My husband and I bought a camper this spring and we’ve been out in it SEVERAL weekends this summer (our family and clients started wondering if we were ever coming back!), so we’ve learned a lot! I didn’t do a lot of research before we bought camper, but I know a list like this would’ve been useful if I had. It’s probably not an extensive list, but here are some pros and cons of owning a camper!
PROS OF OWNING A CAMPER:
BATHROOM: You ALWAYS have a bathroom nearby! Don’t you love how I led with that one? It has come in handy when we needed to use one and didn’t want to go in a gas station! Ewww!!! 🙂
- BEDROOM: You ALWAYS have a bed nearby…this comes in handy on long trips because all you need is a WalMart parking lot or an RV campground and don’t really want to spend the money for a hotel!
- YOUR FUNKY JUNK: The bed you sleep in is YOURS and no one else’s. You don’t have to worry about bedbugs or anyone else’s nasty habits and whether or not the hotel cleaned it. If it’s not clean, it’s your funk that’s in there…clean it or ignore it!
- PACKING/UNPACKING: This is easy as you only need to take perishable items out of the camper when you’re done camping. We leave several outfits (including shoes, undergarments and PJs) and towels in our camper. We also leave non-perishable food items (sealed bags of chips, mason jars of coffee, sugar, etc.) and toiletries in the camper. Sometimes we wake up and decide that we will go camping that evening. Keeping the camper “packed” makes this possible.
- SAVE MONEY ON FOOD: No need to eat out! Meals can be as fancy as you want them, or low key. You can save a TON of money just by eating in!
SAVE ON ACCOMMODATIONS: Campgrounds are usually CHEAP! Most state parks in Arkansas are around $20/night. We’ve gone to destination cities like Dauphin Island and Gulf Shores, Alabama…they were a little more expensive at around $50/night, but THE VIEWS!!! Where else can you pay $50/night and wake up to walks on the beach from the comfort of your own space? Most even have nice bathrooms in case you want to keep the shower in your camper clean.
- BOONDOCKING: (AKA dry camping)! A lot of campers are made so that you can carry in everything you need and “live off the land.” No need to have sewer and water hookups as long as you plan ahead and fill up your water tank, charge your battery, and bring enough groceries. You can camp ANYWHERE (as long as it’s legal…I’m guessing Area 51 won’t let you in!). You could also use your camper as a base camp for hiking into a remote location by boondocking.
- BRING IT ALL!: More STUFF fits in a camper! Ok girls, you know this is true! I like the outdoors, but I can bring my hair dryer, makeup, dress up clothes in case we go out, and even heels if I want a pretty decoration! Camper camping is WAY different than tent camping…I always pack SUPER light for tent camping…like how many times can I wear a shirt before it’s considered inappropriate? I bring everything under the sun in my RV!
- GET OUTTA TOWN: It’s easier to get out of town since the camper stays packed and ready. We can decide on a moment’s notice to go camping and have it hooked up in a matter of minutes…LITERALLY! As long as there’s a grocery store on the way, we’re good to go!
HVAC: Heating and air…obviously, this is opposed to tent or hammock camping. I don’t spend much time above the Mason-Dixon line. I’m not sure how important this is to you, but here in the south, AC is an absolute MUST! Heating is pretty necessary, too…but you can normally bundle up and stay warm enough down here in Arkansas.
- COMFORT: You have the comforts of home, away from home. I know I’ve said this in other ways, but there’s just something about that “home is where the heart is” feeling you get in an RV!
- MEETING PEOPLE: Making new friends, or getting reacquainted with old friends. We’ve been camping a lot with some old friends that distance and busy-ness have kept us apart. We’ve also made new friends in our various locations. I recently found an acquaintance I had in high school while camping. THAT WAS WEIRD, but SUPER COOL!
- CHANGE OF SCENERY: There is so much cool and funny stuff in the world…why not see as much as possible?
- VERSATILITY: You can get into an overbooked area if you know a local! We were able to go see the eclipse this year even though Nashville was WAY overbooked for the weekend. No hotels, no campsites (tent or otherwise), nothing…nowhere to stay! My cousin had some property, so we pulled our camper there and enjoyed a nice, quite place to watch the eclipse because of the camper (…and the generous cousin!).
- SO. MUCH. FUN!!! All your non-camping friends think you’re living the high life, but you’re really just chillin’ and getting away. Both my husband and I relax better when camping because we are not at home where our worries live. It just seems so peaceful to sit around in our camp chairs and listen to the birds sing and bugs chirp!
CONS OF OWNING A CAMPER:
- COSTS: I HATE spending money!!! Well, that’s not true, but I want to have fun when I do spend it! It feels so expensive to have a camper…and we have a cheap one! The funny thing is, our brand new camper is costing us less each year than our entire 12 day vacation to Puerto Rico last fall!
- SETUP COSTS: I used to work for The Container Store. There are just some organizational things you will need to set up your camper. There are also tools and equipment you will need for your camper. Heaven forbid you get to your campsite and don’t have a sewer hose! Not cool!!!
- MAINTENANCE COSTS: I don’t know this because of this particular camper yet, but our last one…it was a doosey! You have to stay on top of the “honey-do” list with campers because if you don’t fix it quickly (whatever IT is), problems multiply.
- ADDED FUEL COSTS: Again, campers are LOTS of fun, but this is an extra cost to factor in. Your vehicle will not get the same gas mileage with one of these bad boys behind it. My gas mileage is cut in half…LITERALLY…when pulling the camper!
- CHORES AT HOME: Your “honey-do” list at home NEVER gets done (exaggeration here, but things just don’t get done as quickly when you’re not home). I have to be honest here, out of the roughly 12 weeks of summer, we were gone almost 3 whole weeks, and a total of 8 weekends, most of which were at least 3 day weekends. We’ve GOT to figure this thing out because we’re still trying to remodel the bathrooms!
- PARKING THE CAMPER: Oh my goodness!!! Parking this thing is insane! There is a learning curve, for sure. If you want the camper to go one direction, you have to turn the wheel the opposite direction! My husband is getting the hang of it, but I’m scared to death to try! *Think…broken rain gutters on the house…not joking! We slip ours in between our house and our neighbor’s…NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK!!!
- STORAGE: Where will you keep it when it’s not in use? The neighbors don’t seem to mind ours being where we put it (I’m not really worried if they do…it’s our property!), but I know some people store them on a storage lot. That’s an added cost to consider.
- CHORES IN THE CAMPER: You have to make your own bed and wash your own dishes. I don’t mind this because I do it at home anyway, but it’s not a hotel room…no room service here.
- COMING BACK TO REALITY: Alas, at some point you have to go back home! This is the worst part of most camping trips, but you’ve gotta go back to work to make more CAMPING MONEY!
This is by no means an exhaustive list. It’s just what we’ve found to be true in our camping experience both now and previously. Would you add to this list? Do you HATE camping, or love it like me?4