Why I am in the market for a camper...

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by dbhost, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. dbhost

    dbhost Active Member

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    When I was a very young man, I thought nothing of strapping a backpack on and hauling what I needed for a multi day adventure through the mountains on my back. As I have aged, my back can no longer endure, and of course, my wife has a very different idea of what constitutes an adventure outdoors... Over the years our camping gear has grown to include...

    Huge tent
    EZ Up to cover the picnic table and...
    Folding kitchen table stand for the...
    camp stove
    folding oven
    air beds
    air conditioner
    privy tent
    portable shower
    portable toilet
    etc...

    You see, my camping gear list has grown to be basically an RV with soft walls and a TON of setup and tear down...

    Why is it that I want to go with a camper over this large collection of camping gear?

    Simply put, I want a simpler setup / tear down, as well as improved comfort. A guy my size with my back issues...doesn't sleep well on an air mattress...
     
  2. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    I have found that in life, we cause 99% of our own problems.

    Go skiing some time and see all the crap you have to rent/buy just to slide down a hill. Remember when all you needed was a flattened cardboard box?

    As we age, the apparent "need" for things seems to increase.
     
  3. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    Being a former backpacker I tend to go be the old rule that ounces count so I try not overload my self with things that I may or may not use, so if I take something and do not use it or need it for two trips it goes into the box for junk. I did donate all my tens etc. to the church youth group who goes camping several times a year and I knew would appreciate and use the items. I did keep some items for my canoe camping forays which are also getting fewer as the years progress.
     
  4. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    We come from a different place than you but the solution is the same. Been RVing for 20 yrs, from tents to popups to a hybrid to travel trailers but now that it's once again just the 2 of us our needs have simplified immensely. Near the end of summer we sold our couple's travel trailer but still were committed to another trip with rels so we tented it. We managed but boy my Silverado was filled to the gills both in the cab & cargo area with "stuff" - there had to be a better solution. There is - everything we'd need to camp occasionally with friends can easily be achieved with a popup which offers plenty of storage for any "stuff" we deem necessary and a dry, warm place to sleep comfortably up off the ground. All that other stuff such as a microwave oven, A/C, televisions with surround sound, an electric fireplace, etc, are in reality window dressing. Shocking as it may seem one can survive nicely for a few days of recreational camping without all these conveniences of the modern world that so many in the TT crowd have been convinced are "necessities". :rolleyes:
     
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  5. Balthisar

    Balthisar Active Member

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    I try to keep it really, really simple, too. While recognizing that we all have different styles and what is "fun" is different for all of us, I can't help but to face-palm when I go camping with my cousin's family, who has a fairly large travel trailer.

    I’ll back into my adjacent spot, disconnect, pop up, level, set up the awning, connect power, unfold the chairs, and organize the cooking stuff in 30 minutes, with my wife’s help (we’re getting the routine well practiced). At this point I generally like to relax with a cold one, but I feel obligated to help out while they unload the two EZ-ups; continue to level their trailer (jacks don’t go all the way down); string up electric lights on their awning and EZ-ups; lash down the EZ-ups (not so EZ, after all); carry all of their ridiculous, special hot dog cookers, pie cookers, and sandwich cookers; and eventually get around to being able to relax.

    It takes them two hours to set up their site. The travel trailer, as far as I can tell, makes things infinitely worse (well, 400% worse).
     
  6. McCampers

    McCampers Member

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    We camp out of an aliner because it is simple. We leave it simple and try not to clutter it with junk that we would only use a time or two. We go camping to be in nature and not to invade nature with household items.
     
  7. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    I was raised tent camping and pupping. I love my pup, but I still seem to have a longer setup with the pup than desired. Don't get me wrong, I love my pup. It works for us and I am not interested in a TT, which brings me to the Aliner.

    While searching for my pup, I never considered an Aliner because they looked so cramped and were so expensive. But PopUpSteve's post really got me thinking. I really like that it's a popup that sets up in the fraction of the time a conventional pup does, even the models with the dormers. There are no cables to break and has a wonderfully simple setup. Some models have all of the amenities inside that you listed. I'm not there yet but leaning that direction. There are still a few issues I need to iron out in my head (price justification, less interior room, less than desirable awning, etc...)

    I guess what I am saying, don't rule out all of your options before you decide on a specific type.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
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  8. dbhost

    dbhost Active Member

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    I've looked at an Aliner. I don't quite get why I would want one of those vs. a small hard sided trailer such as Dutchmen Kodiak Cub. Don't get me wrong, the Aliners are nice, but they are spendy for what you get from what I can see... Especially for the "High Wall" models that don't feel so cramped.

    I recall my Dad had a pop up for a while in the 90s (I was already on my own) that was a hard wall sort of rig. Don't recall who made it, probably Starcraft.

    Setup seemed simple enough. Level and chock the trailer, pop the top latches, spring tension begins taking the top up, open the lower door (upper was hinged sort of like a dutch door) reach in and gently push up, the top would glide up, swing the top door open, step in finish pushing up and locking into place. Latch lower and upper door halves. Go out, pull bunk ends out and brace them. Velcro the bunk end I guess you would call them sleeves, to the sidewalls and bottom of bunk ends, go in and push up bunk end canvas supports. Hook up water, power and sewer if available. Swing up shower / bathroom surround (Shower curtain). Swing cabinets into position. Make sure everything is where it belongs, make the beds, and pop a cold beer.

    Wish that he would have held on to it until I was ready to own one. Sadly he sold it to buy a Class C RV...

    FWIW, while not this specific unit, this is basically the type of trailer Dad had... It had a little shower pan, with a port o potty and a shower curtain sort of rig where those little windows are to the right of the door...

    [​IMG]

    I'd LOVE to lay my hands on one of these in top shape!

    Now compare that setup to...

    Pull into camp. Pull out EZUp. Set it up over picnic table and anchor down so it doesn't fly off, pace out the tent pad and insure there is nothing that can harm the tent, or me under where the tent goes. Take tent out of the bag. Now mind you, my wife LOVES huge tents, even though it's just 2 of us. So we typically use a 3 room 10x20 tent. Roll the behemoth out, lay out poles, slide poles through pockets, with both her and me, pop poles into end stabs and stand it upright, stake it down. Roll in 2 separate air beds and inflate them. (my wife and I are both big, we'd bounce each other off the bed if we shared a mattress. Make the beds. If cold weather, set up the portable buddy in the tent. If hot, set up the AC unit in the back door of the tent. (I'm sothern remember...). Set up privy shelter (campground showers and toilets are GROSS in my book), set up stand for Zodi, put tablecloth on picnic table, clip it down, set up cooking area. Set up propane tank, splitter and distribution tree, make propane connections and safety test them. Connect water hose to filter, to post. Connect extension cord to GFCI / Surge supressor and into power port on tent. Set up storage tote as night stands. (needed for CPAP), pull out cooler from car, heat water on stove, fill hot water bottle and place on back, take medication for back pain and lay down for at least an hour...
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
  9. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    Having camped in tents, popups, a hybrid, couple of travel trailers my choice now we're camping less would be an A-frame trailer, particularly a high wall with a cassette toilet but no dormers. My fav to date is the Rockwood A213HW ...

    http://www.forestriverinc.com/product-details.aspx?LineID=386&Image=15975&ModelID=2132#Main

    ... but considering we camp less now, mostly when friends and relatives are camping, we just can't justify the cost of a new one. A used popup in mint condition, 'though it may be 15 yrs old, is still possible to find and a LOT less costly while these A-frames, even used ones, are WAY beyond what can be justified for so little use. Unfortunate. :sad:
     
  10. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    As soon as you start towing any full height trailer you'll understand completely, especially when you find yourself pulling into gas stations that much more frequently to empty your wallet. [V]

    I'd love to have a hardside 2008 Fleetwood Tacoma if I could find one but they're as rare as hen's teeth as Fleetwood made so few in the one year they were in production.

    https://www.rvroundtable.com/wp-content/uploads/Coleman Tent Trailers/2008.FleetwoodFoldingTrailerTacomaBrochure.pdf
     
  11. dbhost

    dbhost Active Member

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    I have rented in the past, and honestly, my truck MPG DOES go down with a full height trailer vs a pop up, but not by much. About 1.5 MPG.

    Like I mentioned above. My ideal I think would be something like that old folding hard wall pop up Dad had.
     
  12. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    My story is very similar but it was my knees that were the issue. That and my family situation changed. My mom will now be camping with me and well she requires amenities. I had a small bare bones popup that worked fine for me, just a way to get off the ground. However when mom nearly had a heat stroke one summer camping with me. (Thank gosh a family in a class A came to help). I knew something had to change. So when the lift system broke on my old camper, I bought a bigger unit with way more amenities. I still camp by myself but my mom and niece also camp with me on occasion. I sometimes use the camper as my home base and take advantage of trails in the area (when my knees allow). I occasionally go kayak camping or tent camping especially if I want to take advantage of a nice out of the way spot. So my old way is still a part of me. However with the camper, I love the fact I'm dry on a rainy day and can now camp on a cold or hot day, I'm no longer limited to when I camp. My mom can safely camp with me and my niece can now spread all her clothes out. (Typical teenage girl who takes forever to choose an outfit). Shame I can't have two campers, as an a frame will be perfect for when I camp alone and don't need all the frills the rest of my family needs.
     
  13. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    Wow, that would be a miracle in my book! [:O] Typically I would get 17 to 18 miles to the US gallon towing a popup with the three 1/2 ton GM trucks I've owned but my average towing full height travel trailers ranged from ~ 10.5 to ~ 11.5 miles to the US gallon. Most travel trailer owners do regard +/- 10 mpg as a pretty good average, some getting less with a particularly long, heavy trailer and some of us with shorter, lighter trailers doing a bit better. No way would I ever see getting just 1.5 mpg less towing any full height trailer vs towing a popup. [?:~{]
     
  14. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    There are a few reasons why I have changed my thinking on Aliners. On my short list is (in no particular order):

    - The DW and I camp mostly alone now that the nest is empty so we don't need as much sleeping space (extra bunk end).
    - When we camp, most of the time is spent outside of the pup.
    - Some NP campgrounds that we still want to visit do not allow soft sided campers.
    - Setup and tear-down time is greatly reduced.
    - It is a hard sided popup camper with all of the same benefits of a conventional pup (low profile, light weight, easier to store, etc.).
    - Hold their value better than conventional pups.
    - Don't have to unhitch when on a one-nighter.
    - Glass windows.
    - Easier to adapt to cold weather camping = longer camping season (cold...as in snow and ice - important to a Minnesotan).
     
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  15. neighbormike

    neighbormike Well-Known Member

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    I totally admire & agree with the less is more philosophy... however, I suck at the follow through! Even tenting, I wanted a nice kitchen setup, which lead to hauling a lot of extras. Absolutely loved my first popup, but "moved on". Second popup had more room and amenities, but quickly became a real hassle - way too much shuffling back and forth of "stuff" for setup & tear down, plus most of my camping is early & late season, so low temps and rain. Now I have the tt. Back in, level, unhook. Push button to extend awning, set up chair, grab beer. Now I can camp as simple or "glam" as I chose. Plus (I almost forgot) I have a bathroom!!
     
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  16. generok

    generok Well-Known Member

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    If the DW ain't happy, none of the philosophy about minimalist camping, towing capacity and eschewing of conveniences matters. My DW liked the PUP over tent camping, but she came along. I went to the dark side because we wanted a little more room and the ability to bring the UTV and camper. She LOVES camping now. She looks at other rigs and comments about them, looks at things to get for the TT and loves planning the next trip. I will gladly pay all the bills such that when we go camping, she is a happy, willing and comfortable participant who is totally engaged. With a TT, setup is no comparison to a PUP, and I also suffer from back issues, so no more crouching under bunk ends or bending down to set up stabilizers, etc.
     
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  17. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    I don't have more stuff, I just have a simpler setup and a more comfortable camp.
     
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  18. emoney

    emoney Well-Known Member

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    DW looked at the pup and said “oh, that’s cute and I can make it work”. With the TT she’s more like “ok change the floor, cover the cushions, sew new privacy curtains and I want this coffee maker.....etc etc etc”. Going from “it’ll be fine” to “I love this thing” makes a world of difference. Just because I ‘can’ get by without some things doesn’t mean I “have to”.
    “.
     
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  19. dbhost

    dbhost Active Member

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    I've got an '04 F150 5.4L 4x4. I get 17 to 18 mpg towing a pop up, and approx 16 towing a small hard side trailer. Nothing anywhere near the size or weight limits of my truck. I'm not sure why though. Yes I have heard a LOT of folks lamenting huge MPG losses with hard side trailers. I just haven't seen it with my truck. Heck, I get better MPG than I should even without a load. I am up on 35" tires which theoretically should murder my MPG...
     
  20. dbhost

    dbhost Active Member

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    You bring up some perfectly valid and interesting points I hadn't thought about.... And some I had. I wanted to address them...

    - Some NP campgrounds that we still want to visit do not allow soft sided campers.. I've never heard of that. Is there a list somehwere on which ones do not allow soft side campers?
    - Hold their value better than conventional pups. This is both good, and awful. Conventional pop ups really don't hold value at all well. Which is terrible if you are the original owner, but is great if you are looking to buy a nice used unit. Aliners and other similar A frame campers tend to be spendy on the used market.
    - Don't have to unhitch when on a one-nighter. I hadn't considered that, and that is a huge bonus for those through trips, or when you get stuck boondocking where you weren't planning, like a truck stop when you get socked in... I don't plan on doing much parking lot camping, but DEFINATELY will be doing some. For example we want to start doing more camping over 4 day weekends in Arkansas. (Leave Houston area on Thursday after work, get back late Monday, go to work Tuesday say after a holiday and take an added day...). We won't make it to an Arkansas campground if we leave Houston at 5 until 2 or 3 in the morning. Truck stop boondocking is in order...
    - Easier to adapt to cold weather camping = longer camping season (cold...as in snow and ice - important to a Minnesotan). As a Texan, cold weather camping means overnight lows in the 30s. No big deal. Heat on the other hand, is a HUGE deal, Many of the same features that keep the heat in, also help keep heat out. So yeah, hard wall campers, folding or not, have a lot of advantages... FWIW, there is a Youtuber I follow. Slim Potatohead, that does a lot of Aliner stuff. He does a lot of cold weather camping with his rig, and shows off a lot of the mods he makes.

    Now on to my points on the Aliner, and similar campers.

    #1. Cost. They are expensive compared to other campers. Which is okay, since I am going to be buying used. But even used, this is where them holding their value hurts me. They are still steep compared to a conventional folding trailer.
    #2. Interior volume. I don't hide the fact that my wife and I are both big people. One of the things we love about travel and camping is we both lose weight while travelling. We walk a bunch more, and honestly, unless it's a driving day, we tend to eat less. And when camping we don't eat out, we cook for ourselves which tends to be healthier. My wife insists on the huge tents when tent camping for her comfort. I am not sure I could con her into something with such a small area to stand up in like an Aliner. The newer ones with dormers fix a lot of that issue, but we are back to cost...
    #3. Availability in our region. I don't particularly want to ship a trailer from somewhere way out west, and Aliners and similar trailers aren't huge on the used market here. I see a bunch of them new, but honestly, nobody seems to be selling their used ones for some reason. EVER. Go figure.
    #4. We drop more than a couple of grand into a trailer, my wife is going to have ammeneties expectations that are going to be hard to accomplish in an Aliner. Flat Screen TV, Microwave etc...

    I am working a barter for an older Coleman soft side trailer now with a friend, but I would like to work my way up to a folding hard side of some sort in the future.
     

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