Starling Travel

March 26, 2013

Mike’s Contempo Quantum 5

Filed under: Camping,Motorhomes and Campers,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

When I posted an entry about the very awesome Quantum 5 Contempo Fifth Wheel Fiberglass Trailers, Mike immediately noticed one of the photos:

I was the original owner of the Quantum fifth wheel that you show at the top of this article. I know it was my rig because of the awning and sewer hose on the rear and the metal band where the seam is on the side of the rig. These were not original and I added them over the twenty two and a half years we owned the rig. We purchased it in 1980 in Fullerton, CA and originally used a 1978 Toyota SR5 pick up to tow it. I traded up to a 1984 Chevy El Camino when it was new and towed it with that veh. until 2002 when I traded it in on a new motor home. WOW, to see that someone else got the rig and enjoyed it after we did is just great! It was a neat small aerodynamic camper that my wife and I used with great joy for many years. It is good to see they are still appreciated.

I was so excited that one of the original owners was willing to talk about his beloved old trailer, so I asked him to send photos and he DID!

Mike's Contempo Quantum 5 from Starling Travel

There is so much awesome retro goodness in this photo that I’m stymied. From the El Camino to the stunning orange sands of the American Southwest, I am speechless! Luckily, Mike was willing to tell me all about it. (Continue Reading…)

March 24, 2013

Automobile-Mounted Camper

Filed under: Camping,Tents — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I was looking around on Google Patents When I found this car-mounted camper.

Car Mounted Camper Tent from Starling Travel

Here is the description:

An inexpensive, lightweight camper is releasably mountable about trunk portions of an automobile without requiring the formation of holes in the automobile body. The camper has a flat floor and front, rear, top and side walls which are foldable to compactly overlie the trunk of the automobile.

It looks pretty interesting. (Continue Reading…)

March 22, 2013

Solar Light Owl Lantern from LucentJane

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I found this Owl Mason Jar Light Outdoor Solar Light Canning Jar by LucentJane on Etsy a couple of weeks ago and just fell in love with it!

Solar Light Owl Lantern from Starling Travel

I really love the owl design, the pretty color and how well the solar light looks like it’s attached to the jar.

Solar Light Owl Lantern from Starling Travel

It has a nice handle so you can hang it from a branch or place it on your table.

Solar Light Owl Lantern from Starling Travel

I’ve been looking for a good centerpiece for my table when I’m camping. This one isn’t quite right for me, but I DO like it a lot.

Solar Light Owl Lantern from Starling Travel

At $30, I think I can make one for myself that holds up better than what I have right now, but I haven’t found anything that I like. This one is a great start for ideas.

Solar Light Owl Lantern from Starling Travel

March 17, 2013

Use a Mesh Laundry Bag To Dry Dishes

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

This article from Campfish has a bulk approach to camp dishes:

She says:

After each meal, fill three dishpans with water. Then add liquid detergent to one bin, bleach to the other and leave the final bin clear water. Each camper then washes their dishes in the detergent water, then moves them to the bleach water and finally the clear water.

All wet dishes go back in the bag, which are then hung on a line outside.

I really like the idea of the mesh bag to dry dishes.

Mesh Laundry Bag for Drying Dishes from Starling Travel

That was the idea behind this Hanging Camp Organizer by UtiliMate.

Hanging Camp Organizer by UtiliMate at

B&E Home Essential Laundry Mesh Wash Bag Set (Small * 2, Medium * 2, Large * 2, Bra Wash Bag * 2) - Set of 8 at Amazon.comThe only problem with the UtiliMate is that it’s $16, where mesh laundry bags cost MUCH less. Heck, here’s a set of EIGHT of them for ten bucks:

Of course, it’s just as easy to take a towel, DRY the dishes and just put them away, so maybe this whole idea is superfluous. Every time I see something that looks like it would make things easier, when I think about it, they just complicate things. In the end, nothing packs as light or dries dishes as quickly as a simple towel.

March 16, 2013

All-In-One Toasters: Tiny Appliances for the Camper

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

When we are camping at a place with electricity, it makes cooking food so much easier. I found a bunch of all-in-one toasters that act as a coffee maker, tiny oven and cook top all in one.

This one is my favorite: Nostalgia Electrics 3 in 1 Breakfast Station.

Nostalgia Electrics 3 in 1 Breakfast Station at

Honestly, the reason I like it so much is (Continue Reading…)

March 11, 2013

Solar Light Centerpiece

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

When we were camping at Lake Havasu in January this year, I saw this centerpiece on a picnic table.

Solar Light Centerpiece from Starling Travel

It’s an inexpensive solar light that has been mounted on an inverted terra cotta pot. It is utilitarian, but it provided a lot of light at that picnic table that night.

I have been trying to find a pretty way to have a solar lights at the campground. I had made some hanging solar lights, but the wind damaged half of the eight that I made, so I gave up on them.

How to Make Hanging Solar Lights from The Gadgets Page

I then put them into a candelabra, but the wind knocks it over as well.

Solar Light Candelabra from The Gadgets Page

The terra cotta planter is impervious to the wind, but it’s not very pretty. I’m still trying to find a way to make a beautiful solar lamp for camping that won’t blow away in the wind. When I find it, I’ll share it with you.

March 4, 2013

One Minute Vacations: A SpringBar Tent, A Canoe and You

Filed under: Boating,Camping,One Minute Vacations,Pennsylvania,Places To Visit,Tents — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

There is so much awesome going on in this photo from URTrekking, that you really have to click through to the full-sized image to fully enjoy it.

SpringBar Tent from URTrekking at Starling Travel

From the canoe to the SpringBar tent, this photo is like stepping into a camping trip. It was taken in Marion, Pennsylvania, probably at Bald Eagle State Park. I can just imagine them canoeing on Foster Joseph Sayers Lake.

The next time you are feeling trapped at work, take a moment and really let yourself step into this photograph. Take a deep breath and smell the damp air blowing off the lake. Relax in the chairs or take a nap in the tent. After just a few minutes imagining yourself into this photo, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day anew!

March 1, 2013

The 2006 Fleetwood Scorpion Toy Hauler: A Tent Trailer on Its Side

Filed under: Camping,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

While I was at the RV show the other day, I saw a photo of a used tent trailer they had for sale that wasn’t at the show. It looked so different that I snapped a picture of it.

2006 Fleetwood Scorpion Toy Hauler from Starling Travel

When I came home, I found out what it was: a 2006 Fleetwood Scorpion Toy Hauler. It was different than any toy hauler tent trailer I had seen before. (Continue Reading…)

February 15, 2013

Apache Hard-Sided Bunk Ends: A Blueprint for Modification

Filed under: Camping,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Last January, on the way to Quartzsite, we stayed a night or two in Las Vegas. The typical temperature at that time of the year is about fifty degrees during the day and 35 degrees at night. We knew it was going to be a little cold, so we were prepared with a couple of electric heaters.

We had NO idea that we would be staying there on the coldest nights Las Vegas has seen for YEARS. It was a HARD freeze at 28 degrees, taking everyone in that city by surprise. Every one of the huge motorcoaches, in the RV resort where we stayed, had frozen water hoses with no water. And this fountain stayed frozen solid all day and night.

Hard Freeze in Las Vegas, NV 2013 from Starling Travel

Fortunately, our two little electric heaters kept us warm in our little tent trailer, but it was substantially colder on the bunk ends than it was in the middle of the camper. Whenever I was awoken by the cold that night, I tried to think of ways our bunk ends could be warmer.

Try as I might, in my cold-addled and sleepy stupor, I didn’t think of this ingenious origami solution to the problem. Here is the Apache Hard-Sided Popup Camper and how its bunk ends are put together.

The roof folds down and the lifts up like this:

Apache Hardside Popup Camper Bunk Ends from Starling Travel

Then the sides pop in (rather awkwardly):

Apache Hardside Popup Camper Bunk Ends from Starling Travel

If I were to turn my popup camper into a hard-sided camper like an Apache, would it be warmer? What is the insulation difference between plywood and tent canvas. I would think it would be warmer, but it also would be a lot heavier. The Apache seems to have plastic or maybe thin aluminum sides. Are they any warmer than tent material? I have no idea.

In the end, we were able to stay warm enough that night in our trailer, despite the hard freeze. I might fantasize about modifying my popup camper, but it was warm enough to camp in winter temperatures, so I guess it’s not necessary to hack apart my beloved little Jayco just to be a couple of degrees warmer.

February 14, 2013

Upal Auto Tent with a Ford Flex: Could Be The New Campervan

Filed under: Camping,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers,Tents — Laura Moncur @ 9:00 am

While I was looking around the web, I found some auto tents manufactured by Upal Outdoors. They make a clamshell design.

Upal Clamshell Auto Tent from Starling Travel

They also make a square lift design.

Upal Square Roof Auto Tent from Starling Travel

If you were to put one of these on a Ford Flex, it might be perfect. It has that lovely flat roof that makes it perfect for permanently mounting an auto tent to the top.

Ford Flex 2013: A Great Camping Car from Starling Travel

I first saw the Ford Flex at CES 2012 and I really liked its design. I love how large the back hatch is. It would be perfect place to put a camp kitchen, like a teardrop trailer.

Ford Flex 2013: tailgate would make a great camp kitchen from Starling Travel

In fact the back hatch is so large and tall that I wouldn’t even need a tent to get a little shade or escape from the rain.

If you were able to permanently attach the Auto Tent to the top of the car and cut a hole in it, you’d be able to access the tent from the Sun Roof instead of having to use the ladder. It would be much more efficient that way.

I did a horrible Photoshop job on some images of the Ford Flex to show you what it would look like permanently attached to the car.

Ford Flex Square Auto Tent from Starling Travel

I really liked how the clamshell design looks.

Ford Flex Clamshell Auto Tent from Starling Travel

As much as I’d like to take a Ford Flex and convert it into the ultimate camping car, I can’t see a way to purchase these auto tents in lots less than twenty. It looks like this idea is going to have to be for someone with a lot more capital at their disposal.

Until then, I can dream about a perfect camping car.

Photos used for photoshopped images:

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