Family Camping Vehicle & Camper with bikes and an HOA

Joined
Mar 18, 2014
Messages
101
I thought I would come to you guys for some advice. I have been bashing my brain into a rock trying to figure out how to maneuver the landscape of kids, vehicles, campers, and gear that I'm sure many of you have gone through. There are 2 or 3 things that I really need to figure out in my search and some sticking points. Those are:

1. I have 2 kids: 7 and 9 yrs old that will be coming with the wife and I
2. We have summers off to roadtrip and want to get as far away as possible these next couple of summers or more now that the kids are more grown and capable
3. We have an HOA that will not allow us to keep a camper in the driveway or the street (which means garage parking only)
4. Our garage is only 83" tall (just under 7 feet)
5. We only have 2 four cylinder cars
6. We are starting to love mountain bikes as much as hiking and definitely want to have 4 bikes with us when we head out
7. I can't think of any more, but I'm sure I'll come back and add something here.
8. Oh, we're sick of blowing up thermarests every night and putting up the tent every night of a 1-2 month long roadtrip and wanted to try an alternative.

So we know we probably need to get a V6 vehicle to haul some weight.
We have thought about pickup truck (easy for bikes), we've considered looking into truck campers (hard to find that sleep 4, but doable)
We have thought about pop up campers (but then where do you put 4 bikes?)
And we have thought about hardshell campers (even the smallest will not fit under 83" door frame of the garage).

Everything is a frustrating Jenga puzzle of gear and I just want to say screw it all and just go with what we know. Roof rack on the roof (with tent and mattresses), cooler in the trunk, and 4 bikes on the hitch. I know how to do that, and it works.

Anyone got any advice for a similar situation or a photo they can share where they worked out something that fulfills this unnecessary void in our lives? Thanks for sharing like-minded ideas.
 

Nick

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Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,934
What constitutes a camper in your driveway? Is a van that you can sleep in considered a camper by their definition? A truck with a shell and an RTT? Or does it need to have fiberglass siding, big ugly graphics and a giant 6 foot wide name plastered on the back of it? That garage height is going to be tough to fit any camper in. A Tacoma with an FWC type camper would probably fit so long as you don't lift it and put big tires on it.
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
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Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
2,581
Check with your local self-storage place. You can often park campers there (outdoors) for a fairly reasonable figure. You might find that to be superior than getting a camper you're not really satisfied with just because of the HOA funkiness.
 
Last edited:

Wanderlust073

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Oct 30, 2016
Messages
839
Same HOA rules here and people do exactly what Larry said.
 

regehr

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Mar 28, 2012
Messages
1,497
I have a real low garage (4runner hits the roof unless I'm super careful) and keep one of these tent trailers in there:
the top of this trailer is metal grating and you can easily put stuff up there (it's designed to hold ATVs even). I've hauled other stuff up there but not bikes, but I don't see why that wouldn't work. also the trailer is light as these things go (1200 lbs) and it's quite unobtrusive while driving (4runner is rated up to like 5000 lbs).
I got this tent trailer when my kids were a few years younger than yours, with the intent of using it to setup base camps in the backcountry. this has worked out really well-- we drive down, stash the tent trailer somewhere nice, and then do day trips from there. I've taken it on some fairly rough roads (like into the Maze District, though not to the Maze proper) and it does just fine.
the thing I like about the tent trailer as opposed to something like an RV (besides the cost) is that it has zero systems, so there's zero maintenance.
not sure where you're based but Jumping Jack (tent trailer company) is based in SLC. before buying one I went down to their workshop and looked closely at the goods and they were happy to chat. there's no showroom or anything, just a bunch of dudes with cutting torches and such.
 

balzaccom

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Joined
Sep 30, 2014
Messages
518
We considered renting a camping van for a trip we wanted to take three years ago. When we added up the cost of that, it was less expensive to buy a used van and then sell it when we were done. But once we used the van for our first trip, we fell in love with it--and never did sell it. Seats five, but I removed the back two rows of seats and put in a full-sized double bed with a storage platform underneath. I left one set of bench seats in place, so three people can sit there. With a roof rack (and a bike rack on the back) this thing can carry an astonishing amount of stuff...and its high clearance has allowed us to take it well off the beaten track.

Here's a link to the photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/KM08grylchW6f29m2

And a shot of it at Bryce

1607530306671.png
 

Wanderlust073

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Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
839
I have a real low garage (4runner hits the roof unless I'm super careful) and keep one of these tent trailers in there:
the top of this trailer is metal grating and you can easily put stuff up there (it's designed to hold ATVs even).

You can park an ATV on it w/o having to remove the tent bits?
 

Outdoor_Fool

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Joined
Dec 11, 2015
Messages
1,816
I have a real low garage (4runner hits the roof unless I'm super careful) and keep one of these tent trailers in there:
the top of this trailer is metal grating and you can easily put stuff up there (it's designed to hold ATVs even). I've hauled other stuff up there but not bikes, but I don't see why that wouldn't work. also the trailer is light as these things go (1200 lbs) and it's quite unobtrusive while driving (4runner is rated up to like 5000 lbs).
I got this tent trailer when my kids were a few years younger than yours, with the intent of using it to setup base camps in the backcountry. this has worked out really well-- we drive down, stash the tent trailer somewhere nice, and then do day trips from there. I've taken it on some fairly rough roads (like into the Maze District, though not to the Maze proper) and it does just fine.
the thing I like about the tent trailer as opposed to something like an RV (besides the cost) is that it has zero systems, so there's zero maintenance.
not sure where you're based but Jumping Jack (tent trailer company) is based in SLC. before buying one I went down to their workshop and looked closely at the goods and they were happy to chat. there's no showroom or anything, just a bunch of dudes with cutting torches and such.

I agree with @regehr . This was the first option that came to my mind. A lot of people in AK use these and I have seen them loaded with ATVs, bikes, boats, etc. They have good clearance and have seen them in places I would not take my van.
 

Rockskipper

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Joined
Jun 11, 2017
Messages
3,206
Get an ALiner or Chalet hardside popup. Very very easy to set up and pull, and you have the security of a hardside in bear country and they're warmer than the canvas ones and last longer. If you get a really small one (prob. too small for your family), you can pull it with a 4 cylinder if not going through a lot of mountains. You can actually store a lot on the floor and/or put bike racks on the back. I've had both and of the 8 different trailers I've owned, they're my favorite, also very roomy inside. Don't get one with a bathroom, as they take up too much room and you can use a shower and portapotty in a shower tent and have more privacy. They're hard to find and pricey, but IMO the best of both worlds, as you can store it in the garage. The Chalet has a hydraulic lift, but other than that, they're pretty comparable. You can get both with high-lift kits. I took mine about everywhere I could get my 4X4 in, though with some caution. I got tired of pulling trailers and bought a Tiger RV, but if I ever got another, it would be a Chalet.

IMG_9711 (1).jpg
 
Last edited:

regehr

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Mar 28, 2012
Messages
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You can park an ATV on it w/o having to remove the tent bits?

yep! if you scroll around their front page a bit there are some photos:
 
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