Original article from the Denver Post about our new Four Wheel Camper dealer in Colorado ...
Do you "get it" too ?
Pickup truck with a pop-up camper the best way to enjoy the great outdoors.
SOUTHWEST — Chris Janeway gets it.
At the risk of broaching the bromance threshold, I might even go so far as to say that Janeway gets me. Not in the soul mate sort of way, but in the guys that love their trucks sort of way. In the way that guys who thrive on the outdoors, the freedom to roam and travel to remote locales understand one another.
It's a lifestyle thing, built around mountains, lakes, rivers and canyons, stretching west from the Front Range across the Divide, through the desert sands and on to the Pacific. They are the places of boots, backpacks, skis, boats, fishing rods and other assorted sundries of the outdoor recreationist. And, at the foundation, they are the places of pickup trucks.
"If you don't have a pickup, you're just sitting on the sidelines," an Idaho fisherman once told me.
A recurring conversation among certain recreation-oriented circles revolves around your "setup," the mobile cocoon you've designed for yourself to get not just to-and-from but in-and-out-of camp as quickly and comfortably as possible. Trucks, vans, trailers, RVs, station wagons and all variety of toppers, tents, tarps and bivouac bags are in play. And I'm pretty sure I've tried them all.
In the past, convenience in camp might have been considered an overrated luxury. Camping was about roughing it, maximizing ingenuity while making due with the minimum. And while such skills are still revered in the outback, the reality of the 21st century is that time may be our most coveted commodity. The less time spent setting up and tearing down camp, the more time you have to enjoy it.
As a result, strategy is required when it comes to your car-camping setup. Considerations range from four-wheel drive to miles per gallon, comfort to capacity, gear demands, climate concerns, these days maybe even electricity and Internet access. Not everyone has the survival skills of an Outward Bound instructor after all, or even a Boy Scout, it seems.
That's where Janeway comes in.
Janeway won't teach you how to start a fire by rubbing sticks together. But the former accountant living on Lookout Mountain was smart enough to bring the functionality of Four Wheel Campers back to its birthplace in Colorado. Spotting the need for a convenient, quality camping product, he opened the Rocky Mountain Four Wheel Campers store (303-431-6611) in February.
Before the endorsement accusations start flying, I should note that I examined the equation from every angle, functional to financial, and was sold on Four Wheel Campers before ever meeting Janeway and learning of his plan to open up shop in Arvada. I bought mine from the company's second home of Woodland, Calif., where it relocated more than 20 years ago and where Janeway lived in his for several weeks as he trained and learned the ins and outs of the pop-up campers that slide into the back of a pickup truck. Apparently, we're both believers.
There are, of course, many other options, and the setup will always be a matter of individual taste. I simply enjoy the utility of a pickup truck too much to part with mine, but as a semipro recreationist with mobile office needs, the notion of a lightweight camper capable of off-road travel revealed its attributes long ago.
The function was once again evident on a recent road trip that ran from the Colorado Rockies to the coastline of California, back to the colorful canyonlands of Arizona and the mystic mesas of Cortez. Along the route, we saw every setup imaginable, from rugged 4WD Sportsmobile vans to what might pass for Willie Nelson's tour bus, VW Eurovans and tow-behind trailers in between.
With a pregnant wife and a bird dog riding shotgun, we camped along mountain streams, coastal cliffs and sandy surf breaks, cooking meals in a mobile kitchen and carrying surfboards, fly-fishing rods and the canvas camp comforts of a life of outdoor luxury. Come morning, we were gone like the wind as others fumbled with trailer shackles and tent poles. On more than one occasion, access was too difficult for other setups, and our camper was the only vehicle for miles.
"Remote" is a word at risk of losing its meaning anymore, a place increasingly difficult to find even in the vast American West. Finding such a place demands a nimbleness and ability to outmaneuver the masses. Once you get there, you'll want to stay and make the most of it.
That's the way my mind works anyway. And my setup. Fortunately, some folks just get that.