Curating Articles and Videos to Add New Voices. New Writers are Welcome.

It’s best to have a variety of ideas and expressions about those topics. We plan to curate interesting posts related to our mission. We also want to encourage others to participate. You would be welcome.

While I enjoy writing about our exploits in our truck and camper it is important that more than my own voice be heard. I have mentioned before that I want to include stories and videos that I have enjoyed that seem relevant to our subjects here on I&N.

To be honest, we have hesitated. But no more. We will make an effort to add curated articles going forward. 

We have asked before and want to mention again that writers with an interest in our topics about trucks, trailers, tools and toys consider sharing with us on our site. Please get in touch. We would love to collaborate with you.

 

Getting a Good Nights Sleep in Your RV – Mattresses

In our first trailer we purchased a high quality inner spring mattress as part of the reconditioning process. It was great to sleep on, and we’ve never settled on an uncomfortable mattress ever since.

This part of our story about camping and camping trailers is both a complaint and a wonder at the situation.

In our first camping trailer – our Funfinder – we had a single queen sized bed and also the dinette area that converted into a bed. The queen bed was designed so that it was cross ways in the camper, in the front of the trailer. You slept the width of the trailer. That configuration was a problem for us, and I’ll talk about that in a moment, but my thoughts at this moment have to do with the length of the bed.

In that first camping trailer the bed was a full queen size. That is, it was 80″ inches long (6′-8″). In our new trailer our bed is what is called a “Short Queen” and is 72″ in length (6′-0″). That reduction in inches matters.

I am not a very tall guy. I guess I am average at about 5′-10″ tall. This shorter bed length is a problem for me, and it is a minor annoyance. Part of the trouble has to do with the headboard being in the nose cone of the trailer and slanting inward into the coach so that the length of the mattress is at the deepest point of the wall. Sleeping on top of the mattress means losing a few inches in length as the wall slants inward. This isn’t a unique problem for my particular unit either, this layout occurs in most of the new camping trailers that I’ve looked at.

Now this isn’t a major deal for me. I was afraid that it would be at first, but not so in my case. I’ve grown accustomed to it over the last couple of extended trips we’ve had. How though does this work out for others who are taller than I am? Also, our trailer is modest and it doesn’t have the wall separating the bed area into its own separate room.

We talked to a couple in Florida while camping who had the same brand and model as we have, but in a lengthier version with an additional slide. Amazingly, they have the same short queen bed arrangement and it was an issue for them. Also, they had the walled version of the bed area and so couldn’t just let their legs extend over the edge of the foot of the bed. Sometimes I do that just to stretch out. If I couldn’t do that, I am not sure I’d be comfortable all night.

There are compromises while camping, even in the new luxuries of modern trailers, but I personally do not think that reducing the bed length is a good trade off, especially for those who are six foot tall, or taller. Today that is a lot of people. Also, the way that the bed is positioned matters since that can affect the practical length of the bed area. Pay attention to this issue while shopping for your own camper. A good night’s rest is a real joy when out in the woods or while visiting friends. Those are long and busy days. They are enhanced by being rested and ready for the challenges. A good sleep matters to your vacation or trip.

With all the bells and whistles that are added to the new trailers on the market today, it is my opinion that more attention should be placed on providing for this basic requirement. In some ways our trailers are like a movable hotel room. The hotels are finding that people really enjoy a very comfortable sleeping experience and have put a real emphasis on the mattress size and what people like in terms of sleeping comfort. The same thought ought to translate to the manufacturers and designers of our mobile camping trailer units. It’s all a compromise of course, but a challenge to find six inches or so in mattress length shouldn’t be so impossible.

Perhaps I am spending too much thought on the sleeping arrangement for our camping trailer. It may not be your primary focus. I realize that how we travel is likely much different than how a younger family might for example. Also, younger people are more able to endure marginal comforts just because they are more resilient and able, having younger bodies. Still, comfort is comfort, and everyone enjoys a good night’s sleep.

Having talked about the mattress length, I’d like to question the mattress quality as chosen for us by the RV manufacturer and indeed by the RV industry. Why is it so poor? There are better choices in the secondary market to be sure, but why can’t we buy one mattress only with the camper that matches our needs correctly? The mattress itself isn’t connected to the trailer after all. Why not allow the dealers to buy the units from the manufacturer without the mattress and allow them to sell the customer what they want to buy? I would personally want to upgrade from the standard (poor) quality that is offered by the manufacturers. I can’t imagine that they are making a great deal of profit on mattress inclusion on their trailers. So it just seems possible to have a better delivery system for this component. Look at the dealer installed options for a truck for example. Do you want a tonneau cover, mud flaps, or floor mats for example. All are provided in the transaction by the truck dealership.

We have added a 1 1/2″ foam mattress topper to our standard RV mattress. We ended up spending extra money for that anyway. Why not get a better mattress instead?

So enough. If you haven’t yet purchased your trailer it might be a good idea to check out the mattress and its length. It’s really important to your happiness while camping.

Ordered a Slide Topper Yesterday for Our Camping Trailer

I am a little nervous. Yesterday I ordered a slide topper for the camper. I am planning to install it with Beth’s help. Adding something like this to the trailer makes me worry a bit. Drilling or taping holes in the fiberglass isn’t a thing to do lightly. Let’s hope that the instructions are clear!

I will post with details when it arrives and the installation is done.

Photos of Camping Trips and Special Places Visited

It’s a little sad that we don’t have a lot of photos from our travels and camping trips when we were younger. Digital photography is so wonderful. What a difference in just twenty years or so.

Before this millennium our photos were on film, what few we took. We didn’t have the money when raising our family to shoot and develop lots of photographs and only wish we had. The photos that we did take are precious to us. This must be true for almost everyone.

Here are a few old photos with the old tent.

Well as a result,  we don’t have pictures from many of our camping trips. We don’t have photos of vehicles and events that could be shared here either. These few excepted.

I suppose that the next generation will lament not having taken high definition videos as often as they will wish in their older age. What next – holograms? Perhaps. 

Well I got to thinking about this when looking for photos of us tent camping. That wasn’t so long ago.  But we have been camping since the 1970’s. Our old cotton duck Eureka tent was a big part of our recreation. Trucks came only in the 1980’s. At first we camped out of a  Volkswagen beetle.  Later we had a minivan.  I used trucks in my work, but we didn’t camp with them until about 2012 or so. By then it was just Beth and I once again.  Empty nesters. 

Photos from the Smokey Mountains. We were tent camping and had our bikes on a rake at the back of our 2009 F150 STX 4×4.

What I found though was that my old body didn’t still enjoy setup and knockdown of camp. I wasn’t thrilled with sleeping on a cot either. And I didn’t like getting out of the tent and to the campgrounds bathroom in the wee small hours of the night. I didn’t need to when I  was younger. 

So we evolved to trailer camping. Turns out we had a truck for towing. We could afford it, and having a bed, a bathroom, heat, and air conditioning turned out to be necessities not luxuries. Our truck made it possible to keep camping. 

Our first travel trailer. We did a lot to clean it up when we bought it on eBay. A 2008 FB189 Funfinder.

I actually wrote a short book about the experience. Here is a link to it at Amazon

And here is a link to a video that I did back then.

So we continue to enjoy the outdoors.  We take lots of digital pictures.  We have a good time. 

Camping Trailer Service Times

I recently wanted to have some service work done on our camping trailer. After calling a few RV dealerships I have found that wait times for service are months rather than days.

In this case I will do the work myself, but what does this tell us about the industry? It seems like there is a lot of opportunity for a new business with a sense for customer needs and wants.

Please post reasonable and respectful comments with your thoughts and service experiences.