Not Everything Needs An Upgrade

Despite America's general tendency towards "bigger and better", well, everything, sometimes less really is more. Especially when it comes to camping--one goal of which is to relax and have less stuff to deal with: sometimes simpler solutions make more sense.

A good example of this (when it comes to pop-up campers) is the stereo. Sure, a stereo is nice and we like music as much as anybody, but if the stereo didn't already come with the camper it would cost over $500 to have one installed!

For $500 maybe consider how much a stereo is going to add to your enjoyment of the great outdoors. Are you going camping where there will be a lot of neighbors? If so maybe having a little background music to drown-out the campground's noise isn't a bad idea. (Of course drowning out the noise too loudly may result in irritated neighbors.) Are you going camping in a quiet mountain valley where the sound of a rushing stream nearby may be preferred over music you could just as easily hear at home or while on the road?

Or, if music is a must-have or at least appropriate for the trip you're taking, consider a portable stereo that can sit on the counter-top in the camper. Not only does this alternative cost a fraction of what a camper-installed-stereo costs but at the end of the trip the portable stereo can be used in the garage, on the patio, in the basement, etc.

Another example of seeking alternatives to a "full upgrade" concerns the mattress. It is possible to upgrade the foam mattress (found in the LTD Series, 206LT, and MAC Series) to a Flagstaff spring mattress (found in the Classic Series, High Wall Series, and T-Series) but freighting a mattress from the factory costs almost more than the mattress itself! Instead, maybe a local mattress store could make a custom mattress for less? Or, even more economically, a memory foam pad could be purchased from a local store and fitted over the existing mattress.

What about hot water? Hot water is nice, no doubt. But what did campers do before RV-style water heaters came around? They heated their water on a stove or campfire, just like people have done for centuries. We think there's a certain charm to doing some things (though not every thing) the old-fashioned way.

We're not suggesting anyone limit their camper needlessly--make your camper everything you want it to be. However, try to not upgrade the camper needlessly, either. Keep in mind that sometimes a simpler alternative is not only more cost-effective but it can also be better for your overall camping experience.