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I would like to buy a pop up camper


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Joe Frickin' Friday

When I was growing up my parents went through three pop-up campers. First one was extremely small and basic; the next two were a bit better.


The last one had a three-burner gas stove inside, not outside like the one shown in your link; that was nice when it was raining. Also had a free-standing two-burner Coleman stove that got put on the campsite's picnic table outside in good weather.


had electrical outlets, but no generator or air conditioning; we hardly ever used any of it, since we tended to stay at more rustic campgrounds with no hookups (instead of super-developed KOA-type places). For light, a Coleman gas lantern and/or flashlights.


There was a sink, and you could connect to a water supply, tho we never did. Just kept a five-gallon jug full.


There was a small dining area, and the bench seats together with the table converted to a bed that could sleep two. Along with the beds on either end of the trailer, that meant you could sleep six people.


Ours didn't have the outdoor screened area like the one in your link; we relied on campfires and insect repellent to keep the bugs at bay. If the bugs were really bad, we cooked and ate inside.


The screen porch on the one in your link looks pretty nice, a cheap/light way to add bug-free, rain-free floor space.


With a camper that small, I don't think I'd want a bathroom on board; not enough privacy.


Maybe it's all about whatever you're used to, but I can't think of much I would have changed from what we had when I was growing up. If you and your fam don't mind using campground bathrooms and showers of variable cleanliness (or taking the occasional sponge bath inside your camper when showers aren't available at all), then a basic pop-up like what my folks had would probably suit you. If instead your family is squeamish about giving up the comforts of home, then you'll probably do better with something more deluxe.


Bottom line? I'd suggest discussing it with your family to see what they think they can be comfortable with.

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Hey Randy-

Now that you have Cummins Power......

Can you spell "5th Wheel" ???



They even have em with a garage for the bikes!! :D



of course, there is that budget thing........

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skinny_tom (aka boney)

I would be worried about a few things... If you cook in it, the bears are going to know you had bacon for breakfast. I'm pretty sure that bears like bacon and might come in to your tent while you're not there to see if you had any leftovers. Don't laugh, I've seen it happen. Get a portable toilet from the RV shop and use that (if you're someplace where there's hookups, there's going to be bathrooms and most likely showers too, then you won't have to hassle with the chemical toilet and dumping it.) My opinion is "the less moving parts the better." Read on:


I grew up spending my vacations sleeping in an old 1965 Apache tent trailer. It was fully canvas (no pop top) and had a "dresser" that popped up once the beds we're deployed. It was a "no nothin" trailer. That is; no stove, no water, no sink, no toilet, no shower. It could be packed with everything a family of 6 needed for a long vacation that you wouldn't want in the car with you during the day and towed down the hairiest of dirt roads- first behind a Scout, then a Land Rover, a VW van, Volvo wagon, Range Rover, and later a Dodge Truck. It was dirt cheap to register and got a new set of tires each year (small 10" tires don't last long.)


Up unitl a few years ago, it was still in regular use. Once we replace the Marine Grade Plywood floor, it'll be back in service for a good long time.


They key to it's 43 years of longevity? There's pretty much nothing to break.

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We just sold our pop up last spring.

It was similar to this on here:http://www.chooseyouritem.com/rvs/files/96000/96117.html


The niagara is the top line coleman (now fleetwood).

I liked it because it had the dinette that slid out and the bathroom for emergencies and rainy nights.


It was easy to tow behind my half ton truck, had 2 king size beds a nice stove inside and one outside grill. It had electric brakes and great storage capacity as well. I could tow it and put a bike in the bed of the truck if i wanted because the tongue weight was about 300lbs.


PM me if you have questions.

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Joe Frickin' Friday
I grew up spending my vacations sleeping in an old 1965 Apache tent trailer.


Ha! The Apache was my parents' first trailer. I don't remember much about it, since they upgraded (to a Starcraft something-or-other) when I was about six years old.


Third trailer was a Coleman Valley Forge.

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As noted above, right now budget is king. And yes, we prepared / willing to use the camping facility restrooms and showers. Currently any camping we have done has been under these constraints.


As noted above I like the "simplicity" of use right now. I know with rain it makes it a pain in the butt, but for now all our cooking is planned outdoors.


yes we are aware of the bear issue. Currently this is planned to be used in state parks, and to take to my track days. So really no hook ups are planned. Just to sleep and eat is some shade is a blessing. If the track or state park has hook up for electricity then great if not, then it is just a little nicer "tent"

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My parents had a Coleman "Chesapeake" from when I was about 9 until I was in highschool. We camped at mostly state parks, KOA's and Yogi Bear campgrounds (remember those?) with water and elctrical hook-ups. It has 2 queen beds and convertable table and a stove & sink. No trailer brakes (it would now) but we managed ot safely (open to interpretation) tow it with first a '89 Ford Taurus Wagon and later a '92 Toyota Camry 4 cylinder. Belive it or not, the Camry towed better bacause the rear suspension was better designed for heavy loads and the transmission was well matched for the engine's power. But I think it took it's toll long term on the brakes and transmission. It probably weighed close to 2000lbs when loaded with camping gear... maybe a little over.


Weaknesses... bakc then, the roof was a fragile fiberglass material. the "eveolution" fabric needed applications of scotchguard to be waterproof and mildew was a constant battle all around. The electric water pump never lasted more than 2 or 3 trips. And the cranking mechanism for raising the roof was fragile and overall, it took longer to set-up the pop-up than any tent I've owned. The stripping sealed the door was a absolute PITA and poor design. that took longer than anything.


The screened in porch/canopy was great to have in insect-infested and rain-prone Michigan.



One consideration with such a large truck and a small camper... be sure to get a low enough drop for the hitch so the trailer it level when being towed.



I would consider one in to future if my family wants to go camping. Ny Nissan Versa could tow a lightweight 1200lb pop-up with trailer brakes.

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... it is just a little nicer "tent"


That's the key, because it will still be pretty much a tent. If rains, you might not stay dry. If it is cold, you might not stay warm. If the wind blows, you might not sleep because of the noise, rocking, etc. If all that's OK, then you should be good to go.


One of the best things you can do after you get it is take a short shakedown trip where the only purpose is to try things out, learn how they work, and figure out what else you need to get to make it really work for you. Kinda like a motorcycle, the unit itself it just the starter kit. Farkle opportunities abound.

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One of the best things you can do after you get it is take a short shakedown trip where the only purpose is to try things out, learn how they work, and figure out what else you need to get to make it really work for you. Kinda like a motorcycle, the unit itself it just the starter kit. Farkle opportunities abound.


Great Advice!

We considered buying one when our girls were 2 & 3(Now in college). At the time living in CT we found a place in New Hampshire to rent one for the weekend. I think a fair amount of places(Campgrounds) still have rentals available. It allows you to have your first shakedown run on neutral terms.


We ended up buying a Skamper previously owned by an Electrical Engineer, more farkles than was necessary but nice.


I would have added the heater as the only major option that it didn't have.


Our first shakedown run was in the back yard. It was a Saturday on a Memorial Day weekend. It ended up being about 80-90 degrees all night and we about sweat to death. Thinking we knew what we were doing we took it up to near Albany for the Sunday night. By the time we got there the temperature had dropped between 40-50 degrees at night and we froze our buns off. Along with forgetting to check the propane and weather forecast a great trip....


We had a lot of fun in ours. If you buy used be sure to check the cable system. We had stop locks in ours if the cables broke, they did, the stop locks worked, but about 3-4 hours in time to re-rig the whole thing, not complex just time consuming.

Lot's of good memories.


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Have you thought about a slide in camper?


My parents bought one to take to Alaska on a long ride from Florida. They slept in it every night except one.


I've taken it to the Honda Hoot and a Tiger Ride-IN in Hiawassee and was very comfortable.


It has AC, outlets, a refrigerator, queen size bed and the dinette converts into a bed [it even had a built in satellite antenna that you could swivle to get the right angle].


They really nice thing is that the top popped up and down so it didn't totally block the wind and its height wasn't as much as an issue.


The truck with the slide-in pulled my trailer with little effort. Only problem is that you can't see the bike [bike fell off the chock and I dragged it for about 1000ft before I realized I was dragging it :eek:]


This is like the one they have.


BTW, if you have more than 2 [an don't mind being close] than I would deffinetly get the pop-up. My brother went from a pop-up to a A class RV - although they are more comfortable - they lose places for kids to sleep, incurred higher fuel costs not to mention the cost of the RV.



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Man what a coincidence. I was thinking of the exact same thing this weekend. Something simple and easy to tow to get the wife and dog back to nature. When I was growing up we had a 10' or 12' Shasta trailer that was tiny. It kinda looked like a semi-circle with wheels. Then my family purchased a 20' Norris travel trailer. I spent many wonderful vacations/weekends at Lake Gaston in Va. and Salter Path/Atlantic Bch. in N.C. having a bunch of fun. Good luck with your search. I think I will join in on the hunt and see what I can find.

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You've got a truck now - get a truck camper, and pull the bike(s) on a trailer.


You can get a small (8') slide-in, and it'll be pretty comfy compared to a pop-up trailer.


While overkill for your needs, this 12' Alpenlite was my camper for a while:



While very comfy, and supposedly 'upscale,' the Alpenlite build quality was a *huge* disappointment. I'll never buy anything built by those folks.


An 8' Fleetwood Angler was our first camper - it was quite basic, but usable. We paid under $5K for a second-hand unit that was two years old. We traded it in (on the Alpenlite seen above) three years later for more than we paid for it.


Lance is a middle of the road brand, and I've had two, after (gladly) selling the Alpenlite... I'd buy another lance if I was in the market, and presented with a good deal.



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"You've got a truck now - get a truck camper, and pull the bike(s) on a trailer."


Randy if you have a truck this is absolutely the way I would go. I wanted to do this about 6-7 yrs. ago but could not justify another vehicle to sit 95% of the time while paying insurance, license fees, etc. You could pull a trailer with bikes or a boat. I have the boat, you get the camper, and we can meet halfway. :grin:


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I would love to have the truck slide in type. cost and sleeping issues are the problem. Even used they seem to run around 15K. and yes i do plan on having maybe two adult couples and maybe two kids in some instances, or maybe a couple Dads and kids, so sleeping for 6 is an high item on my list. The ones I am looking at, all have two camping queens, and a dinett or other are that makes a couple double beds. Basically I am looking for an airconditioned or heated tent. And a refrig with some storage area for bread, lunch meat, milk and water. As noted before I realize many of these leak, and I have a couple 12X12 canopy's that I can put up over the unit to help in heavy rain.


usually light rain is not a problem. Or maybe a a 10 X 20 waterproof tarp that can be thrown over in an emergency.


Keep the comments coming, i am going to look at one tomorrow.


It is about 15 miles from my office so well worth the trip to check it out.



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I just saw the two replies on a truck camper. Hey if someone finds a nice 10 - 12 truck camper for 6K call me, i would be there. Anything within 200 miles of Atlanta is 15K

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I haven't read through all the posts so I apologize if this is repeat info.


We used to own a pop-up tent trailer and I found it to be more of a hassle than an actual tent. In order to go, we set it up, put our stuff in, then put it down. Get where your going and set it up. Once we got home we had to set it up, take out our stuff, clean it, then put it all back down. It was a lot of up and down. It would have been cheaper and just as easy to buy a good Springbar tent.


Since then, we have gone through two travel trailers. One was a 1969 Airstream that I had fully intended to restore. The plumbing didn't work so it ended up being a 25 foot aluminum tent. We loved the trailer, but I knew I was never going to fix the plumbing so we sold it and bought a new travel trailer where everything works. Running water and a toilet is very nice to have.


My only dilemma is that I pull the trailer with a 1/2 ton Suburban so I have no way of taking the bike and the trailer to the same place. But a truck would solve that problem.


Anyway, I hope this info is helpful in your decision. If someone asks me about a tent trailer, I don't recommend them. Buy a good tent and spend the money you saved on other camping comforts. Or to go camping more often.


Good luck.

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We're on our second Coleman (Fleetwood) pop up trailer. The first was a very small Taos model and the one we have now is a medium sized Laramie trailer. I don't believe airconditioning is practical in a popup, but the heater works quite well. I like being able to store everything we need in the forward trunk of the Laramie so we don't have to repack every time we go camping (see last post by Andy). However, I miss being able to pull the little Taos into remote places and get away from civilization. I'm now working on getting a ramp so I can carry one of my motorcycles in the pickup when we pull the popup. We're quite happy with having a popup, except folding it up in or just after a rain or snow. Messy....

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My girlfriend bought a very clean 2000 8 foot Coleman popup this summer for less than $2000. Setup isn't a big problem, we have the kids do it :)

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Ok, I am a little confused, what exactly are you taking in and out of the pop up. I maybe simple minded in my thinking, but i was thinking everything that is needed for the trailer is in the trailer, and all the non trailer stuff stays in my truck.


so for example I am going to Jennings GP for a two day track school.


I attach the camper and in it is say 4 nice folding chairs, the canopy, and screen dinning area. at least for all the ones I have been looking at in Atlanta area they all seem to have this. A pull out/retractable canopy thing, and a separate 12 X 12 dinning area that is set up right next to the camper. usually the outside cooking stove is inside this area.


Then in the bed of my truck is two track bikes, and assorted track items, baxley wheel chock, pit bull stands, maybe my portable tool chest, maybe two 3 gallon gas cans, etc.


In the back of my truck would be the riding suite, helmet gloves etc.


I am new to this, and so far I have only called and looked at pictures. But everyone I have called I have made a point of asking exactly what comes with the camper, and is it stored with the camper or separate.


basically I am looking at something like this





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ok, some comments ideas now that I have looked at a few of these


the comment by Andy about loading the refrig before leaving was "insightful" the very first unit I looked at the owner was on his third unit and one of the reason he bought this particular unit, was when all packed up, the one thing you could still get to was the refrig. Very nice.


I have looked at one that had tandem axle, and that seemed very nice. ohter than cost, any reason why more do not have double axle set up>


A couple of the ones we looked at, did not have a support system for the slide out. I really liked two that I looked out, the slide out dinnett area had exterior support units, just like the regular camper did. Considering it is just two "roll arms" that the slide is supported by. The exterior support for the slide seemed like a needed feature. However only about 1/2 the units I have looked at had the extra support


One of the units had a full guessing 8 X 24 single "solar" cover. This was a separate cover that they "threw" over the whole camper and it supposedly keeps the unit cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. It also helped with the rain, bugs, bird pop, tree sap etc. I must say it was the olderst unit, and yet the canvas looked the best. This seemed like a great idea. says you can buy the material on-line in almost any size you need.


The units that had the attached screen pourch were nice. It really made the whole unit seem much larger when you had that 7 X 12 outdoor area, for eating, cooking etc.



I am still looking. I found one I really liked, but I did not feel I had enough knowledge yet. I may regret not getting it later, as it seemed like a very nice one owner unit.

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