Tell me about pop-up campers

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Kannonball 88, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. Kannonball 88

    Kannonball 88 Been here awhile

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    I had a wild idea that a slide-in pop-up camper might work well on my Nissan Frontier (V-6, six speed manual). I have never owned any type of camper before but thought a slide in would let me trailer our dirt bikes to some of the places we'd like to ride that are too far to ride to. I thought the pop-up type might be light enough to allow me to pull a trailer with the bikes in the mountains and not kill my truck. What are good brands to look at and what are they like to live in for a week or so. I have only tent camped on bike trips so I know nothing about campers.
    Thanks,
    Bruce
    #1
  2. MiniBike

    MiniBike Casual Observer

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    Lot of options out there, but your biggest concern is weight. On folders check out the cable lifting mechanisms to make sure they're solid. Check out http://www.campingworld.com/rvsales/ and see what's out there, then pick one you like the options/layout of.

    I had a couple of StarCrafts that were basic, but lightweight. As you look around, you'll recognize that many different brands come from the same assembly line.

    Check out http://www.allterraincampers.com/faqs.htm and http://forums.woodalls.com/
    #2
  3. tpark

    tpark Adventurer

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    If you spend the money to get a really nice one, it's heavy and you will wish that you went ahead and bought a travel trailer. If you try to go on the cheap, you would just wish you brought the tent.
    #3
  4. skysailor

    skysailor Rat Rider

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    I prefer a small travel trailer. You can leave it on sight and still have your truck. Plus, with a slide in, you lose all your packing space.
    Lyle
    #4
  5. DriveShaft

    DriveShaft Long timer

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    You can leave a slide-in on site. That's why they have those stilts attached. Pretty rudimentary. And a huge hassle, imo. But that's what they're there for.

    [​IMG]

    It's not a small slide-in, option, but there definitely *are* slide-in options that won't eliminate your "packing space," as you say. They're friggin' huge, and usually require a pretty big tv.

    My fave in particular:

    [​IMG]

    uses most of the bed as a "basement," and you actually walk aroundn above your truck bed. It's a little crazy. But wow, it's amazing what the interior feels like.

    [​IMG]

    Notice, though...that *ain't* a Nissan Frontier in the top pic.
    #5
  6. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

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    I think I'd rather put the bikes in the bed of the truck and pull a travel trailer.

    Better yet, topper for the gear, and a small toy hauler ( they do exist ) for a couple of bikes.
    #6
  7. MrPulldown

    MrPulldown Long timer

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    Which Fronty 2005+ or pre. Makes a huge difference in capacity. Opps didn't read the 6 sp, so you have a 2005+. You can tow/haul anything with that truck.

    The most popular ones are 4wheel campers. Even if you have the mid size truck you still only put in the small camper. The Eagle is the one that is recommended. If you get the full camper, fridge, heater.. it will run you
    $10k. In this size there is no bathroom.

    If you get a regular small cab over camper you are going to be maxing out a -2005. A post 2005 will be fine with it and pulling a small trailer for just bikes.

    I personally do not like pop up campers. They are cold. Must be configured to sleep, and are not incognito for sleeping in random stops. Then main reason against them is that they are expensive.

    I think a travel trailer would be best with the bikes in the bed.

    Or a tall camper shell and pull a trailer for the bikes.
    #7
  8. DriveShaft

    DriveShaft Long timer

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    They manage to squeeze in AC, toilet and a shower. :D


    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. longtallsally

    longtallsally Yeah I'm a chick

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    We went a different way.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Max GVWR for the camper and Jeep are 3500. It's kinda nice to get back from trail riding and get a shower and meal. Based on the towing profile, the economy is acceptable as well.
    #9
  10. 1Gopokes1

    1Gopokes1 Been here awhile

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    might want to check out a trailmanor. hard sided, folding owable with your vehicel
    #10
  11. PaddedHat

    PaddedHat Been here awhile

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    The wife and I have been serious RVers for about 15 years now. I have often thought that a "flip and fold" product (A-liner, Trail-Manor, Hi-Lo, etc) would be a sweet way to go, but.....
    1) There are few exceptions to the rule that most of these units are shockingly expensive for the relatively small size, and lack of amenities.
    2) They have a ton of moving, flipping, hinging, sealing, and latching hardware that is not only proprietary, but in some cases capable of stopping a sweet vacation pretty quickly, when the part is 2000 miles away, and not available for a week.
    3) To be charitable, some of these things really fail the test of time. Any time you have an urge to buy something odd and low volume, it can be quite educating to find a few examples of older units for sale. Between leaks, questionable seals and other issues, it isn't hard to reach the conclusion that simpler is better.
    #11
  12. Switchblade315

    Switchblade315 Long timer

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    throw the bikes in the truck and pull a tow behind pop up. cheaper and easier to deal with. Or get one that has a extended trailer to load the bikes on it as well.
    #12
  13. DriveShaft

    DriveShaft Long timer

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    I have to agree w/ the "shockingly expensive" bit. These options tend to be thousands of dollars more expensive vs their softsided peers, and also vs their non-folding peers. And while I do consider their hardside characteristics "worth a premium". But jesus christ the premium on a new trailmanor vs it's equivalent slide-out forest river pop-up is damn near ten grand. There's definitely durability value to be gained from having less fabric to age. But ten grand's worth? Hmmm... The a-liners are a bit more within reason, but the size-constraints are hard for most people to swallow. Fortunately, my whole family probably weighs less than a pair of average american RV'ers. We look at the king-sized beds that all the manufacturers throw in their RV's and think "jeez, why do y'all *insist* on matching what you have in your bedroom? You're *camping*! You don't fit on a queen size bed?" And then we went to an RV show and saw the folks climbing into these RVs, and understood...yes...the general buying public *demands* king sized beds. :D

    Failing tests of time is an improving parameter, and frankly I'm just as suspect with the seals and caulking on a hardside as I am with the seals 'round the trailmanor's roof. I've seen enough local old trailmanor's (just a handful) vs decrepit hardside trailers that I am certain that the most deciding factor in long term cost is whether it's maintained. I am far more likely to maintain something that's stored in my garage/carport Away from the weather than one that's under a tarp and probably 15 miles away from me in a storage facility when I'm not using it. Parts-wise, there's not much I can't source on a trailmanor that's not conventional rv standard. It's small volume production, but it's basic rv parts.
    #13
  14. Tripl Nikl

    Tripl Nikl Long timer

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    Someday I fully intend to have something like this. For tax purposes, if it's not a pop-up camper on a truck it'll be a 4x4 RV van.

    There are just so many great places out there that people don't go to if they can't drive their road car to it. It doesn't take extreme wheeling to get away from people, ya know?
    #14
  15. DriveShaft

    DriveShaft Long timer

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    I definitely don't consider throwing the bikes in the truck easier to deal with. It's a broken femur waiting to happen, is what it is. :lol3 The lower bed height of a trailered bike is pretty appealing to me. I need *three* ramps if I attempt to put my bike in the truck bed alone (or one reeeally wide ramp), and the angle of approach is hard to manage...and damn near impossible if there's any mud involved.

    So for me, either gear in the truck bed & a toy hauler w/ living space (longtallsally's idea), or it's slide-in in the bed, and gear/bike on a trailer (Kannonball8's idea). In either case, I prefer to keep living space fairly minimal, but I have to balance that with the SO's interest in being comfortable, & a couple rug rats. So it's pretty hard for me to stay small.

    I *don't* have an F-450, so that pretty much nixes the slide-in idea for me. Longtallsally, your arrangement is pretty much what I'm aiming to end up with, but I'm aiming to go hardsided pop-up instead of the slidel-outs. I was walking through those fleetwoods, though, in september, and I was damn impressed with the space you get w/ those. *really* good combination. Mine'll be more cramped, fewer moving parts to deploy, no cloth. How long have you had yours?
    #15
  16. Hesaid

    Hesaid Long timer

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    While we haven't used ours with the bikes yet, it is kinda what it's made for:

    http://www.jumpingjacktrailers.com/

    Plus, it can be used for general purpose uses the rest of the time. Full size wheels/tires allow for decent clearence and normal towing speeds. But I'll admit, we're not the sort for luxury camping. Shelter, bed, table is about all we need/want. A/C and showers are what we have the house for.

    [​IMG]
    (dogs not included)

    MV
    #16
  17. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

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    We did a pop up camper and rolled the bikes into the bed of the pickup for 3 years. We bought a 15ish year camper and sold it 3 years later for what we paid. Loading bikes in the bed is kind of a pain, but having more room in the camper seemed like a good trade off.
    #17
  18. DriveShaft

    DriveShaft Long timer

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    That looks like some pretty clever structural elements. I didn't know anyone who actually has one. Set up is pretty well documented online, but what's the take-down experience like? Is it pretty much reversal of set up? Does it actually fit in the "two minutes" they claim? How long have you had yours?
    #18
  19. PaddedHat

    PaddedHat Been here awhile

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    Driveshaft, you pretty much hit it spot on with the Trail manor comments. I wonder how many they could move if they got the retail price down to reality? As for the other two I mentioned, I have spoke to several Hi-Lo owners who were a little less than enthused for several reasons, including issues with seals. As for the A-liner type of pop-up, might be a lack of care, but I sure have seen more than a few used ones that were a leaky mess. Can't really say that I ever did more than caught an occasional glance at a Trail Manor "in the field" and I really would waste time on any owner's websites when it comes to getting a true opinion of the product. For some reason, in the world of RVs, there sure seems to be a lot of folks that will give you glowing reviews of their own rigs, even if they were a moldy, rotted mess, and in the process burning to the ground as they speak.:lol3
    #19
  20. Davi5678

    Davi5678 Been here awhile

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    I'm scheming up something similar on a tangent, looking at pop up roof tents like these -

    http://www.jamesbaroud.com.au

    [​IMG]

    However I'm thinking of putting it on a enclosed trailer to haul a few bikes, leaving the roof free for the kayak, maybe something like this...

    [​IMG]

    In another thread I was thinking of converting a roof box to something similar, but I gave up on that idea:norton

    Other manufacturers -

    http://www.autohomeaustralia.com.au/productinfo.php?category=1&product=2

    These guys are in the US -

    http://www.roosttents.com/index.html

    There is also one which is made in china and rebranded through a few different companies which is identical to this -

    http://www.madcamp.com/Roof-Top-Camper-s/1814.htm
    #20