As I stuffed my family’s sleeping bags into an enormous green duffel, I was feeling more guilt than the usual pre-trip excitement. I had zero business dropping everything and skipping town for three nights to go camping. But that’s what we were doing, even during one of the busiest weeks in recent memory. The school year had just begun (I’m a teacher), our family was in the middle of packing and moving to a new town, and I had a bottleneck of deadlines for articles and a book.
But friends had reserved two campsites months ago, and one of the biggest rules of Colorado campground camping is you do not give up reservations! We had also booked a Colorado Teardrop, a small-but-burly, decked-out camping trailer. (They’re made in Boulder, customized for individuals and rented out by the company and on apps like Outdoorsy and RVShare). Sure, renting a camper can cost as much as a hotel room, but our family had barely gone camping this summer, what with everything going on, so I felt justified in splurging. Plus, we’re still trying out as many camper configurations as we can — tents, hammocks, 25-foot RVs — to see what we like best, and renting is a great way to experience them all.
I pushed sweaters and winter hats into the bag (just in case), grabbed the cooler, rounded up my family. And then we were doing it, heading out of town to our favorite reservoir. Sometimes, I thought, the busiest moments in your life are when you most need a break. As the old Nessmuk saying goes, “We’re not out here to rough it. We’re here to smooth it. Things are rough enough in town.” (If you aren’t familiar, search Nessmuk for more such gems.)
We topped that last hogback, then dropped into a little valley where the Front Range cellphone signals do not reach. And that was it. The teardrop’s compact kitchen was open for business simply by lifting the rear hatch door — with bins for food, a camp stove and a pull-out prep table. Its massive tarp provided crucial shade. The kids grabbed drinks and snacks and disappeared into the woods. For the next three days, it was all campfires and music, ice cold swims, and predawn fogs that burned off with the morning sun. Those were the moments we were most grateful we’d made those reservations weeks ago and used
If you go
Colorado Teardrops offers a variety of lightweight teardrop-style trailers that can be pulled by almost any car. They’re insulated for all four seasons and some are large enough for a small family (up to a queen bed and two bunk beds). Rental starts at about $85 a day. 720-432-6817, coloradoteardropcamper.com
Rocky Mountain Campervans rents Custom Promaster conversion campers, Volkswagen Eurovans and Vanagons, and buses outfitted for camping. Most vehicles have pop-tops, two beds (sleeps 4), a sink, a refrigerator, and a stove top. Rental is roughly $150-290 a night. 720/593-0433, rockymountaincampervans.com
LazyDays RV has a variety of campers for rent (or purchase) at its Denver and Loveland locations, from small motorhomes that sleep two, to large trailers and motorhomes that can accommodate a family or group of friends. 970/278-1900, Lazydays.com
Colorado Camper Rental in Golden has a large selection of towable travel trailers and pop-up campers. Rental starts at about $100 a day. 303-443-1422, coloradocamperrental.com