No, we didn’t spell that wrong. “The Hoppy Camper” is the name a Maine-based couple gave their Cirrus Truck Camper. The family of Riley Mitchell, one half of the duo, owns a brewery and RV resort, so the name seemed fitting for their 2016 Cirrus 800 Truck Camper.
Like many couples, Riley and Sara Packard bonded over mutual interest and newfound hobbies. At least, that was the case of Sara when Riley introduced her to the camping lifestyle.
Loving the RV life
Although the pair had been dating since September 2019, it wasn’t until Riley took Sara tent camping the following May — and then on a few more trips in his parents’ class C — that she fell in love with the RV life. “I like the outdoors, and Riley liked camping, so I figured I try it and if I liked it, we’d camp more often,” Sara said.
Initially, it took some time for the two to work out their respective roles while on the road, but all in all, they both agree it was pretty seamless, perhaps due in part to Riley’s past experience as a camper.
“I grew up camping with my family in everything from a tent to a pop-up to a truck camper to 40-foot fifth-wheel,” explained. “Since then, I have tent-camped both on the ground and in a roof-top tent, then I full-timed in a 30-foot fifth-wheel for three years in a fixed location. It was a more affordable alternative to an apartment when I was first living on my own.”
Once the RV bug bit Sara, the couple started to review their options: either keep Riley’s current fifth-wheel or look for something different. “We looked at travel trailers and teardrops and truck campers for six or so months,” said Sara. “Eventually we decided that a truck camper would be the best option for our dream of going to Alaska.”
And that’s how “The Hoppy Camper” — their camping setup consisting of a 2016 Cirrus 800 #34 and 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 SRW Gas — came to be their home-away-from-home.
Choosing a truck camper
Riley went with nuCamp because “the quality of nuCamp products is way better compared to other brands.” The storage space and the Alde were also major factors that pointed him toward nuCamp during his search for a truck camper.
The couple settled on a Cirrus 800, which was the model manufactured before the Cirrus 820.
Making the switch from a fifth-wheel to a truck camper was a better choice for the couple, Riley said.
“It is better suited for our travel style, where we can go off-grid, yet when we’re in a more urban environment, we can disconnect from the rig and have a ‘regular’ vehicle to drive around,” he explained. “The truck is also a maintenance vehicle for the campground in the summer.”
Working at a campground
The “campground” Riley referred to is the Boothbay Craft Brewery, Tavern, & RV Resort, a family business in Boothbay, Maine that his parents founded in 2006. Both Riley and Sara are involved in the company. While Riley’s official title is “Destination Experience Coordinator,” he calls himself “The Hoppy Camper.”
“The best part of working for yourself is being able to make up a really fun and clever title,” he said only partly in jest. “I run the Full Hookup RV Resort, manage our Harvest Hosts program, write our monthly newsletter, as well as anything else that needs to get done, kind of a Jack of all Trades.”
For Sara, working at Boothbay is her second job, since she is also a full-time athletic trainer. When she’s not on the sidelines at sporting events with her student-athletes, she can be found in the Boothbay kitchen, making salads, fries, and, she added, “our delicious desserts!”
Planning future travels
With both Riley and Sara having such busy schedules, traveling together gives them the opportunity to see the country and spend time with each other. They usually take a couple of weeks in the late fall and early spring to go on their trips, and while their destinations have been focused on the east coast and mid-west, they do have plans for traveling further west in the future.
The trip they are planning for August 2022, however, will be sans Cirrus. Riley and Sara will be getting married in Acadia National Park and then travel to Hawaii.
“Our goal is to visit as many national park sites as possible in our lifetime, so our honeymoon is two weeks in Hawaii,” said Sara. “This will give us the opportunity to visit two national parks as well as a few other national park sites. Riley is a history buff and has always wanted to experience Pearl Harbor.”
nuCamp sends them best wishes and hope their Cirrus Truck Camper will help them in achieving that goal of visiting national parks!
It’s undeniable that touring the country in a camper can be an educational experience. But often what is realized has less to do with the external locations and more about internal understanding. Riley said, “I have learned that you don’t need a lot of materialistic possessions to be happy, and that communicating with your partner makes living in a small space possible and even easy.”
Sara agreed. “I feel like everything is better and that problems are easier to resolve when we’re on the road,” she said. “All of our time spent camping with each other we take as a blessing, and we feel extremely grateful that we get to enjoy that time together wherever we may be.”