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Posted: 10/9/2005 4:59:51 PM EDT
I am considering buying a used pop up camper to use a few times a year for deer hunting in the fall and camping a few times in the summer. I have never used one before and would like some opinions about them.

Are some brands better than others?  Do the furnace/air conditions work very well? Any pitfalls to be aware of buying used?

Any info. would be very much appreciated.
Link Posted: 10/9/2005 5:20:27 PM EDT
I'm sure someone will be along shortly to recommend the "Coleman" brand - which is exactly that: just a brand that is sold to the highest bidder. Fleetwood Enterprises (known for mediocre quality) owned the license for a while, but recently lost it in a legal dispute.

I wouldn't bother even worrying about whether the furnace works or not - RV furnaces are are noisy, failure-prone, and will run that small camper battery down in a few short hours. Instead, plan on installing an Olympian® catalytic heater (now manufactured by Camco) - Completely silent, uses no batttery power, and dead-nuts reliable.
Link Posted: 10/9/2005 5:24:09 PM EDT
I have a 97 Coleman. I am not happy with the quality.  Don't buy a used Coleman with the one piece PVC roof.  Mine cracked.  This is a common defect and is covered under warrenty to the orininal owner only.  They are replacing them with an aluminum roof.  They do charge shipping for the replacement roof which isn't cheap.  I do not have AC or heat in mine.  I use a small portable electric heater.
Link Posted: 10/9/2005 5:33:40 PM EDT
One word: ROCKWOOD!

Link Posted: 10/9/2005 6:26:55 PM EDT
  I'll think you'll find that everyone is pretty loyal to their brand.   (ie ... Their current pop up)   I figure that it would be more important to find one with the options you want, and in decent shape.   I've had Coleman and I now have a Starcraft.  When I was getting rid of my 1988, I walked into a deal on the Starcraft that I couldn't pass up.   The most important thing to remember is the condition vs. the price.  I personally never buy brand new, because it's a minimum 3 k hit off the lot...
   Options can vary widely,  you need AC if you're down south, or intend to do Dsiney World or the beach etc...  The Furnace is loud, but if you have electric on your site, you can use ceramic heaters.
Mine is completely loaded, and I use it much the way you describe...   Summer is a week trip to an amusement park, another week at a state park, and occassional weekends.   I also take 1 fishing trip, and 2 hunting trips with friends.   One thing to remember in the fall/winter for hunting, is that the canvas/plastic windows do get stiff, and you can break the plastic windows when packing up, if you turn off inside heat too soon.  
     You can't go wrong if you find one with good canvas and low use.   My Starcraft was 2 years old and was used 3 times before the owner traded up to a hardside 36' trailer.  I called him before I bought his trade at the dealer and he talked to me about why he traded etc..  The dealer was asking $6900.00 and I was able to get it for $5100.00 cash.  The guy paid $11300.00 for it new, he sent me his original paperwork.  The guy supposedly was credited 7500 on his trade, but I figure that he got closer to 4 K in real money.   The Starcraft I bought  has AC - Furnace - Hot and Cold Water - Shower - Cassette Toilet (Hi Tech porta pottie) - Refrigerator - Stove etc....    I would've been crazy to walk away from it.  You and your family will have incredible memories from it, and it'll definately be cheaper than hotels...  If I can help, let me know !!  
Link Posted: 10/9/2005 6:43:40 PM EDT
There are two types of people that are selling used popups. The one who bought it, thought they would love camping and didnot.  The others are the ones who are trading up.  Check the "canvas"(cloth) part.  Also, check the corners of the box and the hard top for rot.  If installed , check the braking system.  Check the axle and ask when the last time the wheel bearing were repacked/replaced.  Ckeck the tires for dry rot and wear.  Check all appliances.   Check propane system(old tanks).  Also, ask if was ever in an accident.  one last thing, make sure you have a vehile that can tow the camper you are lookin at.  I am one of the ones who upgraded to a travel trailer, I love camping.  Good luck, do plenty of research.  Good luck and have fun.
Link Posted: 10/9/2005 6:59:53 PM EDT
I have a Jayco 1006 that we purchased new in 1988.  It has taken us on several great vacations over the years.  Probably towed over 20,000 miles.  Been from Atlantic to Pacific.  In 1991 we did the great western jaunt.  4 1/2 weeks and 9,100 miles.  Thats with 4 kids.  Three times from western NY to the Rockies.  Sitting in the garage now and I may sell it next spring but it still works and keeps us dry and warm if we need it.  

Link Posted: 10/10/2005 6:34:53 AM EDT
Thanks for the replies. All the info. has been helpful.
Link Posted: 10/10/2005 6:50:20 AM EDT

I bought my first popup this summer.  All I know is my AC works good and the heater too.  My toyota with 22RE engine easily pulls my 10' popup.  I got a like new 2003 for $4,800.

Link Posted: 10/11/2005 10:10:19 AM EDT
My husband is an RV tech. If you need help, just email him. He will fill you in on the do's and dont's, what and what-nots.
Link Posted: 10/11/2005 10:21:47 AM EDT
I have been a pop-up user for 10+ years. Just sold my last one and got a 1998 Aerolite from a family member ($4000) couldn’t pass it up.

I have owned two Starcrafts and have been very pleased with both. I have heard good things about the Rockwoods. The furnace works great but is a little noisy. The stoves are good three burner gas units. The refrigerators are small due to height restrictions of the unit closed. We overcame this by buying an Igloo Ultra Cooler. The new coolers, Coleman, Igloo keep ice for 5-7 days. The canvas held up well and we treated it every two years.

The roofs are two-piece on the older Starcrafts. Mine were 1982 and 1988 models. Keep an eye on the aluminum roof and use a good sealant every couple years at joints and such. During the winter I would cover with a grey tarp, replaced every two years. Always use dri-z-air desiccant during the winter months. This will keep your RV smelling good and free of mold/mildew.

Even though we have a full size RV now, Pop-ups rule!
Link Posted: 10/11/2005 10:49:12 AM EDT
If its just for yourself get an Aliner!!! I want one so bad!!!!
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