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.
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!
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.
Shop using the link below to help support Pete’s Blog website, thank you!
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.
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!
Shop using the link below to help support Pete’s Blog website, thank you!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂
A couple of years ago my wife and I struck up a conversation about how we never went camping before. Neither of us have ever experienced going camping or what it was like to hang out by a fire in the woods with a tent roasting marshmallows or making s’mores in our 40 or so years on this planet.
So after a few moments of silence, I said “Let’s go camping!“. She looked at me like I had 3 heads and I said “Yeah!“, “Let’s get some camping stuff and figure it out and go.” We talked about it a little bit, but I wanted to make sure if we were going to camp, I wanted to do it right! A primitive campground was on the horizon with no car access, toilets, water, electric, etc..
After a little bit of research and a trip to our local sporting goods store to pickup our 3 man tent and some supplies that included a double person sleeping bag rated at 35 degrees, a water filter incase we needed it, lots of extra clothing for layers (was mid to late October), at least a couple of good knives I had for wood and of course 2 of the swiss army knife (my all time favorite!), some dog food and doggy stuff for our german shepherd Dante, and lots of other stuff we didn’t need for the trip but didn’t know at the time.
The night before we packed a couple backpacks filled 80% of what we didn’t need and 20% of what we actually used.
We made reservations at Wharton State Forest at the Lower Forge Campground deep in the forest.
The day of the camping trip drove out there and in my Hyundai Sonata somehow managed to get out there as far as we were allowed to drive near the trail that lead to the camp. Sandy road that only got worse the deeper we went into the woods. We hiked out a little ways and set up camp.
We had the entire campground to ourselves due to the colder weather and setup camp. I didn’t bring any firewood so I set off to find some once we got there, I found some fallen branches and another site had a big pile I took a little from which was a nice find.
We struggled to get settled in and with it being our first camping experience but I think we did just fine. The night was cold and the fire was pitiful and we heard some wilderness sounds were weren’t used to (like owls and coyotes howling) that kinda scared the crap out of us when we heard it, lol. When the first signs of light came in the morning we both (already awake) looked at each other and I said, “It’ll be daylight in about 45 mins, let’s pack up.” She agreed and we started packing up. haha
Overall I don’t regret the trip at all and I figured anything after that experience is a piece of
cake. Since that day we camped (car campsites) quite a few more times and continue to grow more and more fond of it! We LOVE camping now and have since upgraded our 3 man tent to a 9 person tent to a semi converted 5×8 cargo trailer. The trailer is small but it’s better than a tent and fits a queen size mattress pretty good.
For the last couple of years we stuck with Fall/Winter camping excursions and this year we gave the little trailer an air conditioning upgrade that I’ll talk about in another post that enabled us to go and do a trip this summer.