As a young child I can vividly recall climbing in and out of RV’s at various mall shows around the area. This was great “family fun” in the 1980’s when my parents weren’t sure what else to do with my siblings and I. We would climb all around, beg my parents to buy one, and fight over who was getting top bunk. Although my parents never opted to purchase an RV, that nostalgic feeling was alive and well inside of me when my own children (then ages 5 and 8) asked about buying a camper. There were the “let’s wait and save money” and “will we use it that often” questions in our mind, but the reality was that our children were at the perfect age to buy an RV. What were we waiting for? And were we ever going to really save enough money to warrant buying one? No and no. So we bought one!!! Welcome to our newest "nest."
Being that we were novice RV’ers at the time (we purchased our first RV in August 2015) we opted for a hybrid travel trailer. Hybrid trailers have a hard shell middle and fold out tent-style bed at the end. We needed something light enough to be pulled by our GMC Acadia SUV, but spacious enough of accommodate our family of four. Therefore, we opted for the 2016 Jayco X23B travel trailer (more information on this model can be found here). We opted for the Jayco brand because they were family-owned and operated for nearly 50 years, (and we are all about family) and they blend traditional Amish craftsmanship with innovative technology.
NOTE: The unloaded weight of this model is roughly 4,300 lbs. There were several other models that we liked, but it would've required us to purchase a pick-up truck.
RV'ing 101: What you need to know
Here's the most important thing that I have to share with you about RV'ing --- it's addictive! From our very first trip with our "camper" I just couldn't wait to book more trips. I swear to you that my children would rather go on camping adventures than stay in a 5-star hotel. We have absolutely NO REGRETS about investing in this experience for our family. Every time we are away in our RV, we are making such fond memories with our children.
Logistically, it's important to understand that there is preparation, setup, and break-down involved in any camping trip. Short of investing in a seasonal RV site (which we have not done) you just need to be prepared for that part of the experience. It's also notable to mention how friendly and helpful RV'ers are. When we went on our first couple of trips we walked around the campground to see people's setups and ask questions. When we needed help we asked. And you know what? People were more than happy to help out and "talk shop".
We are (by nature) the type of people that have trouble sitting still, so RV'ing is perfect for us because there's always some sort of "putting around" to do.
Thus far we have opted to camp at sites with "full hook-ups." Full hook-ups consist of 30/50 amp electrical service, water, sewer (and sometimes cable). With a full hook-up site you truly have all the comforts and modern amenities that you need. We have a full bathroom, kitchen sink, microwave, oven/stove top, TV and DVD player, Bluetooth connectivity with indoor/outdoor speakers, and LED lighting.
Hooking up your RV to the camp site is pretty simple. Pictured below is the backside of our camper. You can see the sewer hose hooked up to the septic, the water hose and electric plugged in. That's all you need to be fully setup and connected at a campsite. If we can figure it out, anyone can!!!
Campfires (my favorite part)
Make sure you've planned ahead and that you have your campfire chairs and supplies ready to go!!! We love sitting by the fire - IN FACT - most days we start a fire in the morning while sipping on coffee and cooking breakfast. Often times the kiddos are still sleeping so the hubs and I will enjoy the cool morning air of the Northeast while relaxing fireside. It's such a simple perfection!
Of course, no camping trip is complete without a night time fire and roasting marshmallows under the starry sky.
Note: Most places make you purchase fire wood on site so that there is less risk of spreading tree pests and certain insects.
We purchased some Coleman camping chairs and a grill for our camping expeditions. We happen to have a Coleman outlet near where we live, but these kids chairs were purchased right at a local Target AND they glow in the dark! The Coleman grill (pictured below) was purchased at the outlet but are also available online. It's easy to hook up to large or small propane tanks and you're ready to grill. Pretty simple.
Well folks --- thanks for stopping by to learn more about our RV tripping and family fun. While it may not be for everyone, we have found it to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience that has allowed us to take more frequent trips with our children and to spend time as a family.
This post was originally written and published by Laura Tarlo of The Unique Nest and provided to the Jayco Journal. You can follow Laura Tarlo on her blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.