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Summer RV trip, 2010

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Article and photos by Haney Louka

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Towing with a 201 Chevrolet Silverado HD

“The whole RV culture just fascinates me.”

That statement I made last October initiated a series of back-and-forth e-mails between the marketing folks at GoRVing Canada and me to shape my family vacation for the summer of 2010.

As a family, we typically go camping in a tent one or two weekends every summer to locations within a couple of hours’ drive from home. But we wondered what it would be like to extend that concept into a longer summer adventure so we can see more of what Canada has to offer.

It’s fair to say that we’ve historically been fair-weather campers: a rainy forecast usually results in us cancelling our camping plans, and if the weather turns sour in the middle of a camping weekend it doesn’t take much arm twisting to commence the pack-up-and-head-home routine a little early. Let’s just put it this way: with my wife and I and our two children, now six and eight years of age, a dome tent can feel mighty small after a few hours of being cooped up during a heavy rain. But during a nice summer weekend, few things can compete with a fun camping getaway.

Feature: RV having fun yet? travel rvs auto articles
RV having fun yet? Click image to enlarge

After looking at various RV – recreational vehicle – options and vacation destinations, we decided to head west to the Canadian Rockies with a 30-foot travel trailer. We considered a class C motorhome, but decided we would appreciate the added mobility of a separate tow vehicle so we could leave the trailer fully connected and stabilized at the campground and do our sightseeing without it.

GoRVing Canada set us up with a rental unit from Big Country RV in Oak Bluff, Manitoba, who gave us the choice between a smaller 21-foot unit or this 30-footer, either of which could be rented at a rate of $795 for one week (there are additional fees for insurance, prep, and convenience kits that can inflate the cost to around $1,200, so check with the dealer when looking at the total cost of renting one of these units).

Feature: RV having fun yet? travel rvs auto articles
RV having fun yet? Click image to enlarge

The RV of choice was a 2010 Tamarack Trail 280BHSS manufactured by Outdoors RV in La Grande, Oregon. Choosing the larger of the two units meant that we wouldn’t be converting the dinette to a bed for the kids each night. Instead, they had their own semi-private bunk right next to the three-piece bath at the rear of the trailer. Up front is a queen-sized bed for the missus and me, with the mid-section of the trailer housing a full kitchen (replete with nearly-full-sized fridge, freezer, oven, cooktop, and, of course, the kitchen sink), four-seat dinette, and a sofa. Both the dinette and the sofa can be converted to beds, meaning this trailer can sleep up to nine people, as long as they understand that they’ll be in fairly close quarters.

The trailer has one slide-out that runs the length of the middle living area to provide an additional 18 inches of width at the touch of a button. What struck us about this trailer is the abundance of storage space located throughout the unit. Nooks and cupboards abound, and even the queen-sized bed lifts on hydraulic struts to expose wide open space beneath. There are also three exterior storage doors which open up to reveal huge cargo holds for those items that never need to see the inside of the trailer. For us, that meant wood blocks for the corner jacks, our portable barbeque, lawn chairs, bike helmets, and the like.