So I had a 1972 Ford Econoline van which worked great until I moved to Colorado where I quickly found out that rearwheel drive vans will not safely drive on snowy roads no matter how many sandbags you put over the rear axle. So I traded it in on a front wheel drive car, and eventually on four-wheel-drive trucks which is what I've been driving for about the last 30 years.
Since four-wheel-drive pickups have been my daily driver of choice for so long it only made sense that I would use them as the basis for being able to camp in comfort and my first effort in that direction was to put a topper on the truck and sleep in the bed. Even though that was a huge improvement over a tent it still had a lot of limitations and I never saw it as more than a way to spend a weekend in the woods.
Then one day I had some business to take care of up in the Denver area and just outside of Denver in a small town named Brighton I saw a company called Hallmark that made pop-up slide in truck campers. I had never heard of such a thing but I stopped by, talked to them, and in no time at all they were building me a camper to my specifications.
I loved my Hallmark pop-up. And since it was made IN Colorado, it was made FOR Colorado, so putting it on the back of a Chevy four-wheel-drive pickup made it perfect for driving around in the high country and camping wherever and whenever I wanted to. It was a little taste of freedom that changed the way I looked at things and unbeknownst to me set me on a path that ended up with me becoming a full timer decades later.
After about 10 years the little Hallmark pop-up was showing its age, and so was I, so I wanted something bigger and better with more luxury and was willing to give up the ability to go anywhere for the comfort of a small fifth wheel.
But now I'm starting to look back at the abilities the slide in pop-up camper had, the things it could do, and the places it could go on the back of a four-wheel-drive pickup that fits my mini-vacation plans better than anything I can think of at the moment. Yes there are some drawbacks but I haven't thought of any problems yet that can't be solved.
I'm not 100% sure that buying a slide in camper just to use in the summer, is what I want to do, but it is something I'm looking into and I do have about a decade of experience running around Colorado and other parts of the country in a slide in pop-up camper so its not likely that some unknown problem is going to jump up and bite me. But then again in the past I've been bit right after making a statement like that.
So that's where I'm at now, still in the thinking and studying stage. But it won't be long until it'll be summer in Colorado, the snowplows will get the passes open and the dirt roads going to long dead ghost towns will call to me. And when that happens I'm hoping I won't be showing up with a tent.