Yeah, camping, at least for me, turned into a real progression. I was never into backpacking, mainly because I prefer somewhat more than a very minimal amount of creature comforts, like food in cans, an ice chest full of cold items, etc. In my 20’s I did a lot of canoe camping which allowed me to carry 100lbs +/- of gear but still involved sleeping on the ground in a tent. But once I got married and had a couple of kids, my days of canoe camping were effectively over.
Then, when I hit 50, I took my then teenaged son for a weekend camping/fishing trip and discovered that the ground had gotten much harder in the 20+ years it had been since I had last slept on it. So I immediately procured a small pop-up trailer that I could pull with the family minivan. That worked well for the years that my son and I camped and fished together, but then he went off to college and I lost my camping/fishing buddy.
Fast forward a few years and a divorce later and I meet the new love of my life who (unlike my previous wife) actually enjoys the outdoors, travel, and having new experiences. So we break out the old pop-up and off we go adventuring. Only to find out that setting up a pop-up camper works much better when you have a nimble teenager around to do the crawling underneath to set the stabilizer jacks and prop-rods for the pull-out sections. And my son and I never had any problems with the fact that the pop-up didn’t have any sort of bathroom, after all there was usually an handy nearby bush that needed watering for those late night calls of nature. But that generally doesn’t work so well for female companions. Time for another upgrade!
I am now the proud owner of a 2017 Cherokee Wolf Pup 16FQ camper trailer. It is the perfect size and configuration for me and my missus. It’s 16’ of usable interior space (21’ overall length) with a queen-sized bed, 2-person dinette, 2-burner cook top, small refrigerator, microwave, and most importantly, a full bathroom complete with stand-up shower. It doesn’t have any pull-out slides (less maintenance/potential points of failure, and easier setup) and weighs in right at 3000lbs dry weight and pulls quite easily with my 1/2-ton pickup truck. The thing we like best about this trailer, besides the full bathroom, is that it’s the only one I’ve ever seen with the bed oriented lengthwise with just enough space on each side for both of us to be able to get out of bed in the wee hours of the night without someone having to crawl over the other. It’s small enough and light enough to go just about anywhere and very quick and easy to setup once on site.
We looked at quite a few other brands and models before finding this one and instantly falling in love with it. The biggest drawbacks for the teardrops and other smaller trailers for us (of course YMMV) were lack of sufficient space to stay inside comfortably if so required by bad weather and, if there was a bathroom at all, it usually had a shower that consisted of sitting on the toilet seat and using a hand-held shower head on a hose. That just didn’t work for us. And the really small teardrops are essentially just a bed and maybe a few storage cabinets inside without even enough room to stand up and get dressed inside. They are (to me) just a hard-shelled pup tent with a slightly more comfortable mattress. They may be great for sleeping in, but everything else happens outside regardless of the weather.
Summing up, we LOVE our Wolf Pup. It suits our needs, and we have already camped in it pretty much everywhere from Texas to Maine with the exceptions of Florida and the Great Lakes region. And now that I’m retired, we will have all of the states east of the Mississippi River done by the end of 2023 and started making a dent in the western states as well. We’ll see how it holds up over the long haul, but so far so good!