From Tent Camping to Travel Trailer
We returned from out first tent camping experience in April 2016 with such a positive experience that we immediately started contemplating the idea of upgrading to a camper. Although the tent camping experience was fun and the boys seemed to enjoy the "fort-like" feel of it, it simply was not comfortable and we were left very exposed to the elements.
Our 2nd night, a huge storm washed over us with high winds and dipping temperatures which left us with little or no sleep.
But because we loved the overall concept of exposing our boys to the outdoors more, spending some quality family time together and disconnecting from technology we opted to start our search for a travel trailer.
I spent each day researching every model of light-weight campers on the market both new and used in a price range of 10k. We didn't want to go too tiny because my one of my must-haves was not having to convert beds each night with things that served double duty, like the dining table. I was lucky enough to learn quickly on that Bunkhouse models would fit this criteria. Most bunkhouses have a Queen bed tucked at one end and a twin bunkhouse tucked at the other end. These campers could be found in as small as 18ft Travel Trailers, brand new, in our budget.
I was close, with the KEYSTONE RV SUMMERLAND MINI 1800BH. It definitely fit our basic needs, would keep us safe from the elements, towable with our Ford F150 (non-4x4) and fit a family of 4 comfortably. But I kept searching because I had a feeling I could do better. I kept thinking back to my childhood and my own experience trailer camping in the Florida Keys with my whole family. 7 of us to be exact that all slept in one small trailer like sardines but we fit!
With the 18ft trailer, we would only be able to accommodate comfortably one additional guest. I had my doubts about the trailer working for us long term with such tight quarters and not being able to have guests stay over. So the search continued for another week. until I found it!
After searching every RV Center's inventory in all of VA, I found the perfect compromise. A gently used, 2015 Jayco Jayflight SLX 264BHW. This is a 26ft Lightweight Travel Trailer Bunkhouse model with a walk-around Queen bed, 2 Double Bunks, a pull-out leatherette sofa and a convertible dining table. An added bonus in comparison with all the other used models I had found was the neutral decor and color palette. Most of the other options had way to much pattern, use of tapestry fabric and patterned wallpaper for my comfort.
My husband trusted my research enough to agree to pay it a vistit 2/5 hrs away. He thought we were just going to look but I already knew that this was the one. This trailer was going to be our new home away from home. Although it was slightly above budget and used, it was spotless and kept impeccably well plus we were able to talk them down from their asking price of $12,995.
So on June 4th, we took La Casita Caro home with us and went directly to our first Camper Camping trip as a family. I spent the rest of the weekend decorating and adding accessories to keep it organized and fully stocked with all our needs. And we couldn't be happier with how it came out.
We have now been able to visit 4 different campgrounds in under a 3 hour drive.
Watermelon Park: A Family Campground, Recreation & Event Venue along the beautiful Shenandoah River in Clarke County Virginia.
Navy Recreation Center at Solomons Island (Military Campground and Rec Center)
Shenandoah Valley Campground in Verona, VA on the Middle River
So far we've sat around the campfires and had s'mores, taken advantage of the many hiking and nature trails, exploring and bike riding as a family, been river tubing and seen a waterfall, tried our hand at fishing and crabbing, grilled out delicious meals, met some really nice folk and even had an opportunity to relax here and there. But most importantly we've been making priceless memories together and bonding as a family. The Caros are looking forward to many more adventures in our little Jayco and hopefully we can share it with our friends and family too.