those 30 without electric. Last year it was more like 10/30.~

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    Sounds so nice! I'm so excited as I got a 1991 Damon Escaper, 241 with dining table, 1 side chair and full bed plus overhead bed. Work has been so patchy, just going to check out some in-state camping or Oklahoma for first year, hope for more next year.

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    I'm not sure whether to be embarrased or happy. We might have gone a little overboard in buying camping stuff, but on the other side; now we have quality stuff that will last us a long time. And they cost nothing to run, very little to maintain, and will last us years:

    1. We were not happy with the cooking solution last year. It was powered by fossil gas, which is annoying when everything else you do is 100% green, and bothersome to bring with you. Also, it was very slow. We looked at different solutions for rocket stoves, even thought about making a homemade option, but landed on the Kelly kettle: Kelly Kettle® Camping Kettle & Stove | Camp Equipment | Camp Cookware | Survival kit | Kelly Kettle® - Original & Best
    It is best suited for cooking water, which it does in incredibly short time. But we also got the hobo stove accessory. It was no problem cooking up a batch of pancakes on it, but we had to keep feeding the fire since it burns very fast (and hot). With the Kelly kettle, we won't have to buy or bring any propane bottles, just use twigs and stuff we find at the camp sites. The areas we will be travelling through all have "freedom-to-roam"-acts, which ensures us the right to gather kindling (but not chop down trees).

    2. I looked at a lot of different hammock solutions, but one afternoon on a job trip to Gothenburg I got tired of pondering the issue, and got a Hennesy: Hennessy Hammock: The Coolest Tent in the World
    there might be cheaper or better solutions out there, but this one has a proven track record. The kids tested it in the garden, and we almost couldn't get the youngest out again; she loved swinging in the hammock, reading and relaxing. It has a very good solution for bugs, with a bug net that is hermetically sealed. The exit and entrance is underneath the sleeping part, and it seals automatically when you lay down, so no mosquitos will get inn through any openings. The hammock came with a tarp, to keep the rain away.

    3. The Boat
    When you grow up on the coast, a boat is a need, not a want. I'm not talking about a speed boat, just something that can safely take you out fishing, and home again. For many years of my childhood, my father would put 5 dinners a week on the table from fishing in a tiny rowing boat with no motor. As we got older, he slowly upgraded, and has a comfortable motorboat today. I have been thinking about a 17 foot motorboat with external engine, where you have somewhere to take cover if the bad weather hits. But a short look at the local marina prices killed that idea. And I just know that if we get a boat with a trailer, it will end up being a fancy garden ornament.

    To add to the conundrum, we have really been twisting our brains about "what to do in Finland". With the pace we are travelling, we will spend at least two weeks in Finland, and there really are not a lot of tourists attractions there. Especially in the north, where we will be moving (charging) very slowly. But what would be more perfect than a boat, in the land of a thousand lakes? I'm not too fond of inflatables, but was looking at different options for inflatable canoes and kayaks, when I stumbled across the Ally canoe: http://catalog.bergans.us/ally-canoes
    It can be packed flat and reassembled, but is still a very high quality thing, made locally here in Norway. People have been using it for expeditions to really rough areas for 20+ years, and if something breaks it can be repaired on site. The list price is $2050; we found one on our version of craigslist for $1100. It had been used once, and then tucked away in a garage for the last year. If it turns out that this was a mistake, we could probably sell it for the same price.
    Total paid/saved: $103 800
    Total goal: $272 900
    To do: $169 100

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    Only two weeks until we leave for our expedition. The solar panel arrived friday, the rest of the stuff got here today. Got a nice little energy efficient fridge drawer (Waeco 20D) this weekend, and removed one of the front seats to make room for it. Since it is a drawer, we can use the top as a table. We are rebuilding the bed, and adding a storage drawer underneath it. This of course leads to less room for the main storage system, but I'm sure we'll make it work. Talked with the girls about how many clothes we really need, and suggested jokingly that we could try only bringing two dresses each. They thought it sounded logical, since we only use one at any time...
    Total paid/saved: $103 800
    Total goal: $272 900
    To do: $169 100

  15. #14
    Registered User Cricketlegs's Avatar
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    We have a large 5th wheel we keep parked year round at lake fork. We pay $2000 a year rent but the camper is paid for. We haven't been since Mom got sick and passed. About 2 years. I plan to go again in the fall this year. I miss my camper! If dh won't go my dds will. Its about an hour away from home so weekend jaunts are totally easy to do. A few groceries and we just roll in, flip a switch, turn on the ac, put away the food and we are done.

    Next month we have a large family to do at Galveston beach to have my moms ceremony of life. My only plan to be away from home this summer.

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