Named the Scamp camper

I’ve talked to my wife since acquiring the scamp that we needed to name it.  We’ve been to a few locations already and nothing seem to ‘fit’ when I would just throw out a name or two.

"Miss Bliss" 2011 Scamp trailer

“Miss Bliss” 2011 Scamp trailer

This post is more about making sure there is a recording as to the date we decided to call our little camper “Miss Bliss”.  The name for her seems to fit just right.  I now feel a small sense of relief naming the trailer finally, I know it seems silly, but it’s now got a name. :-)

We’re looking for some end of summer relief this coming week with a local outing, just haven’t decided where yet, more on that later.  Fall is just around the corner and I’m anxious to see that weather come sooner than later.

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Hickory Run State Park in Pennsylvania

 

Our first out of state camping experience starts with Hickory Run State Park in PA.  Yes, it’s our first out of state camp spot.  Most of our stays have consisted of either 1 or 2 nights depending on our schedules.  My wife and I have 2 to 3 days of free time sometimes weekly or biweekly and we utilize that for going out and finding camping locations to take advantage of.   We are still noobs when it comes to camping and we are gradually growing into it as each year passes and we love it!

We drove out to Hickory Run and the drive was great.  Renee and I really do enjoy driving out to Pennsylvania as we often shop at Cabela’s in Hamburg, PA and sometimes drive off the main highways to explore the countryside roads, the smaller towns and covered bridges you find just about everywhere in PA.  The drive to the park was no different and the backroads were hilly and scenic.  First thing you’ll realize when going to the park is that GPS sometimes does not agree with the location you try to put into it.  Google maps on most phones will work great in finding the entrance incase you run into that trouble, the main camping entrance is off RT 534.

Water streams of Hickory Run State Park, PA

Water streams of Hickory Run State Park, PA

The campground supplies a camp store with just about anything you could possibly need in it, they do have a loop dedicated for pet campers and typical pet rules apply.  Bear (not so much) and Raccoon (sitting at table with you?) activity to be aware of.   Although I didn’t see either, probably due to the high population of dogs in the vicinity.  Heavily wooded area with 40+ miles of trails throughout the park.  Activities galore with nearby streams, waterfalls, lake and boulder field!

One of the most elusive things that Renee wanted to see and took us a few hours to find, was a dam crossing that was unlike any you will find in the area within the confines of the park.  We did finally find it after asking everyone where it might be (no one had a pinpoint as to where exactly it was) with no luck.  The road was closed due to heavy rains the night before which of course made it that

Water streams on the road of Hickory Run State Park, PA

Water streams on the road of Hickory Run State Park, PA

much more difficult to find, but we did end up walking down and around to it.  It’s a road that crosses this waterway and it’s beautiful!  Definitely worth finding if you do go to the park. (Hint, it’s near Saylorsville Dam, just continue down the road past it.)  Did I already mention the park is filled with things to do?  Ok good.

The campsite we settled in was at the back of the loop drive.  The lot consisted of a fire ring, 50/30/20 amp service, a picnic table and paved driveway with a roomy sized lot for our mosquito canopy.  The website only shows 50 amp available, since I’m a noob I didn’t realize that all options were available so I picked up a dogbone electrical adapter just in case.  Better to have and not need than to need and not have right?  A short trail behind our site lead to the woods and a surprise water stream (babbling brook) about 50 yards out.  The campsites are heavily wooded and all you hear are the birds.  It was quiet and pleasant for the duration of our stay.  The staff were friendly to us and most of the people we ran into were very nice.  The first night of our stay we had thunderstorms all night, but that wasn’t a problem with the new Scamp and spent the evening hours finally catching up on Game of Thrones (I know, yes, we haven’t watched the whole season but managed to watch quite a few, not done yet!) and playing card games being extremely comfortable the whole time :-).

The next day was clear (or seemed to be until 3pm according to local weather) and we set out to explore the park some more.  We drove out to find Hawk Falls and found the trail. (rt 534 just past overpass for 476)  We walked down about halfway down the trail past the first bridge and all of a sudden a torrential downpour unleashed upon us!  Thankfully I didn’t bring any expensive equipment because that would of just plain sucked.  It was approx 10am and forecast still showed 3pm rain, so as you can imagine we walked back to the truck, completely soaked (might as well of jumped into the falls) and Dante wasn’t too happy either as we were all drenched.  I’m such a pessimist and my wife is such a positive light in my life, insisted we continue to explore to find that one road that you can drive through the water. (the previously mentioned elusive dam), so we drove on and of course the downpour stopped once we were securely back into the vehicle. But that’s generally how it goes when you’re not prepared for it isn’t it?

Overall, a very unique area to visit and we enjoyed our 3 days at the park.  Great campground to check out!
Be forewarned! – Sorry for the poor video production below, first video release w/the blog! :-)

 

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New Camping Adventures

Alot has happened since I last posted.  Renee and I have just upgraded our camping equipment to the next level.  After much research and lots and lots of luck, I managed to nab a great deal on a used, (new to us) 2011 scamp 13 trailer.  Trailer is in fantastic ‘like new’ condition and we’re very excited to really get some use out of it.  I drove out to Michigan to pick it up and bring it back to NJ, towed great behind my Nissan Frontier.

2011 Scamp 13 trailer

2011 Scamp 13 trailer

We couldn’t wait to try it and had our maiden stay at Turkey Swamp park for an overnight.  Was a luxury stay compared to the cargo trailer I had recently rigged up with ac.

We are extremely happy with it and are now planning more extensive trips.   The trailer is equipped with Air conditioning, furnace, stove top, cold water sink w/12 gallon fresh water tank and city water hookup, 1.9 cu refrigerator, couch/bunks up front with dinette/ bed in the back.  Lots more storage then we are used to along with a screen door and windows.

I won’t go into too much detail about this little trailer, but having the continued convenience of having a small trailer to get in and out of just about anywhere is great!  Size was a major factor for me when looking for a travel trailer.  This one is 13 feet long (compared to my 11 or so foot long 5×8 trailer) and just short of 7 feet wide (exterior), it’s the perfect size for us!

First scamp camping trip at Turkey Swamp Park

First scamp camping trip at Turkey Swamp Park

We really enjoy going out to Turkey Swamp Park, NJ due to it being a great campground and only 20 mins away from us.  It is a bit on the pricey side but it’s nice for a last minute need to get away spot.  We have a german shepherd with us all the time, so all parks we go to HAVE to be german shepherd friendly at minimum.  Sites here are decently spaced and all sites are electric/water/pull through, fire ring, picnic table sites.  I’ve seen some bus rv’s in sites throughout the campground (although maybe a bit snug to fit in).  Dump station also available for the campers here.  Clean Shower/bathrooms and a playground for the kiddies.  Nice trails, boat rentals at a lake in the park and just overall beautiful wooded area.  Staff are always friendly to us.  If you are in the Monmouth county, NJ area I highly recommend it.

And since we’re now planning to extend our camping adventures out of state, I setup a new map on the pages listed on the site above and will begin to actually blog about the places we visit and review them.

 

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Keeping track of my dog in the dark while camping

I wanted to share a short post about something I thought was really helpful.  I ran into a problem while camping during the fall last year. My black german shepherd was nearly impossible to see if he wasn’t semi-near the fire we had going. He would play or wander off while we talk and it would occasionally freak me out when I couldn’t see him.  I didn’t want to leash him when he usually just hangs around anyway and nobody else around for miles.

Dante (our black german shepherd) posing with his clip on light.

Dante (our black german shepherd) posing with his clip on light.

After some research I purchased a Clip-on LED Light by Nite Ize and it works great!  I just turn it on when it gets dark and I can clearly see where he’s at in the pitch black woods.  It’s bright and changes to random colors while on.  It’s not oversized and doesn’t interfere with his activities of running, ball fetching, drinking or eating.  I’ve used it for a couple seasons now and Dante always has it on his harness when we go out on adventures.

Hope this little blurb helps you out when searching for a pet light while in the woods.  Happy camping and be safe!

 

 

 

 

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5×8 Cargo Camper

It’s like the little engine that could.  I originally purchased the trailer for either parking my motorcycle or hauling stuff around when needed.  I got the smaller sized 5×8 cargo trailer because at the time I had a smaller vehicle and needed something towable for lightweight stuff.  Nothing special at the time.. just a trailer.

One day my wife and I were planning our next camping trip, we have a 9 person tent that could accommodate a nice queen size inflatable mattress and had used a Mr Heater Buddy which works great for those chilly nights and mornings.  We had a couple of days off together and wanted to take that opportunity to schedule a short outing.  The weather started to get really cold that week and we were looking at 30 degrees and well, that’s pretty chilly!   We did experience some 40 degree cold nights and fall camping at this point but my wife wondered what the limit would be and feared that we would get frozen out.

Our Camping rig

Our Camping rig

So out of the blue I suggested we try camping out in our little trailer!  It couldn’t be worse than tent camping!  Well it wasn’t, it’s great!  Since the purchase of the trailer I had acquired a fullsize Ford Bronco and a Nissan Frontier pickup so towing is no longer a limited function!  I had a professional install a manual vent on the roof of the trailer and put together a makeshift locking setup for the inside of the trailer so I can secure the door while inside.  It’s wide enough to fit a queen sized mattress (we actually opted to put a full sized mattress inside) and had plenty of space to bring chairs, small fold up table, sleeping bag, lights, goodies, etc..

So this works fantastic for a fall camping!  We’ve camped in 20 degree snowy weather and have kept the inside a toasty 72 degrees during our nights.  I haven’t insulated the inside of the trailer or done any major modifications to it other than the roof vent which was kept open for oxygen.  The heater uses propane and needs some ventilation in the cabin space.  I did purchase a carbon monoxide detector for peace of mind. The detector remains at zero with the vent open and still toasty warm inside. :-)  So it really works out great.

Summer camping 2014

Summer camping 2014

Now that we have fall and winter camping figured out it takes care of that.  But now for summer.  I really don’t want to experiment cutting holes into my trailer incase I screw things up, so installing a window is a no go for me.  I played around with the idea of installing a portable AC unit but I have had bad experiences with them and I feel they’re expensive for the poor performance and in the long run, expensive to replace.  So with a couple of free days looming in the horizon we could spend at a campsite, I didn’t want to have a miserable night in the heat of June/July.  We did that once last year in our tent and it wasn’t so fun, it was really hot and the bugs were relentless as they usually are in the forest.  As a fall camper, I’m not a big fan of the summer camping, but I wanted this to work so we didn’t limit ourselves (like most people do) to just a couple seasons of the year for camping.

Outside of the trailer.

Outside of the trailer.

I don’t have pictures of the process of my build but I can show you the outcome of what I put together (with the help of my wife by my side).  I went to the local Home Depot and purchased a thick piece of plywood. I believe it was 3/4 inch.  Then I pulled out my new trusty friend, the circular saw and started measuring out the one side of the barn doors opening and cut out a portion to fit just right.  After some trimming, ok lots of trimming, I managed to get the fit pretty good.  Afterwards I cut smaller squares for the edges as shown in the image.  I put in a spacer on the 2 squares on the left side so that the main board sits flush on the edge of the doorway.  The top one keeps it from falling in and 2 squares on the inside of the trailer’s outer edge keeps it from falling out.  There is a lip along the inside of the door that is latched that also helps it from falling out.  I also created a spot for the door to latch to onto the main board that keeps it all together.  My explanation is terrible but hopefully the image shows it best.

The inside

The inside

Once I had the board secured and sorted out I measured out the freespace in the middle to get an idea of how much room I had for an AC unit.  At that moment I was hoping I had enough room for the unit I was doing all this work for. lol.
I looked up a couple of the cheapest 5000 btu units available and found one, the frigidaire 5000 BTU air conditioner unit seems to be the perfect fit!  It was small, lightweight and CHEAP!  We went and picked it up, pulled it out of the box and plopped it down on top of the board, penciled an outline and cut away the new space for this unit.

And for the final test installed it and plugged it in, BINGO!  Works great!  I also purchased a strip, because who knows what else I can plug in while we’re camping.  So the electric strip does add another dynamic we’re not used to while camping and an extension cord that can handle at least 15amps.  I found this one and really like the fact that it lights up when plugged in to show you got some juice.

I pushed and poked at the unit installed to make sure there weren’t any major weaknesses as I didn’t want this thing falling on my head in the middle of the night, but it doesn’t budge at all, it’s pretty solid.  Another proud moment as both my wife and I looked at our creation and now excited to try and camp out with it!

We did camp out and it worked flawlessly, we went to another campground with electric hookups and didn’t have any problems keeping the little trailer nice and cool.  By the end of the night my wife complained that she was cold. I’ll make sure to bring a hoodie next time. :-)

Camping with Air Conditioning - 5x8 Cargo Camper

Camping with Air Conditioning – 5×8 Cargo Camper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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