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  1. #1
    chozen is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Default What to look for when buying a pop up (camper)?

    We have been thinking about buying a pop up. If you own one or have owned one what things should we be looking for?

  2. #2
    wellyes's Avatar
    wellyes is online now Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    Buy used! The depreciation on campers is enormous.
    DD - 6
    DS - 4

  3. #3
    brittone2 is online now Blue Diamond level (20,000+ posts)
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    Agree with used. We have a slide out on ours and really like it, but it is much heavier, so that will depend on what you pull with, etc. Will you tow in mountainous terrain? Have you towed before? Do you already know that you enjoy camping? One thing that is a pain with a pop up is that you have to partially set it up to load and unload much of what you need to take or remove. With a hard sided trailer, it is easier to stick stuff in after your last trip and "refresh" your items in there. Much more of a pain with a pop up. eta: My parents have a 32 foot travel trailer, so as they bring in wash and then get it clean and dry, then can hang stuff back up in their closets, etc. in a leisurely fashion. They can gradually stock their fridge or cabinets, refresh towels, etc. without having to set it up partially or climb in a hole That said, a pop up works fine for us.

    Will you use campgrounds with restrooms? Buy a portable potty of some type? Many pop ups don't come with bathroom facilities.
    Last edited by brittone2; 06-11-2013 at 11:28 AM.
    Mama to DS-2004
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  4. #4
    Simon is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    We have owned a pop-up for a few years but don't use it often ourselves. We use a broker to rent it out so you might be able to rent and try one out yourself. In our case, we have made back 80% of our original purchase price renting it out. This summer we should move into pure profit.

    We bought used, no slide to keep the tow weight down, and do have a stove, fridge, sink, inside. One thing that makes a difference, IMO, is the size of the beds--a camper size queen is NOT the same as a regular bed, they can be quite a bit smaller. A camper size full feels quite small to me so we paid more to get a double queen--queen size on each end, plus two more areas inside that can be turned into sleeping areas: a bench/booth with a table and we have a U-shaped couch. We don't have an attached awning because I read too often about those getting mildewed or else breaking/needing repairs. For the cost, I could buy several nice screen tents over the years.

    I like the pop-up for the indoor space with heat, electricity, and the comfy beds. However, I don't like cooking and eating inside, so I don't really need the extra space for that. I do agree that being able to just pull over at a rest area and cook inside your trailer, lay down and take a nap, etc. can be a nice convenience. But doing those things aren't really our style so we don't miss having a full size trailer (with all the extra weight, drag, cost, etc). For us, a major factor is that our kids are too young to really spend much time in a camper smaller than 24' on a rainy day so it wasn't worth it for us to invest extra for all the bells and whistles inside.
    Ds1 (2006). Ds2 (2010). Ds3 (2012).

  5. #5
    SASM is offline Ruby level (4000+ posts)
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    OP, we have a popup with a slide-out dinette, a king, a double, a sofa that converts to a twin, and the dinette that converts to a double-ish bed, making it supposedly able to sleep 8. We are a family of 5 that sleeps quite comfortably as each child has their own luxurious bed! We also have a built-in cassette toilet but have never used it, preferring to use the space for food and kitchen storage stacking crates. If the kids need to use a bathroom in the middle of the night, I use our portable car potty from Right Start, which supports my 10- and 8-yo's weights. We also have an outdoor shower that we have not used.

    ITA about buying used. One thing to check is the canvas!! Make sure that there aren't any holes from rodent damage, etc. Also make sure that it is connected to an electrical source so you can check the A/C, lights, refrigerator, heater, water heater, turn signals, etc. If there is canvas damage, you can possibly call a service to come out and repair it, not needing to tow it anywhere. This is obvious but make sure that your vehicle can tow the weight of the camper LOADED!

    Good luck and have fun!!


    Quote Originally Posted by Simon View Post
    We have owned a pop-up for a few years but don't use it often ourselves. We use a broker to rent it out so you might be able to rent and try one out yourself. In our case, we have made back 80% of our original purchase price renting it out. This summer we should move into pure profit.

    We bought used, no slide to keep the tow weight down, and do have a stove, fridge, sink, inside. One thing that makes a difference, IMO, is the size of the beds--a camper size queen is NOT the same as a regular bed, they can be quite a bit smaller. A camper size full feels quite small to me so we paid more to get a double queen--queen size on each end, plus two more areas inside that can be turned into sleeping areas: a bench/booth with a table and we have a U-shaped couch. We don't have an attached awning because I read too often about those getting mildewed or else breaking/needing repairs. For the cost, I could buy several nice screen tents over the years.

    I like the pop-up for the indoor space with heat, electricity, and the comfy beds. However, I don't like cooking and eating inside, so I don't really need the extra space for that. I do agree that being able to just pull over at a rest area and cook inside your trailer, lay down and take a nap, etc. can be a nice convenience. But doing those things aren't really our style so we don't miss having a full size trailer (with all the extra weight, drag, cost, etc). For us, a major factor is that our kids are too young to really spend much time in a camper smaller than 24' on a rainy day so it wasn't worth it for us to invest extra for all the bells and whistles inside.
    What an awesome idea! I NEVER thought of doing this! We are actually moving to a very touristy area...this could actually work for us instead of selling it...thanks for suggesting this to OP!! Any problems with misuse? I am VERY intrigued...
    Last edited by SASM; 06-11-2013 at 12:10 PM.
    ~S.
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    1 BLUE (03) and 2 PINK (05 & 07)
    ^i^ 10.01 & 12.03

    Our family has been eating Paleo since August 2011...As DD2 says, "easy peazy lemon squeezy!"

    Pardon my typos...blasted Auto-correct!!

  6. #6
    wellyes's Avatar
    wellyes is online now Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    I went in the other direction from PPs. Our is small and simple. Beds, stove, table, canopy. We don't bother using hookups. We have heat & electric powered by the battery . It's like very luxurious tent camping versus slightly downgraded RVing. We go to regular tent sites (always less than $15/night). We paid just $2000 for our camper. If you want to know more about low end popups let me know.
    DD - 6
    DS - 4

  7. #7
    Simon is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    We have not had any trouble with damage to the camper and all renters do pay a deposit. There is a local person who manages the rentals as a second income and we pay a % to him from each rental and he also takes care of storage, winterizing, and basic maintenance. Its a great deal for us since all of that extra work is taken care of for us and we can just call up and have him put us or our friends on the calendar for dates we'd like to use. We can choose to give friends a discount or free use. It has worked out wonderfully for us!

    We found our camper on CL. I spent several months reading about pop-ups on rvnet and we visited a few local dealers before doing any private showings so we had a good sense of what we were looking for. We drove about 45 minutes to buy our camper and only bought it at a 2nd visit. The cost was about 60-75% of what the dealers were asking for similar units and more like 30% of retail on a new unit.
    Ds1 (2006). Ds2 (2010). Ds3 (2012).

  8. #8
    Simon is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by wellyes View Post
    I went in the other direction from PPs. Our is small and simple. Beds, stove, table, canopy. We don't bother using hookups. We have heat & electric powered by the battery . It's like very luxurious tent camping versus slightly downgraded RVing. We go to regular tent sites (always less than $15/night). We paid just $2000 for our camper. If you want to know more about low end popups let me know.
    What kind of battery do you have? I'd like to do more dry dock camping/national forest camping in the future but we do currently need electricity.
    Ds1 (2006). Ds2 (2010). Ds3 (2012).

  9. #9
    wellyes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon View Post
    What kind of battery do you have? I'd like to do more dry dock camping/national forest camping in the future but we do currently need electricity.
    We use a marine battery. It's charged by the car as we drive to the campsite. We do have electric when camping, but only use it for lights and to charge my phone and occasion little stuff. I'm not sure if it could power, say, a microwave.
    DD - 6
    DS - 4

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