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Old 09-10-2016, 09:16 AM   #1
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Question How long does it take for you to set up camp?

One of the very many reasons we upgraded to a travel trailer this year from the pop up that we had for the last 11 years (tenting prior to that) was to reduce the set-up time once we arrived at the campsite.

Most of our camping trips are the typical "arrive Friday, leave Sunday".

With the pop-up it was consistently around two and a half hours to completely set up. Although we have collected many camping items over the years, we decided to have everything dedicated in the travel trailer, even clothes and bedding. We are a family of 4 and do not have any pets that we bring. Kids are younger, so they want to go..go..go.. as soon as we pull in to the site.

Our goal was to have set up time down to about a 1/2 hour with the new travel trailer to maximize our "leisure/family time". Both DW and I have specific tasks that we do once we arrive at the site to tag team the set up process.

We take our time throughout the week and putter around getting the camper ready to go, clean the laundry, make beds, re-stock and then on Thursday night we will load up the fresh food so we can head out Friday after work.

I have things strategically placed in the pass through and storage compartments for quick access during set up. A few key items are stowed in the back of the truck bed by the tailgate for leveling, chalking, etc. We use the Anderson levelers which take no time at all to level the unit. We also have electric stabilizers, power tongue jack and power awning. The stabilizer jacks, awning and outside light are also controlled by a wireless touchscreen remote that comes with the elite package.

With all the time saving provisions and prep work we do, it still seems to take about an hour for us to completely set up camp, which is twice where we want to be...(maybe this goal is not practical??) When I say "completely", I am referring to the time it takes to level the TT to the time everything we use for camp is in place (inside and outside) and is time to start "leisure time" not leaving anything to do later.

Here is a pretty typical set up for us at a full hook up site, keeping in mind once unhooked most of these things are being completed simultaneously by DW and myself.
1) Decide landing location once at site (DW & I)
2) Unlock main door and storage compartment doors (Me)
3) Move TT into position (DW & I)
4) Level side to side (DW & I)
5) Chalk tires (DW & I)
6) Hook up power (Me)
7) Set out wood pads for stabilizer & tongue jacks (Me)
8) Unhitch TT (DW & I)
9) Move truck out of the way (Me)
10) Level front to back (DW & I)
11) Install x-chocks (Me)
12) Lower electric stabilizer jacks (DW)
13) Hook up water with inline filter (Me)
14) Hook up sewer hose (Me)
15) Open windows or turn on AC (DW)
16) Put awning out (DW)
17) Place patio mat under awning (DW)
18) Move picnic table next to TT under awning (DW & I)
19) Set up outdoor grill (Me)
20) Set up Coleman stove & table (Me)
21) Hook up 20lb propane tank to grill and stove (Me)
22) Put things in place inside TT that aren't stationary (DW)
23) Turn on hot water heater (DW)
24) Raise antenna (DW) or hook up cable (Me)
25) Program television channels, it only gets used at night to settle kids or during bad weather (DW)
26) Remove refrigerator bars (DW)
27) Install awning tie downs (Me)
28) Put table cloth on picnic table (Me)
29) Place 3-4 Tiki torches out and fill cans with fuel (Me)
30) Put out trash can and recycle bin (Me)
31) Set up the Camco bottom step support (Me)
32) Put out and set up camp chairs around fire pit (DW & I)
33) Set up collapsible drying rack outside for wet towels / clothes (DW or Me)
34) Get firewood, and fire starters and poker out by the fire pit (Me)
35) Put hitch and WD bars / chains in pass though storage (Me)
36) Take (4) bikes out of back of truck (DW & I)
37) Hang our "name and from" sign (Me)
38) Tune in a clear radio station on the TT radio and turn on outdoor speakers, not too loud of course (DW or Me)

DONE! Phewww..... Time to get on with camping

OK, so how long does it take for you to set up camp??

.
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Old 09-10-2016, 09:33 AM   #2
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We usually try to get the essentials before we leave for the campground. Once checked in and backed into the site, it usually takes us about 20-30 minutes. And setup is not complete until I have a Rum & Coke in hand.
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Old 09-10-2016, 09:52 AM   #3
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About 15-20 minutes, mostly depending on whether I leave the TV hooked up or not.
Pull up, take a quick walk through of the site.
Back in, ascertain amount of off level.
Drop level blocks, back on. Double check level with 3' bubble bar.
Drop front and rear stabilizers, wife then throws the slides out and starts mixing drinks.
Throw power cord out if not boondocking.

About the same time for teardown, as I dont consider normal stowing of crap to be part of teardown.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke_26 View Post

Most of our camping trips are the typical "arrive Friday, leave Sunday".

With the pop-up it was consistently around two and a half hours to completely set up. Although we have collected many camping items over the years, we decided to have everything dedicated in the travel trailer, even clothes and bedding. We are a family of 4 and do not have any pets that we bring. Kids are younger, so they want to go..go..go.. as soon as we pull in to the site.

Our goal was to have set up time down to about a 1/2 hour with the new travel trailer to maximize our "leisure/family time". Both DW and I have specific tasks that we do once we arrive at the site to tag team the set up process.

We take our time throughout the week and putter around getting the camper ready to go, clean the laundry, make beds, re-stock and then on Thursday night we will load up the fresh food so we can head out Friday after work.

I have things strategically placed in the pass through and storage compartments for quick access during set up. A few key items are stowed in the back of the truck bed by the tailgate for leveling, chalking, etc. We use the Anderson levelers which take no time at all to level the unit. We also have electric stabilizers, power tongue jack and power awning. The stabilizer jacks, awning and outside light are also controlled by a wireless touchscreen remote that comes with the elite package.

With all the time saving provisions and prep work we do, it still seems to take about an hour for us to completely set up camp, which is twice where we want to be...(maybe this goal is not practical??) When I say "completely", I am referring to the time it takes to level the TT to the time everything we use for camp is in place (inside and outside) and is time to start "leisure time" not leaving anything to do later.

Here is a pretty typical set up for us at a full hook up site, keeping in mind once unhooked most of these things are being completed simultaneously by DW and myself.
1) Decide landing location once at site (DW & I)
2) Unlock main door and storage compartment doors (Me)
3) Move TT into position (DW & I)
4) Level side to side (DW & I)
5) Chalk tires (DW & I)
6) Hook up power (Me)
7) Set out wood pads for stabilizer & tongue jacks (Me)
8) Unhitch TT (DW & I)
9) Move truck out of the way (Me)
10) Level front to back (DW & I)
11) Install x-chocks (Me)
12) Lower electric stabilizer jacks (DW)
13) Hook up water with inline filter (Me)
14) Hook up sewer hose (Me)
15) Open windows or turn on AC (DW)
16) Put awning out (DW)
17) Place patio mat under awning (DW)
18) Move picnic table next to TT under awning (DW & I)
19) Set up outdoor grill (Me)
20) Set up Coleman stove & table (Me)
21) Hook up 20lb propane tank to grill and stove (Me)
22) Put things in place inside TT that aren't stationary (DW)
23) Turn on hot water heater (DW)
24) Raise antenna (DW) or hook up cable (Me)
25) Program television channels, it only gets used at night to settle kids or during bad weather (DW)
26) Remove refrigerator bars (DW)
27) Install awning tie downs (Me)
28) Put table cloth on picnic table (Me)
29) Place 3-4 Tiki torches out and fill cans with fuel (Me)
30) Put out trash can and recycle bin (Me)
31) Set up the Camco bottom step support (Me)
32) Put out and set up camp chairs around fire pit (DW & I)
33) Set up collapsible drying rack outside for wet towels / clothes (DW or Me)
34) Get firewood, and fire starters and poker out by the fire pit (Me)
35) Put hitch and WD bars / chains in pass though storage (Me)
36) Take (4) bikes out of back of truck (DW & I)
37) Hang our "name and from" sign (Me)
38) Tune in a clear radio station on the TT radio and turn on outdoor speakers, not too loud of course (DW or Me)

DONE! Phewww..... Time to get on with camping

OK, so how long does it take for you to set up camp??

.

A lot of similarities with the teamwork aspect. However, with all you do a 30 minute set up time may be impractical. We are also a family of 4, however, the two children are the result of a previous marriage (ex (and her new family) and us are good friends), so there are times when the kids are not with us. Still our set up time from the moment we stop in front of a camp site (or spot where we are going to park when we don't stay in a campground) is around 30 minutes.
Then again, there are many steps we do not endure which add to your set up time.

No insult or diss intended, but IMHO if we are in an area where there is TV and cellular reception, then we are not camping; our whole purpose to camping is to "get away" and "unplug" from the world for a few days so we can truly relax. We rarely (if ever) stay in a campground with hook ups. We have never had to hook up to sewer. We have never had to extend our television antennae or hook up cable (we have only used the television twice) (when it comes to settling the kids at night we have a couple of quiet board games sitting around the camp fire usually does the trick, if that doesn't work then I utilize the "quiet and go to bed method" which my children surprisingly obey and respect quite well (perhaps being a Marine and strict disciplinarian helps)). We have never once hooked up to water, so there is no water filter or hose to hook up (though we do have a pressure regulator and hose in case we ever do), we have our water in the tank. We don't utilize refrigerator bars. We never use tiki torches, and rarely have we been in a place where the picnic table can be moved under the awning, most of the picnic tables we have come across are chained down. We do have a screen enclosure which we set up around/over the picnic table though. We never use awning tie downs, or towel drying rack (we use the ladder on the back for this), and we don't use a 'name and from' sign. Most everything else is pretty much the same process and duties.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:46 AM   #5
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Duke, our set up is pretty much the same as yours, with the exception of the TV /cable, and bicycles. We put up lights on the awning track, replacing your tiki torch time. I've never timed setting up, but think we're in the 45 to 50 minute range. We don't rush, and make it as pleasant as possible, so it doesn't become stressful. It's part of the journey. The only time we hurry a little more is if it's pouring rain.
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:05 AM   #6
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I think it really breaks down to what you consider setup. For us setup is backing in, leveling and utilities. (gas, electric, water). Outdoor chairs are setup as needed. Grill is setup as needed. If we arrive early in the day then outside lights are not setup until dusk. But if I were forced to give a time from arriving to enjoying the site then I'd say 30 to 45min. max...
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:11 AM   #7
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My wife and I have a system where she packs most everything for the trip. Once at our site I unpack and set up while she takes our 2 boys to play or swim. This allows me to relax a bit while setting up. The night before we leave to go home we pack up as much as possible once the boys are in bed. Again she takes them to play or go for a walk while I finish up in the morning. Once back home everybody helps taking the laundry, extra food, etc. out of camper and into the house. Maybe its just me but I enjoy setting up camp so I don't worry about how long it does or doesn't take.
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:26 AM   #8
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I'm right around 45 minutes from the time I land the trailer on the site to completion of setup. DW takes care of most of the inside stuff and I do the outside. Level, stow hitch / bars, connect utilities, (if available) X Chocks, setup grill, setup Coleman screened in room, setup chairs, unload and stack firewood. Then its first cocktail time. I do find setup relaxing...
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:51 AM   #9
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Whether set up takes 1/2 hour or 6 hours. It's still better than sitting behind a desk or in traffic somewhere. I say just enjoy the whole process cause it still beats just about anything else that happens during the week.
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:58 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by tnmcouple View Post
Whether set up takes 1/2 hour or 6 hours. It's still better than sitting behind a desk or in traffic somewhere. I say just enjoy the whole process cause it still beats just about anything else that happens during the week.
Vote: Best post of this thread award.
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Old 09-10-2016, 12:18 PM   #11
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Isn't this the truth. I get giddy with excitement as soon as we pull out of our driveway.
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Old 09-10-2016, 12:24 PM   #12
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Just the basics for us at setup.

The tv can wait until time to turn it on. The sewer hose may not even come out for 3-4 days.
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Old 09-10-2016, 01:50 PM   #13
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Depending on how level the site is, around 20 minutes. 30 if Im tired. 5 if DW is in a crappy mood.
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Old 09-10-2016, 02:03 PM   #14
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Setup time is also affected by the planned stay. We don't do as much for a weekend outing as we do for a week or more. So setup ranges from about 1 hour to nearly 2 hours. We did setup for a one-night stayover in about 30 minutes! But we did not unhitch the TT, just leveled, hooked up the utilities and ran out the slide-out. It may have taken longer to pull out the next morning than it did to set up!

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Old 09-10-2016, 06:42 PM   #15
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Thank you all for the replies so far! Looking forward to hearing some more. So far I have learned some good ideas that may help to save some time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NVGun40 View Post
No insult or diss intended, but IMHO if we are in an area where there is TV and cellular reception, then we are not camping; our whole purpose to camping is to "get away" and "unplug" from the world for a few days so we can truly relax. We rarely (if ever) stay in a campground with hook ups.

None taken, I guess in our natural progression of camping (tenting>pop-up>travel trailer) we are appreciating the new amenities that we did not have previously. I would agree that it is probably closer to Glamping than camping [emoji4]. Up until we got the new TT this year, we had always stayed at State Parks where there are no hook ups at all and spotty cell service. Now that we have the new TT, we started venturing on to new places that we had never been before, and utilize the hookups that come with the TT, it is all new to us. Never had a television until this TT, figured it was prepped for one, why not?. We have had many times in the tents and pop up where we were cramped in it for the entire weekend do to bad weather, we were lucky if we had a lento site. We always carry decks of cards and board games with us too. We had never used tiki torches until this summer, we camped with some friends earlier in the season and they had some that they set up. I really appreciated the type of light they produce over the super bright factory awning LED strip or Coleman lanterns (which we don't even bring with us anymore).

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Duke, our set up is pretty much the same as yours, with the exception of the TV /cable, and bicycles. We put up lights on the awning track, replacing your tiki torch time. I've never timed setting up, but think we're in the 45 to 50 minute range. We don't rush, and make it as pleasant as possible, so it doesn't become stressful. It's part of the journey. The only time we hurry a little more is if it's pouring rain.

Set up is definately part of the journey, I agree. I actually don't mind it, cause I know it means a nice relaxing weekend. The part that is stressful for me is not being able to get to the site at check in... I work until at least 5pm and have a 20 minute commute home to get hooked up. It takes a little longer to get hooked up because the TT takes up the entire length of our driveway. So when I'm backed up to hook up, my truck is blocking the street. Of course this is when everyone seems to be coming down the street.... So I only hitch, hook up safety chains and power cord. Then I pull it out and park it on the side of the street in front of the house where I hook up the WDH and give everything a once over before taking off. Once this is done, travel time is usually 25 to 45 minutes to a campground. By time we get to the campground it is close to 6:30. Now add an hour of set up time, and it time to get dinner started. It seems like half the day is already gone. I have taken half vacation days on occasion to get a jump start, but that adds up quick when we camp almost every weekend throughout the summer. So I have to pick and choose when I do that. Usually do it when the travel time to camp is more than an hour. By time we're done with picking up after dinner, we are ready to sit by the fire and relax.

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Whether set up takes 1/2 hour or 6 hours. It's still better than sitting behind a desk or in traffic somewhere. I say just enjoy the whole process cause it still beats just about anything else that happens during the week.

I couldn't agree more. I sit behind a desk for 9-1/2 stressful hours a day.....

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Depending on how level the site is, around 20 minutes. 30 if Im tired. 5 if DW is in a crappy mood.

What is included in the 5 minute express set-up when DW is in a crappy mood? Bet the camper stays hitched just in case [emoji41]

Cheers everyone [emoji482]. Keep the replies coming.


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Old 09-10-2016, 07:28 PM   #16
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So setup ranges from about 1 hour to nearly 2 hours.
This is more the norm. Anyone who says they can set up a travel trailer from backing in to functional in 30 minutes no matter how well prepared they are is full of crap.
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Old 09-10-2016, 08:45 PM   #17
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Similar family makeup. A couple of comments.


We stayed with the pup until the kids were older, 2nd child just entered University last week and we just moved up from the pup. Camping with kids was an outdoors adventure without electronics. But setup for us also ran about 2 hours. Now we are in a hybrid, and setup is (generally) cut in half. Longer for a long trip, pretty quick for a weekend only with DW and I. For our longer trips we have a lot of extras - big 15X15 Coleman shade, change tent etc.
Over time the kids took on more and more of the setup. By their teens that had about half your list assigned to them. DS is now 18, and he could probably take the TT out on his own now. Start educating the kids now so they know what to do later in life.


We are a little more casual about when we call "done" than you are. For a weekend trip, especially when kids aren't along, "done" is variable. I count done when everything we need in next few hours is in place. There is a lot of stuff we do on long trips that we don't need for an overnighter or weekend. Call it done when everything is in place for you to sleep and eat, anything else is extra.
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Old 09-10-2016, 09:58 PM   #18
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Your setup is an investment in your comfort! You shaved a considerable amount of time from the PuP. Congrats!

If you really want to save time as others have mentioned, clip some steps from your needs. Our needs are all unique, seems like you have found what makes your camping = happiness.

Our setup is very different than yours, 30 minutes tops. Sometimes it might not even happen for a couple of hours. A few times we have not even bothered to disconnect and were setup in 10 minutes. We are TV free, don't bother with tiki torches or outdoor grills, toss the hitch on the ground, we are signless (we prefer that people don't know our screaming kids that kept them up that night are unknown by name) and music free for the most part.
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Old 09-11-2016, 12:15 AM   #19
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I think it really breaks down to what you consider setup. For us setup is backing in, leveling and utilities. (gas, electric, water). Outdoor chairs are setup as needed. Grill is setup as needed. If we arrive early in the day then outside lights are not setup until dusk. But if I were forced to give a time from arriving to enjoying the site then I'd say 30 to 45min. max...


This is much the same for me too. As such, our setup inside and out takes about 30 minutes.
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Old 09-11-2016, 06:34 AM   #20
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As we got older, and valued our "relax" time more than our set-up, take-down time, this is why we progressed from pop-ups, to a hybrid, to a hard side, to our current self-leveling 5'er. Once I'm backed-in, I put down six blocks, hit the self-leveling button, wait 2 minutes, and then extend the slides.... After that, it's just a matter of setting up whatever outdoor chairs, etc. that we might want to use....
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