Back near the end of July, the weather here in BC finally improved, just in time for our trip to Vancouver Island. It was our first camping trip of the year, and by the end of it, both my wife and I were fed up with our tent trailer. We didn't come right out and say, "it's time for something else!" I voiced some complaints during the trip, and she did as well. Then, back at work, while I was looking online at this and other egg forums, I get an email from her, containing links to Boler
ads on Craigslist.
After looking at some rather expensive Bolers and other 13' eggs, we found a 16' Casita
in the same price range that was a decade newer than the nicest 13-footer we looked at (a 1990 Bigfoot).
I spotted the Casita
ad a few days before we were to go on a weekend camping trip to a local park. The Casita
was located in Kamloops, BC, which was about a 3.5 hr drive from our home near Vancouver, BC. But I happened to know an RV tech in Kamloops, so he went to the seller's house after work and inspected it for me. He gave it a clean bill of health and said it was a good value for the money. So, heeding the advice of people on this board, I drove up there as soon as the seller accepted my offer. That meant taking time out in the middle of our camping trip to go to Kamloops and bring home the trailer.
Fast forward to 3 weeks later. Since picking up the trailer, I removed the aftermarket ac unit which mounted in the lower front bunk. My 5 year old daughter would be sleeping there, and her 7 year old brother would be up top. I also removed a heavy sheet of 3/4" plywood and ultra thick felt padding which the 1st owner used to make a permanent bed out of the dining table. My wife vacuumed and cleaned the carpeting (it's a Casita, which means it's floor-to-ceiling carpets) and moved in all our gear from the tent trailer. We had no plans to do any other camping this year (this was the wettest summer we've had in a LONG TIME). But we wanted to try out our new egg, so this past weekend, we drove up to Whistler, BC, for an overnight shake-down cruise.
Pulling the Casita with our 2003 Jeep Liberty was much the same as pulling our tent trailer. In fact, comparing their listed dry weights, the Casita weighed only 150 lbs more. We were able to keep up with most traffic, although we lagged behind on hills. I purposely kept the speed down while going uphill because I didn't want to burn through too much fuel. For a while, we drove behind an FJ Cruiser pulling a 15' newer Trillium
We stayed at Riverside RV Resort and Campground, which is less than 5 minutes from Whistler Village. If you know anything about Whistler, BC, then you know it's a world-class ski resort and downhill bicycle destination. That means it's expensive. One night at the campground cost $50. That was for a multi-use site (ie: too small for larger trailers or motorhomes, no sewer hookups, but it has electric/water hookups, and tenters can use the sites, too). This was a newer section of the resort, which may explain why the bathrooms were so immaculate. I have not seen cleaner washrooms in any campground facility, ever. The site itself was, well, pretty basic. No grass, mostly gravel and a bit small. The small size is typical, though, for a private campsite (which is why we tend to camp at provincial and state parks). On the other hand, it wasn't parking-lot-tight, like some of those "campgrounds" that cater to motorhomes and are located near or in urban areas.
It was nice not having to do the tent trailer thing: crank up the roof, slide out the beds, unfold the galley, and arrange all our things in their "unfolded trailer locations." My wife and I did have a few disagreements of where things should go, but we'll figure out that over the course of one or two more outings. The space was definitely tighter than the tent trailer, though, which is why we had disagreements.
As for sleeping, that was a big adjustment. Our tent trailer's slide-out beds were big: 1 king size and 1 double...a real double. In addition to that, the dining table could convert to a double, and the couch to a single. Meanwhile, our little Casita provided two narrow bunk beds in front and one "double" when the dining table was folded down. And by "double," I mean less than a true double. My wife and I slept head-to-foot so we'd have room to move around a bit. It worked out fine for her, and she had a great sleep. Myself, I was concerned about moving around too much and waking her up, so I didn't sleep as well. I think it'll work out ok, though. It's pretty much like sleeping in the Volkswagen Eurovan Westfalia we used to have. In fact the bed size is very similar. For the kids, my daughter (5) slept fine in her bottom bunk. My son (7) didn't fare as well. His sleeping bag is quite light
and made of a slippery material, so it fell onto the floor several times during the night, necessitating him jumping down, retrieving the sleeping bag, and clambering back up. And everytime he thumped onto the floor, I woke up. I'm going to make a short railing to hold the sleeping bag, and him, in bed.
On the plus side of having a smaller interior space, I have to say that it was quite cozy, and it wasn't as cold as the tent trailer would be in the morning. And packing up to leave the campsite was a breeze! On the way home, we also enjoyed the convenience of being able to get into the trailer whenever we stopped, to access the fridge
or anything else we had in there.
When we had our Westfalia, we did a lot of multi-day trips where we'd stay at a different location each night. With the tent trailer, we stopped doing that due to the hassle of setup/takedown of the trailer. Now we have that freedom again, at the cost of some space, of course. Basically, we have what we wanted all along: a camper that was roomy enough for our small family but that had the convenience of our Westfalia.
So now, all we have to do is sell our tent trailer. We're going to wait until spring, when prices are ridiculously high for tent trailers.
BTW, while in Whistler, we rented some kayaks and paddled from Alta Lake to Green Lake via Alta Creek which is better known as the "River of Golden Dreams." I highly recommend doing that if you're ever in Whistler during the summer. It took us about 3 hours and while going along the creek, it was a relaxing paddle (or you could just drift) through some gorgeous scenery. It was also quite unique in that it narrowed down to 6ft in some places, making for an unusual experience. We ran into many locals who were drifting along in float tubes as well. It was just a great way to beat the heat on a beautiful sunny day. We also took the Peak 2 Peak gondola from the top of Whistler Mtn to Black Comb Mtn. Amazing views! Oh, and we saw 2 black bears. One was eating berries right beside the bike path by the highway (with a crowd of cyclists standing 8 ft from it, watching), and the other was in the bushes right in front of Riverside RV Resort. Needless to say, there are signs everywhere in Whistler, reminding people not to leave food or garbage anywhere where bears can get at it.