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Posted: 9/8/2010 4:09:31 PM EDT
I have a chance to buy a pop up camper in great shape. Small but has A/C. No heat. Just wondering what your opinions are on these ? Are they a good first choice for a camper? We live in a neighborhood where no trailers, boats, etc. can be left in the driveway or curb. Must be in garage. Pop up would be easy to store. Not worried about toilet or full kitchen just need to get off the ground and on something easier on my back than an air mattress in a tent. We have two pre-teens remaining at home and we love to camp/hike. Thanks for the help.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 4:45:17 PM EDT
I bought a pop up as my first camper. So have two or three good friends of mine.
Unless you can buy it really cheap i'd say no.

To much to go wrong to easy to tear the canvas when setting up late at night unless you are really paying attention.
My buddy had the winch system break on his after working on it for two weeks he finally payed to have it fixed.
I think that's the only thing i've ever known him to pay to get fixed.......

Lot's of people will be along to disagree who use and like them.
My experience and those of my friends don't agree.

I now have a 27ft camper.
I swear if i had it to do all over again i'd have bought a good cargo trailer and customized it myself.....

Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:16:28 PM EDT
I have owned 2 over the years. For a good price I might get another, but they have there issues. Durring cold nights your head wll be cold just like a tent. They will have condensation problems. If it's real hot and humid you will just be cool and damp. If you have an electrical hookup you can add a lot of heat by using a couple of ceramic heaters. They can be a lot of work leveling, setting up and takng down. But they are nicer and more comfortable than a tent. May I recommend popupexplorer.com? It's great wealth of information.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:26:38 PM EDT
well it IS a step up from a tent on the ground, but still with all the headaches of setting up a tent and few of the benefits of a camper.
you have the set up of a camper(leveling ect)
plus you have to set a tent up on top of that.
if its a long trip to your destination, you cant just pull into a walmart, and hop into the camper for the night.
if you get where your going, you still HAVE to set up in the rain, if its a hard side you can get in and wait it out.
with a hard side you can have ALL your gear in the camper, not much packing up when you goto leave. not alot of storage in the popup when closed.
you have no more shelter then a tent(altho AC and a sink is nice.)

when I went through the transition from tent to camper I didn't think it was worth it to do the pop up rout.
I ended up building a toy hauler out of a pickup camper and a car hauler trailer for $2000

is there any way for you to pull something into the back yard to store it?
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:46:26 PM EDT
I bought one used for a grand and sold it about 6 months later. It was the kind that slides into the back of the truck bed, not one of the pop-ups you can tow.

It seemed like a good idea but the main thing I didn't like was that once you got to where you were camping it was a pain in the ass if you had to drive somewhere else. You have to break the thing down every time and then set it up again once you get back.

I think I would have liked one you can tow better.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 6:07:17 PM EDT
Yes , we started w/ a regular pull behind and then up graded to a top tier pop-up.

Coleman Bayside to be exact , its been the best investment in family fun

Don't go cheap , spend 6k , used and get a good one w/ air/heat , water tap , slide-out . ect.

store it inside and it will last forever.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 6:40:07 PM EDT
When I was young, our family had a coleman pop up and we all liked it pretty well. As others have said,it is a bit of hassle setting up but once you have done it 3 or 4 times, it is pretty quick. The two main benefits of it over a conventional camper is number 1 it is much easier to tow. That was a big deal for us since we used my Dads pontiac to tow ours. The second benefit is it is much easier to store. We kept ours on a little pad on the side of the house.

Sure a fixed 24' or larger camper is nice but they are pretty expensive and alot harder to tow and store so nothing wrong with the pop up campers. If the price is right, I'd say go for it. On used pop ups, be sure to check the cloth and zippers carefully. They do tend to wear out especially if stored wet. Also check the AC unit before you buy to make sure it is cooling and cycling properly.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 7:11:38 PM EDT
We have on and love it. Just shop around for something cheap. We paid $850 and ours is in great shape. Not a lot of options, but still for $850 I love it.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 5:42:01 AM EDT
We had one when I was a kid. Very basic. No heat, no A/C. Basic tent and bed on wheels.

If you just want to sleep off the ground on a nice soft mattress they are just about ideal for car camping.

They are much easier IME to set up than a similarly sized cabin tent and have the side benefit of a place to store camping gear when it's not in use.

If you want a hotel room on wheels, you won't like one.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 5:59:52 AM EDT
Bought a used one last Spring and loved it the 3 times we used it this summer.

It is a lot nicer than the tents we used to use.

14' box, twin king size beds, heat, A/C, fridge, toilet, inside and out side shower and stoves, dining slide out.

Storage is small but what doesn't fit in the trailer can go in the bed of the truck so that isn't a problem for us.

The only downfall I saw was the lack of counter space for prepping to cook. But I got a plastic cutting board and fit it over the sink and I'll use that for prepping next year.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 7:20:10 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/9/2010 7:21:38 AM EDT by phlat]
Tag for info as well. Wife and I have been thinking of one since our tow vehicle will just be the family van. Also thought about doing something similar to what J75 has done with a 5x9 trailer I have. And also thought about just teardropping my trailer, and let the kids sleep in a tent.

Also, the site Fra_Tra has a wealth of info. Lots of tips, info, how-to's, mods, "if i had to do it again" stories. But the best thread on their forum is this one.

http://www.popupexplorer.com/forum/index.php?topic=23336.0 Well worth the read for the stories.


eta: J75, what the tounge weight on that setup while traveling in that configuration?
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 8:17:16 AM EDT
Jack from The Survival Podcast just did a show on RV's you may find useful. Download on Itunes or listen online HERE
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 8:32:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Zedhead:
Jack from The Survival Podcast just did a show on RV's you may find useful. Download on Itunes or listen online HERE

Yea. He has some good shows. The ironic thing about his RV shows is in one of the episodes about RV's and such, he said renting a cabin, even a primitive one, at a camp ground isn't "camping". But somehow showing up with a 32ft 5th wheel is. Maybe he was just trying to make himself feel better since he had just bought a trailer? i dunno. But he has alot of good shows. One of these days i'll listen to some of the call in shows, or listener feed back shows.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 9:22:01 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/9/2010 9:28:31 AM EDT by brasidas]
I have one and have mixed feelings. Ours is pretty large, with 2 queens, a storage box in front, a popout, heat and toilet. I think I bought it mostly to entice the wife into camping, and she and the kids do like it, but the kids like sleeping in a tent just as well and she probably does not come any more often that she would have anyway.

As far as the benefits, it is very easy and safe to tow compared to a conventional trailer of equivalent size. It is very roomy. I have not had any condensation problems, and the heater does work nicely. With all of the windows, it is much less stuffy than a conventional trailer during the summer. It is pretty easy to set up; it takes me about half an hour by myself, or about 15 minutes if the wife helps. I especially like how easy it is to backup into a campsite, and I have been able to get it into places that I never could have with a regular trailer.

The downsides include that it is fundamentally a weak design as the walls don’t have a ceiling to hold them in the proper alignment. The canvas, while pretty durable, is prone to ripping, but if you were absurdly careful you could probably avoid that. There is of course little storage room, but that is part of what makes it feel roomy.

Like any camp trailer, it is not really built well enough for rough roads. The structural weakness probably makes it worse than most.

My lift system just failed last weekend, so I am down on tent trailers more than usual. I really wish I hadn’t bought the thing and just stuck with a tent. I would rather have a tent trailer than a camp trailer of equivalent size, but a nice tent is in a lot of ways easier than either, and certainly a lot cheaper. While the bed in my trailer is nicer than a simple air mattress, I could have bought a huge tent and a terrific camp mattress for a fraction of the price.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 9:24:32 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/9/2010 9:27:36 AM EDT by Red_Label]
The wife and I just bought a pop-up last weekend. It's pretty "vintage", made in '74 I think. Looks pretty vintage as well. It was her deal. She got it for $500. So we towed it home last weekend and I set it up. I was peasantly surprized. It's very dated, but it's got beds, table, sink, and burners. Beats the hell out of a tent. After our last camping trip last summer, I swore I'd never camp again until I had a trailer. Too bad we didn't get this BEFORE the summer ended. Nevertheless... I think we're going to take it out this coming weekend and give it a try. I've already set it up in the driveway and can do the setup by myself in about 15 min. Sure beats a tent in every way. Should be fun!

P.S. During the 150 mile tow home from where we bought it, my Tundra didn't even know it was pulling it –– and it was a VERY windy day over a mountain pass. So its low profile and light weight definitely have an advantage. I'd still like a 15 foot hard-sided trailer or similar eventually, but the pop-up certainly has some positives.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 11:16:07 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Para069:
Yes , we started w/ a regular pull behind and then up graded to a top tier pop-up.

Coleman Bayside to be exact , its been the best investment in family fun

Don't go cheap , spend 6k , used and get a good one w/ air/heat , water tap , slide-out . ect.

store it inside and it will last forever.


I've got a '02 Bayside that I'll deliver to IL next time I'm travelling for business. $5,500 delivered. Heat, but no AC.

We bought it new in April '02 after my twins were born. My wife and I were tenters and back-packers. We needed camping in our lives and didn't want to spend a wet weekend in a tent w/ young twins, so thought a pop-up would be a great idea. It was! Now we're looking to "upgrade" to a TT. I'd be lieing if I said that I wasn't having second thoughts now that we've put our minds to getting a TT.

The Bayside is great. Yes, TT's are more convenient for "set-up", and you can store everything you need in them, where there is a packing and un-packing part to the pop-up, however, they're lighter, tow easy, have less effect on gas mileage (no effect for my F250!), and they store easily in most garages! The Bayside is everything we were looking for in a camper, and has served us VERY well. I've towed it all over Michigan and Ohio, to south Kentucky, through Canada to Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York.

K

Link Posted: 9/9/2010 12:33:21 PM EDT
Originally Posted By kmmuellr:
Originally Posted By Para069:
Yes , we started w/ a regular pull behind and then up graded to a top tier pop-up.

Coleman Bayside to be exact , its been the best investment in family fun

Don't go cheap , spend 6k , used and get a good one w/ air/heat , water tap , slide-out . ect.

store it inside and it will last forever.


I've got a '02 Bayside that I'll deliver to IL next time I'm travelling for business. $5,500 delivered. Heat, but no AC.

We bought it new in April '02 after my twins were born. My wife and I were tenters and back-packers. We needed camping in our lives and didn't want to spend a wet weekend in a tent w/ young twins, so thought a pop-up would be a great idea. It was! Now we're looking to "upgrade" to a TT. I'd be lieing if I said that I wasn't having second thoughts now that we've put our minds to getting a TT.

The Bayside is great. Yes, TT's are more convenient for "set-up", and you can store everything you need in them, where there is a packing and un-packing part to the pop-up, however, they're lighter, tow easy, have less effect on gas mileage (no effect for my F250!), and they store easily in most garages! The Bayside is everything we were looking for in a camper, and has served us VERY well. I've towed it all over Michigan and Ohio, to south Kentucky, through Canada to Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York.

K



Thanks man but this one I'm looking at is $2000 for a 2002. Coleman Clipper. Small but light and cheap. I need the A/C with our weather here in Central IL. Heat not so much. I can snuggle with the wife:-)
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 1:23:54 PM EDT
Coleman is a respected brand for pop-ups, you can't go wrong w/ any of their models as long as they have the features you want!

K
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 3:57:48 PM EDT
IIRC Coleman trailers are now Fleetwoods? Might be wrong.

My childhood camping experiences were in a Fiberglass A frame pop up. Solid walls and the top was level with the tailgat of a Ford Country Squire wagon. There are still some of those on the market.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 4:20:42 PM EDT
Originally Posted By phlat:
Tag for info as well. Wife and I have been thinking of one since our tow vehicle will just be the family van. Also thought about doing something similar to what J75 has done with a 5x9 trailer I have. And also thought about just teardropping my trailer, and let the kids sleep in a tent.

Also, the site Fra_Tra has a wealth of info. Lots of tips, info, how-to's, mods, "if i had to do it again" stories. But the best thread on their forum is this one.

http://www.popupexplorer.com/forum/index.php?topic=23336.0 Well worth the read for the stories.


eta: J75, what the tounge weight on that setup while traveling in that configuration?


I don't know exactly what the tounge weight is, but the camper is about 2000lbs, and two full size wheelers weight about 1400lbs, so fully loaded it balances just right for towing. if I had to guess I would say about 700 or 800lbs on the tounge.

my avalanche is a 6in lifted half ton with a 4 link rear end, so shes made to flex not tow. I have a 12000lbs distribution hitch and 1000lbs airbags in the rear coils to take out the bounce. but even without the hitch and with the bags deflated it tows fine, sags more in the back then I would like, but if I wernt lifted I don't think that it would be too bad.
with no wheelers on the back I do need the distribution hitch and airbags to go at a good clip on the highway.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 4:26:28 PM EDT
Better than a tent, but a pain to pack. If it rains, you will be damp. But this one was FREE!!!!!!!!!!!! My next camper will be a hard sided camper, for all of the above reasons.
http://a.imageshack.us/img213/371/archesdrivetotelluride0.jpg
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