2nd Generation Heartland Owners: Like Father, Like Son

By:  Kelly Barnett

21st Feb, 17

When our sons were young we camped in a tent and then moved up to a used pop-up and a few years later purchased a brand new pop up. Sometimes we camped just as a family, other times the boys brought their friends. No matter the case we always had a good time filled with lots of laughter, and we made a lot of good memories.

A far back as I can remember we told our sons that when Michael retired from the US Army we planned to purchase a fifth wheel, live in it full time and travel. Whether they thought we were just dreaming, I don't know. 

When the time actually came for us to order our Heartland Landmark Key Largo our oldest son, Zack, seemed a bit stunned. He asked, "Where am I supposed to tell my friends my parents live…in a trailer?!!" That was roughly 7 years ago…but things have certainly changed since then.

Zack & Kelsea's first camping experiences together were spent in this tent.

Now Zack and his wife, Kelsea, are making memories of their own. They have followed nearly the same camping path as us. First camping in a tent, then a used pop-up. However, they skipped the new pop-up and jumped right into a 2012 Heartland Northtrail 29BUDS [Editor's Note: The Northtrail 29BUDS was a rear bunkhouse travel trailer with an outdoor kitchen. The floorplan has been discontinued, but, as of publication, Heartland currently offers the comparable Northtrail 32BUDS].

They moved up from tent camping when their first child was born as they realized it wasn't ideal to be out in the elements with no temperature control with kids…and there was NO looking back. 

They purchased their Northtrail while they were stationed in Vancouver, Washington as they wanted to be able to explore their new home area. Zack is a Captain in the U.S. Army and their 'home area' changes approximately every 3 years or so…so what better way to get to know your new home than to commune with nature in a travel trailer!? 

They moved up to a Northtrail after they added their first child.
Cameron, Paityn and an ever-growing Oakley

Kelsea, like Zack, had fond memories of camping with her family as a kid and when they started having children (Paityn is 6 and Cameron will soon be 4) they wanted to share the camping experience with them.

They soon realized that the Northtrail was a bit too small for 2 adults, 2 children and a chocolate lab named Oakley. They wanted something a little larger that would comfortably fit their family of four.  (They have since added sweet Maggie - another lab - to their family and REALLY need the extra room)

By this time, they'd been reassigned to the Ogden, Utah area and wanted something that they could take into the mountains and that would hold their Polaris Ranger UTV.

Again, they went in search of a Heartland product. They ended up finding a 2015 Road Warrior RW 415 toy hauler that had all the amenities they were looking for plus the garage space to haul their UTV. 

The entire family loves boondocking in the Utah mountains during the summer months and hunting season. They find a nice open spot along a mountain road and set up camp for the weekend, quite often with friends, one of whom owns a Heartland Cyclone toy hauler. They spend the weekend roaming the mountains in the Ranger during the day and relaxing by the fire at night.

Boondocking in the mountains of northern Utah.

Their Road Warrior has only seen an RV park for 2 weeks while they were in between houses last year – that's how much they enjoy the whole boondocking experience! They enjoy it so much that they even encouraged us to join them one weekend last summer. We really enjoyed ourselves, but we are more of the 'glamper' variety.

A mini Heartland boondocking rally in the mountains

You might be wondering if us being Heartland Owners had an influence on Zack and Kelsea purchasing their Heartland campers. The answer is, "YEP! The fact that we'd watched you purchase your rig and stand by the brand you'd chosen meant a lot to us. We didn't know much between brands at the time and having seen yours and how Heartland handles their customers was a winner for us." 

Zack, Kelsea, Paityn & Cameron - Heartland Owners Club Members #2159

Kelly Barnett

Kelly Barnett

RV There Yet Chronicles

My husband, Michael, and I have been living fulltime in our 2011 Landmark Key Largo since April of 2011 and LOVE every minute of it. 

When Michael retired from the US Army in October of 2012 (after 29 years of service) we hit the road and haven’t looked back. 

We usually work in the south Texas oilfields in the winter and spend time with our two sons and their families in the summer. We travel and sight-see as much and often as possible.