It’s summertime and you’ve decided to go camping. Obviously, the options abound, from backpacking in the wildneress to “glamping” at a pricey resort. But we decided to break it down to two basic choices: tent or trailer?
It depends on what you are looking for when you go camping, said Craig Stott, co-owner of Crescent Work and Outdoor in Modesto. “Both have their pros and cons.”
Trailers or recreational vehicles can be limiting as far as destinations – you need a hookup or, at the very least, a big enough space to park. That can get tricky at popular campgrounds such as Pinecrest and Kennedy Meadows, Stott said. But with tents, “it’s more difficult to get out of the elements,” he said. “And you can’t just step inside and start the blender for margaritas.”
There also are those who eschew even a tent so as to truly enjoy the starlit night of the great outdoors. And among tent campers, there are subsets, as well, Stott said: “You have your repeated campers and your weekend campers who go maybe once the entire summer.”
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The first group probably has a heavier investment in camping gear, from portable stoves to hammocks that can be set up anywhere. The second might be looking for something a little cheaper, and more disposable.
The good news for people who haven’t been tent camping in several years is that the days of struggling with the heavy canvas that invariably leaks if a bit of rain happens by are gone. Tents have evolved to become lighter and far easier to set up, Stott said.
“Setting up tents is now very easy,” he said. And waterproofing sprays offer additional protection against any rain, though Stott said he prefers to just throw an inexpensive tarp over the top of his tent. The rods that hold up the tents easily fit together, and many are connected, so you don’t find yourself at your campsite short that one important piece of tent.
Tent camping also is flexible. “Half the time we go camping, we have no destination in mind when we set out,” Stott said.
It’s important to make things as simple as possible when you have a limited time, Stott said. If you only have two or three days off, you don’t want to spend half a day setting up camp.
However, there are those who like to take the comforts of home with them. Folks who make it a lifestyle often buy recreational vehicles or trailers. But for those who only go occasionally, or want to try the option, rentals are available at businesses like Sundown RV in Atwater.
Ron Sequeria, a longtime salesman at the business, has seen it all. The company doesn’t rent RVs, only trailers, but those come in a variety of sizes and levels or luxury, from a 23-footer that can sleep two or three comfortably to a 40-foot trailer with a separate bedroom and a spacious shower.
Rates start at $125 per day, plus propane. And it’s not as simple as stopping in and picking up a trailer, Sequeira said. Renters must have vehicles with sufficient power to haul a trailer, as well as a tow package and a brake controller.
“Most of the newer trucks come with the brake controller,” Sequeira said. For others, it must be purchased and installed separately.
But a trailer can mean protection from the elements, the availability of electricity – for that margarita blender – and, in some cases, shoe closets and dishwashers. One trailer Sequeira showed off even includes an electric fireplace. “It actually gives off heat,” he said.
Sequeira said trailer renters tend to be two types of people – the occasional camper or those trying before buying. Some start as one and then turn into the other. “I had one guy who rented for two or three years before he decided to buy,” Sequeira said.
Patty Guerra: 209-578-2343