First Trip Tips for Dummies.

Anything to do with camping, fundamentals, secrets, etc...

Postby caseydog » Mon May 04, 2009 6:41 pm

The one most important thing I would suggest you take on your first camping trip is an experienced camper.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard sad stories of first camping trips being nightmares, just because of simple things that experienced campers know how to easily deal with, that new campers don't know. Things go bad, and then before you know it, the first timers are saying, "I'll never go camping again."

That's sad, because camping really is a lot of fun, once you know how.

Really, if you can make your first few camping trips with some other campers, you will learn so much that will make camping fun for years to come.

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Re: First Trip Tips for Dummies.

Postby CAJUN LADY » Mon May 04, 2009 7:33 pm

Dagny wrote:Hello,

I have found my first Teardrop, a 5x10 Silver Shadow from Little Guy. I will be taking it by myself with kids. Please advise and crucial info for my first trip. I have downloaded the checklist and read hundreds of threads, but didn't see any "Whatever you do, do not forget to...." ones for dummies.

What do I brace to tires with while parked? WHich electric appliances are no no's?


You can find the wheel chocks at Wal-Mart or a U-Haul store. I use the heavy duty rubber ones and chock both tires...one in front of the tire and one in the back of the other tire.

Always be careful and alert when hooking up your camper to your vehicle. Make sure your tongue is locked securely on the ball/hitch, your lights/signals are working (carry extra bulbs and a screwdriver) and the wheel is up and locked in place. My husband always worries that I will drop the tongue on my foot. It happened once while he was jacking up my camper and the wheel on the tongue buckled. We were lucky as hell that it didn't land on our feet. So my best info is be careful and not distracted when you are hooking and unhooking your Teardrop.
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Postby wannabefree » Mon May 04, 2009 8:38 pm

We all do some things that are not too smart... Here's one of mine:

I loaded up a trailer once for a dump trip and had negative tongue weight. No problem, it's a front wheel drive car, I thought. I'll have plenty of traction! I got to the dump, went over a little rise and had to breake; the trailer and rear of my car kept on going. I got out of it with a neat crease in the fender of my car, but learned a lesson about loading trailers. So, my recommendation: check your tongue weight. A simple rule for a small trailer is if you can lift it, it's too light. If you can't lift it, it's too heavy. Works for me, anyway.
In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.
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Postby Darren » Tue May 05, 2009 10:33 am

Lots of good info here. Be ready to give tours! You will have bunches of people wanting to look at your trailer. I try to make the bed as soon as I get up. If you are camping with other teardroppers and forget to bring something don't be afraid to ask, we're mostly nice people. :lol:
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Postby Wolffarmer » Tue May 05, 2009 2:47 pm

Most important things to take camping. A sense of humor and adventure.

Hard to go wrong.
"these guys must be afraid of the dark"
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Postby KBS » Tue May 05, 2009 4:54 pm

TOILET PAPER!!!
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Postby jonesgirl » Fri May 15, 2009 7:36 pm

iplay10us2 wrote:The one thing I never take for granted is to hook up the tear and then test my turn signals, brake lights, etc.

:thinking:
I've been wondering about this... My first trip out in my tear will probably be alone. If there's no one handy, how do I check my tail lights?? Is there some sort of mirror set up that solo campers use??

Teresa
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Postby WarPony » Fri May 15, 2009 7:56 pm

jonesgirl wrote:If there's no one handy, how do I check my tail lights??


That's easy, turn on the headlights and push the hazard light button. Having the headlights on will illuminate the "low" side of the light circuit and having the hazards on will simulate the brake/turn circuit so you should see both dim and bright cycles of the lights.

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Postby jonesgirl » Fri May 15, 2009 8:15 pm

WarPony wrote:
jonesgirl wrote:If there's no one handy, how do I check my tail lights??


That's easy, turn on the headlights and push the hazard light button. Having the headlights on will illuminate the "low" side of the light circuit and having the hazards on will simulate the brake/turn circuit so you should see both dim and bright cycles of the lights.

Jeff


Thanks Jeff! That sounds much easier than the mirror thing I was imagining... BTW, it was nice to meet you last weekend at the gathering. Once school is out, I'm going to be building hard core to get a road worthy and campable tear. Hopefully next time we meet at a gathering, I'll have something to camp in.
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P.S. love the fires!
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Postby rebapuck » Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:53 pm

When I first got my used trailer I was told to get the bearings packed. And be sure to ask the mechanic what size the bearings are. Then go get a set. Any mechanic can do a replacement, but getting the part could be a problem so have it handy.
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Postby arnko37 » Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:39 pm

The things most apt to leave you stranded on the side of the road are flat tires, bad or ungreased wheel bearing or failure to make sure the lug nuts were tight. For the flat tires, get a air pressure gauge and check your tires including the spare before you start. Read the sidewall of the tire for how much it should be(probably around 35 lbs.) Carry a jack and lug wrench and make sure they fit. For the ungreased bearings,have someone you trust take the wheels off and remove the bearing and eyeball it to make sure it has grease. There are two bearings on each wheel(inner and outer) and to do the inner one things have to be taken apart. I have seen where shops have charged for the job but only put grease on the outside of the outer bearing so it appears to have been done. For the lug nut you should get a torgue wrench to check them periodically. Steel wheels require about 90 lbs. On a new rig they should be checked again after the first 50 or 100 miles. They settle in a bit into the paint etc during the first trip. The tools are not expensive. Carry a extra set of wheel bearings. Hope this helps. have fun. Arnold
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Postby bdosborn » Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:40 pm

iplay10us2 wrote:I have been meaning to ask: How do you check them and see if there is enough grease? Am I able to tell this without taking the trailer tire off?
I have never had to do this, so I have no clue.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpM-iit5n-k

This video isn't bad but he doesn't adjust the bearing in the end. I always put the wheel on, spin the wheel and make sure there isn't any drag on the bearings when you spin the tire. I like just a little bit of wiggle on the wheel as the bearings need room to expand when they get hot. Over tightening bearings is a common mistake.

Bruce

P.S. I would go to a mechanic if you've never done this before. My Dad taught me how to do it and its easy to screw things up if you've never done it before.
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Postby JuneBug » Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:39 pm

Toilet paper and matches/cigarette lighter.

Once did a spur of the moment, quick overnight to Hovenweep National Monument with the thought of a nice hike the following day. Set up little tent, rolled out sleeping bag, rubbed hands together thinking about tasty dinner and then could not find a match or cigarette lighter to start the little camp stove (Svea as I recall). I think I went to bed hungry that night and drove home the next morning. Nope, nobody else in the campground that night.
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TP? Now, that is an item you only forget ONCE, but paper towels, napkins, or box of kleenex work, too.
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How many kids and how old? Big net laundry bag to corral dirty clothes and different colored bags (or small plastic boxes) to corral each kid's clean clothes/shoes.

Clothes pins will close a bag of chips, hold pairs of shoes together, keep wet swimsuits on the line in a stiff breeze and lots of other uses.
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Postby Wolffarmer » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:34 pm

JuneBug wrote:matches/cigarette lighter.

.


Been there done that have the T shirt.

Once hiked about a mile from vehicle into some late spring snow with some friends. Night temps was going to be very cold, high Idaho mountains. And to make it worse there was 4 people and 3 sleeping bags and none of us that friendly. I hiked back to my car. got my road flares to light the fire. We used a sleeping bag cover and extra stuff we had and made a 4th bag. After building a heat reflector just like in the old Boy Scout books, put that guy next to the fire and the rest of us kept the fire going at night. He slept nice and toasty, woke up giggling. Said he woke up several times during the night to see us running around in the frost in our undies feeding the fire for him.

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Postby Noob » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:18 pm

bdosborn wrote:
iplay10us2 wrote:I have been meaning to ask: How do you check them and see if there is enough grease? Am I able to tell this without taking the trailer tire off?
I have never had to do this, so I have no clue.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpM-iit5n-k

This video isn't bad but he doesn't adjust the bearing in the end. I always put the wheel on, spin the wheel and make sure there isn't any drag on the bearings when you spin the tire. I like just a little bit of wiggle on the wheel as the bearings need room to expand when they get hot. Over tightening bearings is a common mistake.

Bruce

P.S. I would go to a mechanic if you've never done this before. My Dad taught me how to do it and its easy to screw things up if you've never done it before.


*Warning* I may be "abrasive" ...

Good but,
If he used a larger chizzel the cap pops of easy-er...
Should have NOT used a hammer on the seal ... ( could have used a block of wood, or flipped the hole thing down on a bench... )
Should have filled the space between the bearings with grease + half the grease cap ... ( that way the grease IN the bearing has nowhere to go.)
I just use a ( big ) socket and put the grease cap on, insted of beating/denting the hell out of it...
'hand-tight" for the nut, srsly ???
I just tourque the nut to spec and go ...
Some prefer the "if you can move/pry the washer under the bearing with a screwdriver its not too tight" method.
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