At the beginning of the month we bought a 2001 Coleman Niagara pop up tent trailer, and we're excited to embark on an adventure of cleaning and fixing it up for our family. You may be wondering why name your trailer? And why Graham? Many who know me know I have an affinity towards naming everything, vehicles, plants and now tent trailers. Everything needs a name right? Well, Graham was actually my husbands idea. From graham crackers used in making s'mores when camping. I thought it was just perfect! So Graham it is. We are hoping to add many little camping hacks to Graham that make camping with a family easier. We have been pinteresting like crazy searching for organization ideas, remodel tips, as well as sewing and upholstery advice.
My husband and I love camping! Camping with two kids can be such a fun adventure... But last summer we found out it was not an adventure we enjoyed taking in a tent. Basically no one slept, and if mommy doesn't sleep, mommy isn't a happy camper... pun intended. Sorry I couldn't resist. So after our failed adventure in tent camping with small children we borrowed our neighbors pop up tent trailer, and wow did it make a huge difference. Which started us on our journey of researching and finding our own pop up tent trailer to start making memories in.
Once we knew what we were looking for we started our search. We used both Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist to search on. It became somewhat of an obsession. Keeping in mind what was on our must have list and knowing our budget there were surprisingly lots of options out there. We looked at a few trailers before finding the right one for us. Most seemed to have water damage in the floors which was not something we wanted to get into. So, I was a little nervous driving all the way up to the rainy area of Seattle to look at a trailer. Graham may not have been very clean, but he had both our must haves and didn't have water damage in the floor so we struck a deal and he was ours.
What made us choose this particular trailer? There were two main components that were important to me in the trailer we would choose. Our neighbors pop up tent trailer had a storage area in front of the trailer that you can pack full of all sorts of goodies without having to pop the trailer up. This was a great place for us to throw all our clothing bags in so our SUV didn't feel so jammed packed. Allowing me room to pack all those last minute items without feeling guilty about jamming something into the last remaining crack of available space. If you travel with kids I am sure you know what I am talking about. The second thing I wanted was something I didn't even know existed in pop up tent trailers until we started our research. A slide out. In some models of tent trailers the table section slides out allowing you so much more space. That way you don't feel like you are right on top of each other and aren't having to wait to go past each other to one end or the other. With kids underfoot this just seemed like a must have so we could all move around without constantly bumping into each other.
When I first saw Graham... I was less than thrilled with the level of cleanliness I was seeing. He had mildew spots all over the canvas, and let's be honest here he was just kind of filthy. Last weekend we decided to dive right in with a good thorough deep cleaning. Man guys I wish I had taken before pictures. Because the difference is incredible. I have never been very good about remembering to do before, during and after pictures when I do a project. That is something I am hoping to rectify going forward. It is amazing the difference some good old fashioned elbow grease can make. Well not just elbow grease, there were lots of different cleaning products involved too. My two favorites were the mildew removing spray and my Mr. Clean Magic erasers. I spent a whole day literally scrubbing every surface 3 times. But it was worth it! All the mildew spots on the canvas are gone and all the smudges, marks, and for lack of a better word "goo" are scrubbed off. Graham now smells like cleaner, instead of dirt. A smell I hope dissipates to be replaced with that good old smoke and pine tree smell of camping.