Monday, August 30, 2010

Camping and Traveling With A Tent vs. Trailer And A Six Dollar Upgrade in Iowa

Two years ago, I set out across the country with my teardrop trailer, "trailie."  The past two years I have been traveling with my tent.  I receive questions asking which is better to travel with, a tent or a trailer.  As with everything, it's all about how you prefer to travel and what comfort level you are able to tolerate.

For me, I find it much easier to travel longer distances in a tent and I am one that doesn't get the "planner of the year" award. For that fact, a tent is much more versatile.  I can change direction at any time without reservations since some campsites will more likely take a solo camper with a tent as opposed to a trailer. I can make a uturn in the middle of the road if I see something I want to take a photograph of, and it takes the same amount of time to set up my tent as it does my trailer at a site.

Of course, I don't get all of the luxuries that a trailer brings, but in some cases...I can "upgrade" to a trailer site and get a better view.  Case in point...a week or so ago I camped in Iowa by taking an exit that I assumed would have camping facilities since there was a lake.  Both my map and handy camping application on my iphone told me otherwise, but I thought I would give it a try anyway.

Lucky for Max and I, there was a wonderful campground with plenty of availability.  When I checked in, I told the woman at the gate that I was camping in my tent and she immediately gave me directions to the "camping hill."  I took a swing by the hill to find an open field of grass with a few pegs in the ground marking "spaces" for people to set up their tent.  Each site was a hike from the parking lot and there were already a few families camped out by their rented plots of land.  They talked to each other as if they were at each end of a football field and music blaring to match.  Kids were running around all over the place and in the corner of the open field there was a solo man in a chair, staring at Max and I walking around to find a spot.

I went back to the station and asked if there were any other sites for the night.  At that point, she told me that I could select any site I wanted but would have to pay the full trailer price.  It was $12 for the "open field, good luck being rested" plot of land or a quiet spot on the lake for a mere $6 more.  It wasn't hard for me to make up my mind.  I chose the upgrade!  Max and I decided to live large for the night with our lake front property rental!

I thought about writing down the top reasons to camp with a tent or trailer, but here might be a better way to make a decision.  If you agree with most of the five qualities in either of these two categories, your decision has been made.

I should travel with a tent:
You don't mind sleeping an inch from the ground
You like hearing the noises of nature (and people) all night and all day
You like to live on the edge and sleep just a thin barrier away from people and wildlife
You like to save money in gas
You don't mind if it's too cold or too hot

I should travel with a trailer or RV
You want a comfortable even temperature and a secure shell to sleep in
You don't mind the cost of gas
You want the comforts of home
You want privacy and the option to hide from the world
You don't mind that you aren't allowed on all roads


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