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JB in Wisconsin
I'm seriously considering "taking the plunge" into car camping. I don't want to spend the large sums of money necessary to own and operate an RV; I think that a nice, larger tent should suffice. Here's the problem. My wife is not too enthusiastic about the idea. I am willing to research / invest in "creature comforts" (e.g. a comfortable sized, quality tent; a comfortable sleeping arrangement; electrcity; heat when necessary; etc.). She likes to travel, but is not so sure this is how she'd like to do it (even though we'd never travel much more than 250 miles per day, and would not travel every day). Any other reluctant spouses out there? Is there hope? Any "must have" items we should get? It just wouldn't be much fun traveling without her. Thank you in advance for your comments.
J. B. you did not indicate what your age group was, and that is mighty important. If you're in your 20s and 30s, sure, go for it. A tent or car camping arrangement would be an inexpensive way to get started and get a taste of what it's all about. But, if you're a older couple (40-plus), then you might seriously want to consider a used Class C or other RV. Believe me, when I was younger, I had no problem "roughing" it but as we get older, our idea of "roughing" it is a 30-amp connection, or being in a place where the satellite dishes can't reach tv or internet satellites. I am sure there are many who would disagree with me, but that's my opinion! biggrin.gif biggrin.gif biggrin.gif
Would you consider a small used pop-up instead? If your wife is reluctant about sleeping in a tent, then maybe you can compromise. 'Cause you know, if we're not happy no one is happy! LOL
If she does agree to a tent, definately invest in a good air mattress. I believe they even sell cots. It's been a long time since we've tent camped, so I'm not familiar with the roughing it stuff.

Good Luck!
JB in Wisconsin
We're upper 40's age-wise and in good health. Pop up or a small travel trailer is something we've looked into (even a Class C); hate the thought of having to buy a single-use tow vehicle, a pop up or trailer, and then losing 10 mpg (in a day's drive-- almost enough $$ saved to pay the camping fee for a night). Wow, I can't believe what a tight-wad I sound like... I do sense that camping / RVing (in any form) is about making compromises however. Thanks for the input; these may be ideas we will need to "re-visit".
Steve & Beth
I too married a reluctant camper. My wife's only experience camping had been a terrible one in a tent. Her father was one of these who believed in overloading the station wagon with everything under the sun. We used a simplier approach by putting a camper shell on our truck and camping out of it. We later bought a light weight tent used by backpackers. These are easy to set up. When we could afford it we graduated to a tent trailer (pop up). There are several makes of these but the Fleetwood (coleman) is a very good unit, is durable and has very comfortable bedding. The mattress is thicker and uses more dense foam than most others. My wife would never go back to tents again after a popup. We traveled all over the country spending as much as four weeks at a stretch with our pop up. After 13 years of popup camping, we bought our first hardshell. A 31 ft. Winnebago. Not because we tired of pop ups but because we were spending a lot of time traveling from the southeast to the rockies and a motorhome allowed us to cover more distance without tiring us out so much. We could also boondock on the way, staying 4-5 hours at rest stops, etc., just long enough to get rested up so we could spend more time at our destination. We now have a fifth wheel but plan to eventually go back to a motorhome after the last kid gets out of college.
Anyway, if my wife can be converted almost anyone can. If you can afford it, I strongly recommend you go with a popup camper. This will give her some of the comforts of home and make her feel more safe and secure. By the way, my wife has now been camping with me for 29 years and she still loves it. She wouldn't think of taking a vacation staying at motels.
Trying camping is the only sure way to find out if you and your wife will enjoy it. DH and I started tent camping when we were in our early 20's. Neither of us came from camping/rving families and learned by trial and error. One of our first lessons was learned when we camped without using seam sealer on the new tent. It rained all night and we woke up in a puddle of water and soaked sleeping bags. laugh.gif . It can be a real pain trying to pack a wet tent. rolleyes.gif . We continued to use tents and a camper shell on the back of a pickup truck for another 15 years before buying a hardside slide-in truck camper. Both tent camping and rving can allow you to enjoy traveling and the outside. However, now that we are in our mid 40's we enjoy the comfort and privacy of our rv. Good luck and best wishes in your decision.
The age thing is really important, but even at an early age, roughing it was not the way to go for me. Our first rv was a truck camper and had all the comforts, heat, a/c shower, toilet. I personally think that air mattresses are cold (like a water bed without heat). I think the pop-up would be better than a tent, but if you decide to purchase something nicer, you will probably lose your butt on trade in. Why don't you rent an rv and see if you really like it first. I would be reluctant myself to stay in a tent. It is a lot nicer if you can stay dry while camping! rolleyes.gif
Steve & Beth
I forgot to mention. If you go with a popup you should find a good deal on a used unit. There are many out there and if you look around you should be able to find one that is in real good condition. If you buy used you can usually get most of your money out of it after a couple of years use. The depreciation is high on a new one and then tends to level out.
JB in Wisconsin
Great info. everyone. Thank you for taking the time to reply; your input is very helpful. I'll keep checking for additional comments. With a little luck, I'll be able to chime in soon with comments of my own, to address the questions of other campers (especially questions specific to camping or touring in Wisconsin). For you Rv'ers, I've found the forum at to be most informative also (I especially like how the questions / comments are categorized).
Have you considered just renting a cabin at a campground? Most private and state campgrounds now offer these. When we were tent campers and the weather turned bad during a trip, we would rent a cabin to stay warm and dry. You could then try camping without any big investment really.

We have a popup camper that weighs about 2,000lbs and we lose about 2mpg when towing it behind our Astro - but then that's on mostly flatland.

Another site you may find useful is .
In this day and time a little safety goes a long way, the safer the better and more enjoyable being secure. I wouldn't be camping if we weren't in a travel trailer.
sad.gif Well, after 40 years of camping and 11 years of fulltiming, I sympathize with HER. Don't put her through HELL. It rains, gets cold or too hot, nasty and you still need some "creature comforts" even if for a week or two.
If you want to sour someone on traveling - this could be the way to do it. Make it more comfy, and you'll go again. Travleling in this country is a beautiful experience. I agree with the other poster. Rent the RV cabins. I don't know what type vehicle you were talking about. If a van, it's a possibility if you can sleep in it, dress, wash up a abit and carry some food. Bottom line: you BOTH have to want to do it -- and if one of you is unhappy, what do you think the other one will be?
QUOTE(JB in Wisconsin @ Mar 5 2004, 08:30 AM)
I'm seriously considering "taking the plunge" into car camping.  I don't want to spend the large sums of money necessary to own and operate an RV; I think that a nice, larger tent should suffice. Here's the problem.  My wife is not too enthusiastic about the idea.  I am willing to research / invest in "creature comforts" (e.g. a comfortable sized, quality tent; a comfortable sleeping arrangement; electrcity; heat when necessary; etc.).  She likes to travel, but is not so sure this is how she'd like to do it (even though we'd never travel much more than 250 miles per day, and would not travel every day).  Any other reluctant spouses out there?  Is there hope?  Any "must have" items we should get?  It just wouldn't be much fun traveling without her.  Thank you in advance for your comments.

My husband and I are both 45 and started in our 20's with tent camping. Then we graduated to a pop-up which was much better especially in the rain and when a few skunks and racoons decided to hang out around our area. We just bought a 32 ft. 5th wheel. I can't wait. No more soggy food in the cooler because the ziplock bags leaked and having to run and get ice every day. If we want pancakes for breakfast(after I have had my nice hot shower in my own bathroom) I simply open the refrigerator, get my supplies, turn on the stove and pancakes appear. To wash the dishes I don't have to heat the water and pour it in a plastic basin, I turn on a facet and clean hot water flies out. Boy I can't wait. (can you tell I was totally tired of tent and pop-up camping)Suggestion you could always buy a used trailer one that is one or two years old.
Why not try renting some type of rv (ie. pop-up, TT, MH) and see what you think. You'll both be miserable dry.gif if both not happy
Camping is a lot of togetherness. Over the years we have done the tent, popup, 5thwheel while fulltiming and now back to a simple hard sided, A frame popup which goes up in less than a minute and we love it. Unfortunately if one does not enjoy camping it just seems like a lot of WORK. We were fulltime for 4 years and we were both equally involved which I think is the way it has to be if you still want to be friends!!
We have been camping for years. We meaning myself, hubby, children & dog. I have to say I am NOT a fan of tent camping at all. If you are going to tent camp may I suggest you place a tarp under your tent before sleeping and bring along a small futon mattress. This may make it a bit more comfortable for your wife. rolleyes.gif
Hi, I'm a former reluctant wife myself and now love camping. First of all, don't go complete wilderness with your wife to start out. Check this site and ask others for advice on finding a modern campground with clean modern facilities. You may also want to try a rental. Many campgrounds have beautiful RV's and nice cabins you can rent. As for tenting, we have the Paha Que Poma Valley tent. It's huge, well constructed and goes up easily in 10-15 minutes. Check out to see their selection of tents. Good luck to you.
Tony S.
Have you thought about a small RV ,like a B class motorhome based on a van chassis,also known as camper vans? We find it perfect for 2. Ours is an older model Roadtrek and it's perfect for touring or camping,and easy to maneuver and find a place to park. It is our first motorhome and cannot imagine doing it any other way.It's easy to see why they call our model the "Versatile". Ummm....14-16 mpg ain't that bad when you're carrying ALL the comforts of home.Don't let the sticker prices of the new ones scare you away,as they are very high. As I said,ours is old ('88) but in great shape and bought for less than 6k. I think your better half would love it, and you don't have quite as much hassle or expense with a unit this size. Makes a fine 2nd car too! for thought!

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