Jim and I want to start by saying that the following "somewhat extensive" (haha) information is not here to give you a headache. Quite the contrary, it is to give you all of the information you need in advance to PREVENT a future headache during your trip! So let's get started, shall we?
WE'VE GONE THE EXTRA MILE - HERE ARE THE NON-STANDARD ITEMS WE INCLUDE FOR FREE!:
**USER MANUAL: We know you can't remember everything we show you on the day you take possession of the camper. So we made a large, easy to understand binder on how to operate everything during your rental with real color photos we took along the way to match each section's instructions. We know you don't want to spend your trip learning how to operate a pop up - you want to have fun!
**EVERY SUPPLY YOU COULD EVER WANT OR THINK OF: Feel free to ask us to email you our actual inventory sheets!! You will not believe what we have provided!! Not only the "basics" you need (dishes/utensils, pots/pans, all kitchen gadgets you could ever want, teapot, bowls, tupperware, dish towels/pot holders) but also starter kits of paper products (paper towels, kleenex, ziplocks, garbage bags, tinfoil), important extras (camping chairs, combo heater/fan, umbrella, paper/pens/scissors, 1st aid kit, deck of cards, flashlights, batteries, lighters/matches, flyswatter, broom/dustpan), tools (tools for anything you might need, bottle jack, level and much more) plus towels, washcloths, pillows, sheets, blankets and bedspreads! Again, ASK US TO EMAIL OUR ACTUAL INVENTORY LIST so you know what you can count on being provided - there is much, much more!
**PROFESSIONAL SAFETY INSPECTIONS AT START OF RENTAL SEASON: Gas lines, tires, brakes - all is inspected by a professional at the start of our short rental season when taken out of storage, for your safety.
**THOROUGH INSPECTIONS AND CLEANING RIGHT BEFORE YOUR RENTAL: We have a checklist that we use to go through all camper systems right before you pick it up. We check things such as: appliances in working order, shore power cord and outlets, smoke detectors, etc., camper towing lights/signals, proper tire inflation, inventory all accounted for, camper thoroughly cleaned and much more.
**WE OFFER DELIVERY AND SET UP OPTION: If you don't want to worry about renting a tow vehicle (and many rental companies do not allow you to tow anything), we are happy to help! Read the details/terms below in our "CAMPER DELIVERY AND PICK UP" section.
WHAT COMES STANDARD WITH THIS POP UP?
**BEDS: 1 KING SIZE Slide out bed (70"x79"), Other slide out bed is a FULL (48"x79"), U shape table converts to a bed that is an XL TWIN (45"x80") and smaller dinette table converts to a bed that is a TWIN (40"x80").
**AMENITIES: Aside from our extensive inventory of supplies we provide, the pop up has a 2 burner stove (can be used inside or outside!), 3 way fridge, manual pump sink (no water heater), spacious U-shaped dinette and another standard dinette with a table that is portable and can be set up outside, furnace with thermostat you can set to desired temperature, awning, extra storage ceiling hanging unit.
**ROOF RACK CROSS BARS INSTALLED: Though you would need the specific hardware to attach bicycles, kayaks, etc. This camper does come with roof rack cross bars installed.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO BRING AND PLAN ON PROVIDING FOR YOURSELF?
We know if arriving by air or train, space is limited. Please just be aware of the following items you will need:
**ALL SEASON CLOTHING: We can have scorching hot days but frigid nights. You need to be prepared for large temperature fluctuations.
**FOOD AND DRINKING WATER: You are on your own to purchase those items!!
**EXTRA EXPENSES IF GOING "OFF THE GRID:" If you decide to not stay in a standard campground (like KOA), everything changes! We go into more detail later regarding what happens when you go off the grid, but keep in mind the following: you will likely want to rent a portable generator so you can keep the battery charged and use the outlets in the camper, you will go through propane rapidly when using the furnace so you will need to keep filling the propane tank (or purchasing many Blue Rhino tanks to keep at your camp), you may need to purchase (or bring) warm bedding gear like sleeping bags for cool evenings (again, we provide basic bedding which is fine when using our electric heater or furnace but off grid is a bit more challenging).
**PROPANE: We start you off with a full tank and expect you to return it to us topped off (or see our optional fee if you want us to do this on your last day). If you are not using the furnace, the propane will last a long time. If using it for the furnace you will be refilling it frequently. Any refill costs during your trip are at your expense. We just want it topped off when you are done. We do not care if you take it to be refilled (economical) or swap at a Blue Rhino location (more costly).
**TOW VEHICLE: If you will be towing the camper instead of having us deliver it for you, you will need to make sure the company supplying the vehicle you are renting allows towing (many do not) and that it can handle towing a pop up. Your tow vehicle must have the standard 2" square hitch receiver (we provide the actual hitch and 2" ball for you but, if bringing your own hitch as well, make sure you have a 2" ball on it!) in addition to an electronic brake controller (any vehicle with a tow package will have this - just be sure). The ground to hitch ball height measurement is approximately 15" and there is a LOT of play by way of the crank on the camper which brings it up and down to accommodate the tow vehicle height - but if your tow vehicle hitch receiver is abnormally/extremely low to or high off the ground, contact us so we can make sure there won't be any problems. We have various hitches with different drops to accommodate most any vehicle except extremes.
IS THIS YOUR FIRST TIME CAMPING IN A POP UP?
**THE GOOD STUFF: Lightweight and easy to tow, so you have access to more remote locations and don't need a huge vehicle to pull it; You won't need the large side mirrors because they are low and you can see out your back window; Easy to maneuver even if you are unfamiliar with driving/towing a camper; Really feel you are "in" nature with the canvas top and screen windows all around instead of a hard sided camper where you are closed off; Very simple to operate the few amenities inside vs. the complexity of larger RVs which have a huge learning curve; Perfect for those who really don't feel hard sided campers are truly "camping" yet they don't want to tent camp in Glacier; Children LOVE them and they are a great way to introduce the young ones to future tent camping experiences.
**WHAT YOU NEED TO CONSIDER: If you are staying at a normal campground (like a KOA) with full amenities (power hookups, water supply, hot showers and toilets) you will be able to utilize everything the pop up has to offer with little effort. All you need to know for now (we will train you at the time of the rental) is that a pop up does not have a toilet (though we give you a portable toilet bucket for evening emergencies), shower, air conditioning or hot water. You will use the campground amenities for those "luxuries." However, if you are going "off the grid" it is a completely different scenario, as we explain a bit later.
WHAT WE REQUIRE OF YOU - OUR TERMS
We want you to have fun...and we have done all we can to ensure you have the most amazing experience here in Glacier National Park country. But to protect ourselves and our camper, we need to have a few rules in place before we turn our camper over to you...so here we go!
**NO PETS: A pop up is not the place for pets (and we love animals). The "walls" in a pop up are all screen and canvas. One overly-excited dog can lead you to an expensive repair/insurance claim if they rip the screen when they see another dog walk by. This is for your financial protection as well as ours.
**NO SMOKING AND NO CANDLES: Again, over half of the camper is screen and canvas. No smoking indoors and no candles, please.
**SIGN OUR RELEASE OF LIABILITY FORM and other required documentation: This rental platform has its own paperwork for you to sign when you pick up the camper, but we have chosen to follow the practice that many camper renters have also put in place - an additional release of liability form drafted that emphasizes and clarifies the unique nature of their specific RV, terms and policies. Again, we are very understanding and friendly folk, but we want to make sure each renter is clear on our terms, etc. WE WILL EMAIL YOU THIS FORM TO REVIEW IN ADVANCE so you have time to review it now vs. on the day you pick up the camper. Please note that we will not give possession of our camper to anyone who does not sign all documentation (signature must be by the primary renter and I.D. is required).
**RETURN IN RESPECTABLE, CLEAN CONDITION: We understand you don't have access to supplies needed to deep clean the camper. We aren't the type of people to hit you with a cleaning fee after your trip. We even get that you might have to close the pop up during the rain. Don't worry - it happens...we will dry it out when we get it back. But we do expect you to put all inventory back into the totes you found it in and that the supplies are wiped off/clean (no dirty dishes!!), to wipe off surfaces and floors, to not have the camper externally covered in mud or debris and that all inventory is present and accounted for. Basic human decency is all we ask for! Excessive filth or missing inventory will come out of your damage deposit as will any evidence of sneaking pets on board or smoking inside of the camper.
**ALLOW FOR AN HOUR WITH US AT PICK UP AND DROP OFF: There are required forms from the rental platform plus required training on how to operate our camper (we will have to set it up to show you). We know you are excited to get going but do figure in an hour with us at both the start and end of your trip.
**PROPANE TOP OFF POLICY: This is an optional fee you can add into your rental for a flat $20.00. We start you off with a full propane tank on your first day. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE TO KEEP REFILLING YOUR OWN TANK DURING YOUR TRIP, AT YOUR OWN COST. However, on the last day, we expect it to be returned to us "full." If this is inconvenient, this fee will leave it to us to fill. That said, YOU WILL NOT BE REIMBURSED if it is half full, barely used, etc. This service is OPTIONAL in case you do not want to be bothered with topping off the propane tank on your last day. If you do not choose this option yet return it not topped off, this fee will be deducted from your deposit.
**CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS: For those utilizing our delivery and set up service, it is REQUIRED that you show proof of your campground reservation. For those towing our camper, you do not need to have campground reservations - but you do so at your own risk. We have provided many warnings that campgrounds fill quickly and "off grid" places can be either too rugged to tow to or filled up by locals who enjoy Glacier in the summer, too. No refunds are given for having no campsite to go to!
**ACCOMMODATING ODD ARRIVAL TIMES: We have posted the ideal scenarios of pick up and drop off times but we are understanding and flexible - just contact us about your unique travel times and we will work with you to the best of our ability. However, we will not be meeting and providing set up and instructions in the late evening hours/middle of the night or 5am! If you are due to arrive at 9pm on Amtrak, for example, you will need to plan on a motel that evening and we will see you the next morning. Just communicate your needs to us and we will do our best to help you figure out the best plan.
SO YOU WANT TO GO OFF GRID? READ THIS FIRST....UNDERSTANDING POWER, BATTERY AND GAS SYSTEMS
We completely understand the urge to dodge the KOA-type camping experience and take off on your own...it is the ultimate, outdoor adventure. However, aside from how hard it can be to find vacant, remote and accessible campsites (standard 4 ply tires won't make it on many of the rocky roads) around Glacier in the busy tourist season (remember, we locals migrate to those remote places in summer, too!) you will not be able to use the pop up at its full capacity if you are off grid. You can find more about this online, but here are just the basics you need to consider to give you the basic picture:
**OUTLETS IN A CAMPER WILL NOT WORK: Outlets in a camper (standard outlets to charge your cell phone, use your hair dryer) do NOT work unless you are at a campground that has an electric hook up (called shore power) to plug the camper's power cord in to. If off grid camping, the only way to use those outlets is to rent a portable generator. We have a list of local companies that rent if you are determined to go off grid, but it is at your expense and you are liable for their equipment, not us!
**HEAT AND PROPANE ARE GOING TO BE ISSUES: Even if you have a generator, you cannot run it all night in order to use our small electric heater (and many campgrounds have generator quiet hours anyway). That means you will be using the furnace during the cold nights. That may sound "ok" but if you constantly use the furnace you will fly through the propane. Plan on frequently taking the tank to be refilled (or stock a bunch of Blue Rhino propane tanks at your site, at your cost). Also, you will be draining the battery power quickly (without being plugged into power it cannot recharge) so you will need to recharge the battery daily so it can run the furnace during the night. Furnaces are a tremendous draw on propane and battery power - just keep this in mind. It will take more work on your part to keep them functioning during your trip. Also, the battery cannot be adequately charged from a trickle charge connection to your tow vehicle overnight. The batteries need a real charge by either being plugged into electricity or from a generator - those are the only options.
**IF HEAT IS NOT AN ISSUE FOR YOU: There is some good news - it stays light out in Montana very late in the summer so you will not use much battery for the indoor lighting. The 2 burner stove barely uses any propane while cooking. The fridge can be set to use propane conservatively (or skip the fridge and just use a cooler and ice). You won't drain battery or propane much at all if you do not run the furnace. Some people use a pop up just like a tent when off grid - just bring lanterns, cooler, a BBQ grill and don't worry about running out of anything because you aren't using anything! But that darn furnace is a game changer, and Montana has chilly nights. If it is a must for you and your family, you will need to plan on renting a generator and frequent propane runs...or some high quality, cold weather sleeping bags, etc.
CAMPER DELIVERY AND PICK UP SERVICE OPTION:
We are happy to offer you the option to have us deliver and set up your camper - and come take it down and pick it up at the end of your trip. Then you don't have to worry about a tow vehicle! But there is criteria you must meet and agree to before we accept this request. Please understand the following:
**PROOF OF CAMPGROUND RESERVATION: You must provide proof that you have a campground reservation. This is to avoid our driving the pop up around as you search for an "off grid" site during busy tourist season. We do not provide delivery service to those who are just winging it and hoping they find somewhere to camp.
**CAMPGROUND MUST BE ACCESSIBLE VIA HARD SURFACE ROADS: Sorry, but the campground must be accessible by hard surface roads. No going into the back country on gravel, muddy or rutted roads (you won't find reservations there, anyway!). Think KOA and other typical campgrounds.
**ALL IN FOR THIS SERVICE, OR ALL OUT: By using this service, you agree to our dropping off and picking up in the same location. No towing it yourself at the start of the trip and then we pick it up later.
**UNDER 10 MILES ONE WAY, THIS SERVICE IS FREE!!: When you go to Google Maps and type in West Glacier (not the park entrance, the actual town), if your reserved campground is within 10 miles one way of West Glacier, you needn't do a thing except tell us you want this service. If it is over 10 miles, optional fees apply that you can pay for when booking this pop up rental.
**BETWEEN 10 MILES AND 60 MILES THERE IS A FEE DEPENDING ON DISTANCE: See the "optional fees" section on this listing to understand the breakdown of fees. Keep in mind that we actually drive there and back on first day and there and back on last day, so we put a lot more time, mileage and gas money into this service than you might recognize. Anyway, check the distance of your campground in Google Maps from West Glacier and simply pay the optional fee at the time of booking that matches the ONE WAY DISTANCE of your campsite. Your fee covers all of the there and backs on our end...it is just a one time fee for you.
**NO DELIVERY SERVICE OUTSIDE OF 60 MILES: 60 miles seems to cover all of the popular towns on the outskirts just fine....that is as far as we are willing to travel one way (again 60 miles one way would be 120 miles for us on the day we meet and 120 miles when we go pick the camper up....makes me tired just thinking about it!).
IS THIS YOUR FIRST TIME VISITING GLACIER NATIONAL PARK?
Glacier is a pristine wilderness not to be missed - but you need to be prepared. What it looks like on Google Maps (easy access to all!) is not reality.
**RESERVATIONS: Whether you will be towing our camper and moving around or staying in one campground during your entire stay, you must have a reservation. Many of the camping areas in Glacier are first come, first served. In the busy summer tourist season, that means you have a very, very slim chance of finding a campground space. Other remote campgrounds "off the beaten path" are extremely rugged and hard on vehicles - and they also are often found with no vacancies. The locals like to be in the mountains during summers, too - and we tend to grab the places that aren't as well known to tourists! You get the idea....if you do not have a reservation, the odds are high you will have no place near Glacier to camp. So make reservations at "normal" campgrounds very early - and if wanting to camp in Glacier, visit the National Park Service site https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/camping.htm#CP_JUMP_2351381 that tells you all about which campgrounds take reservations in the park, what amenities they have, etc. Glacier campgrounds do not have electric hookups, many don't allow generator usage, etc. so talk to the park in advance and let them help you find the best place to camp.
**WEATHER: Even the hottest summer days can come with very cold nights (upper 30s, low 40s). Also, we have had rare snows in June or Labor Day weekend and Going-To-The-Sun Road has opened in mid-July in some years. It is nature and she does what she pleases. Please be prepared with cold and warm weather clothing and a positive attitude that "anything goes in Montana" so you enjoy yourself no matter the weather.
**CELL PHONE SERVICE: You might be shocked to learn that, when off the main strip, your cell phone service disappears. If you were planning to go off the grid but need to call home every evening, this will be a problem for you!
Whew!! Think that about does it!! Of course, contact us if you need even more information. Hopefully all of this information has helped you make a decision to come join us this summer.....and answered many of your questions in advance....look forward to meeting you!