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Camping: Hobby or Lifestyle?

April 22nd, 2011 by Yvonne Condes

A month or so ago my husband got an idea in his head that I quickly tried to crush. He wanted to buy a tent trailer. A tent trailer is also called a pop up and you pull it behind your car and when you get to a campsite it opens up into a mini-motor home.

To me a tent trailer meant a transformation into the kind of family that I always feared; one that wears matching khaki pants and sings songs together. If we bought a tent trailer then we’d never ever leave the country. Never go to Paris! (I’ve never been to Paris!) Never see the rain forest! Never eat in a restaurant again.

I love being outside hiking, running, and just enjoying the sunshine. I’m not, however, one of those people who grew up camping. I didn’t sleep in a tent until I was in my early 20s and spent a summer in Alaska. It was extreme camping where you backpacked with all of your food and equipment. You set up your tent and put your food far, far away so the bears didn’t get it and you. It was an adventure.

The whole idea of car camping always sounded kind of lame. You don’t get exercise, you sit around and eat and drink, and you go to bed early.

Now that I have kids and I’m exhausted, I’ve embraced camping and all of the relaxing that comes with it. What I love is that you get little exercise, you sit around and eat all day, and you go to bed early.

But buying a tent trailer for camping was just too much. It would be like going from a fun occasional weekend activity to a lifestyle.

When my husband brought up the idea of buying a tent trailer for the second time, I did the thing I do with the kids where I said, “Look at me and listen to my words. Please don’t buy a tent trailer. I forbid you to buy a tent trailer.”

Telling him that worked about as well as it does with my kids. He told me about all of the used, inexpensive tent trailers on Craigslist and how we could sell it and get all of our money back! It would save us so much money on vacations! Our boys would love it!

That I knew was true. We have 5 and 7-year-old boys and they love camping and getting dirty and sleeping outside. They love it all and they would love it even more in a tent trailer. I also knew that when my husband gets something in his head there’s no getting it out.

So one Saturday when my husband said he had to leave to go run an errand with my car, I knew something was up. Two hours later, our second home arrived.

Yes, it was a good deal. Yes, my kids were jumping up and down with excitement. And yes, it was too big to pass through the backyard gate of our West LA house. After an hour of taking off the trailer lights, taking off the gate, and calling a neighbor over to push it, the tent trailer was officially ours.

Last weekend after weeks of working on the tent trailer (because when you buy something like that for a deal on Craigslist, it typically needs some work), we took it camping.

And it wasn’t bad. It was nice to sleep inside, have a little fridge, and a place to store extra camping gear (and a place to charge my iphone!).  My husband was thrilled and happy to show it off to our friends on the trip.Yes, we may be a camping family with a tent trailer parked in our backyard pulling down our Westside property values, but it’s nice to see the husband so happy.

Uggghhh. I’m off to go buy our khaki pants.

When Yvonne isn’t dreaming about a trip to Paris, she’s blogging at

Yvonne Condes (421 Posts)

Yvonne Condes is the Editor and Co-Founder of She is a Los Angeles Mom of 2, former newspaper reporter, and occasional marathoner. Also find her at her personal Latina blog and @YvonneInLA and MomsLA.


  1. I thought you guys already had matching shorts? Just kidding!

    You know I hate camping, so take this with a grain of salt. I hate sleeping on the ground, so the tent trailer would be great for me to sleep in – I just would never want the responsibility of owning, storing and maintaining it.

  2. Yvonne – We own a motorhome. It’s a totally different experience. It’s not camping. It’s more like traveling like a rock star. We have pop-out sides and satellite tv. We started like you guys did – with a smaller thingy and grew into our motorhome. I love being in a motor home because we can take the dogs and kids to amazing places and live well. You should check out Campland on the Bay in San Diego. You guys would love it – beach, pools, lots of fun stuff for kids! We’re traveled from LA to Maine one summer – obviously before we became restaurant owners! I have lots of great places in CA for you if you need recommendations!


  3. I love this post! So funny. I feel like I’ve become “that mom” and “that family” so many times in so many ways. :)

  4. You made me laugh Yvonne. Did you fin the khaki pants yet? I know what you mean though, as Laura said, I felt I’ve become that family and mom many times. Things change so much as time goes by!

  5. I know the feeling you describe, but the trailer actually looks like fun!! Camping is not something we do, so for me it would be a welcomed change to at least get out during the weekends.
    you still need to plan for Paris, though!

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