Tell me about Pop-up Campers

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Saltbox, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. chainslap

    chainslap BlessedarethesicK Super Supporter

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    Lots of good advice given so far. I'll try to add some personal experience without duplicating what's been said so far.

    My wife and I and now kids have gone from tents to pop-ups to travel trailers and now back to tents. We've gone full circle.

    Owned Jayco, Starcraft and Wilderness (fleetwood) campers.

    All that was said about the pop-ups being easy to pull, set-up, and maintain are mostly true. What hasn't been said is that it can be a bit of a pain to set-up/break-down when it's blistering hot or pouring rain (just like tent camping). Picture yourself Sunday morning after a great weekend and it's pouring rain outside and not letting up. Well, someone has to start breaking down the campsite and camper parts. That someone is you. Your wife and kids watch from the truck as you slosh through the process. Which on a decent day is no problem but now the family is cranky and wants to go home and you're still tromping around in the mud. Once home you have to re-set up the camper to let it dry out or you will get some nasty mold residue. I've personally done that more times then I can remember so I'm not trying to say it's all bad. It's just part of the deal with pop-ups.

    Personally, If I had $5,000 I'd be looking at a small, used tag-a-long with a single slide bed. Or a used Hi-Lo. All you deal with is water, electric, and vehicle hook-up. All your gear easily stores inside the camper (no muddy, wet gear in the truck) Family can wait in the camper during inclimate weather and no re-setting up if put up wet.

    Not trying to talk you out of a pop-up. We loved ours (owned two) and had so many good times. But the same can be said for most of our trips be it tent, pop-up or pull-behind.

    If you go pop-up, get the potty even if it's just a porta-potty. The potty isn't for you. It's for your wife and kids to pee at night so they don't have to make the walk to the bathhouse. We had a no stinky rule for the porta-potty because guess who has to clean out the crapper? Yes, you do. Pee, not so bad. Poop, not all that fun. Obviously, you just pee outside the camper.

    Best of luck with your purchase. No matter what you get, spending quality time camping with your family is one of the better things in life.
    #21
  2. Gitana

    Gitana A work in progress

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    Put an ad in Craigslist that you want to rent one for a long weekend. In this economy, you'll probably get multiple responses that will cost you way less than $500.

    For my money, I'd rather spend $5000 on a used trailer. I've had two pop-ups - one Starcraft and one Coleman. I wouldn't go back to a pop-up for all the reasons stated - noise, heat, wind, etc. Oh, and the sound of hundreds of mice feet crawling all over the fabric at that campground on Icicle Creek. That was fun. If you look on Craigslist, there are tons of lightweight, 20-24' trailers that can be had for that kind of money. You'll get something that is warmer, quieter, has A/C for summer, a decent kitchen, a shower and more privacy. Once your trailer is fully kitted out, you only need to toss in fresh food and your clothes and your'e off.

    That said, a pop-up is still way better than a tent.
    #22
  3. Saltbox

    Saltbox WTF is this?

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    You guys have convinced me to start looking at Hybrid trailer also. I'm just not sure I'm going to like pulling the thing around, never mind storing it in the off season. Thanks to all for the info. On a side note I don't think my princess will go for the idea of renting a trailer off of craigslist, not that the rental companie's units are any cleaner.
    #23
  4. Gitana

    Gitana A work in progress

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    Just don't tell her where you got it. :lol3
    #24
  5. Squidward

    Squidward At home in my jammies

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    I've always bought the Coleman; well-built and trouble free. But

    They get dirty and then you close them trapping the dirt inside

    The level of privacy is low and noise levels high

    Security for your stuff inside is essentially non-existent

    They collect allot of moisture inside when closed for the winter...

    Take a look at the "[email protected]" trailers
    #25
  6. * SHAG *

    * SHAG * Unstable

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    I would recommend a used 5th wheel or a pull behind camper if you need the truck bed for other stuff.
    Pop ups are too much work. :wave
    #26
  7. Airjunky

    Airjunky Adventurer

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    When I grew up my folks had a Coleman popup. My brother & I were putting the thing up by ourselves when we were like 10 or 12 yrs old. So I'm pretty familiar with them. And would love to have another one if it had the cargo space for the bike & UTV on it. I have a Chevy Avalanche to tow it with so that shouldn't be a problem.

    We tried renting one last year. Towed it to MN from WA for a waterski vacation at some friend's cabin. It was a good time. But the problem with renting from a private party is that your probably renting something that even they don't use. So who knows what kind of problems you will run into. Well, we know. 2 flat tires. No heat. Mold in the canvas. Propane frig never worked. If I rent again, it will be from a reputable dealership that has a service dept that can go thru the thing occasionally.

    And I think I like the hybrid cargo trailers better anyway. The ability to store & lock your toys up seems like it could pay for itself pretty easily.
    #27
  8. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

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    Lotta pluses and a lot of minuses

    They are hot, but no hotter than a tent. Find a shade

    I dont notice the noise so much, the A/C and heaters are loud. I just turn it off at night and climb in the bag. Below about 10ยบ turn it on low.

    12" tires suck unless you keep them at 70 psi but either way they wear out quick, but here you can buy a C range 12" tire and wheel for $55 each already mounted.

    Tow easy, dont kill your gas mileage unless your bucking a wind

    Buy used

    I prefer it over a hard shell, my wife, she likes a hard shell better.

    And it's gonna be cramped for space like just about everything.
    #28
  9. Switchblade315

    Switchblade315 I make people disappear

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    We have one with AC and heat. it will get so cold with it over 100 out side you will freeze inside if you want it to. and the heat works great as well. just set the temp where you want it and you're done. it can be set up in 15 to 20 minuets and down in about the same time. I've used it with and with out a generator. With one between the generator running 20 feet away in the back of my truck and the AC on it was nice and quite. with out it, was tent camping except you have a queen size bed to sleep in. ours has a queen on one end a full on the other and the table lets down and makes a twin size bed. sleep 5 adults easy. I agree on get one that the stove can be taken outside. you can cook inside but its not fun. ours you can take the stove out side and hang it on the side of the camper under the canopy and that works grate. it has a sink and water tank. Also i have a 97 GMC 1500 with a 350 and auto trans. i get 17 to 18mpg on the road running 75mph. i can pull this camper and have two dirtbikes in the back and i get 14 to 15mpg running 75mph and it loads my truck about as bad as if i had the bikes on a motorcycle trailer behind the truck. i think it's a 12 foot closed. If I pull a inclosed trailer my millage comes down around 10mpg.

    so look to get one with AC and heat, a sink, and make sure the stove can be put outside. other then that you will want a camp shower/toilet for the ladies and get two EZ-up canopies and some camp chairs. I also think the table on ours can be taken outside. as high as gas is getting i would not trade it for a hard side camper and I can sleep so much better in it i wouldn't trade it for a tent when i carry my truck. i have a 4500kw Generator and it pulls the AC and heat with no problem.
    #29
  10. Manuel Garcia O'Kely

    Manuel Garcia O'Kely Back at last

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    If you can live w/out a toilet - hard to ask of women, I know...a teardrop for you and the wife with the kitchen on the back, carry a nice big tent for the kids. Lighter, smaller and just about as easy to set up, plus when kids are not along, you have a perfect couple camper. Kids tent, pads and bags and such carry inside the trailer along with clothing and the like - saving considerable car space.

    But not everyones cup of chai.

    I just think that tent pop-ups are a lot of work if you move them often.

    If you can tow the weight, look at the A-frame hard sided pop-ups - I cannot remember the brand. They have some interesting looking designs as well, but I've never been IN one, seen a lot of them.
    #30
  11. KeithinSC

    KeithinSC Long timer

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    This is what you want...
    [​IMG]

    No matter what, with a popup, get a GOOD cordless drill. Use it to set the jacks and some models you can raise/lower the popup. Quick, no sweat.
    #31
  12. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

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    I wonder if the OP ever bought anything.
    #32
  13. Solaros1

    Solaros1 Long timer

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    There are also a lot of small fiberglass travel trailers that will sleep four - the 13 foot trailers are pretty cramped but only weigh 900-1200 lbs. They can be found for anywhere from $1500-$4500. A sixteen footer like a Casita weighs around 1800 lbs and I've seen those for around $6000-8000. Nice thing about these is they tow well and are aerodynamic enough to not horribly affect fuel mileage at speeds under 65 mph. Set up and take down time is: back into camping spot,, unhook trailer, drop stabilizing jacks, open door - about 2 minutes.

    Here' s a picture of my 13' U-haul - check out www.fiberglassrv.com for a lot more info on these neat little trailers.

    [​IMG]
    #33
  14. Saltbox

    Saltbox WTF is this?

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    HaHa, Yes I did. I ended up with a 40' breckinridge park model with a 12'X40' attached sunroom. Far cry from a pop-up, but it was deal I could not pass up. Purchased a waterfront lot on a quiet NH lake and now I have my own slice of paradise. I love it, my kids love it. Just pack the clothes and go. I'll never be able to tow it, but all things considered I'm happy. Just need a nice golf cart now and a pontoon boat, and maybe a jetski.......I may still need a crappy craigslist pop-up for when the mother in law visits.
    #34
  15. Fe Man

    Fe Man I am Iron Moran!

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    Hell Yes!
    #35
  16. KSJEEPER

    KSJEEPER Long timer

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    Why not a small, light hard-wall trailer?

    One of the biggest downsides to a pop-up that I can see (and why i use a travel trailer) is that the trailer is only useful when set up on site.

    With a hard sided trailer, you can pop in the back to get stuff or take a nap, rest at a rest stop, etc.

    Also, WalMart will let you park in their parking lots overnite. So, with a hard sided trailer, you can get off the road, crash, get up and keep on driving without ever unhitching or setting up. Very cool on a road trip where i takes several days to get to the end destination. Saves campground costs, and saves time.

    Also, much quieter, better insulated, and all around more user-friendly.

    Just $.02 worth of free advice :evil
    #36
  17. ShadyRascal

    ShadyRascal Master of None

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    I have been using a Haulmark for several years now for camping. We had it built to our spec with a side window, finished (for what that's worth) interior, and wide side door. We haul our ATV's to the dunes with it and sleep in it. Plop a mattress on the floor, set up a plastic K mart picnic table, got our little barbeque, good to go.

    We have been through several other campers too, from pickup slide-ins to Class C motor home to a couple of fifth wheels.

    Once we put cabinets in it, it worked very well. In comparison to the small fiberglass campers, which I do like, it is about the same thing really--if you have the small camper with no bathroom. Then the camper is shelter and a place to sleep. Mine is 8.5 x 20, big for this discussion, but I actually keep thinking about getting another, smaller one, and setting it up more for camping. Easy towing, fun to personalize, and extremely versatile.

    [​IMG]
    #37