We all buy outdoor toys with the right plan. Our goal is hours of recreational fun with family and friends. Time afield, afloat, or using our motorized or fancy equipment is a dream.
Most campers started with a small tent. After a few rainstorms, you may have purchased a small slide in camper or trailer. This now means that you also need to the right truck and hitch set ups. The joy of a dry space with some conveniences was a blessing. Ultimately the camper was too small, did not have a decent bathroom, lacked and air conditioner or…
The reality of a fancy camper came into focus. Things break! The propane gas fridge fails, the heater gets full of cobwebs, the water tank and lines freeze, windows crack, ceilings leak, and… You end up spending a relaxing camping trip fixing, repairing, cussing, and maintaining.
Boats sound like so much fun. First you need to decide if you want a sail, row, paddle, or powerboat. Canoes and kayaks are a great start. They require some muscle and skill, but they are bulletproof. When you add anything mechanical or motorized, then the reality comes to the surface. Big motors on boats cost more than most people’s cars. A BIG BOAT with a large cabin and comforts is simply an RV on the water. Throw in a box full of electronics and watch out. The luxuries are great until they break.
You better have a BIG wallet if you plan to buy a BIG TOY! Most RV techs and Motorboat mechanics get paid well over $125 an hour. Parts and repairs are also pricey. Then there are the storage fees, mooring fees, winterizing fees, having the correct support equipment like trailers, hitches, gear, and goodies that are supposed to help.
Wheelers, Razors, Dirt Bikes, motorized bicycles, Jet skis, all require more than fuel, and your fanny. They all require routine maintenance and care. If you avoid the little fixes and care, the big repairs will be just around the bend. Ultimately, when they break and you can afford to fix them, they end up in the back yard covered in a blue tarp.
Don’t forget that RV’s and outdoor recreational toys are also outfitted with a wide range of expensive accessories. You also need insurance, tags, registrations, and taxes. Your wallet will never get closed. The outdoor dream sounds great until it’s not!
My suggestion is to keep things simple at first. Maybe rent before you buy. See if you are up to the task of fixing fickle stuff that frequently fails. After powering through a lifetime of fancy RV’s, boats, and motorized toys, I have settled into an Outfitter tent with a wood stove. Outside, I set up a separate shower and toilet tent. All the luxuries of home and nothing to fix. My original Grumman canoe still gets me to the fishing holes, and life is good.
FREE TIME is NOT FREE!