By Montana Grant

Posted: August 17, 2023

Recreational vehicles or “R.V.s” are a great way to comfortably and safely venture into the outdoors. Lewis and Clark would have been able to save a lot of time navigating the Missouri River with a jet boat and a pack of wheelers. Instead, they relied upon brains, brawn, and beasts to challenge the wilderness.

On the surface, RV’s sounds like a great idea. Every camper and adventurers’ goal are to challenge nature comfortably. Modern conveniences are a priority for most women. No potty, no party! Showers are helpful too! Oh, and a fridge, and don’t forget a soft bed, etc.

Everyone wants the horsepower, comfort, coolness, and hotness, that RV’s offer. It is in our DNA and on our Bucket lists. These are things that we all need to experience and embrace but… bring a toolbox!

Over the course of the many trailers, Pop up campers, slide-In campers, boats, wheelers, and other must have RV’s, I have found that they need more attention than me! I ended up spending more time cleaning, fixing, mending, servicing, repairing, and updating my RV’s than enjoying them.

It all started with a tent! Simple and effective except when it would rain for multiple days. Then the pop-up camper came along which was an upgrade, but those small wheels were worthless. Bigger trailers were so pretty but always needed cleaned, maintained, and repaired, then it was bigger trailers with more modern conveniences that required bigger trucks to tow them. Then it was the transportation after you get where you are going. The accessories on top of the rig just grew.

I remember one camp out that required me to spend hours every day fixing something on the trailer.  First the hot water heater broke. A damn spider had built a web in the air flow pipe. I cleared it and then kept a can of moth balls in the compartment to prevent more. Next, the grey water tank would not drain! After a wonderful drenching of nasty, dirty, water, the drain was cleared. Then the propane fridge failed. Only a $800 repair or you could remove the fridge and turn it upside down then reinstall it. A flat tire, empty propane tank, ants in the camper, leaky and cracked windows, burned out bulbs, cleaning out the dead bugs, and so on and so forth.

For a while I went back to an outfitter wall tent. A wood stove or propane heater inside kept it warm and dry. Lots of room but a little musty. Little care was needed, and it did the job once set up. On one campout with my wife the heater broke! OMG! You would have thought it was the end of the world.

The next RV was a slide in camper that fit into the back of the truck. Surprisingly roomy, basic and minimal set-up. Taking the unit off and on could be challenging. Parts were pricy and a lot of plastic that aged quickly.

Each challenge was overcome, and the wife, dogs, and kids had a great time. Ok, maybe I am just a camping wuss but… what is the fun in camping if you spend your vacation time fixing crap! I can stay home and do that!

Currently, I do not have an RV! My wife’s idea of roughing it is now a Holiday Inn with a view of a tree outside the window! There was something special about a campfire, cold beer from the ice chest, simple sounds of nature, and being together as a family.

I have gone to an old school and use an outfitter tent with a wood stove. Simple, rustic, comfortable and requires almost zero maintenance. Cots and camp gear add convenience and solar lighting adds ambience. The tent is comfortable, versatile, and traditional. The gear fits into the truck or drift boat and takes 30 minutes to set up. I have a separate shower and crapper tent.

Just remember that nothing in life is free. RV can only mean “Relaxing Vacation” if you are prepared, maintained, educated, and in the right mindset. Otherwise RV will stand for “Repair Vortex”!

It is ok to “rough it a little in the outdoors”!

Montana Grant

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