Wednesday, September 06, 2017

The setup time myth of Camper Trailers

"It only takes around 40 minutes from start to finish"  is what I was quoted when I asked before buying my first soft floor camper.  In reality, it can take from 1-2 hours from arrival to comfort.

I would imagine the setup process for a Jayco Camper would be different. If you do have a Jayco camper please detail the setup process I would like to compare the two as I am looking to upgrade to something faster

This is how I imagine the speeds of setup would go if placed in order from slowest to fastest setup

- Softfloor Tent
- Hardfloor Camper
- Jayco Style Camper
- Regular Tent (for long stay)
- PopTop caravan
- Regular Caravan
- Trailer home.

Let's go through the actual process for a typical setup. Arriving at 4 PM summer (night fall at 7-8PM)

Stage 1 Arrival:

- Arrive at the site, get out of the car and stretch after being in the car for hours. Wife is assigned to manage the 3 kids while I plan out the site configuration.
- Unpack bikes and scooters to occupy the kids
- Survey the site to find where to setup camper.
- Reverse camper into position with assistance.
- Jockey wheel down and disconnect trailer.
- Shuffle trailer into final position, then apply the handbrake.
- Rear stabilizers down and locked in
- ensure trailer is level.

Stage 2 Unpacking:
- Unzip tent cover from the camper.
- Drag the Tent Poles, Tent pegs and guy ropes, Side and front Annex canvas, Annex floor, fly cover and ladder off the top of the trailer. place items in a logical area for use later
- Layout tent poles logically (Inside poles and Annex poles and outside poles)
- Get hammer out

Stage 3 Setup Main Tent: (After this part, you should be sweating)
- Start pulling the tent off the trailer and climb inside and start setting up poles and spreader bars.
- Peg down the tent
- Pull Annex cover down off the roof (we leave it attached to save time)

Stage 4 Setup Annex Roof:
- Start finding the support pole locations and install
- Find vertical support poles and spreader bars (with the flat ends) and start constructing the annexe
- Install spreader bars across the annexe

Stage 5 Annex Floor and walls:
- Drag Annex floor into place
- Connect Velcro walls.

Stage 6 Peg down tent and annexe

Stage 6 Upack kids sleeping area:
- Unpack and setup kids beds.
- Unpack sleeping bags and place on bed along with the pillows

Stage 7 Adult bed:
- Unpack sheets and sleeping bags and pillows. Make Bed

Stage 8 Lighting:
- Turn battery ON
- Unpack LED Lights and wire up the camper.

Stage 9 Dinner & Chairs and Fridge:
- Unpack BBQ and GAS and setup for dinner.
- Unpack Chairs and Fridge.
- Unpack food and dinner plates cutlery etc.
- Cook and eat

Finally, relax until you need to pack up.

There are a few tweaks and tips to make this setup process faster.

- Sort your Poles into 3 bags, Inside Outside and Other. Label the bags with texta
- Sort the other poles away from tent (PVC pipe holder or in the tray)
- Get some additional help to set up. The division of labor always helps.
- Not going to use the canvas walls for the annexe? get a tub and store them inside the tray.

If you find this article useful please leave me a comment.

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