The reason that I want a camper is two-fold. First is to be able to comfortably survive at a dark site well into the cold season. Second is to be able to exist comfortably and stay dry during a rain event. I have chosesn a pop-up camper for this purpose. It is plenty large enough for two people, it has a small towing foot print, and in the scheme of things it doesn’t cost that much. I have traveled down a long and winding road to get to this decision, and that is an interesting story.
I started learning about shelter really quickly during a one-night stay at York County Star Party in 2016. I ended up sleeping on the ground with no shelter and I woke up soaked. I vowed that this would never happen to me again. A fellow HAL member was there stayed one day longer than me. She sat out a day-long rain event in a very small tent. I vowed that this would never happen to me.
Shelter for my next star party, AHSP 2016, was a large tent, and I had a large double cot for Lisa and me. I knew before leaving that the weather was going to be perfect, or I would not have gone to this event. Shelter for this event was perfect.
Doug and I returned to ASHP in 2018, and planned to stay for all four days. Not being able to predict the weather, I rented an A-liner pop-up camper. we were subject to high winds and nearly constant rain. Tent campers were miserable, but we survived comfortably.
Doug and I returned to the ASHP site in 2019 for a two-night stay in mid summer. After staying up observing until the wee hours, we really wanted to get some high-quality daytime sleeping in. We knew that rain was not in the forecast, so the large tent seemed perfect for this. The sun, it turns out, made an oven of the inside of the tent as soon as its direct rays came over the ridge to our east.
The next learning event was our first trip to Harney, MD. Doug and I planned to stay just one night. We were to observe for as long as we could hold out, and crash for a couple of hours before heading home. Based on the York experience, and the short amount of time that we expected to sleep, we elected to put up a pop-up awning for shelter. It turns out that heavy dew condensing on the inside of the awning made its own rain weather system right over our heads. We brought the large tent for the next two visits to Harney.
Meeting Victor at Little Orleans MD was a learning experience. I brought a small tent for a one-night stay. The temps dropped into the upper 30s, and I woke up very cold several times. I did not want to experience this again.
So, taking everything that I learnd about shelter over the past six years, it seemed that a pop up with an air conditioner and a furnaces was the right solution for getting out into the field more, and for extending the season for trips to dark sky sites.