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Rezarf
08-15-2012, 12:50 PM
So I think the family has decided we are heading towards a Pop up trailer. This is bitter sweet. I love my little off road trailer but we have already outgrown it.

I'd like to be able to sleep 6ish... for kids friends our friends things like that. I think we'd like a heater/stove/fridge setup. This will most likely not see any dirt. We will tow it with our Sequoia that has a tow package installed already.

What should be looking into? Brands? Sizes?

What should we be avoiding? Canvas work? Water damage?

We would like to keep it in the 2-3k range on price.

corsair23
08-15-2012, 01:04 PM
Drew,

We have a Coleman Casa Grande...1997 model bought in 1998.

We really like it. It is big with king beds on each end and the kitchen table converts to a full size bed. The kitchen table area pulls out so the walking space is much bigger than you normally find. Stove, fridge, and heater. No potty or AC. We decided having a potty inside just didn't sound like a good idea but having AC would be nice sometimes.

As for things to look for...Ours is holding up really well but little things like the velcro attachments are starting to come loose. Check for cracks in the roof (expensive repair) and the body panels. Check the interior etc. and make sure all of the items work including the heater, water pump, and water heater if you plan to use them. Popups are GREAT for improved campgrounds with electrical and water hook ups. Using them in unimproved areas is still nice but you have to work around the lack of electricity and water issues.

If I were looking for one now I'd try to find a Fleetwood E1 or E2 I think...Those are pretty nice but I'm not sure about pricing. I don't know what you will find in the $2-3K price range but I imagine there should be a lot of options.

IMO, get the biggest and best conditioned one you can find because having the space is really nice...assuming you never really plan to drag it very far off the beaten path that is :) - mine took a beating on the trip in and out of Area BFE.

black95
08-15-2012, 01:44 PM
I also have a Coleman and love it. I'm pretty partial to the Fleetwood/ Coleman campers.

Somewhere in the early 90's (93?) Coleman switched to the weathertech fabric that is far superior to old canvas models. I think mine is a '94. We've been in some bad storms in ours, never had anything get wet. Try to get one with an awning, it's very much worth it.

Seems like I remember the Coleman and Fleetwood campers were the only brands to have solid beam axles and leaf springs, which was a huge factor since I wanted to lift mine. Fleetwood makes the Coleman campers still I think. I lifted mine 5.5 inches with a spring flip and a homemade 2.5 square tube block. Got new u-bolts made at a spring shop in town. I've drug it through places so knarly, people stopped to take pictures.

Why not go with an offroad version in the first place? I looked into it, my camper weighs in around 1,100 pounds fully loaded, most of the offroad versions were over a thousand pounds heavier than that. Not sure where all the weight comes from, but my lifted 4runner would not have liked that, your 100 series will probably do fine.

I opted to find a model without a refrigerator. I've seen a lot of campers that have refrigerators that don't work, even when they do, the propane cooling system seems to take a long time to get cool. I didn't want to have to pop up my camper a day ahead of time to get the refrigerator ready to go just to close it back up again. They are very expensive to replace when they go bad as well. I guess if you have power hookup that's a different story, I have had my pop up for 5 years and have never plugged it in. My family can keep the lights on all weekend and the heater blowing at 75 and the battery always seems to hold up.

About the potty, mine has one and my wife and daughter love it. It was a huge factor in them wanting to go or not. It's a little more difficult for women to find places to go, and the toilet keeps the campsites from looking like a toilet paper roll exploded. It is very easy to clean, just dump it in the toilet when you get home (it has a flip out nozzle), put it in the yard and rinse it with a hose, dump in a little potty deodorizer, and throw it back in the camper for next time.

Good luck, you'll love the pop up life.

wesintl
08-15-2012, 02:08 PM
my .02 using mine the last couple years.

Stove, we hardly ever cook inside. Only when the weather is totally crappy which is hardly ever. We mainly use the green coleman stove on a picnic table.
THe fridges in these things suck. My norcold in the truck is 10x better. If you use battery it will suck it down to nothing. The propane works ok. Being more and more Bear aware we hardly even use it anymore, esp for weekend getaways. It's different if you have a hard side trailer. In yellowstone we never even used the fridge. I do turn it on when we are hooked up at a trailer park like in ouray.

The heater is key though.

I'd try to find one with at least a king and queen vs a double on one side. The seat that folds to a bed might as well be useless it's so small. you could use it for really little kids like 3 and under but our dogs won't even sleep on it.

I think min would be a 12ft box.

SteveH
08-15-2012, 02:11 PM
Look for any camper that has been garaged - that helps a huge amount on sun and water damage. I have a '93 Starcraft (12' chassis) I bought in '97. I really like the 12' chassis because you always need more room inside, even with a family of 4. I have towed it a little offroad and across the US several times. It's showing some wear, but no roof leaks or frame issues, etc. Some of the interior layout and design is criminal (requires you to fully set up the camper - FULLY) before you can close a water valve or load the icebox - stupid! You will need to fix little things that fall apart on campers -they're like an old AMC or Chrysler product, as far as interior component quality.

My wife and I have looked at many Coleman campers from the late 90s/early 2000s, and all have fairly serious damage to the ABS plastic roof or the front/rear shells. Colorado is very hard on ABS plastic - sun and hail. So, while we'd like a camper with 2 king beds and a slideout (like a Coleman Utah, Niagara, etc.) we haven't found one we'd buy yet. The Fleetwood/Coleman popup division in Pennsylvania went bankrupt in 2009 and closed and the 1-piece ABS replacement roofs are no longer available.

I greatly enjoy my popup and feel claustrophobic in most hard-sided campers (with the tiny windows). I don't use the camper icebox - just bring a cooler. I really, really like having a 6 gal hot water heater in the camper for a morning face wash - that justifies the entire camper at times ;-)

Now is a good time to buy - people don't want to pay another year's storage fees and the camping season is over. Take your time and look at several brands and sizes.

nakman
08-15-2012, 02:23 PM
You guys nailed the fridge: useless. Unless you're at Slickrock Campground all week, then it's ok, but even then still too small and not really that cold. Just get a real fridge for the back of the truck.

AC doesn't do anything or us, where we camp it's sweatshirts at night and often the heater. During the day it can get hot, but we don't typically want to sit inside the camper during the day, unless it's completely raining, in which case it's sweatshirts again, not AC. not worth the weight.

Make sure access to one of the beds isn't through the bench of the table- you want a kid to be able to sit & eat his cereal without the other crawling on top of him looking for their socks. And the potty doesn't appeal to us either, for the girls we've got a little Baby Bjorn bucket thing that's literally a pan to pee in then dump outside & rinse with water. My son and I would rather go outside, camping or not. :hill:

And hot water doesn't do anything for us either, we've still never even used the water storage & sink. A 7 gal. jug on the tongue seems to do us just fine, and I like the idea that there's no water or mold potential inside, I may just remove the sink altogether to gain the counter space. Personal preference obviously, we'd rather brush our teeth outside than store old toothpaste in the cracks of a flexible drain tube. I've got a Decker hot water heater that runs completely independent of the camper, and have set that up in a little tent a few times but again, not a part of the camper. Like Wes, I do most my cooking outside on a Coleman stove as well, rarely inside. Though we do heat water on the stove inside in the mornings, that's handy.

Cheeseman
08-15-2012, 02:49 PM
We've had our for a couple of years now. But that doesn't include the Bethany we had when I was a kid. Put about 100,000 miles on that we figure.

As has been said keep them simple. Keep them light and maneauverable. Weight takes HP to pull and mileage to lose if you understand. Fridge, use the one in your vehicle. Heater is ok but can be noisy. You will use and figure out what you would like to modify or add to make it easier. Like Nakmans ideas. I know the first thing I do is fashion a cover for the sink to make more counter space. When your inside you sit down, kids on the far end past the table. It isn't designed space wize to just walk around in. Ours is smaller so we can turn it sideways in the designated areas. Be careful of the off road statement. There is a thread somewhere here about that. Oh yah, make the sure the brake system works whichever you get. It is a lifesaver. My dad locked up all six tires once when I was young. Trailer followed straight instead of swapping ends. And let your kids learn how to open and close it. Less work for you. Took us 10 minutes when I was a kid. Dad stayed at the drivers wheel and didn't come out of the car until we told him to. We leveled and everything. Outfit it with its own equipment so you don't have to get stuff from somewhere else and then return it.
All for now.

FJBRADY
08-15-2012, 03:26 PM
We've had our for a couple of years now. But that doesn't include the Bethany we had when I was a kid. Put about 100,000 miles on that we figure.

As has been said keep them simple. Keep them light and maneauverable. Weight takes HP to pull and mileage to lose if you understand. Fridge, use the one in your vehicle. Heater is ok but can be noisy. You will use and figure out what you would like to modify or add to make it easier. Like Nakmans ideas. I know the first thing I do is fashion a cover for the sink to make more counter space. When your inside you sit down, kids on the far end past the table. It isn't designed space wize to just walk around in. Ours is smaller so we can turn it sideways in the designated areas. Be careful of the off road statement. There is a thread somewhere here about that. Oh yah, make the sure the brake system works whichever you get. It is a lifesaver. My dad locked up all six tires once when I was young. Trailer followed straight instead of swapping ends. And let your kids learn how to open and close it. Less work for you. Took us 10 minutes when I was a kid. Dad stayed at the drivers wheel and didn't come out of the car until we told him to. We leveled and everything. Outfit it with its own equipment so you don't have to get stuff from somewhere else and then return it.
All for now.

This stopped me in my tracks.......Cheeseman camps in a popup trailer? I thought he slept under the stars in a downpour, what a buzz kill.

pmccumber
08-15-2012, 03:39 PM
I consider the water storage tank and sink a very big deal. Washing dishes is so much easier when you can rinse in a sink. Standing up inside is nice too. Heaters are a big deal, the beds are nice. I'd say a giant feature is front locker storage. You basically can have everything in the camper and locker and be ready to go.

I have a Coleman Cheyenne btw. It is a 2003 and I have it listed on CL in the Boulder section.

farnhamstj
08-15-2012, 03:56 PM
We never use the fridge or hot water heater. Took the hot water heater out to create storage space. Only once in 100+ nights of sleeping in the pop-up did we sleep with the windows unzipped, AC not needed. We prefer Wagbags to cleaning a bathroom, so got 10' chassis size. Buy cheep and upgrade axle/wheels/tires is my advice. Brand doesn't matter, they're all crap. buy a 10' chassis size is my advice.

Basic breakdown of Pop up campers

8' chassis, 10-12" wheels, 5gal water, manual pump, furnace, Ice box, 2 small beds

10' chassis 12-14" wheels, 20-30 gal, 12v water pump, furnace, fridge, 2.5 beds, brakes

12' chassis, same as above with shower/toilet, bigger beds.

Cheeseman
08-15-2012, 03:57 PM
Well Steve, Done my duty to the outside in a big way. Now when mama is along it's a little different. Still have to make her coffee to get her out of bed in the morning either way. My bones don't get up off the ground as easy as they use to. I still like a good tent........well........

Romer
08-15-2012, 04:11 PM
I really liked the Jayco Baja. It sleeps uop to 7. It has bigger tires and will go more places than a standard pu, but is made of particle boards held together by staples like the rest

A major reason I bought this one was I could stock the fridge and get to almost all the storage cupboards while the top was still down. I also liked the front storage box

It was nice when the kids were younger as Sarah would sit at the kitchen table doing her homework inside

wesintl
08-15-2012, 04:15 PM
forgot. you will want one with a front deck to put the kids bigwheel, bikes, toys, junk, a cooler, eazy up, etc.

Rezarf
08-15-2012, 04:24 PM
This is great guys, thanks. I too was bummed to read that cheeseman doesn't sleep in a bear grylls lean-to at night either. :sad:

This info is good. I have an ARB fridge so that is done. We might not always camp in Colorado so I think the A/C is still on the table as is the heat. The indoor can is a HUGE winner for my gals... probably gotta stay on the list.

We just spent a week in a 20'+ Roo hard sided (with bed flip outs) camping. It was really nice to be able to live a little "inside" the trailer verses my current setup that allows you to live "around" the trailer.

The search is on... time to start looking at a few.

rover67
08-15-2012, 05:19 PM
i'll buy your old trailer for $100.

Rezarf
08-15-2012, 08:25 PM
i'll buy your old trailer for $100.

Tempting... but no. :p:

nakman
08-15-2012, 09:19 PM
Wow, these are all over the place right now.

http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/3199186526.html

http://denver.craigslist.org/spo/3204024811.html

http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/3202606520.html

only lightly smoked in... http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/3202559750.html :)

Romer
08-15-2012, 09:20 PM
This info is good. I have an ARB fridge so that is done. .

as your kids get older, the ARB fridge may not cut it. If you can afford it, I would get one with a fridge. Even in my current Kimberley, I have a fridge and then one in the truck

nakman
08-15-2012, 09:23 PM
as your kids get older, the ARB fridge may not cut it. If you can afford it, I would get one with a fridge. Even in my current Kimberley, I have a fridge and then one in the truck

Agreed on the 2nd fridge, but why dedicate it to the camper? here Drew http://boulder.craigslist.org/app/3189851917.html

Romer
08-15-2012, 09:30 PM
a bit more money, but depends on what you are looking for

http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/3191771568.html

http://fortcollins.craigslist.org/rvs/3196415094.html

http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/3185386155.html

http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/3203019715.html

http://fortcollins.craigslist.org/rvs/3138732591.html

Rezarf
08-15-2012, 11:44 PM
Wow, these are all over the place right now.
:)

'Tis the season... for campers, boats and motorcycles.

as your kids get older, the ARB fridge may not cut it. If you can afford it, I would get one with a fridge. Even in my current Kimberley, I have a fridge and then one in the truck

Makes sense, thanks Ken.

Agreed on the 2nd fridge, but why dedicate it to the camper? here Drew http://boulder.craigslist.org/app/3189851917.html

Tim, you can spend my money nearly as fast as I can ;)

a bit more money, but depends on what you are looking for

I have no interest in hauling toys, or having more clearance... got plenty of clearance right now that I have barely used. I think my sights are pretty clear on what we would use it for, mostly getting out into nature in developed campsites... might even buy a bug zapper. :hill:

corsair23
08-16-2012, 03:13 PM
Drew, buy a popup for the "improved" campgrounds...Keep your smaller camper for the times you go to Area BFE or the like :D

A couple other thoughts I'd share/agree with. Being able to load up the camper when not in the "up" position is nice. Ours you have to partially pop up in order to reach a good sized vacant area in the floor and the fridge. Having a storage locker on the front would be nice but you have to be careful to not overload that and get the tongue weight too high.

Potty - If you are staying at improved camp grounds they will have bathrooms. IMO, a better plan would be to get a Pett toilet and shelter or similar if an indoor potty is a requirement. Easy setup and take down. You might be surprised at how much room inside the indoor potty will take up. Just food for thought. In the 15+ years we've owned our popup camper I can only remember one time wishing for a built in potty. We were camping in an unimproved campground outside of Moab. This was years before we bought the Pett toilet. Now that we have that...

I guess I just can't see sitting in there doing your business and stinking up the joing with everyone else around :hill:

Personally, if I had a vehicle that would pull one and I could afford the storage, I'd get a larger hard sided trailer with the popout sleeping areas...Those are nice but big, heavy, and expensive...

EDIT: You might consider spending some time and looking at old brochures to get ideas of sizes, interior layouts, etc. I just found this:

http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?action=media;sa=album;in=102

If nothing else, if you come across a trailer online you could use the above as a source of info. For instance, if you look at the 1999 brochure and look at the bayside, that is basically what I have (sans the storage locker). I can't find the actual model I have - apparently it was a "mid-year" introduction and never made it into a brochure :rolleyes:

nakman
08-16-2012, 04:42 PM
here you go Drew. If nothing else, an idea of what you can do to modify.. :weld: http://denver.craigslist.org/for/3183728895.html

baja1d
08-16-2012, 05:04 PM
I agree with Jeff- buy a 10-16' hard sided. Virtually 1/2 the price, no issues, no set-up (other than leveling), virtually no maintenance. BTW, we may be selling our 10' hard sided camper this winter. It's been 100% refurbished and virtually brand new. We're headed towards a motorhome...

http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/3207112393.html
http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/3204110971.html
http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/3203992264.html

Corbet
08-16-2012, 05:40 PM
We have not used our "new to us" Starcraft 10R/T a lot yet but my only complaint could be more storage. A small deck or storage box would be nice. I'll probably just put the Thule box on the roof in the future if I need it.

I like having the PETT toilet. I prefer to do my business outside the camper. If the weather warrants it you can always move it indoors. But if you have a built in you can take it out.

Heat, fridge, water are all you need. Everything else just breaks. Being able to load it folded down would be nice. We can't with the Starcraft, well the fridge anyway. I leave all the cooking stuff inside. Put our dry goods in the one cabinet that is accessible while folded.

Trailer brakes are a big plus. I'm happy to have them especially on the long descents we have around here.

PhatFJ
08-16-2012, 06:48 PM
Well Steve, Done my duty to the outside in a big way. Now when mama is along it's a little different. Still have to make her coffee to get her out of bed in the morning either way. My bones don't get up off the ground as easy as they use to. I still like a good tent........well........

Your still my hero!!! :thumb: :D

bomber22
08-16-2012, 09:18 PM
my wife and i had a coleman sequoia 14' box, had water,no heat,no frige,no potty. pain in the ass load supplys, had to hand crank it up to get to storage.
no we have 18' hybred trail lite bantam, ac micro wave heat water shower/ potty dish solor panel[35 watt] to charge the battery. we don't use the microwave or the ac, that needs more juice like a 3000 watt gen. frige we use somtimes but it takes forever to cool down. has plenty of room for my wife and i and our 3 dogs, 70lbs,120lbs, and our new puppy 25lbs. i pull this with my 2000 tundra, not sure of the trailer weight.

nakman
08-17-2012, 08:33 AM
I agree with Jeff- buy a 10-16' hard sided. Virtually 1/2 the price, no issues, no set-up (other than leveling), virtually no maintenance. BTW, we may be selling our 10' hard sided camper this winter. It's been 100% refurbished and virtually brand new. We're headed towards a motorhome...

http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/3207112393.html
http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/3204110971.html
http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/3203992264.html

I liked your first hard-sided rant better, why'd you take it down? I thought you made some good points.. :confused:

It's all about where you want to go- on the last camp Farnham (http://www.risingsun4x4club.org/forum2/showthread.php?t=18002) one of those big campers would have just been destroyed- lots of dips in the road, banks, roots, low branches.. as it was I still bashed 2 corners of my sprung over popup leaving the place. Plus if it were any muddier I'm not sure an exit with a big trailer would have even been possible. So yes, if the intent is developed camp grounds behind the stock Sequoia, then yeah one of those big hard sided deals would fit the bill and likely be more comfortable/easier than a popup.

baja1d
08-17-2012, 08:57 AM
I took it down because alot of you guys have pop-ups & the last thing I want is to be "one of those guys". You know the type... Mud is full of them. At any rate here's the original rant:

I hate to poo poo the idea of a pop-up but I couldn't agree with Jeff more: "Personally, if I had a vehicle that would pull one and I could afford the storage, I'd get a larger hard sided trailer". I will admit that I'm a little turned off by pop-ups- my Dad came home with one once and our camping trips seemed to become way more complicated for many of the reasons previously stated in your thread. I'm sure they have come a long way since then but $6-8,000 is an incredibly expensive tent!!! There is a ton of hard sided campers out there that are half the price, have more storage, better appliances, and can be put away/stored immediately upon return from a trip without any maintenance (I.e., setting up camp in the front yard so that everything can be dried out). As you know, Colorado is notorious for a 45 minute afternoon thunderstorm/high wind situation. Just about every time we're camping this seems to happen and, as I'm stepping out of our 10' hard sided camper, I always feel sorry for those that are in tents or anything soft sided. As far as MPG, a nice hard sided camper can be had for roughly $3,000. That leaves about 3k in savings for gas or storage. In other words, 8,000+ miles in a Sequoia getting 10 MPG while dragging it around. I'll get off my soap box now and I'm sorry if I offended any pop-upers.

Some things to consider:
1. Large water capacity or room to add an additional water tank. 35 gallons will only last 4 days with 2-3 very quick showers

2. 12v deep cycles may or may not provide enough juice. Consider two 6v batteries (Can't remember if it's series or parallel but it's + to - to make a giant 12v battery from the two 6 volts) in lieu of two 12v deep cycles. You'll double/triple your amp hours.

3. Air conditioning will require 110 power or a
generator. Honda makes an incredibly quiet generator

wesintl
08-17-2012, 11:29 AM
ah.. different strokes for different folk.

For now I like the popup. Small, easy to maneuver and I still like the tent part. It make it feel like were still "camping" vs rv'ing, I don't want all the appliances, I like camping, dutch oven vs oven or microwave, Green coleman stove. I don't really deploy my awning all that much and there is nothing else i have to deal with in high wind unless 1/2 the windows are open. otherwise they are either all up or down. The awnings you hard siders still have to deal with as well. It's so dry unless i put the popup down when it's raining there is no drying out I've ever had to do. I don't clean any bathrooms or deal with grey water. I pretty much have 2 of everything and the popup is ready to roll. Don't get me wrong there are good points to both Popups and hardsides.

Only time I've ever been envious of a hard sided camper is I can't use my popup in the winter to crash at ski area parking lots. I'm sure one day i'll get a hard side when i'm older but for now I like the popup life.

Rezarf
08-17-2012, 11:38 AM
No space for a hard sided trailer, I gotta go with Wes on still liking the camping flavor verses living in a hotel room. My goal is to get the FAMILY out and about more, not necessarily myself... I still like a good ground tent.

Thanks everyone, this has been really helpful.

baja1d
08-17-2012, 12:01 PM
Forgot to mention that my feelings regarding awnings are similar to that of pop-ups... giant sails. When it comes down to the nitty gritty it really doesn't matter if you're under the stars, in a tent, bed of a truck, pop-up, or hard side. The important thing is that you're out there!

black95
08-19-2012, 09:01 AM
As for the awning, I used to set up my camper and go out exploring or 4wheeling and when I'd get back my awning was always laying on the ground. I looked for a solution at the camper store, but if you've ever been to camping world, you know how expensive that place is. I thought of a simple solution with $2 fishing rod holders from wally world. Stick two of these things in the ground and put your awning legs in them, and you'll never have it fall down again. I rarely even use the tie downs anymore. It's worked in some serious wind for me. I love the awning because I hate sitting in the sun.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Mustad-Heavy-Duty-Spiral-Rod-Holder/16877449

One thing we always hated about the pop up was that there was always "stuff" everywhere. A loaf of bread on the counter, jackets on the table benches, tripping over the kids shoes... etc. my coleman pop up has a bar that hangs in it for drying towels and bathing suits, i went and bought two hanging cloth closet organizers and we hang them up in the camper. they crumble down and fit under the storage bench, and now we have 12 little cubby holes for everything from fruit to clothes. If you don't have the bar, you can screw some hooks in the ceiling.

As for stinking up the camper with a big steamer, lol, no one poops in the portable toilet, we take a long walk for that. it is very, very nice for the girls to pee quick when it's cold in the middle of the night or when it's dark and everyone is sitting around the fire. They just go inside, close the door, and back at the campfire in minutes!

Carry a small shovel. When you are trying to level the camper, it's much easier to dig a hole and back the camper in it than it is to pull it up on a block of wood. someone always has to "foot" the block to keep it from dragging along with the tire.

The post about coleman plastic parts I don't get. The plastic front cover on my coleman has withstood some serious abuse, don't worry about that. I think I even hit a couple stumps with it and they bounce back. The 4runner's 37" KM2's have chunked some pretty good sized rocks at that camper and it has withstood a hail storm with 1 7/8 hail without any breakage, but the aluminum top looks like a golf ball now. They're speed dimples!