I am heading out today for my first long road trip with the Teardrop. I am all packed and ready to go, but packing this time required some changes to my plan. All of my trips so far have been in one place for 3-4 days so the main objective in packing was to get everything there. This trip required some changes since I am planning to stay in 6 different states.
I already started testing out some options for storing more items on my last trip and I just had to build on that a little for this trip. I did use the under bed storage for extra food, paper towels, ect. but I also utilized the inside cabinets for more food storage. For previous trips I stacked food on top of the stove and and sink, but if I want to use it along the way, that’s not ideal. I have checked the weather and see that there is a good chance for rain for a number of days so I wanted to make sure I am also prepared to eat inside if I need to. I stuck with putting water and a few food items to get to quickly in the cabinet at the head of the bed, but designated one of the cabinets by the TV for mine and Bella’s food. You really can fit a lot in those cabinets. I also put my mini bar in it. I decided that as much as everything gets shaken in the camper, mini plastic bottles were my best bet for alcohol.
I started planning and packing for this trip a week in advance and one concern that came up was that I wasn’t sure how I was going to fit all the clothes I need for 12 days when I am going through mountains where there might be snow, planning on boon-docking in cold weather and ending at the beach. One of my original clothes storage ideas was a cargo net but since the hanging baskets had worked so well I had not added one. I decided that now was the time. I found one that is 12″ x 35″ and fits perfectly behind the hooks I have for the hanging baskets. The way the roof is curved it’s far enough forward that it does not interfere with the cabinets opening and closing.
I glued their mounting brackets with super glue because they came with screws and I wasn’t sure what was behind the paneling on the ceiling that would be solid enough to support them. I also did not want to make a mistake and go too far with a screw and end up with a leak. Everything else I have hung inside I have secured with Gorilla Super Glue and it has worked wonderfully.
After putting clothes in it I found that it will actually hold a ton of stuff. It does hang down in front of the TV pretty far but I am fine with that. It does not interfere with opening the cabinets and is not in the way sitting on the bed and doing other things, which is the most important thing. If I do want to watch TV it unhooks from the mounting brackets easily so I can see. The hanging baskets block the TV too and have to be taken down to watch it, but I don’t watch it enough to be an issue.
One of my biggest concerns with packing this time was making sure the camper is easily usable. For trips where I am staying an extended number of days it was fine to put everything inside because I was going to be setting everything up when I got where I was going. It made packing in advance easier becasue I could just hook up to the truck and go. It was also easier to unpack when I got home because everything was already put up for long term storage. I keep the lawn chairs, table and port a potty inside the camper for storage to keep them cleaner than they would be in my garage after a couple months and also to make sure I don’t end up with any surprises like wasp nests.
For this trip though I need to be able to get in and use the bed without having to unpack a lot of stuff. Although I have some 2-3 day stays on this trip, I also have 3 nights that are just overnight stops. For those nights I don’t plan to unhook from the truck and don’t want to have to do a lot of unpacking and moving stuff, just to sleep. I also want this trip to be more leisurely than the drive to Arizona. One of the main reasons I started looking at campers was that I felt stressed during the driving because all the time I was rushing to get to an AirBNB reservation on time, having to get off the path to look for restaurants other than fast food I could take Bella too or just being tired and having no really way to to take a break comfortably. The back of the Escape was full so there was no way to get in and lay down or even put my feet up. I want to have things setup so I can stop wherever I want and cook, get inside and take a nap, sit and read for a little or even just relax and enjoy the view somewhere. There were many stops at the Grand Canyon and Painted Dessert where I would have loved a way to just sit comfortably and enjoy the view for a while. And of of course, I do not want to be constantly hunting a bathroom.
One of the best things about the T@G is that with the clam shell kitchen you can literally stop and cook anywhere, so that didn’t need any changes. But I have made changes to the inside to have a lot less stored inside but still be functional. I still have the clothes baskets and a few other things but I am making sure to leave most of the bed free and a pathway to it, to be able to get in at any time. For overnight stays I will just have to hang up the baskets and move a couple things and be set. I am making sure to leave the TV tray accessible to have a place to eat inside if I want to. I am also putting the port-a-potty inside so I can use it if I have to. In general, my philosophy with the port-a-potty is to use it as little as possible, mainly at night when I don’t want to have to walk to a bathhouse or when there is not another option, but I want to be able to use if I need to. With the twin size bed there is just enough space to put it right inside the door. The ceiling is high enough that it can be used if needed. Depending on how late I get in, I may still set up the external shower curtain for it for the overnight stays, but this way it’s at least usable on the road.
A note on the port-a-potty. If you do plan to put it inside, buy a good chemical. The first time I used it I used the chemical pack that came with it and it did nothing. Although the port-a-potty itself is made well and sealed well where you can’t smell it when it’s closed, it stunk when I had to flush it. With a good chemical it will not stink, even when you open it. I recommend these from Amazon. They have been great. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006GF5SK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
In order to keep the camper more open I had to put more in my vehicle for this trip. Luckily with an SUV I have the room. I had to plan for this loading though because on the overnight stops I don’t plan to unhook from the camper and the hatch of the SUV will not open when it is hooked up since I added the bike rack.
Since I am not setting up the shower I will not need the shower mat or water heater so they do not matter. I also know I will not be grilling or building a fire those nights and I have instant coffee so I can do without the coffee pot so I can plan to leave the crate inside. I just needed to make sure at least one lawn chair is accessible from the side door. I could say I need to be able to get Bella’s but really she will sit in my lap no matter what. But I did make sure to have a place for her bed in the back.
Hopefully I am prepared and all of this work out. Now I’m just ready to get out on the road.