Everyone is “Entry-Level” in something…
Every day I read articles on camping. I research camping products, trailers and RVs looking for something that I think is worth sharing.
This morning, (last week, by the time this gets published) I stumbled across the title of an article called “Entry level camping, it’s Okay to be cheap” and it peaked my curiosity. This story was written by Mr. Jack Linton, PhD and was found on his blog, “don’t mean to offend but”. It starts out at an RV dealership where a salesman kind of insults his entry-level camper.
So, he goes on to write about the story of his camping life and how he and his wife have always been entry-level campers. Starting off in tents with their three children, then graduating to a pop-up tent that “Hurricane Katrina sucked the life out of “, and now an entry-level trailer big enough to take the grandkids camping in.
This great story just tells it like it is. It’s not about the tent, trailer or RV. It’s about the family.
Check it out, it’s a great story!
Entry Level Camping: It’s Okay to be Cheap
I love camping, so from time to time, I will visit a RV… dealership to look at the new popup campers, fifth-wheel campers, and travel trailers. I go primarily to look and dream a little, … Everything was going smoothly until he asked me if I owned a camper and what kind it was. My present camper, a twenty-six foot travel trailer is a year old, and although…rather plain, my wife and I are very proud of it, so I quickly spouted out the manufacturer, model, and dimensions. I wasn’t expecting the salesman’s jaw to drop in awe, but I certainly wasn’t expecting him to be totally unimpressed either. Unimpressed is an understatement, he sadly shook his head and said, “Yeah, that is a good entry level model.” I am sure he did not intend his “entry level” comment to be a put down, but for me, the only way his words could have been a bigger insult and turn-off would have been for him to begin or end his comment with “bless your heart.” As a salesman, he probably knew a lot about campers, but it was apparent, he knew very little about camping. I have been an “entry level” camper for over forty years, and I am not ashamed to say so!
Anyone who camps is at some point an “entry level” camper. They start camping with something that is affordable such as a tent, so they can see if they like camping before they drop a lot of money into it. That makes perfect sense, and that is exactly how I would encourage anyone to start as a camper. My “entry level” into camping was with the Boy Scouts when I was eleven years old… Years later, I was lucky enough to marry a lady who enjoyed camping as much as I did, or at least she was willing to give it a try. We went on family vacations and weekend trips to the lake with our three children in a tent for years. My wife would have preferred a little more comfort, but she never complained…
Now, I am not going to lie to you, tent camping is a robust style of “entry level” camping that is not for everyone. During those early years, my wife would have preferred to walk through a real door than crawl through a tent door, and she would have rather crawled into a bed than wiggle into a sleeping bag. Sweating and suffocating in a tent during the summer because the door flap could not be tied open to let in a cool breeze due to swarming mosquitoes was not her idea of having fun, nor was stumbling in the dark to get to the bathhouse toilet something she looked forward to in the middle of the night…So why did we tent camp? Was it because it was “the man thing to do”…? Nope, not at all! We tent camped because I was cheap, and…I got away with it was because my wife was even cheaper.
After twenty-two years of marriage and tent camping, we finally upgraded to a popup camper, which is considered to be “entry level” to travel trailers. We loved that popup camper… For the first time in our camping lives, we had air conditioning, running water, light that did not come from a flame, and although it was not much softer than the ground we had slept on for years, we had a bed off the ground. For the first time, we did not have to worry about a squirrel or skunk gnawing a hole in the side of the tent to get at the potato chips… left on the… floor. We…could plug in a small heater during colder months without fear of waking up in flames in the middle of the night. There was still no indoor bathroom, but…we were accustomed to the community spirit and camaraderie of showering and dressing in the presence of strangers in spider web infested bath houses, so all was good. That is until Hurricane Katrina came along and sucked the life out of our beautiful little Coleman popup camper. After that it was back to tent camping, or so I thought. Unfortunately, my wife had been spoiled by the good life in the popup camper and laid down the law that she would never ever set foot in a tent again in her lifetime. …
Over time, bad or unpleasant memories can often be replaced by the romance of nostalgia, so after three, maybe four years, I was able to nurse my wife’s feelings about camping back to health…
We bought a small travel trailer thinking it would be perfect for just the two of us when we retired. It was perfect! It had a full kitchen, a queen size bed, a dinette table that dropped down to make an extra bed if needed, and a full bath with a shower that had hot water. However, we quickly learned that rarely would it be just the two of us camping. All six grandchildren decided they wanted to go camping! … We upgraded again! Because we were still cheap, we bought another “entry level” travel trailer, but at least this time it was longer and had bunk beds… Camping is a lot like Disney World; it’s the smile on children’s faces that make it so special, especially if the faces belong to your grandchildren…
My wife and I are comfortable being cheap, and our grandchildren could care less what kind of camper we have as long as we invite them to go camping. … We bought our camper to have a place to comfortably sleep at night, so we can rest and be ready the next day to get outdoors and enjoy nature, reading, hiking, visiting, and playing with the grandkids. That is the beauty of camping; you can go “entry level” or you can bring your own condo if you prefer; it’s really a personal preference. In all our years of camping, we have never met another camper who looked down on us because our tent, popup, or travel trailer was less expensive or less luxurious than their RV. That is not what camping is about. With camping, the main thing is to get out of the house and enjoy life. The television and telephone will be there when you get back, so turn them off and disconnect yourself from the world and reconnect with family and friends. Like camping, every family and friendship begin at the “entry level” with room to upgrade. To upgrade your connection with those you love, all you need is more quality time together, and camping is the perfect place to find and nurture that quality time.
Let’s go camping!
Feature Image: Pixabay/heye
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