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Old 03-25-2023, 01:17 PM   #1
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"Dad, can I take the camper trailer on a trip with some friends?" Dad, "uhhhhhh...."

My son turns 21 in July. He's been driving my truck since 16, probably not too long after that has been towing the 22' ~5000 lbs boat + trailer under my supervision.

He drove about half of our 4000 mile camping trip out west two years ago, and again shared driving last year when we visited the Smokies.

He backs the camper in campsites just fine and is a huge help executing both the arrival and departure checklists, often taking care of the tasks with just him and his girlfriend (who's been camping in travel trailers with her family for years) because he wants to make sure he can. His idea.

The camper is a Snow River 288BHS. It's 32.5' hitch to bumper.

They'd stay within a few hours of where we keep the camper for their first trip.

What would you guys do? Have you had the same question and what was your response?

My stomach is in knots. My wife and I know he's more than capable. But we're just not quite sure where we're at yet.

We're grateful for any wisdom shared.
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Old 03-25-2023, 01:33 PM   #2
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I have to say you’ve done right by him. By allowing him to tow, back, drive etc with you right from the start and at a young age you should feel comfortable allowing him to handle it correctly.

It was the same with me. I started driving a tractor at 6. Because I was to small to throw the hay bales. I hooking up, towing, backing the boat trailer and docking it at 14. I rode a large motorcycle at 8. I was in the semi and farm trucks at 16.

I handled my son the same way. He learned to drive at 10 with a manual transmission VW Fox on a frozen lake and the same thing with boats, campers, tow trucks. Only thing he’s never done is semi’s. But he could with just a little instruction.

So I don’t think you need to question his ability. You know your son better than anyone. The question is not about his ability, but his maturity. There are a lot of kids that couldn’t handle the responsibilities. That’s your real question. I bet he could.

I know 65 year old that retire, are very responsible but don’t have the knowledge, ability, or common sense to handle a 40’ motor home, but get their checkbooks out and go.

I’d rather deal with your son in a campground than a lot of these new RV’ers.
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Old 03-25-2023, 01:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deerhuntre View Post
My son turns 21 in July. He's been driving my truck since 16, probably not too long after that has been towing the 22' ~5000 lbs boat + trailer under my supervision.

He drove about half of our 4000 mile camping trip out west two years ago, and again shared driving last year when we visited the Smokies.

He backs the camper in campsites just fine and is a huge help executing both the arrival and departure checklists, often taking care of the tasks with just him and his girlfriend (who's been camping in travel trailers with her family for years) because he wants to make sure he can. His idea.

The camper is a Snow River 288BHS. It's 32.5' hitch to bumper.

They'd stay within a few hours of where we keep the camper for their first trip.

What would you guys do? Have you had the same question and what was your response?

My stomach is in knots. My wife and I know he's more than capable. But we're just not quite sure where we're at yet.

We're grateful for any wisdom shared.
Id let him roll. Hes at a good age and looks like hes paid his dues.
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Old 03-25-2023, 01:48 PM   #4
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I would want to meet the friends he'll be sharing the camper with first.

You know him.....you don't know them.

Full disclosure.....we don't loan or rent our motorhome to anyone.
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Old 03-25-2023, 01:52 PM   #5
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I just got this question the other day, only from my step daughter...
That was a definite NO... But, then again, I have zero confidence that she could handle the experience...
I'm not usually one who stammers when he's trying to come up with an idea and she caught onto that pretty quick... I said it would probably be a good idea to rent a weekend unit first...

All I can really add to this is...
You and your wife, know your son, his abilities and how responsible he is... So, you need to make your decision based on your knowledge and best feelings about how well he could do... (or not...)

If it is just him and his girl (and you like her), and you're sure it's not going to have a back woods, blow-out weekend bash with all their friends... you could include a stipulation that on the first night, you and your missus would bring over a dinner for them after they get there and get set up by themselves, (That way you can make sure everything is set up the way you like it...) and then leave them for the weekend (and maybe make a spot check up at pack up day, "to see if they need any help..." so to speak

That would give him confidence and you piece of mind that he's ready to take on more responsibility with the camper...

Good luck!
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Old 03-25-2023, 01:57 PM   #6
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He’s proven himself more than capable, why not?
I remember years ago when I was about 14. Dad would tow us kids ( me and three best friends) down to the boat launch on Friday afternoon, drop our 18’ boat in the water and say see you all Sunday at noon, sharp. I’m sure it took a lot of courage for my folks to allow this, but four experienced Boy Scouts with boating merit badges made a lot of memories at Blake Island State Park.
My folks and that old boat are both long gone, but those camping trips and fond memories are still fresh in the minds of four middle aged “young” men.
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Old 03-25-2023, 02:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deerhuntre View Post
My son turns 21 in July. He's been driving my truck since 16, probably not too long after that has been towing the 22' ~5000 lbs boat + trailer under my supervision.

He drove about half of our 4000 mile camping trip out west two years ago, and again shared driving last year when we visited the Smokies.

He backs the camper in campsites just fine and is a huge help executing both the arrival and departure checklists, often taking care of the tasks with just him and his girlfriend (who's been camping in travel trailers with her family for years) because he wants to make sure he can. His idea.

The camper is a Snow River 288BHS. It's 32.5' hitch to bumper.

They'd stay within a few hours of where we keep the camper for their first trip.

What would you guys do? Have you had the same question and what was your response?

My stomach is in knots. My wife and I know he's more than capable. But we're just not quite sure where we're at yet.

We're grateful for any wisdom shared.
If not at 21 then when? 24? 27? Maybe it's time to let go a bit Dad.
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Old 03-25-2023, 02:42 PM   #8
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It's your son. You should be more than able to judge if he has good judgement. Take it from there.

However, I do agree that you should 1st formulate an opinion about each of his friends. Include that opinion into your response.

I have a 33 year old son and finally have a decent opinion of his level of responsibility. It took this long!
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Old 03-25-2023, 02:57 PM   #9
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I was your son quite a while ago. I wouldn’t do it. I won’t get any more detailed than that.
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Old 03-25-2023, 04:03 PM   #10
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I grew up with a lot of learning from grand parents. Drove tractors, could back trailers etc long before I even had a learners permit. Had a lot of freedom but always understood the responsibilities and expectations associated with ghe freedoms.
I'd say you know your son... have a heart to heart discussion about expectations and responsibilities and then decide based on discussion.
My neighbor went through similar situations with grand kids and drew up a written agreement from the discussion and all parties signed it to confirm agreement.
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Old 03-25-2023, 04:10 PM   #11
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I know people with "beater" RV's that loan them to whomever wants to borrow them and that's fine. However, if you take really good care of your stuff, it's hard to let someone else use it, even your own children.

I think I would impress upon your son that you're not worried about him, but if his friends don't respect the RV, it will be his first and last use of the trailer.
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Old 03-25-2023, 04:18 PM   #12
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Go over the trailer with a fine tooth comb. Document everything. Have your son AND his friends sign the paper that they will be responsible for any damage. Also, tell your son that his friends are NOT to help him back in, set up and un-hook and hook up again. And no one else can drive except him.

If he has never helped you set up at a campground, have him do it at home and watch. Make a list of what needs to be done and when.
Check with your insurance company to make sure he is covered.
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Old 03-25-2023, 04:28 PM   #13
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Is he willing to post a bond?

Mike in Colorado
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Old 03-25-2023, 05:49 PM   #14
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My wife and I are sitting here reading through all the responses and suggestions and keep saying out loud "really good idea" and "wow! Really thoughtful...." Really nice stories you guys shared.

Our son has always chosen really good and trustworthy people as friends, and even when he was very young wanted nothing to do with troublemakers.

And his girlfriend helps deploy and departure prep as well, so between the two of them, they got it covered.

It's gonna be some time until summer, but I'll report back how it goes.
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