Camping over the years – A first post in English

Good morning fellow bloggers and readers. Well, I’ve decided to write a first blog post in plain English for the pleasure of exchanging with other parts of the world. Will this be my only post in English? I really don’t know. Will this be the end of my French posts? Certainly not. I’m French Canadian and I pride myself for exchanging in my mother language.

Some time ago, on this blog I was telling you about our evolution in camping over the last few years, our different trips and adventures, all my complains about how people react badly on the internet and social media. Yes, it’s true, all of this was in French so you couldn’t really read it and I’m sorry.

It seems many people will react in two different ways when making negative comments about you or your way of camping. There is the Social Media way (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), and the face to face (or in person). I’ve made a list of statements for these two ways that I’ve read and/or received.

When we were in a tent: At that time, we were driving a 2009 Acura TL sedan, we had a tent, with everything you can imagine as far as accessories, etc. We made it into many weekends and weeklong vacations at many places.

Social Media comments: You shouldn’t pack as much in the car, as you don’t see anything behind. It’s dangerous for you and everybody around you. You absolutely need at minimum an SUV.

Face to face comments: It’s impressive how you packed everything in your car. You’re well equipped.

Acorn Campground in Wildwood, NJ

A year later with the popup trailer: The year after, I had it with the tent and sleeping almost on the ground and everything that goes with a tent. We’re not in our twenties anymore. So, we started looking for an SUV. After any dealer’s visits and researches, we ended up with a 2014 Volkswagen Touareg V6 (gaz, not diesel). A few weeks later, we purchased our popup trailer which was 2009 Coleman-Fleetwood Niagara. For you who don’t know this thing, it’s what we called a high-wall popup. It was huge at 3900 lbs (fully loaded), 14’ floor length and 17’ total. When opened, it was 27’ long. We had the AC, full toilet and shower, full hookup, etc. We even went on a 14-day road trip with our grandson to Walt Disney Fort Wilderness without issues.

Social Media comments: How can you pull this popup with your vehicle? At that weight, it will be pushing you all around. You’re inconsiderate of other people’s safety. It’s way too heavy for the SUV, you need at least a half-ton truck to be safe. Just think about the safety of your family.

Face to face comment: Nice setup and very functional. Seems to be a good match. It’s impressive to see such a popup trailer pulled with this SUV. You pull that thing with this (words from a US border agent)?

Domaine du Lac Cristal in Saint-Rosaire, Qc

Now with our travel trailer: Earlier this year we started looking at travel trailers as our needs are changing along with more camping vacations, etc. After I don’t know how many dealers’ visits, we made our choice on a 2019 Grand Design Imagine 2500RL. It’s everything we wanted and needed. It’s not small with a 25’ floor plan and 30’ in total length. The GVWR is almost 7400 lbs when fully loaded, which we don’t reach as we’re only 2 adults with a dog. We never fill and of the water tanks when travelling (saving a lot of weight). We carry only what we need, even in the front cargo. As all the travel trailer specifications were within our SUV specifications, we didn’t change our vehicle. Before leaving the dealer, we had an Equal-i-zer E4 weight distribution system installed and calibrated. We also used our CURT ECHO break control which I recalibrated for the new weight. We left the dealer and drove about 1 hour back home without issues. We have many great weekends of camping behind us and many more to come. We made it in the Laurentian mountains. Last weekend we hit some winds and we were quite stable. I would even say we were more stable than some big truck with big trailer going left and right. I never had “white knuckles” when driving.

Social Media comments: You’re crazy. You’re completely out of your mind. You’re simply inconsiderate of your security, your family and the others. If you don’t kill yourself, you will kill someone else family. It’s not because you can pull it that you should as you won’t be able to stop it. The trailer will push you all around. You need a bare minimum of a 3/4 ton or even better a ton.

Face to face comments: Wow, I never thought you can pull and drive with this SUV. Amazing what a Touareg can do. What’s your gas mileage? Impressive.

Camping du Domaine Lausanne in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Qc

So, this makes me realize people will say one thing behind their computer and something else in person. It’s easy to criticize when no one knows you and see you. I can always say if you want to tell me what you really think of my setup to come to any place I’m camping and tell me in person. But on the other hand, I know nobody will do it. It’s tough to criticize in person and see the other’s reactions. But I don’t have anything about an open and fair discussion.

Is it the perfect vehicle for the job? Maybe not. Is it doing the job? Certainly yes and at least for now. Will our SUV last many years? As it’s a 2014, it still has some time in front of it.

Eventually we’ll have to look for a bigger vehicle. We have many choices in front of us with a small selection of the full-size SUV (Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Expedition and GMC Yukon). There is also the possibilities of a 1/2-ton truck (Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Ford F150, GMC Sierra 1500 and RAM 1500).

Following the social media logic, with any size travel trailer you need a minimum of a 3/4 ton (2500 series) and even bigger (3500 series). So, this would mean with a very large trailer or a 5th wheel you would need something like a 5500 series or even a semi. This is simply ridiculous in my mind.

I’m safer with my setup and driving at 60 mph on the highway than a huge truck and trailer passing me at 75 mph. It’s not because you’re huge that you’re safer. The person behind the wheel as to know his own limit and the setup limits. In conclusion, I know many of you will not agree with me and that’s OK. We have our own opinion and that what makes us unique.

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