Before I profess my love and borderline obsession with our Lance 850 camper, it is important to reflect on our decision making journey. I call it a journey because it spanned almost five years, involved multiple emotional roller coasters, and at times felt as if our circular arguments for and against some form of recreational vehicle were in fact circular and therefore never ending. The punch line is we love it and have grand plans of being the crazy old people posted up in our camper in the mountains in our golden years.
In our inaugural year campering, we spent over two months as a family of four traveling five states visiting national forests, monuments, and parks. We actually spent most of our time in our geographic backyard, the Blue Mountains. The only reason we were able to do this is because we chose a camper over other forms of recreational vehicles.
Initially, in a galaxy far, far away, we were thinking about a really big travel trailer, like Montana big to give you a hint. We don’t have a fireplace in our home, but were seriously considering the necessity of one in our trailer. After the initial admiration for use of space and amenities, we quickly realized that it didn’t check off one major checklist item: lifestyle.
We like remote locations. We wanted access to all the places we like to camp but, admittedly, with a few conveniences revolving around temperature and food storage. I also listen to every single twig snap and leaf blow when trying to sleep in a tent despite the German Shepherd on watch–I just can’t get my irrational fear of being eaten go. With that fear resolved, I’ve moved on to worrying about forest fires and emergency brake failure. That being said, our plan to act like a hermit crab in the woods is panning out quite well. The truck and camper fits everywhere we want to go. We are warm, dry, and well fed.
Surprisingly, what we thought we would miss in space and amenities with a trailer option, we have since discovered floor space is overrated and we didn’t really sacrifice any amenities. The point of the camper was not to hang out and play Twister, but rather act as a large suitcase and refrigerator to call home as we hop around the Pacific Northwest and someday beyond (right now there just isn’t enough Pirate Booty in the world to allow for longer trips).
When we are cooking, we send the kids up to the bed area over the truck to play with toys, look at books, and, yes, watch a show. We can all gather around the table to eat and play games. The table area that converts to a bed offers another great space to stretch out. The storage rivals Mary Poppins purse–we spent ten days touring around and had plenty of room to store all the food for the entire trip and pack clothes for various conditions for four people. I still had an open cabinet that I used to put the backpack just so something was in it. We also didn’t utilize the storage above the table as we take advantage of the convertible bunk bed.
The efficiency of the space is truly amazing. We looked at many different floor plans and many different manufacturers. The Lance 850 just flows so well. We don’t miss a slide out. We actually purposely chose not to pursue that option for hauling purposes that we will explore in greater detail later. We also predicted that we would grab lunch in a parking lot or squeeze into a camping spot. And the thought did cross our mind to just avoid points of entry for water or snow given our plan for heavy usage. Every time I step into the camper, I’m floored by its perfection in design and quality. Told you I was obsessed.