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Old 04-21-2016, 08:35 PM   #1
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New Owner--Flagstaff t12bh a frame

We are picking up our new 2016 Flagstaff next week. We are former teardrop campers, but needed more space and a place to get out of the weather! As new owners, what advice would you give us right away? We live in Colorado and camp mostly at BLM and Forest Service campgrounds. Our biggest concern is about wind (I have been reading suggestions) and just general upkeep. Our teardrop was a home-build (not by us) and required minimal maintenance. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated....we are excited!
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Old 04-22-2016, 12:08 AM   #2
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Welcome to the family!


As for advice, this place is full of it. Pull up a chair and dive in!
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Old 04-22-2016, 01:46 AM   #3
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We live in Colorado Springs and use our A-frame to camp Colorado and adjacent states.

We bought our A-frame 2 years ago, after years of tent and pop-up camping (mostly in California). Before family, I was a backpacker. Your expectations of camping will make a real difference in how you see and approach the a-frame.

With the A-frame, we were out to solve 2 issues with PUPs (pop-up campers) without giving up towing with a 6 cylinder SUV or minivan. We wanted to be able to setup and take down quickly so that weekend and overnight camping became enjoyable.

From arrival, the camper is set up in about 20 minutes if we connect electric and water. Disconnecting and removing the WDH bars and hitch is about 5 minutes of that time. Setting up and staking down the EZ-Up and the picnic table takes longer than the A-frame. We cook, eat, clean, lounge at the table. The A-frame is primarily for sleeping and waiting out weather.

When we had camped in Colorado with the PUP, the wind would cause the PUP to sway a little, and wind pressure on the canvas was visible on the inside. That and the soft sides had made my wife a little nervous about bears. It was a bear visit to our tent site at Lake Tahoe that had moved us from tents to a PUP - no damage to tents but the bear lingered for more than an hour sampling all our dry food. The hard sides of the A-frame are a lot more reassuring for both wind and bears. The insulation of the side and roof panels, and reduced volume help with inside temperature, and reduce heating or cooling needs. It is also quieter inside than a PUP. My wife is much happier with the A-frame - and that of course makes camping much more enjoyable.

I can put up the walls pretty easily in 20MPH winds. I can do it OK in 30MPH winds. More than that, I'll just wait out the wind (just like with tents). Once up, the Rockwood A-frames are plenty rigid. It's quite likely that some day we'll get hail damage causing marking and pocking of the windows in the roof pieces, and have to replace them. It just hasn't happened yet.

We do not use awnings camping in Colorado. We like to go exploring during the day, leaving the camper unattended. That's not possible with awnings in Colorado.

Because of the ultra-violet at altitude and the hail storms, we made sure our A-frame would fit in our garage between uses. This meant we had go to the smallest model, which has worked out well for us. The other advantage of the small model is that we can tuck into those small shaded sites near the back or edges of a campground where big rigs can't go. It will even go into spaces that I couldn't get the PUP into. We changed houses last summer, and the new garage is tall enough to raise the A-frame inside the garage. That gives us some additional guest quarters, and allows us to easily pack or work on the camper.

Additions we made to suit our style of camping:
1) put mattress toppers in. Stock mattress is not comfortable. With the toppers, we sleep better than at home.
2) put in dual batteries to let us run heater (less than 5 hrs per night) for 4 consecutive nights without hook-ups. I upgraded the batteries to two 232 AH 6V golf cart batteries for more reserve and less worry.
3) re-worked the fridge compartment for better air flow from the chimney and across the cooling coils. I used Reflectix to also insulate the compartment walls and ceiling (which were getting warm with several days of fridge use). I have a wireless thermometer setup to monitor inside-the-fridge temps.

Because we tow with a minivan, we found the WDH essential to restoring good handling and ride to the minivan when the A-frame is hooked up. Our dealer recommended and installed an Equalizer 2 point 600/6000 WDH/anti-sway. I love it. The wife is not afraid to drive towing for extended periods. There is no sway, even in the cross-winds on the interstate at 75MPH. We normally tow at 65-67 when on the interstate because of the trailer tire speed rating and the improved gas mileage.

Hope this helps, just our experiences. Yours may differ.

Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
camping Colorado and adjacent states one weekend at a time
starting 10 days in the Utah 5 this Saturday
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Old 04-22-2016, 08:53 AM   #4
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Great ideas

We also live in Colorado Springs! Your ideas are great. We knew we would be getting a mattress topper. We wondered about the sway bar, so your description is helpful. Does the sway attachment effect backing up? We also like the campsites that are more tucked away. Have a great time in Utah! Arches is top on the list for us!
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Old 04-22-2016, 02:32 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mollypcb View Post
Arches is top on the list for us!
I'm heading there next month. Passing through various state and national parks on the way out and back from Houston. As a hot weather, coastal flatland camper, I don't have much to offer about camping in the mountains.. But I am looking forward to my upcoming practical experience.
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Old 04-22-2016, 02:39 PM   #6
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The Equalizer is a combination weight distributing hitch and antisway. The combination spring and antisway bars rest on L-brackets bolted onto the camper frame. The spring of the bars spreads the tongue weight to the front of the tow vehicle, and a little back to the camper axle. The friction of the bars sliding on the L-brackets provides the anti-sway. In slow speed turns the sliding bars do make groaning sounds. Yes, the bars are left connected when backing up.

I install the bars when I hitch up, and don't remove them until unhitching the minivan at the campsite.

Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
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