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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Semi-OT, but not totally: Looking to see if any of you have any recommendations or insight on camper trailers? I'm considering purchasing a popup camper that sleeps 5 adults (or 4 adults and 2 kids). We had a baby girl about a year ago and are realizing the only way we can continue taking trips to great riding destinations and music festivals is with a light popup.

If anyone has any thoughts it'd be great. Would love to know:
  • What kind of camper do you have (year, make, model, weight)?
  • What do you tow it with?
  • Did you need to make any modifications to it or the towing car?
  • Where do you rack your bikes: towing car or camper? If camper, did you have to drill the roof? Any concerns or problems with that?
  • What things should I look for or beware of?
  • How does it handle on the road?
  • How does it handle off-road, like, for example, Schnebly Hill in Sedona or the hill to Gooseberry out of Virgin?

Any thoughts, pics, advice, etc. would be great!

Thanks and hope everyone's having great holidays,
Rick
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Jeez: I can smell the pachouli and kynd veggie burritos from here.

I'm not seeing where you mount the bike racks, either
 
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At first, I thought pop-ups were a pretty good idea but then after talking with other peeps, you have to pack the stuff you're going to use in the car/truck anyhow. I'd rather pull the full meal deal than one of those.

Just borrow someones before you go any further with that thought.
 

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I had a pop-up.
Trailmanor, hard sided pop-up. About 2800lbs, towed w/ a Tundra. Gas mileage was 30% less

^^^Moab April 2008

I took it on a month long tour of the northern rockies when my girl was 3 months old, several moab trips, a few trips to CB, and some other random spots.

For the most part it was great. I had shelter, fridge, stove, soft bedding, storage...
But gawd did it slow me down. Not just the towing speeds, but setting up and taking down took time, and getting stuff in or out on the road was a pain..... And even with the camper, we stopped once/ week to use a real shower.

I am now back to tent camping. This last summer we spent two weeks in the SW (with little girl) in tents/hotels. We have a very warm sleeping bag, nice air mattress, and a good-sized tent. It worked just fine, even with a storm.

Bottom line, if you are gonna get one, get a NON pop-up. Get a fiberglass rv (very light), something that requires little to no setup and can be accessed on the fly (like at the grociery store). If I had to do it all over, I'd get something like the Casita.



In fact, somewhere down the road, I will.

OnbelayDave's idea isn't too shaby neither...
 

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WKD-RDR said:
For the most part it was great. I had shelter, fridge, stove, soft bedding, storage...
But gawd did it slow me down. Not just the towing speeds, but setting up and taking down took time, and getting stuff in or out on the road was a pain..... And even with the camper, we stopped once/ week to use a real shower.

I am now back to tent camping. This last summer we spent two weeks in the SW (with little girl) in tents/hotels. We have a very warm sleeping bag, nice air mattress, and a good-sized tent. It worked just fine, even with a storm.

Bottom line, if you are gonna get one, get a NON pop-up. ...
I have a Jayco soft sided pop up and we love it for family trips. It's great to be off the ground, to have a cleanish place for the kid to play and get changed, and it's great to be ready to go - load clothes and bikes and food and everything else is in there. As far as getting it up and down, I've been able to get it up and ready for cooking/sleeping before other peeps have their campsite set up.

It's about 1500 pounds empty and I've towed it to CB and Summit County with a 97 Cherokee. It's ok with the little Jeep, but I'd feel safer and would be more willing to travel further with a larger tow vehicle. Oh, and bikes go on the roof of the Jeep when we travel.

WKD RDR has valid concerns, but in the end he's just a sissy.
 

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A buddy has a popup - made the switch from tent camping a few years back. They now have 4 kids and he loves it. He actually just keeps all their camping gear in large storage boxes in the collapsed trailer - says it works great and really reduces the prep time when getting ready for a trip.
When we've campet together, he's ready to before I've set up my tent, let alone air matresses and sleeping bag set up.
 

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Shattering Glass
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2nd this. My friend had a lance non pop up in the bed of his ford. Let's just say that while he was playing with all the bells and whistles in a place where I came to get away from them all, I was out riding! Slowed down the travel big time especially when we hit a dirt road or a pass. I do like those ultralight trailers though. Plug in and gooooooo

WKD-RDR said:
I had a pop-up.
Trailmanor, hard sided pop-up. About 2800lbs, towed w/ a Tundra. Gas mileage was 30% less

^^^Moab April 2008

I took it on a month long tour of the northern rockies when my girl was 3 months old, several moab trips, a few trips to CB, and some other random spots.

For the most part it was great. I had shelter, fridge, stove, soft bedding, storage...
But gawd did it slow me down. Not just the towing speeds, but setting up and taking down took time, and getting stuff in or out on the road was a pain..... And even with the camper, we stopped once/ week to use a real shower.

I am now back to tent camping. This last summer we spent two weeks in the SW (with little girl) in tents/hotels. We have a very warm sleeping bag, nice air mattress, and a good-sized tent. It worked just fine, even with a storm.

Bottom line, if you are gonna get one, get a NON pop-up. Get a fiberglass rv (very light), something that requires little to no setup and can be accessed on the fly (like at the grociery store). If I had to do it all over, I'd get something like the Casita.



In fact, somewhere down the road, I will.

OnbelayDave's idea isn't too shaby neither...
 

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rsmarg said:
Semi-OT, but not totally: Looking to see if any of you have any recommendations or insight on camper trailers?
Rick
The best advise I could give you is to RENT one each time you go camping.

I have a 2 year old little girl and 5 year old boy and we've taught them early how to camp simply, pee in the woods and just have fun in a big a$$ tent. The extended trips are where the bigger trailer comes in handy but for $75 per day to rent a 24 foot ultralight you can't beat that! No need to worry about storage or depreciation either.
http://www.adventurecamper.com/AC-CamperRentals.HTML
 

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2melow said:
The best advise I could give you is to RENT one each time you go camping.

I have a 2 year old little girl and 5 year old boy and we've taught them early how to camp simply, pee in the woods and just have fun in a big a$$ tent. The extended trips are where the bigger trailer comes in handy but for $75 per day to rent a 24 foot ultralight you can't beat that! No need to worry about storage or depreciation either.
http://www.adventurecamper.com/AC-CamperRentals.HTML
Yes and no. All depends on how often you go camping.

2 years ago, we did almost 20 nights of camping in the trailer. With some hecticness, this year we got 3 nights. At $75 a night, our camper would have already paid for itself, not including the other 2 years we owned it...

Of course, it depends how much you use it. And, I also assume that you're buying used and not new...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Nice! Thanks, everyone. I like the idea of a pre-fab trailer but I can't find one under 2000 lbs GVWR. Since I'm towing with a diesel Jetta, I need to stay under that (more for stopping ability). So am looking at 8'-ers.

2Melow: that's good advice to rent, though we've stayed in friends popups and loved them.

I also hear everyone's comments about slowing you down, but we're interested in this b/c the arrival of our (now) one-year old basically ground things to a halt. So we're looking for this as a means of being able to get back out there.

Its freakin' hard to convince my beautiful and highly accomodating wife but who doesn't mountain bike to tent camp in the middle of BFE (usually desert) while I'm off spinning. So am hoping this will make the concept more palatable. Wishful thinking?

Thanks everyone
 

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rsmarg said:
<snip>
Its freakin' hard to convince my beautiful and highly accomodating wife but who doesn't mountain bike to tent camp in the middle of BFE (usually desert) while I'm off spinning. So am hoping this will make the concept more palatable. Wishful thinking?
The tent gets much easier as they get older...

And yes, it is wishful thinking on your part.

:p
 

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little r-pods and funfinders look pretty cool. also I have a buddy who got a large 26' trailer used for 3500-- it was old but in good shape and everything works great
 

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rsmarg said:
So am looking at 8'-ers.

..........

So I am hoping this will make the concept more palatable. Wishful thinking?
With an 8 footer, absolutely.



Mastering the "hey, goin for a quick ride" routine will be quite the chore with this as home base.

Start simple.
Rent an full sized for the weekend, see how it goes.
 

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Debaser said:
As far as getting it up and down, I've been able to get it up and ready for cooking/sleeping before other peeps have their campsite set up.
Dude, I was at the canadaYeah border. The border guy wanted to check out my camper, so he made me open it and set up. He searched the camper in case I was transporting illegal kiwis or somethin, then he watched me collapse it. The doojyeah asked me questions and made comments the entire time about how the thing pops-up and collapses. :rolleyes:

That was the point I decided I wanted no more poop - up.
 

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WKD-RDR said:
Dude, I was at the canadaYeah border. The border guy wanted to check out my camper, so he made me open it and set up. He searched the camper in case I was transporting illegal kiwis or somethin, then he watched me collapse it. The doojyeah asked me questions and made comments the entire time about how the thing pops-up and collapses. :rolleyes:

That was the point I decided I wanted no more poop - up.
Last time I came back from Canada, in '04, they didn't bother to look in my car. I could have been smuggling the mother lode of booze in the trunk. Or whatever...

So, you travel to Canada once and get rid of your pop up becasue of that?
 

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rsmarg said:
If anyone has any thoughts it'd be great. Would love to know:
  • What kind of camper do you have (year, make, model, weight)?
  • What do you tow it with?
  • Did you need to make any modifications to it or the towing car?
  • Where do you rack your bikes: towing car or camper? If camper, did you have to drill the roof? Any concerns or problems with that?
  • What things should I look for or beware of?
  • How does it handle on the road?
  • How does it handle off-road, like, for example, Schnebly Hill in Sedona or the hill to Gooseberry out of Virgin?
Rick
Well, we LOVE our pop-up! Extremely versitile, light and easy to take places.

Our situation is similar to yours; we have 2 kids.

We have a 1998 Coleman (Fleetwood) Cheyenne. We bought it new from Kettleson in west Denver. After 12 years of camping, we've definitely evolved into efficient campers.

The Camper:
We love the Cheyenne model, however the ones with the pop-out sides do offer up a little more room. Ours has the hand pump water (no hot water) which is fine for us. It also has a heater (must have), refridgerator, and two stoves (one inside and one outside). My neighbors have a Jayco, and the coleman's are a little better in quality.
--as for popups, my only requirement was to NOT crawl over any seating or tables to get to the beds.
--we added an extra propane tank and battery (total of 2 each)... almost a must have at least for running heat on colder outings.
--we lifted ours, because we do take it off-road to get into the roads less travelled. The above (and larger) campers would've had made it.
--we have the front storage area, which has been critical in transporting and leaving in those extra necessities (camp chairs, tarps, lanterns, etc.

Vehicles:
We have been pulling our pop-up with our 97 Toyota Land Cruise since we've bought it. I did have a 98 Toyota Tacoma (Supercharged) that did well but we sold it when we needed 4 seats when the kiddos came around.
The Land Cruiser does 'okay'. Slower on the passes (think 35mph up Vail...ugh). The bike situation is always interesting. We are the type to make camp and drive to the riding spots or shuttle people (moab, Fruita, etc).... so we have a rack system for the top of the cruiser and a rack system for the top of the camper. Problem with the camper rack is that you still need to transport bikes once you're at the location.
That said, we recently bought a Toyota Tundra. The V8 that Toyota makes (the 2000-2006 versions) do well. We bought an 06 Tundra (the older model) that is 4 door for the kids. We didn't opt for a topper and do transport the bikes either via DH style, on top of the camper, or also rack them on top of the tundra. The trailer still works fine if you drape them over the tailgate. We also carry tons of firewood in the back (way cheaper than buying individual bundles).

Mods:
--Towing package on the Tundra.
--2 -3 inch lift on the camper. The new E series already has these lifts
--Extra Propane & Battery

Racking bikes:
--Camp will be harder to move. You'll need to think about 2 things:
1. Transporting the bikes with the camper to the designation
2. Transporting riders to and from camp to the rides. If you're doing shuttles in Moab, you'll need a few extra places to dump bikes (hence our reason for a 4-door truck)

We have added a rack to the camper to put on racks. Kettleson did it because they have a system on doing it.

Awareness:
--Get a great layout. The reason we bought a pop-up was to get out of the rain/snow/wind during bad times. You'll find that you mostly live 'out' of it. Having storage is key, so I would never own one without a front storage area. We don't have to prep much, everything is in there. Tent camping is great if its only you, but add in the infrastructure of kids, and a pop-up is waaaay better. Just throw in food and clothes, and go. I see a lot of my friends that end up living out of the van/car/etc... and its a pain sometimes.

Road:
--handles well. no issues. Easy to pull, manuever, etc.

Locations:
--pop-ups rock, period. You can take these things everywhere. I noticed a few other pictures of other campers.... the bigger you get, the harder it is to get into tight places. The taller it is, the more top-heavy it gets when you go offroad. I've taken mine not only to Crested butte, but also have taken it across streams (oh be joyful), into 4wd areas (penitente canyon out skirts), Moab, Fruita and all on the road less traveled. We HATE campgrounds and would rather get out and away from all the people that have to have infrastructure. No more RV's, big campers, etc. We enjoy Sand flats and places like that, but we've done a tone of serious off-roading that the camper itself can barely go.

Think about storage. The bigger you go, you need a place to put it. Find a home without an HOA and you're in ******* haven. Get an HOA and you need to put it somewhere. we can store ours in our 3rd car garage.... easy. I don't have to go anywhere to get it. I can constantly maintain the batteries and know everything will be safe.

I'll upload pics. We have 4 families in our hood that all have pop-ups. We all have kids too. Its a great thing to have when you have kids, period. Dry, clean area's to change clothes, diapers, etc. We love ours and get out probably 10+ times a year as a family. Mostly mtn biking trips.
 

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SkaredShtles said:
The tent gets much easier as they get older...

And yes, it is wishful thinking on your part.

:p
I like the low impact that tents have... however, those friends of ours with tents don't make it out as much as we do. I could be wrong, but literally hooking up a popup and going makes car-camping waaay easier!
 
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