A Year In the T@B and Many Adventures

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I upgraded from my NuCamp T@G to the NuCamp T@B 320, but more importantly, I can’t believe it’s been 9 months since I wrote about travel and camping. It hasn’t been from a lack of adventures because we have made multiple trips in the new T@B and I have plenty of things to say and report. It has actually been the opposite, we have had a full exciting year, that included another change at work, more time spent with family and cross-country trips to see many friends that I haven’t seen in years. As I started a period of time with somewhat less travel and sat down to do some writing, I became painfully aware of just how much time had passed without capturing and chronicling it all. I won’t make any grand commitments to do better and write more regularly because life will surely get in the way. I will try over the next few months to get caught up and share the great pictures, experiences and lessons we have learned throughout this year. As Bella turned 12 the end of July, I am more aware than ever of the need to make the most of the time we have and save the memories. Don’t worry, she is fine, and there is no need to worry. In fact, her annual checkup showed a healthy dog and on our travels she is still the energetic trail dog that inspired me to get a camper.

I do have a lot of great pictures and stories I want to share so I will call this post a preview of some of things we have done so far this year. I will also show some of the mods I have done, lessons learned and a few issues I have had along the way with the new teardrop. We took our first long trip in March and April through the Southwest, visiting New Mexico, Arizona and extreme Southwest Texas. I did have to work on some storage before I went to make clothes easier to pack and get to. I found that collapsible, cloth bins work well because you can bend them in to fit the curve at the back of the cabinet. I was a little concerned because I was planning for 5 weeks at a time when the temperatures could be anywhere from 30’s to 90’s in the places we were visiting, but I had more than enough space for the required range of clothes. Food storage on the other hand was a breeze and I was able to fit much more in the cabinets and fridge that I planned for. The over the door storage container also worked well, but I learned that it can’t ride hanging up.

I was in love the first week because it was still very cold and having the inside kitchen and bathroom was the game changer I expected it to be for winter camping. I also love the Omnia stove for new food options, including cooking frozen pizza rolls on days I don’t feel like cooking, but don’t want to spend money eating out. The only real issue I have run into is that the smoke detector is right by the door and stove and if I am not careful, I will inevitably set it off, especially using the stove top toaster tray. I have started referring to it as the “bagel’s ready!” alarm. I will also admit that I have gotten kind of lazy in the new camper. Although I could count on one hand the times I used the TV in the T@G, I have made regular use out of the TV in this one. It is actually quite nice at the end of the day to sit back and catch up on streaming shows, while sitting at a real table, that is balanced precariously on my bed.

Another big change I have been loving is the minimal outdoor setup. Yes, I love being outdoors, that’s a big part of why I travel, but I love that I don’t have to assemble a big setup just to use the basics of my camper. I chose to keep using the easy up I had for the T@G because it’s still fairly new and easy to set up alone. It’s also much easier to fold down for bad wind with this setup than when it was over the clamshell and half the camper. There are a lot of great options that attach to the T@B but until this starts to break down, I’m sticking with it.

All but one week of the time I have spent in the T@B this year I was working. I made some changes to my travel setup and added a portable monitor and between it and the Lagun table, I think it’s more comfortable than my home office. Bella is not really a fan of me working though, since most of the time it means I am talking to people on video calls that are not her. Of course, in the T@B she get in the middle of it and let me know.

Overall I think Bella likes the new camper. She very quickly found where the heating unit for the Aldi is under the bed and claimed it as her spot, which you can see in the top right picture. This has caused some issues at night, because she is not really known for sharing. Because I have it set up with a twin bed on one side, I started setting up a bed for her on the section on the other side at night, with all her blankets and babies. The picture on the left shows how well that went over. There have been many nights that I have been woken up by sharp little paws climbing over me in the night, to het to the top of my head, her preferred sleeping spot.

Speaking of sleeping, I have also had to make another change to the bed situation. While my original mod worked for a while, at the end of my first 5 week trip the original seat cushions, seen in the first picture, had gotten worn down more and separated from each other more and more and it felt like I was sleeping in a hole. Towards the end of that trip I was having extreme issues with my back and neck. While my firm foam and memory foam toppers were good, I needed a better foundation for sleeping in it for that long. I worked with my brother-in-law who made me essentially a custom box spring to go on the end of the bed that did not have the cushions attached. I added a foam workout mat to it to add some cushion to the hard top and then the same toppers I had before. On my last 5-week trip it made a world of difference. I slept better, felt better and was more active because I wasn’t in pain.

I have had a few issues along the way, but nothing major. On my first trip I took one of the worst roads I have ever driven on through West Texas and many construction zones and the constant vibration for hours shook some of the bolts loose on the step. I got it fixed under warranty with no issues. I have also had the infamous fan lock issue that has been a known problem of the model of fan put in the 2022 Tab 320. Basically the knob just crumbles in your hand when you try to lock or unlock it. I’ve had more than one now and until the manufacturer of the fan (not NuCamp) fixes their design problem they will continue to break because they are making an injection molded part with poor dimensions that will not hold up to stress. It doesn’t affect the use of the fan and it really doesn’t hurt not being locked, it’s just annoying.

While I do still have nostalgia for our original teardrop, I don’t regret the change and the new has brought a lot great adventures including a Kentucky Bourbon country that wasn’t closed for the pandemic, Big Bend, Carlsbad Caverns, Shenendoah and Cuyahoga National Parks, a day trip across the Rio Grande into Mexico, a gathering of other NuCampers in Arizona and finally getting pictures of Bella in the famous Texas Bluebonnets. In my next post I will talk about what you should take into account if you are considering an off-season trip to Carlsbad Caverns.

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