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Extended traveling on a budget


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Wife and I sold our bumper pull TT a few years back because we didn't particularly care for towing it.

We are looking at ways to travel this summer (provided I can make it home, we aren't under socialist/communist travel restrictions and we have the disposable income).

We'd like to travel back up to Cheyenne for Hell on Wheels again, and maybe even up into MT the following weekend.  Or just start back to the Gulf Coast and find a monthly to shoot at along the way (OKC area, maybe).  Take US or state highways and see the country.

I haven't been tent camping in many years.  I figure as long as we get a good inflatable mattress and a good selection of covers the sleeping shouldn't be too bad.  Heat worries more than anything.  I can handle cold, but not heat.

Anybody else tent camp for extended periods?

Other options that are good for traveling on a tighter budget?

 

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There are many of us Cowboy shooters that offer overnight, or a couple of days stay in their homes or RVs.

I suggest putting a plan together, see what clubs are in that area...contact that club, and see who is willing to Cowboy Hotel.

Bet you should find a way to meet new folks, see the area and save some $$.

If you are traveling I-40 near Albq, NM...give us a holler. Coffee is hot, grub is plentifull, and the bed in the 5th wheel sleeps like a cloud!

 

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4 minutes ago, Singin' Sue 71615 said:

There are many of us Cowboy shooters that offer overnight, or a couple of days stay in their homes or RVs.

I suggest putting a plan together, see what clubs are in that area...contact that club, and see who is willing to Cowboy Hotel.

Bet you should find a way to meet new folks, see the area and save some $$.

If you are traveling I-40 near Albq, NM...give us a holler. Coffee is hot, grub is plentifull, and the bed in the 5th wheel sleeps like a cloud!

 

Thank you.

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I’ve been impressed by this tent when seeing it in campgrounds. 
 

https://www.rei.com/product/147958/rei-co-op-kingdom-6-tent

 

Goes up easy. Sheds water. Sturdy in the wind. 
 

And instead of just an air mattress, think about getting a collapsible bed frame to get you further off the ground. A lot easier on the knees getting up and down. 

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Once you make it to the Mountain West, campgrounds above ~6,000-ft have cool nights.  Forest Service and National Park campgrounds are a bargain with a Senior Pass.  Some commercial campgrounds have cabins to rent with air conditioning.  Those lacking indoor plumbing are not expensive and you can cook on a patio to avoid eating in restaurants.  I used to travel this way years ago.

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2 hours ago, Chief Rick said:

Wife and I sold our bumper pull TT a few years back because we didn't particularly care for towing it.

We are looking at ways to travel this summer (provided I can make it home, we aren't under socialist/communist travel restrictions and we have the disposable income).

We'd like to travel back up to Cheyenne for Hell on Wheels again, and maybe even up into MT the following weekend.  Or just start back to the Gulf Coast and find a monthly to shoot at along the way (OKC area, maybe).  Take US or state highways and see the country.

I haven't been tent camping in many years.  I figure as long as we get a good inflatable mattress and a good selection of covers the sleeping shouldn't be too bad.  Heat worries more than anything.  I can handle cold, but not heat.

Anybody else tent camp for extended periods?

Other options that are good for traveling on a tighter budget?

 

Heat isn't an issue in Cheyenne at night. Pretty sure you can go to Little America and shower up. Maybe someone that has a motel room will let you shower there. Fortunately no rattlers on the range or anywhere close.

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Look into KOA campgrounds - they generally have cabins available, as well as showers, toilets, laundry facilities, and if you prefer you can get a tent space fairly economically.  The tent sites have water and electric available as well.

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We did a lot of travel around the mountain West for several years using Forest Service campgrounds. They range from large to small and they are all over the place.

 

You can get easy-set up Coleman 5-6 person tents for very little; $100 range. Nowaday, when I tent camp, maybe once or twice a year, I always use a cot. Two cots (standard size, not large) will fit into such a tent, and make for comfortable sleep and rising; necessary now!

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More on Forest Service campgrounds:  http://recreation.gov is a good way to investigate and reserve spots at government campgrounds.  There are reservable sites and first come, first serve locations.  Sites with power with the length for an RV or travel trailer are in high demand.  Tent-only sites lacking utilities are in lower demand.  Late summer is a dry season for the northern Rockies.  Camping should be good.

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After camping in a TT you're expecting your wife to be cold, be hot, walk to the toilet and showers, tolerate the noise, cook outside, and live out of an ice chest.

Have you asked her?

How about renting a class C motor home?

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7 minutes ago, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

After camping in a TT you're expecting your wife to be cold, be hot, walk to the toilet and showers, tolerate the noise, cook outside, and live out of an ice chest.

Have you asked her?

How about renting a class C motor home?

My wife was a SeaBee.:D She "Can Do!"

Yes, we have discussed it.

We live on the MS Gulf Coast - it's not unusual to cook outside and live out of an ice chest for a few days to weeks at a time.

The only concerns she has is the cold, the heat and the "bed". The only concerns I have are the heat, the "bed" and the bathroom!

Part of me would really like to get another smaller TT, but we aren't sure what we're gonna do.  We really don't travel that often due to the short summer she gets (she's a teacher) and we won't retire for another 10 years.

Can stay in a lot of motels for $10k (or more) that most decent TTs start at.

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Let me preface this with saying that for several years the wife and I used to spend 2 weeks camped in south central South Dakota in the summer with about 30 other people in a large pasture. After the first year we threw everything we had for camping away and bought new gear. Learned really fast what worked and what didn't. Waking up cold and wet with your tent on top of you sucks. My second tent cost me around $300 in the late 80s. Took a lot to scrape up the money on Navy pay but it was worth every penny. 

 

Throw away the pegs that come with any tent. Replace them with foot long nails like these. Buy steel and not aluminum you are not backpacking and steel can be driven into rocky ground. Add a heavy fender washer to keep lines from slipping off the head. Drive them in angled towards the center of the tent to make it harder for the wind to pull them up. Buy or make a pry bar with forked end that you can use to pry them out of the ground. Use a couple of short 2X4s as a fulcrum. A short handled 4 or 6 lb hammer drives them in nicely.

 

Buy a 6 man geodesic dome tent with a vestibule.  Trust me you will appreciate the extra space and it will not collapse in a thunderstorm. You want one you can stand up in it or very close to it. Getting dressed all bent over gets old really fast.

Below is a picture of what a geodesic dome tent looks like. Those extra 3 poles will mean the difference between waking up with your tent collapsed on top of you or being woke up by the noise of the wind and rain nice and dry.

 

BTW The tent I bought 30 years ago was very similar to the one below from Cabelas. Bought it because the people camped next to us had one and it withstood South Dakota thunderstorms better than any other tent we saw. Haven't used it in years but I still have it.

 

The rain fly is removed so that you can see how the poles are arranged. 

image.png.4c95cfd12fd1ceb9d4ee36509df47a1c.png

 

 

Once you have your tent buy a heavy canvas tarp to put between it and the ground. This will protect the floor of the tent. You will have to either fold it or have it cut and seamed so that is it about 3 inches smaller than the foot print of your tent. This helps keep moisture from becoming trapped between the tent and the canvas. 

 

Buy a cheap door mat to use as the floor of the vestibule. You can shake out the dirt and rocks this way.

 

Buy an air mattress with a frame. Much easier to get in and out of and you can store things under it. Make sure it has plenty of legs so that it supports your body well. Get a 12 vdc air pump that inflates and deflates. 

All air mattresses eventually leak. when they start keep the frame and buy a new mattress to use with it.

 

LCM DIRECT Portable Bed Frame for Air-Filled Mattresses with Carry/Storage Bag, Queen

 

Now comes the hard part figuring out how you will pack and carry everything you will need on your trip. 

Edited by Sedalia Dave
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Or you can buy the 12'x20' Cabelas Alaknak, with wood stove. Probably excess to your needs, though!

 

We've Winter camped with one of these for 15 years with kids and grandkids; we XC ski out the front door. Two bunk cots and a few  more cots and we sleep 8. Warm and cozy all the time!

 

 

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I see a lot of people are converting small cargo trailers for camping. I might do it. I don't need a stove or fridge.  A cassette toilet and a shower of some sort plus a small ac unit. A raised bed in the back with storage and I'm good to go. 

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1 hour ago, Sedalia Dave said:

Throw away the pegs that come with any tent. Replace them with foot long nails like these. Buy steel and not aluminum you are not backpacking and steel can be driven into rocky ground. Add a heavy fender washer to keep lines from slipping off the head. Drive them in angled towards the center of the tent to make it harder for the wind to pull them up. Buy or make a pry bar with forked end that you can use to pry them out of the ground. Use a couple of short 2X4s as a fulcrum. A short handled 4 or 6 lb hammer drives them in nicely.

---

Buy a 6 man geodesic dome tent with a vestibule.  Trust me you will appreciate the extra space and it will not collapse in a thunderstorm. You want one you can stand up in it or very close to it. Getting dressed all bent over gets old really fast.

Below is a picture of what a geodesic dome tent looks like. Those extra 3 poles will mean the difference between waking up with your tent collapsed on top of you or being woke up by the noise of the wind and rain nice and dry.

---

Now comes the hard part figuring out how you will pack and carry everything you will need on your trip. 

I don't remember who it was, but a vendor couple in Cheyenne a few years ago had one of the real nice canvas wall tents.  He had large lagging-type screws with the washers and he used an electric impact wrench to drive them into the ground and remove them.

 

I have been looking at this Gazelle T4 tent.

Picture of GT401SS 4-PERSON GAZELLE T4 OVERLAND EDITION HUB TENT-SUNSET ORANGE

 

Whether we camp or not, the trip will be in our extended cab F-150 with ARE topper.  Plenty of room for a tent with accessories, a cooler/DC-powered fridge, air mattress, camp toilet, blankets, and clothes (as long as I don't try to bring more than two hats).

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35 minutes ago, Mister Badly said:

I see a lot of people are converting small cargo trailers for camping. I might do it. I don't need a stove or fridge.  A cassette toilet and a shower of some sort plus a small ac unit. A raised bed in the back with storage and I'm good to go. 

I've been looking into this as well.  A lot of bumper pull TTs are being outfitted with residential A/Cs lately.  They're just inside the camper instead of outside in a window.  A 6x10 or 6x12 would be large enough to put a queen size memory foam mattress on a foundation with plenty of room left for a toilet/bucket and a small table and camp chair or two.

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I just noticed that thanks to Uncle Sam, I have enough points to stay at a Wyndham property for 7 nights.  That will be a big help short term.  May have to adjust our schedule this year and start with a shorter vacation.  If we can only make HoW that would be better than sitting at home.

 

We could also try to camp at closer locations, so if it doesn't work we're not far from home.

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Any reason a tent trailer wouldn't work here?  My family (3) spent a Summer and Fall of weekends and vacations living in one while our summer cottage was demolished and rebuilt.  I loved sleeping in it; it reminded me of sleeping on the screened porch of a relative's home in the summer as a kid.  We had it set up next to a patio, with our grille, fire pit and lawn furniture all set up; like an outdoor living room.  Even when it rained, we were high and dry.  Wouldn't want to spend an extended time cramped inside, but that's generally true for all tents and most trailers.  And it was super easy to pull and set up/take down.

 

LL

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Okay, our last tent excursion/adventure...

10 years ago (ages 48) we decided, to save money and have a bit of fun, we would load up the 3 compartment tent we have (had 6 kids) and coleman stove, guns, guncart, clothes, food and camp chairs...in our little Toyota Corolla (42 mpg) and head above Denver, Co from Albq, NM for Co State shoot in Byers.

Great first 4 hours...then a snow storm hit! White out conditions on Raton Pass...and I was driving!!!

Well, after the next 4 hours, I felt pretty good.

We set up the tent, visited with friends and got a goid night sleep.

Oh..forgot the queen blow up mattress...

Bed in one section, chairs in center and dressing room on far end section. Perfect.

Untill the next night....when wind was blowing sooooo hard, because of the 3 tornados in the area!!! One touched ground 8 miles from the range!!!

And, getting in bed that night I raked my knee on something.

The next morning, we awoke to a partially deflated bed...head and legs straight up in the air!!! You should have heard our neighbors laughin' at the fuss.

Come to find out, there wss a sewing needle left in the quilt...must have been what scratched my knee.

The rest of the trip was fine...

We did not look forward to break down,clean up and repacking the car after the full weekend.

With that said, we vowed we would trailer from then on.

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In our younger days, we backpacked on the Appalachian trail in Georgia and S Carolina. Tent camped in Florida! Kentucky and other southern states. The best camping was in wilderness areas. The worst was in organized campgrounds wher other campers didn’t understand the thin walls of a tent are not good noise insulation had a few confrontations with noisy jerks in the wee hours of the morning. Not to mention sudden extreme weather. Wouldn’t even consider it these days.

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Tenting at shoots has lost it's charm for me I like Cold drinks when it's Hot , a bed that's made up for use anytime , Hotwater for cleaning guns , Lights the turn on and of at the touch of a switch .. plenty of space that is snug and dry when the weather takes a turn ...When I get tired I just pull over, shut off the engine hit the lock button and walk back and have a rest ... I have a C Class motor home that gets better fuel millage that my last 3/4 ton dodge did ...

 

Jabez Cowboy  

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6 hours ago, Mister Badly said:

I see a lot of people are converting small cargo trailers for camping. I might do it. I don't need a stove or fridge.  A cassette toilet and a shower of some sort plus a small ac unit. A raised bed in the back with storage and I'm good to go. 

Check with Pony Soldier from Oklahoma on that!

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14 minutes ago, Jabez Cowboy,SASS # 50129 said:

Tenting at shoots has lost it's charm for me I like Cold drinks when it's Hot , a bed that's made up for use anytime , Hotwater for cleaning guns , Lights the turn on and of at the touch of a switch .. plenty of space that is snug and dry when the weather takes a turn ...When I get tired I just pull over, shut off the engine hit the lock button and walk back and have a rest ... I have a C Class motor home that gets better fuel millage that my last 3/4 ton dodge did ...

 

Jabez Cowboy  

Forgot to mention draggin' your own toilet along! Hate gas station bathrooms!!!

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11 hours ago, Loophole LaRue, SASS #51438 said:

Any reason a tent trailer wouldn't work here?  My family (3) spent a Summer and Fall of weekends and vacations living in one while our summer cottage was demolished and rebuilt.  I loved sleeping in it; it reminded me of sleeping on the screened porch of a relative's home in the summer as a kid.  We had it set up next to a patio, with our grille, fire pit and lawn furniture all set up; like an outdoor living room.  Even when it rained, we were high and dry.  Wouldn't want to spend an extended time cramped inside, but that's generally true for all tents and most trailers.  And it was super easy to pull and set up/take down.

 

LL

You mean like this?

See the source image

A co-worker had one of these and living in the high-humidity area we do, it developed mold pretty quickly.

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11 hours ago, Mister Badly said:

I like what he's done.  Great if you have the time and skill.

If I use a cargo trailer I'd want to leave the rear open like a toy hauler.

I really like the Work N Play trailers but they are heavy and expensive "for what I need/want".

At this time of my life, a camper would sit more than it would be used.

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7 hours ago, Singin' Sue 71615 said:

Okay, our last tent excursion/adventure...

10 years ago (ages 48) we decided, to save money and have a bit of fun, we would load up the 3 compartment tent we have (had 6 kids) and coleman stove, guns, guncart, clothes, food and camp chairs...in our little Toyota Corolla (42 mpg) and head above Denver, Co from Albq, NM for Co State shoot in Byers.

Great first 4 hours...then a snow storm hit! White out conditions on Raton Pass...and I was driving!!!

Well, after the next 4 hours, I felt pretty good.

We set up the tent, visited with friends and got a goid night sleep.

Oh..forgot the queen blow up mattress...

Bed in one section, chairs in center and dressing room on far end section. Perfect.

Untill the next night....when wind was blowing sooooo hard, because of the 3 tornados in the area!!! One touched ground 8 miles from the range!!!

And, getting in bed that night I raked my knee on something.

The next morning, we awoke to a partially deflated bed...head and legs straight up in the air!!! You should have heard our neighbors laughin' at the fuss.

Come to find out, there wss a sewing needle left in the quilt...must have been what scratched my knee.

The rest of the trip was fine...

We did not look forward to break down,clean up and repacking the car after the full weekend.

With that said, we vowed we would trailer from then on.

Been doing a lot you tube watching on various tents, tent set-ups, campers, etc.

Tent camping does not look appealing to me for overnight stays due to the requirements of set-up and take-down/pack-up.  Especially for the older demographics who want/need a little more creature comforts.

We do miss the ability to walk off the range and get in the camper with the A/C or heat on and relax after shooting.

We sold our camper because we just weren't using it and didn't like towing it.

It is something that we may revisit but we may just decide to hotel-camp. 

Pulling valuables and suitcases out of the vehicle at overnight hotel stops is not very enjoyable, either.  I left the power cord for my laptop in a hotel in TX after our trip to Cheyenne a couple years ago because I was still tired after the long drive. 

It also hailed on us at the range and winds did some number on some of the tents if I remember correctly that year.

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7 hours ago, Utah Bob #35998 said:

In our younger days, we backpacked on the Appalachian trail in Georgia and S Carolina. Tent camped in Florida! Kentucky and other southern states. The best camping was in wilderness areas. The worst was in organized campgrounds wher other campers didn’t understand the thin walls of a tent are not good noise insulation had a few confrontations with noisy jerks in the wee hours of the morning. Not to mention sudden extreme weather. Wouldn’t even consider it these days.

Sometimes hotel rooms are no better.

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Howdy,

Shop around a bit and get a popup like in the pic.

Ive tried a variety of vacation trips and camped different ways.

Maybe get a screen tent and put it up over a couple picnic tables.

People have been trying to NOT sleep on the ground for 50000 years....

Take a hint.

Best

CR

put a clean credit card in yer wallet for when the camping drives ya nuts.

Hot shower in a motel room is the most underestimated pleasure in the world.

 

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Have you thought about renting a trailer from MWR at a base near you?  CBC Gulf Port has a pop up for rent very reasonable.

Barksdale also rents them

Edited by Sedalia Dave
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49 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

Have you thought about renting a trailer from MWR at a base near you?  CBC Gulf Port has a pop up for rent very reasonable.

Barksdale also rents them

Actually didn't know the CBC had rental campers.  Will look into that when I get home.  Thanks.

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8 hours ago, Chief Rick said:

Been doing a lot you tube watching on various tents, tent set-ups, campers, etc.

Tent camping does not look appealing to me for overnight stays due to the requirements of set-up and take-down/pack-up.  Especially for the older demographics who want/need a little more creature comforts.

We do miss the ability to walk off the range and get in the camper with the A/C or heat on and relax after shooting.

We sold our camper because we just weren't using it and didn't like towing it.

It is something that we may revisit but we may just decide to hotel-camp. 

Pulling valuables and suitcases out of the vehicle at overnight hotel stops is not very enjoyable, either.  I left the power cord for my laptop in a hotel in TX after our trip to Cheyenne a couple years ago because I was still tired after the long drive. 

It also hailed on us at the range and winds did some number on some of the tents if I remember correctly that year.

Exactly!

We bought a second small trailer. It is a Micro Lite with a slide.

20'.

Great for 2 day match, ultra light and comfortable.

At 58, we want the comforts, and being on range with folks makes it worth the haul. We normally just load gear and go...keeping sets of clothing and such in it at all times.

I guess with me, the ease of hookup with the small guy is above hotels.

 

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3 minutes ago, Singin' Sue 71615 said:

Exactly!

We bought a second small trailer. It is a Micro Lite with a slide.

20'.

Great for 2 day match, ultra light and comfortable.

At 58, we want the comforts, and being on range with folks makes it worth the haul. We normally just load gear and go...keeping sets of clothing and such in it at all times.

I guess with me, the ease of hookup with the small guy is above hotels.

 

We're not much further behind you in age, but still like (love) our creature comforts.  I'm particularly fond of a bathroom that I don't have to get dressed to use a couple times a night.

The cost of these small campers blows my mind.

Maybe a repurposed cargo trailer will be a viable option.

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