Growing up in Northern WV & Southern Ohio, we were always camping (usually near a trout stream, but occasionally just for the sake of camping/hiking/etc). In my youth I'd probably spend 30 weekends a year, at least, in a tent. That slowed down a lot as I turned 16 and started making my own plans and in the last 17-18 years I've probably only been a dozen or two times. The last time I went, Easter weekend last year, I decided that I was done tent camping (I have a recurring back problem and the hard ground kept me awake until 3AM, at which time I went and tried to sleep in the car). To pour salt in the wound, I was actually the only tent in the entire campground, so I had to lay there, awake, listening to all the generators keeping their occupants comfortable...
Recently my 9 year old daughter has been asking about camping. In addition to my last experience, she's very jumpy and I know that every little squirrel running around is going to keep her awake, which is going to keep me awake ("Dad... there's a bear outside the tent!"). Plus, being a girl, there's the "I have to potty" issue at 2AM (not quite as easy for her to just unzip the tent and pee out the side...).
I think it would be more enjoyable, for both of us, if we had a camper. I've been wanting a boat for some time to increase our options for fishing locally, but I guess with a camper that would open up opportunities to check out bank-fishing in other locations.
So I'm here looking for advice/suggestions/insight. I have a 4.0 V6 4WD Auto Ford Ranger. I don't know what campers weigh or what kind of tow rating they carry, so what sizes should I be looking for (no 5th wheels).
I'd like a bathroom for her, which would probably eliminate pop-up campers, but it's not a deal breaker. It'll probably have to be used, as I'll probably only have a couple grand to work with. Don't need a 30 footer, as it's just me and my daughter for the most part.
For those of you that already own - or have owned - campers: What do you like/dislike about them? If you were doing it again, what would you do different? Go bigger/smaller? New/used?