After two or three camping trips with our small tent we realised that we needed to find a better solution. What we needed is a solution that would offer:
The same flexibility that the small tent offered, but would have more space to utilize against the elements.
We needed space to keep our equipment safe and out of sight.
We needed to find a solution in transporting everything, there was not enough space in our vehicle to load more items.
We considered various options and visited various outdoor and camping outlets to see what was on offer. We finally decided to that we needed to find a bigger tent and a trailer to transport everything.
Aah, you will say, moving back in the direction of a caravan. No, definitely not. We were considering buying an off-road type of trailer that we could tow everywhere that we would like to go. We were considering new as well as used items.
We could get a very new Challenger Bundu Basher off-road trailer at a very reasonable price and decided to buy it. It was the basic trailer with no extras. Just what we needed so we could equip it to suit for our needs.
During this time, we also saw an advert of a Campmore Senior Dome Tent (3x3m) with a gazebo extension for sale at a very good price, almost half the price of a new one. I immediately contacted the seller and arranged to have a look at it. The tent was used once and the extension never, it was still wrapped in the original packaging. I decided to buy it, and when I went to collect it I noticed an aluminium frame with a mattress in a canvas cover over it standing in the seller’s garage. I asked about it and his comment was that if I want it I can take it, which I did. That would solve the problem of a flat mattress in the middle of the night. He (the seller) had the same type of trailer that we just bought and the bed frame and mattress fitted perfectly on the roof rack on the trailer lid.
Our first trip with the trailer and the bigger tent was to the Kruger National Park during December 2005.
With the trailer we had ample space to pack everything except for our 80liter Waeco fridge which we preferred to be in the vehicle. At the campsite we had ample space to store everything in the tent with space left where we could sit and relax should the weather be windy or rainy. This was the ultimate setup for camping, or that is was we thought.
Over time we made some changes to the trailer. We added a water tank, drawers in the back and a kitchen box with a two-plate gas burner on the left mudguard.
It was not long before we realised that pitching this whole setup was hard work. Especially when you are touring and need to setup camp every evening just to break up again the next morning. We soon stopped using the gazebo extension and left it at home when we travelled. But even pitching the bow tent and carrying the bed into it every night and out again the next morning and loading it on top of the trailer become hard work. And Gerida had to help me with this as I could not do it on my own, and that was not fair to her.
We just loved this setup as it provided us with the flexibility that we needed but:
- Pitching the tent every evening become hard work on a long trip
- We did not use the gazebo extension anymore
- Getting the bed on and off the trailer and in and out of the tent was hard work.
So, once again we were looking for solutions. More about that in our next blog.