Man and dog sitting in camp chairs by a fire in front of a camper
Sitting by a fire at our campsite

That first shake-out in April of 2021 went pretty well. And by pretty well, I mean that we had all the gear we needed for the rain and all the clothes we needed for the cold and we we had a nice time and weren’t too terribly chilled (though it was really nice to be warm again once we got home). We were a little disappointed by the campsite–the campground had built nice new bathhouses during the winter, but they had also put in a new septic field and it was still under construction. Our site was quite close to the construction and the view of a bobcat just wasn’t a “camp friendly” site to look out at from our firepit. It was amusing to watch the classic “late camper” arrival when folks showed up in the pitch black to camp next to us and were putting up their tent on a paved spot in the middle of the construction by the light of their car headlights. It started to make sense why the ranger had stopped by earlier and removed all the “caution” tape. We also woke up to water running down the road like a stream. There must have been a broken pipe somewhere with the water to the spigots and entire campsites were completely washed out. Fortunately ours was only wet from the rain.

Shih tzu in a coat on a camp rug in front of a camper
Camping dog in a coat

Of course, with any shake-out, there is always something you are missing. What we didn’t have with us were eye drops for the terrible allergies from the pollens flying from the pines we were camped under or enough cables to keep everything properly charged. We ended up heading home a bit early, but we kind of like getting home and having some time to unpack and relax. Being back in the controlled environment of the house was a lot easier on helping to control my allergies and asthma.

We figured out what we still needed to work on for the camper, like having little bags hanging for our phones and glasses. The ones we brought along were too small and a little tight to fit things, so we need to rethink what we might have and can use.  We needed to put a few more cables and a bluetooth speaker in the camper as well as some hand sanitizer and a bone for the dog and some more toothpaste. 

Stove on a picnic table that is under a shade tent with 2 sides to protect from rain
Cooking some lunch under the Big Agnes in the rain

We were happy that we had both the camper shade and the Big Agnes Three Forks shelter along, the combo helped us keep our gear dry and have a dry table to sit at through a fairly soggy couple of days. It was one of those happy things that we went ahead and put it all up before the rain started and not after. The trip was also a good test of our Alde heating system and it worked well to keep us toasty in the camper even though the nights were in the low 40s/high 30s outside.

Two klean kanteen bottles on the counter in the camper with pourover coffee being made
Pourover coffee inside where it is warm and dry

We didn’t really get a good test of whether everything was good with the shower this year because we decided it was too cold generally to try it out. So that got tested on our second trip and all was well. Cold nights like the ones we had on that first trip make us really happy to have upgraded to the T@B and having that indoor bathroom and sink. It certainly makes for easier bedtimes when you don’t have to bundle up to head off for one last trip to the bathhouse in the pitch black of night in order to go again and brush your teeth. It also made me super happy to be able to make the coffee inside and curl back up in bed to read and sip coffee before committing to the cold day ahead.

Pancakes with peaches and blueberries on an enamel camping plate
Pancakes and fruit for breakfast!

The second short trip of 2021 went even better. We were really only missing our camp coffee bottles where we can keep coffee warm for awhile after it is made. The camper seems in tip top shape and except for some ideas we have for further gear refinements, we have everything we need stored and ready to go at a moment’s notice. This trip had warmer weather and some less pollen and was a really nice weekend to start what will hopefully be a great camping season.

The camper packed up and hitched to a Subaru ready to drive
Packed up and headed out!