Arriving at Camp
We usually are so anxious to get on the road and then to get to the camp, that we usually don’t spend a heck of a lot of time thinking through what the next steps will be once we get there. But like anything with camping, a little bit of looking forward and planning can save you time and angst later.
Kenneth Wilson, one of our favorite campgrounds, is off the grid. There is no connectivity of any kind there. And after years of camping there and many rounds of “wrong turn and lost” incidents along the way with just a holodeck for GPS maps on the phone or in the car, it reminds us to do better and plan ahead before the bars on the phone disappear and we pull into the camp.
About 15 minutes out we take a moment and think about whether we need to text or call anyone that can’t wait until our next trek out to the grid. We check the weather reports to see what the next couple of days might have in store. We cache a few news reports for once we are there, though honestly the beauty of camping is being away from all that and letting it go. We take another quick inventory of whether there is anything critical missing before we pass the last store. Then we put all of our devices into airplane mode, because nothing drains battery power quite like a device looking for the internets when none are available. And this campground isn’t just off the grid, it has no hookups. So whatever time we’re going to spend here, it will be only with the power of the camper battery and maybe some solar from the Goal Zero.
Once we’re within a few miles we start marveling at the landscape and how it has changed since we were last here and we begin thinking about the check-in and getting settled. Have we got the dog papers handy? Do we need to pick up wood or ice? We’re probably going to want to take off the sunglasses and maybe we need to plan a quick trip to the bathhouse before we really start settling in. We should probably get out the camper keys to have handy.
The most important thing to remember is to take a brief moment and scope out the site when you pull up. How are you going to get the trailer properly positioned? Where is the best spot for the shade and sun and to avoid any direct light from nearby neighbors at night? What configuration between the trailer/firepit/picnic table is going to best suit your enjoyment of the space? Where are you going to hang the hammock? Do you need to put up the rainshield/tent to plan for rain? Every site is different and the beauty of a teardrop trailer is that it can be relatively easily maneuvered to take advantage of the space. And even a site you have visited before may need a different configuration if things have been moved or you learned valuable lessons the last time about how to best navigate the space.
It also helps to think through some simple order of operations kinds of things. As soon as we have the camper positioned, I like to get all the doors unlocked so we have easy access to grab whatever gear we want to pull out next. I often quickly pull out the thermacells and start setting them out to get the bugs cleared from the site. If we are putting up the tent for the back, I like to get the rugs out first and the trainer blocks over those and then tuck in the tent straps. It’s best to do all of that before you set the back stabilizers and level the trailer. I pretty quickly get the tablecloth on the table and the clips to hold it down. Then I have a nice surface for whatever other prep we need to do. Almost always the last thing we do is hang out our sign and the cup with cards for the blog.
One of the greatest things about the teardrop is that it rarely takes us more than half an hour or 40 minutes to get everything setup. And then, we’re ready to get on to the camping!