Finally, A Way to Haul our Frugal Boat

Good morning!  I am so excited- while we were unable to go camping this weekend (though the weather was gorgeous!!), the husband was able to start and finish a kind-of camping project – a canoe trailer!

I wonder how many bikes I can fit under the canoe?

We have had as many boats as we have had campers.  I was going to type almost as many, until I counted them up.  We have had 5 campers and 5 boats (well, boat things).

The first 2 were older ski boats; a little beat-up but still able to water ski behind.  The husband enjoyed water skiing when he was younger; he also enjoyed trying to dump my siblings off the inner tubes when pulling them behind the boat.  Unfortunately, the lakes to ski on are over an hour away.  That meant I had to pull the boat while he pulled the camper.  Not fun, and also not cheap (gas adds up, it especially did when we were newly married).

Canoe with a view-geese!

After the ski boats, we had a pedal boat.  It was a lot cheaper though also a lot slower, especially since we took it to the same lakes as the water skiers.  Other fast boats cause fun waves for a little pedal boat.  It was enjoyable but we had to haul it on back of the truck, for a while we hauled it on one of the ski boats!  Wish I had a picture of that now, although it worked really well.   Eventually, we outgrew the pedal boat.

For a few years, we did not have a boat, but then the husband started looking for a pontoon.  Since I don’t water ski or swim or like water, I thought a pontoon would be fun.  A pontoon would be big enough to walk around on, fish from and even grill and have lunch on.

Unfortunately, bigger is not always better.

      Love the frugal tool box to store lifejackets

The pontoon was not our best idea.  We enjoyed it, but we had a number of problems.  It was a hassle getting the pontoon in and out of the water.  Our local lake has tons of old trees under the water, so we could not jump off the boat and swim.  We also had no place to store it, we kept it covered up which meant I had to clean it every time we used it.  Since it was nicer than the ski boats, we hated seeing it out in the   elements getting ruined.

We also discovered we are not good fishermen.  It was more fun watching the depth finder and playing with the minnows than trying to catch fish.  Finally, we discovered our middle child was nauseous when on the pontoon.   It’s very hard to have family fun time when one person is always feeling sick.

          Groove to help the canoe not slide around

We have finally found a boat we can enjoy.  The aluminum canoe is the oldest and cheapest of all 5 boat things we have had, but we really enjoy it.  I suppose I’m getting more content as I get older, anyway I hope so.  It’s nice to not always think I need the newest, biggest, fastest, flashiest toy.  We have just as much fun in the $300 canoe, with a lot less hassle than the pontoon.

A few weekends ago, we took the canoe to the nearby lake for a few hours.  It was so peaceful, gliding along, looking for animals.  We saw turtles, geese and ducks.  Since I had the wrong camera lens, we kept trying to sneak up on the turtles, but didn’t have much luck.   The water was so clear that I saw 2 fish in the weeds.   A nearby kayak-er is definitely a better fisherman than we are, he held up a large mouth bass for us to see.

Until this weekend, even though we enjoyed the canoe more than the pontoon, hauling was still a problem.  We would take it in the truck when we weren’t camping, but needed to use an extra vehicle if we wanted to camp and canoe.  We talked about a canoe rack on the truck, but decided we couldn’t lift it that high.

Way easier than lifting it into the truck bed

After talking about the hauling problem for a few years and not even using the canoe last year, the husband decided he wanted a small folding utility trailer.  He could pull it behind the truck or the camper and I wouldn’t need to lift the canoe very high.

The husband found a trailer on sale (I must be a good frugal influence) for $250 and spent most of the weekend building it.

It is a light trailer, weighing only 250ish pounds.  The treated plywood, wood racks and canoe might add another 150 pounds.  We had an old garage sale tool box (great $5 buy) that the husband mounted on the tongue to hold all the lifejackets and seat cushions.  They fit perfect.   We still need to find a few hooks to hold the paddles inside the canoe.  I thought we could find a place for them in the camper, but the husband reminded me that the minute we do that, we will take just the canoe and the truck to the river and be ’up a creak without a paddle.’  He is right, of course.  He always is.

                 Canoe with a view-turtles!

The canoe sits on a rack above the tool box.  The husband cut grooves in the top 2×4 of the racks, so the canoe fits down in and can’t slide back and forth.  I’m very excited about all the room under the canoe, I am sure a kayak or lots of bikes could be strapped down there.

He has a few things to finish before we pull it with the camper.  The trailer is wired and it works with the truck, but he needs to either hook the wires to the camper lights or run them along the length of the camper to connect to the truck.  Our 5th wheel has an enclosed underbelly, this helps keep the pipes warm in the late fall, most 5th wheels are enclosed now, but it will make it very hard to run wires to the truck.  Not sure what he will do, but I’m sure I won’t be much help.

I do hope he can finish up before this weekend.   With Mother’s Day coming, it would be great to take the canoe and the camper to the park and enjoy some family fun time.  I hope with the improving weather, you get a chance to enjoy family fun time also, camping, canoeing or even trying to make the in-laws fly off the inner tube behind the ski boat!

Happy Camping (or canoeing)!

Frugal Campasaurus

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