Friday, May 12, 2017

A New Camping Season and a New Trailer!

A few people have asked us why we bought a new trailer and I've had lots of questions about the features in our chosen Keystone Hideout.

Our Hideout with our DIY outdoor kitchen

First of all, I need to be clear that Keystone is not a sponsor of this blog and we paid for this new purchase on our own like normal folks. Second, we bought our trailer second hand off of Kijiji. (So this means no dealership was involved or sponsored our purchase)

Our trailer is a year old and was used for just one season. Good for us! We saved a few dollars and still got a new trailer we would be able to trust.

We're still getting used to the size of this thing!

Why We Bought a New Trailer


Easier Camping: We had a small hybrid trailer (with pull out beds similar to a tent trailer) and were tired of having to set so much stuff up when we got to camp. It was a lot of work to camp for just a short two-night camping trip. (one night stays on road trips were out of the question!)

Easy Sleeping! We wanted our beds to always be beds! No pull out beds, no slide out beds, no sofa that turns into a bed... (So we bought a larger trailer with a queen sized bed at the front for us, and bunks at the back for our son and a potential friend.)

Yes, we wanted to glamp things up a bit. We wanted a nicer awning (the new one is fully automatic,) we wanted a newer model of trailer, and we were intrigued  by some of the features out there these days. We now have a stereo with indoor/outdoor speakers (Bluetooth compatible,) and we have a charging station that runs off the trailer's battery even if we don't have a campsite with power! (so excited about that!)

Storage!!!! With our old trailer, everything had to ride in the middle of the trailer on the floor. We had "some" space underneath for lawn chairs and a couple of big items but everything else was stored inside. This meant that when we got to camp, we had to first take everything out of the trailer before we could go in and fold out the beds or do basic camp set up.

Our new trailer has a "bike door" underneath the bottom bunk bed and we can store a lot of stuff here (toys, sports equipment...) We also have a gigantic cargo area under the front part of the trailer with doors accessible from both sides of the trailer. Everything else gets stored here. (And true story - I actually asked my husband about all the "missing items" I thought he'd forgotten to bring out to the trailer, and then realized everything was in, but completely stored and out of site! It was a glorious feeling.)

Easier Camping in Bear Country! We wanted to be able to store food, toiletries and pantry items inside our trailer all the time! Technically though, you can't do this if you don't have a fully hard sided trailer in bear country. You are supposed to treat your hybrid trailer like a tent - and we moved on from tent camping a long time ago! (I'm done with storing everything in my vehicle overnight)

Quieter Camping! We wanted something with more soundproofing so that I didn't have to use ear plugs every night at camp. With our hybrid, I could hear everything coming from the surrounding campsites and found it hard to sleep. In our new trailer, I can sleep peacefully and I don't even hear the trains go by. (a reality when camping in the Bow Valley near railway tracks!)

My son and his friends loved the bunk beds at the back and spent a lot of time reading books in their own private nook

Initial Challenges with the New Trailer 

The Hitch!!

As with any new (major) purchase, there is always a learning curve and work to be done before you can thoroughly enjoy your new toy. For us, this meant buying a new hitch (a distribution hitch in our case) to tow our trailer safely. We had to take the trailer in to an RV repair shop to get it measured and installed correctly, and had a major challenge trying to get a drop bar long enough to make the trailer 100% level. (apparently the standard bar sold with the hitch wasn't long enough for our trailer)

We're still not "sold" on the way the hitch works (bars so low to the ground they drag on bumps going into campsites) but the RV technician swore it was measured right and was put on correctly. For now we're going to let it be, but we may have to make some adjustments as we get out a big more and see how things work.

Lesson learned: Allow yourself a few weeks to get everything ready to go with a new trailer before you plan your first camping trip!! I was trying to get this hitch put on days before our first trip and it was very stressful. (especially since my husband works in the daytime and I was left to negotiate everything with the repair shop by myself)

Learning to tow a bigger trailer safely is a major challenge

The Battery (and Furnace!!)

We didn't test the battery on the trailer before going out on our first trip. Yes, we charged it, but we never actually tested it in the trailer to make sure it was good. Turns out it was dead (as in needs to be recycled and won't ever work again) and so our furnace didn't work! This would have been a major deal if I hadn't have brought an electric heater with us for the weekend!

Lesson Learned: Make sure your battery is charged AND working! Test your furnace, test your lights, test everything and make sure it all works.

Daytime temperatures were warm but evenings were chilly and we definitely needed a furnace

The Stereo (yes, a small problem)

We discovered that there was a blown fuse in the stereo and so it wouldn't work. Not a major problem but a quick trip to the Canadian Tire in Canmore fixed this problem so that we could have music while cooking at our campsite.

Lesson Learned: Camp near a town or city on your first trip out with a new trailer so that you can purchase any last minute supplies you may need. (and I suspect this will continue for the next month as we get to learn more about our trailer and what it requires to run smoothly)

A little quiet music is nice at camp. Glad we got the stereo fixed

To read more about choosing a new trailer (if you're still in the shopping stage,) read my other story: Purchasing a New Trailer (Family Camping Made Easy.) 

You can also read more about our first camping trip here: April Camping in Bow Valley Provincial Park.


  1. Got any photos of the inside? Would love to see it!

    -Rachel @ Backcountry Petite

  2. I'll try to get some this trip. The other ones I got weren't very good.