Longtime tent campers, Eiswerth and his wife, Susan, last May dipped their toes in the RV ownership market with a small, retro-style, teardrop trailer they bought in Wisconsin before heading west for a trip to Devil's Tower, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.
The couple has large dogs, so they also bought an attachable add-on tent to cover the crates the dogs sleep in at night.
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"We didn't want to simply have another, more expensive, version of home on wheels with all the frills and luxuries of our actual home. We wanted to be able to travel to and camp in a variety of locales, not just asphalt RV compounds," Eiswerth said.
He lists the advantages of the small camper as better gas mileage than a larger RV, ease of maneuverability, speed and convenience of set-up and tear-down and heat and air conditioning, when necessary.
And best of all, he said, "Much like a tent, this has a connection to the outdoors."
—By Harriet Baskas, special to CNBC.com. Baskas is the author of seven books, including "Hidden Treasures: What Museums Can't or Won't Show You," and the Stuck at the Airport blog. Follow her on Twitter at
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