This has actually been a long time coming! Three years ago, we found our little Pop Up Tent Camper. We got a great deal ($500) and then we renovated it. It was so fun. We pushed ourselves to get it ready for a family camping trip and we did it!! Read about it here. I made a video with a tour of the finished camper and it is my most popular video on my YouTube Channel, Farrell Focus
I also made videos about updating the cushion covers, replacing the valances, and so much more. My channel seemed to have a main theme of camping and glamping. Along the way, I made videos about our trips, setting up and just enjoying the lifestyle. I also love to talk about my life, photography, fashion and sewing. So, the channel has a variety of topics.
Last year, we got super busy and just didn’t do as much camping as I hoped for. One thing I really want to do is take some longer trips. And, I felt that our little tent camper just wasn’t going to fit in with that goal for us. After all, we couldn’t just stop along the way and camp for a night. Our set up was just to much trouble for that. And, I have heard that some places will let an RV stay in the parking lot, but not with a tent camper.
This year, hubby got on board with this plan and supported my search for a new camper. I was so torn on what I wanted in a camper. I just couldn’t give up on the feel of our tent camper. When it’s open, it’s so spacious! I often feel claustrophobic in small spaces. Just the thought of being in a camper with one exit, it just makes me uncomfortable. Then I discovered the Hybrid. It’s the best of both worlds!! It has the expandable beds (bunks) and it’s still an actual trailer. The bunks fold down. In our tent trailer, they slide in. So, in the tent trailer, when the bunks are slid in, the interior is completely full. You can’t get in until you slide out your bunks. The hybrid is a camper even when the beds are folded up. You can get in and move around, sit at the table or couch. So, if we did want to make a quick stop for the night, we could just stay in it without folding down the beds. Hybrid owners call it “turtling”. We can just sleep on the jack knife sofa. It’s plenty big, and we could even make the bed out of the dinette area. We would have plenty of room.
I started searching on Craigslist. The first thing I noticed is that these hybrid campers go quickly!! Hubby works so much in his photography business, I knew that I couldn’t ask him to go look at very many of these campers. He just doesn’t have time. The first one we looked at was a huge disappointment. I was so bummed, I didn’t even take pics of it. It was a falling apart mess. It looked good in the photos, but in real life, it has broken windows, broken door, a wobbly floor, it was horrible. And, the guy wanted top dollar for it. Wow! Our budget for this new camper was pretty tight. I always say that we are the “poor” campers. lol. Some people have some pretty fancy rigs!! That day, we were pretty discouraged. So, we went and looked at some new campers. OMG! They are so expensive. We looked at all types. And, we found out that the industry is phasing out the tent trailer. I was sad to hear it!
Still I kept looking. Each time I found what I wanted, I would call/text and the answer was always the same. Sold. Boo hoo. Finally, I got the answer I wanted. Yes! We could come and look at it. When we got there, it looked great. The guy was super nice and showed us everything. We had cash on hand and we made an offer. He gave us a great deal and we were off! Compared to our little tent trailer, this new camper was enormous! How exciting!
We got it home and checked everything out. Our tent trailer was super minimal. No kitchen, no bathroom, and we never even tried to hook anything up. It was pretty old and we just didn’t trust the heater or electrical system. It was literally one step up from a tent. Now, we had to figure out how to work everything. Yes, the guy walked us around and showed us all the hookups. Yes, we had a manual. But, we were pretty much confused about all of it!
We decided the best way to figure it all out was to just go on a trip and make it work. There is a beautiful tulip garden that we go to every April and in our previous trip, we found a cool campground that we wanted to try out. I booked it and off we went. Before we left, I took out everything we wanted from our tent trailer and started a new list of things I wanted to add to the new camper.
We got there just as the campground was closing. Found our spot. Backed her in and set her up. Now, time for the hook ups. Hmmmm. Do we need a cord for the electricity? Why, yes, we do. Do we have one? No, we don’t. Grrr. Now we are off to find the local hardware store and YAY! They have the cord. We bought a few other things that looked interesting, and back we went to our camper. Well. That didn’t work. The plug was NOT a match. And, now the hardware store is closed. So, we drove to the next nearest town and went to Home Depot. They didn’t have it either. But, the guy was explaining to hubby how to make one! Ummmm….NOT! Several stores later and we gave up. We had a fast food dinner (EW) and went back to our dark and cold camper. In the morning, we returned the wrong plug, found out they didn’t have the right plug and found ourselves back at square one. Why didn’t our trailer come with a plug? How crazy.
Right next door to the hardware store was a humongous Travel Trailer dealership. I”m talking huge! Fancy rigs for rich people big. We went in and found that they had a store and YES! they had the cord we needed. We also bought a few other things the guy thought we would need. I mean, we had nothing! Literally. No hoses for in or out. Just nothing. Now we were getting somewhere.
Back to our camper and HALLELUYAH! We were in business. We had power, we hooked up water and we hooked up the toilet, I think it’s called the black water tank. A friendly neighbor who had a trailer that was similar to ours came over and tried to show us how things work. He said that the level on the black water tank was half full. What? Full of WHAT? I was alarmed. He saw that and said, “maybe the gauge isn’t working”. Lol. So, we have been driving around with a tank full of someones poop? Ew.
That night we were so comfy. Hubby on his computer, working of course. I got the tv to work with my phone, that was cool. And, then we just enjoyed our time, sightseeing, eating out, having fun. That night, we COULD NOT get the heater to work. And, it was cold. Brrrr. I’m convinced that cold night is why I caught one of the worst colds I have ever had!
When we got home, I called an RV repair guy and made an appointment. The day came for him to come out and I was so excited. Now, we can get everything really going. But, NO! It had to rain that day. Why????? Well, he came anyway. And, lo and behold, the rain stopped just long enough for him to give our trailer the once over. And, he found a leak!! The rain was a good thing!! The previous owner had tried to fix the leak, but they used the wrong stuff and so, that had to be scraped off and the right stuff put on. He went over the whole trailer and YAY! he didn’t find anything majorly wrong with it. The heater was NOT broken. We just didn’t know how to turn it on. YES the black water tank was full. Ew. We asked him to come back and fix the things that he found and in the meantime (it’s still raining!), we have her covered with a tarp.
On the one day that hubby was available and we had a quick break in the rain, we took our camper to the nearest dump station for our first try at dumping. I had found suggestions for our problem of old dried hard poop….ew. And, with that, we added the enzymes, water, 2 bags of ice and some Dawn liquid detergent. We live in the mountains on a curvy road, so, we knew that ice would slosh around.
The dumping station had a guy who did it for you and he got it all emptied. Hubby had to add a few buckets of water, but problem solved. Yay! I still want to rinse and clean it some more. It just can’t be clean enough!
We are taking our camper up to visit our son for our granddaughters graduation and I want to do some updating before we go. But, it’s been raining everyday and it’s just too hard to get anything done. Boo.
Here’s what I am going to do right away. I’m going to cover the cushions and the couch. I have chosen my fabric. I”m super excited! It’s a totally different color scheme than my last camper redo. I still love blue, but I just fell in love with this fabric. It’s on clearance, so I have had to go to several stores to get enough. While that was a hassle, the price was amazing ($3.99 a yard!)
I have several projects on my mind and I will share all of them with you! So, check back often and subscribe to my youtube channel. You can also find me on Facebook: stephaniefarrell123 and instagram stephanie.farrell. I’d love to hear from you! Happy Camping!!