Nov 27 2011
I’ve been going camping and off-roading with a tent for a long while and recently decided it was time to upgrade to a camper of some sort. I know a few people that have Casitas and pop-up style campers but I really didn’t have a feel for what it takes to own a camper, the type of camper I would want, and what features to look for. So, instead of going to the camper lot and buying one based on looks and specs, I decided I would rent a few different styles for various trips to see what I like and experience first hand the trade offs.
My first camper experience was TexasRover’s annual Thanksgiving weekend trip and Chili Cookoff at Barnweel mountain. My lodging for the weekend was the “rPod” by Forest River model model RP-177 (Link to website) that I rented from Campers4Rent in Lewisville. The rPod is 18′ long and shaped like a large teardrop style trailer. There is a slide out for additional space, it can sleep 4, refrigerator, microwave, shower, toilet, air conditioning, furnace, and hot water heater.
I picked up the camper and drove home to load up and be ready to leave early the next day. The first thing I realized as I was pulling the trailer into my driveway was that the the trailer is very low to the ground and scraped on the pavement going up my driveway. Once I got over the scraping, the second thing I noticed was that the trailer wouldn’t fit under the carport at my house. So the first question I had to ask myself it that since a trailer wouldn’t be able to make it past the carport, where would I store it?
So I parked the trailer in a way that it was sticking out of the driveway and almost blocking the sidewalk – I was leaving early in the morning, so storing it there was not really that big of a deal. The next morning, I loaded up and headed out. Towing the rPod was rather easy – I could definately feel the rover pulling harder, but I had plenty of power to pull. The way back was a little different because it was really windy, so I could feel the trailer being pulled to the side with each gust of wind.
Our usual campsite at Barnwell Mountain is a bit secluded and has quite a few trees. Pulling the camper between the trees (both arriving and departing) was a challenge, which suggests that I may want to look at slightly smaller ones. Once parked, setup was a breeze – level and then lower the jacks on each corner and you’re done.
Staying in the camper for the weekend was a great experience. I think the best part was having the furnace (since it was below freezing a couple of nights we were out there) and also being able to take a hot shower. The beds were comfortable and having a toilet was also quite convenient. A drawback of this particular camper was that it didn’t have any storage inside. I wound up having to put my duffel bag in the middle of the floor. Also, it felt really dark and cramped inside – I’m not sure if this was because of the design, so I’ll have to try a couple of other models before deciding that one.
Overall, the rPod is a very nice camper and I would certainly rent one again, but would have to give some thought on where I could store stuff.