Camping Tips

Permanent vs Travel RV Camping Spots

There are many types of campers with tent only, hike camping and travel trailer camping are probably the most common. Today we will be covering travel trailer (or RV) camping.

Within this group, there are two types of campers. Some pull their campers to different campsites each trip and other rent a site for the year. We have done both over the years and there are pros and cons for both types. So let’s go over both now…

Permanent Camping Spots

Having a yearly camping spot has a lot of pros but also has some very noteworthy cons to cover. If you are thinking of taking the dive into a yearly camping spot, here are the pros and cons of doing so.

Convenience

The biggest pro of renting a camping spot for the year is probably the reason you may be considering it, convenience!

No one like to set up the camper. It can take most of your first night away from you leveling, testing power, digging out all the water hoses, sewage, etc. When you have a yearly camping spot, you set up once and you are mostly golden. When you show up, you can drop your awning, throw your rug down, turn water/electric on and you ready for the fire pit.

Making Friends

Camping is known as a family activity which is true. But depending on your family situation, kids get bored quite easy. Each of of our 3 children are 5 years apart. As of now, they range from 4 to 14 years old (yes 15 years from youngest to oldest!). Your kids making friends that they will most likely get to play with on every camping trip is worth more than I could ever imagine.

My kids being so far apart, they fight, a lot. My 9 and 14 year old do everything possible to irritate the other. Being able to let them have friends to hang out with during the day is great and has taken a lot of pressure off my wife and I.

It is also nice when us adults also make friends at a camp ground. Sure, you want the family time and some quiet nights by the fire which we get. But, if you camp a lot like we do, its always nice to know others around to have some camping parties.

Lastly, yearly campers are like one big family. They watch over each other when you might be around. Just last year while we were out of town on a family vacation, a storm came through our camp ground. We got a text that a tree fell on our camper 2 days into our trip. We were also sent photos and information that we had 15 other campers covering our camper to prevent more (water damage) within 5 minutes of it falling in the middle of the storm! When we got back, it was all tarp’ed up and ready for the insurance company.

Making Your Camping Site Yours

Another Pro is that you can set up your camping spot the way you want. It’s yours for the year(s) you rent it, so it’s your yard! So, set those flags, put out those flowers and make it look pretty!

Some camp grounds will allow you to lay your own rock or nice concrete pad. Most yearly camping spots do not do this yearly.

You may also be able to add a small shed to keep your golf cart, fishing gear or your other camping toys in. Is this over kill? Maybe, but I have seen some crazy setups! we do not personally have a shed since our spot floods in the winter and early spring. However, we do leave our golf cart and grill behind our camper while not there.

Fire Pit Always Ready

Lastly, having a yearly camp site can save you time and money overall. No more buying $5 bundles of fire wood that lasts half a night. Bring in and stack your own! You can go out and buy a rick of wood for $65 which I have done or do what I do now and split your own. Read up onĀ reviews of log splitters and get yourself one. It will not only turn free wood into fire wood for the year, but you will also very quickly become a very popular person in your camp ground. Take it over and help a couple neighbors split wood for a day and you have favors for the whole year.

Travel RV Camping

So permanent camping spots are not for everyone. Hey, I get it and up until lat season, all we did was travel camp. We selected to try a permanent site for the convenience. However, my family and I actually enjoy traveling more overall. So let’s cover why travel camping offers.

More Family Time

Since each camping trip is new (or not common), it is more of a family trip. Everyone seems to stay closer together, we go to the pool together, hike together, etc. The kids tend to get along a little better because they are not in a comfortable place. We tend to sit around the fire a little more as a family and just hang out and talk. This is what camping is really all about and I hold that time close to my heart.

Never Gets Old

When you have a yearly spot, kids can get bored with it. We have noticed the kids are not “excited ” to go camping as much as when we traveled a lot. When you travel a little, there is always something new going on. You can also visit state parks, themed camp grounds. We like Camp Jellystone which are located all over the place.

The Downside

Like I mentioned above, this is our 2nd year at a permanent camping site for the convenience. When you pull and set your camper each time you go camping, it makes for a very short stay most weekends. By the time we would get home from work and get to our camping site on Friday nights, it would be 7:30PM and we would still need to set up. Once set up we would eat late and our Friday night would be over. We would have all day Saturday and then leave Sunday.

It got to the point where it wasn’t worth the trip unless we took a day or two off every time we went camping. There are only so many camp sites close enough to hit late on a Friday. We found ourselves camping less and less and taking more time off work to take longer trips away from home.

We love to camp, during the summer we try to camp 3 out of 4 weekends per month. Travel camping was just turning into too much work.

The Final Thought

Permanent camping or travel camping is really a choice of what works best for your situation. If you camp a lot, a permanent spot might be worth a try. Worst case, you do not stay for the following year.

If you do not camp 3 weekends a month, travel might work best for you.

We personally like travel camping more but are going with the convenience (for now). However, we have decided to pull out and make a week long camping trip at least once a year. As mentioned above, we love Camp Jellystone. Our favorite is the one on Lake Monroe and the other is at Mammoth Caves. Our plan is to mix things up and travel a bit to keep things fresh šŸ™‚

Ways to Beat The Sun While Camping

Well, summer is in full swing and it is already hot! No one likes to be stuck in the camper while camping, it defeats the purpose. We will be back out camping this weekend and it’s going to be in the 90’s. Being that our campsite is in full sun after 1:00pm (hottest part of the day), we have tried many ways to beat it and try to stay cool.

Tent campers usually don’t have this issue, but us camper campers do.

So let’s go over some ways to beat that sun and find some ways to make being outside all day bearable.

Making Shade

If you have full shade, consider yourself lucky! I get envious when I see other campers relaxing in full shade all weekend. We picked our spot because of the water access, so we need to create our own.

Here are a couple ideas

Pop Up/Canopy Tents

We will start with what you probably already have. If you camp, have kids with sports or spend a lot of time outside, you may already have a pop up tent. These can make for some cheap free shade. If you do not already have a pop up tent, you can check out the best pop up canopyĀ comparisons by doing a quick search online.

What we do when conditions are right is use the pop up tent next to our awning. Depending on the time of day and sun locations, you may need to adjust at times.

Tip: If you drop one side of the tent lower than the other, it will give you more control over your shade and create a larger area.

Pros

  • You may already have
  • Other uses
  • Easy to travel with for other outdoor events/games
  • Can get different types/colors/sport teams

Cons

  • May need to adjust with sun location
  • Shade area may be small depending on angle

Camper Awning Shade

Camper awning shade

They actually made awning shades for campers. They connect to your awning and tie down to the ground on the bottom. Like anything else camper related, you will pay dearly for this shade. They can be found at most local camping stores or online at Amazon.

Pros

  • Easy to install/Remove
  • Always shade
  • Doesn’t block view
  • Looks like it belongs

Cons

  • Cost
  • Has an indoor feel
  • Creates a small area

 

Hitch Umbrella

Photo: Pinterest (sorry we did not take a photo but will)

We found a new gadget while visiting a Walmart a few weeks ago. It was more of a pulse buy when we seen it heading to the checkout. They call it theĀ Tailbrella. My thoughts on this are mixed. We find it to be better used at the kids baseball games or tailgating but it can be used for added shade if needed while camping.

We found ourselves using it when we needed that extra shade when we had guests. We would not recommend using this as your main source of shade but as an add on if needed. We do recommend for sporting events and tailgating.

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Adjustable/Tilt
  • Portable
  • People will ask about it
  • Gets the job done
  • If you fish while camping, you can use as well

Cons

  • Best used when sun is high (middle of day)
  • Vehicle needs to there
  • Shade will be offset if sun is at a large angle

Ideas For The Kids

So, mom and dad are good with sitting back and relaxing but the kids are not. The idea behind camping is making memories and that’s not going to happen if the kids are either miserable from the heat or just hanging out inside the camper.

The Pool

Okay, so this is pretty obvious but I have to mention it. Most camp grounds have pools. Use them! Load up on sun block and hit the pool for a few hours. Let them find friends and have some fun for a few hours each day.

We find that hitting the pool mid afternoon is best for us. This is when our site is in full sun. It is also the hottest part of the day. By the time they get back from swimming, the sun is settling down for the night and they are cool and worn out. Have a good dinner and they will want to relax in the evening.

Water Games

There are many different types of water games you can play with the kids. It’s not only fun, but also refreshing.

Here are a couple things you can do.

  1. Water balloons of course are always fun. Though they can be a pain to fill a bunch of them just to go through all the balloons in 10 minutes. One tip is to buy the quick fill water balloons that can be found here.
  2. They make a football that holds a water balloon. You swing it back and forth to each other and if it hits too hard, it will pop getting someone wet. My kids love this though they all want it to pop on them! I can’t find it online but I believe we got it from Dick’s Sporting Goods.
  3. Lastly, you can unhook your water hose from the camper for a bit and let the kids use a sprinkler. Some camp sites do not allow this so make sure to check. We are able to do it and love it. We actually installed a two way water connection to make it easy.

Go To The Shade

If you don’t have water options where you are staying, go find the shade on hot sunny days. A hike through the woods are not only cool, but fun! It is a teachable time with your kids. Take long walks through the woods, look for wildlife, signs animals have left and take in the beauty of nature. You can teach your children how to be quiet to respect the area and to always be alert of their surroundings.

Conclusion

No matter how you stay cool on hot days while camping, the most important thing is to make sure everyone is having fun. Like I mentioned earlier, you are making memories. Those memories don’t need to be of being miserable!

So how do you beat the sun while camping?