A few questions for our first big trip!


Earning My Ears
Nov 15, 2000
O.K. its only 16 more days until we leave for sunny florida and with the 35 degree weather here in chicago we can't wait. This will be our first trip with a pop-up. A few questions....How fast can you go and safely pull a pop-up? We have a full size conversion van. What types of things should we be bringing with us in case of a problem with the pop-up? And my biggest question of all....how do I keep 4 kids under the age of 9 who have been cooped up in a car for 2 days busy while we try to set up camp? They will be so excited but we are not pros at the camping thing yet and I can forsee a problem. I don't want to start out our first day at FW on a negative note.
Any input on any or all of this would be awesome. I owe all of the planning I've done to these boards. thanks Ann <IMG SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif" alt="confused">
We pulled our popup down to FW from Minnesota a few months ago and we drove the speed limit (or a little above ;) ) the whole way. I think we averaged around 70.

Don't worry about the kids when you get there! Let them just run around and have fun while you set up - they won't bother anyone as long as they don't run through other people's campsites. Many of the loops have tetherball or basketball or a small playground nearby that can keep them busy too. Have you requested a certain loop?

- Rhonda :-)
Camping Board Co-Moderator
When we arrive at FW, the first thing to get unloaded are the bicycles! While DH and I set up, our boys ride their bikes and explore. Then we all go to the pool and start our vacation!

We also take the bikes down first and they are off riding around the loop, checking out the pool (my kids are older though). But, I would let them ride bikes or if your loop has a playground in it...let them go and run off all that cooped up energy.

Sharon in Florida
Wife to Cameron for the past 15 1/2 years (July 2)
Taxi Mom to: Christopher-12 1/2 & Kayla-9
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Next Trip: June 15-25, 2001
FW-6/94, 95, 96,2000
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Hi Ann

Prior to our current travel trailer, we pulled a pop-up to FW several times with a cruising speed of about 70-75 mph, without incident. Although I don't know the size of your trailer, if your tow rig is set up properly, you should have no problems. Just pay attention the first few times you pass, or are passed by a semi, or bus and be prepared for some minor trailer sway.

Just a couple of tips to avoid mechanical delays:

One thing I always do to avoid potential problems, especially with trailers with small wheels, like a pop-up, is install bearing protectors.

Small trailer wheels must spin faster than the larger ones on your vehicle, increasing their grease consumption. A burned wheel bearing and scored spindle will put a real crimp in your schedule. Repacking the wheel bearings annually will insure you have no problems, but I find that quite a hassle.

Wal-Mart sells Red Eye brand bearing protectors in their boating dept. These fit into the wheel hub and allow you to grease the bearings, without disassembling the hub. They even have an indicator to tell you when to stop greasing so you don't inadvertently blow out the bearing seals. At about $12.00 a pair, they're just about the cheapest travel insurance you can buy. Measure the inside diameter of your wheel hub before purchasing, as they come in different sizes.

Make sure your the trailer tire sidewalls aren't split, or cracked (don't forget the inside sidewall) and carry a spare trailer wheel and tire. Before you leave, make sure your tow vehicle's jack will fit under the trailer frame and its lug wrench fits the trailer lug nuts. If they don't, pack some that do. Although you may be able to lift the trailer with its frame jacks, if you can't get the lug nuts off, you're still stuck. Check the tightness of the nuts daily while on the road.

Finally, make sure the trailer lights are working properly and consistently. If the lights work intermittently before you leave, they will surely fail on the road. Clean the harness contacts with fine emery cloth and coat them with conductive electrical grease (available at Wal-Mart, what isn't?)

Sorry for the long post. Enjoy your trip!

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Qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum
With a full size van you won't even know you are pulling anything! We had a mid-size and it towed our pop-up great at 70 mph. The great thing about towing a pop-up with a taller vehicle is that you can see over it when passing etc.

As far as keeping the kids occupied - our girls (4 and 8) have jobs and they help set-up. They love to crank up the trailer and put the legs down. Also the little one is the right height to hook the canopy under the pull-out ends - she gets mad if anyone else does her job! They love to camp and having jobs that are theirs makes them feel very grown-up! :D
You shouldn't have any problem pulling your trailer. We have a full size van also. Had a mini-van before our last trip. It was like night and day. No problem. I agree with the others bikes off first, and let the kids ride around your loop. They will find enough just within your loop to keep them occupied while you set up. Have a great time. Us Wisconsinites are very jealous. You wouldn't have a little room to spare???? ;)


{Dreams Do Come True at Walts Place}


Thanks for all the great advice...especially disneycampingdad...we will definitly check on the bearings...these boards are a life saver! We requested a site in the 1400 loop. I think it a premium site...but we wanted cable hook up for the babys nap time. (she falls asleep better with the t.v. on during the day)we are not bringing the bikes but hopefully the playground will be near by. We'll keep you posted! Ann
Here's another thought for you. We have a mini-van and travel a lot around MI with it. One of the best things we did about a year ago was buy a DC television. You stick in a movie and you got at least an hour of peace. Don't forget a set of head phones. You can get parts at Radio Shack that will let you hook up more than one set.

Pop-up info: Make sure you get on the road with it before you go--like an expressway. We just bought a new fifth wheel a month ago but before that we had a 14 foot pop-up which we loved but we can pull a boat behind out 5th. Our pop-up swayed quite a bit and if we hadn't sold it we were going to put sway bars on it. Check that out.

I don't know if you have a water heater in yours but if you don't get one of those huge silver coffee makers and keep it filled. You always have hot water and its very convenient. Another thing we do is put up a set of white christmas lights. We are always coming back to our campsite late and it really sheds light on what ever it is you are trying to do. Have fun!!


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