Our first popup camping trip was overall a big success. We missed some fairly important setup details (see below) and I got the stomach bug the last night we were there. That was horrible. And made for a very disorganized packing session the next morning. However, despite my nausea I think we did a pretty good job! 🙂
We chose Lake Skinner near Temecula for our 3 day pup trip. If you love wine this is a GREAT spot. So many wineries nearby I lost count on our way in! Here’s an excerpt from their website:
“Nestled in the rolling hills of Winchester, CA, beautiful Lake Skinner Recreational Area offers visitors expansive natural vistas and invigorating recreational opportunities, including camping, picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, sailing, and fishing. This popular regional park is located just a few short miles east of the Temecula Wineries, close to the bustling communities of Murrieta and Menifee, and within easy access of Interstates 15 and 215.”
If you’d like a list of more San Diego area RV parks read this post from last year.
I plan to do a very detailed post on what to pack for popup camping and how to organize it after we get a few more trips under our belt. But for now I’d like to share our “lessons learned” from the first one. And also what we got right!
(If you are an experienced popup owner these may seem silly or obvious. But as newbies we were clueless! Hopefully this will help other newbies out there.)
First Popup Camping Trip Lessons Learned (and what we got right!)
- HUGE ROOKIE MISTAKE: If your popup has a toilet, do NOT forget to put Aqua-Kem into the canister for the toilet. We did forget. We only used our toilet for night-time peeing (no poops) and boy was it stinky after 2 nights!!
- One thing we didn’t think of is an outdoor rug. As you can see from the picture this was not a concrete RV park. All dirt. I think I swept our popup 40 times in 3 days. Seriously. An outdoor rug would have helped A LOT.
- Speaking of dirt…… we did not bring wood pieces (or jack pads) to put under the stabilizing jacks. We were only there for 3 days so it wasn’t a big deal, however, if we were there for an extended period of time it would’ve been a problem. Lesson….. always have them on hand!
- Each site at Lake Skinner has a fire pit which is great. We were so excited to build a fire the first night and it was SO smokey! It was painful to be around it. Our neighbor had a “campfire in a can“ and literally had ZERO smoke. I purchased one as soon as we got home!
I highly recommend some sort of shoe bin to keep outside the door during the day. You could put it in your vehicle at night. Even if we had an outdoor rug (or were on concrete) we would still track tons of dirt inside. And it’s such a small space that anything you can do to help keep it clean is important.
- I purchased a trash bag holder to go on the picnic table (each site also had its own table). So I decided not to get a small trash can for inside. My first thought was that I’d just hop outside whenever I needed to toss something. That was not a good decision. You really need a small trash can inside.
- We had a french press that I thought would be perfect for the pup. And it was. Except that I have a 3 year old and getting up with him and making coffee for my husband and I in the press was a total pain. My husband ran out and bought a small programmable coffee maker and it was AWESOME! It was so relaxing for me to get up and have coffee ready to go so I could start on breakfast.
What I Got Right……
I LOVE the IKEA shelves I bought for the storage cabinet across from the dining booth. It fit perfectly on the counter and I used it as a tiny pantry. They come completely apart and do not take up a lot of space stored in the pup. I may even get a 2nd one to go right next to it.
- We added a hanging wire basket next to the sink (used the small top basket for keys and sunglasses. We hung the collapsible shelves above the toilet to store toiletry items and toilet paper. These shelves came with our popup but I found one on Amazon that would work. Use S-hooks to hang it up.
- We hung the paper towel roll using a rope and the snaps that secure the door when the pup is collapsed (see picture). I’m certain I’m not the first person to do this but I felt pretty good about myself when I figured it out. 🙂
- Since we had not tested the stove top prior to this trip I brought along an electric burner as a backup. Our gas stove top worked just fine but I loved having it anyway! I’d use it to quickly heat up water in the morning for oatmeal when that’s all I had to cook.
- The other item I was so happy to have….. a collapsible dish tub. Our popup is quite small and having this allowed me to wash dishes as I was cooking and toss them in the dining on the dining table. This kept the sink clear and the cooking area uncluttered. Also gave us a spot to dry dishes throughout the day and not have the sink full of dirty cups.
**If you are in the San Diego area and love popup camping check out my post on local RV spots.