Are older models hard to setup?

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by dcornelius, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. dcornelius

    dcornelius New Member

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    When we rented a trailer in 2008, it was from a dealer and was very new. Of course it was easy to setup--it only took about 20 minutes and was not difficult. But most everyone I've talked to has tried to steer me away from pop-up tent trailers because "it takes at least an hour to setup." Those people were camping in the 70s and 80s and I'm sure the technology and mechanisms are better these days.

    But as I'm looking at Craigslist and not wanting to spend much over $1,500, I'm realizing I may be getting a 70s or 80s model. Now I'm worried that I won't be happy with an old one because of my recent positive experience with a newer model. A couple of them I'm looking at this week are 1) 1978 Starcraft, 2) 1981 Coleman, and 3) 1989 Coleman. The last one looks the nicest, but is also the most expensive, of course.

    Will I find myself spoiled by the newer one and disappointed with an older one? Should I hold out another year and save up for something made within the last 10 years?
     
  2. Cant Wait

    Cant Wait New Member

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    I have a 1988 starcraft and takes maybe 20 minutes at a leisurely pace to set up . the biggest hurdle if you come to a site that is not level takes a few extra minutes to adjust but that comes with all trailers
     
  3. Camp-N-Nuts

    Camp-N-Nuts KrustyKamper

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    Ours' is from CraigsList (and was $1500) a '97 Dutchmen. I have to be careful opening and stowing the beds...they will bind unevenly. The lift has been fine (a Goshen).
    The door fit is not perfect. It has its own "personality"! [LOL]

    You may be disappointed unless you get one that's a few years old and fairly pristine. [;)]
     
  4. cwolfman13

    cwolfman13 Active Member

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    A lot is going to depend on how well it was maintained. Like anything, parts wear out; cables and pulleys get worn, bunk end rails get bent and bind, canvas gets torn, wood rots etc. With an older pup, chances are you may have to be fixing/replacing some of this stuff along the way if it hasn't already been recently replaced. With a $1,500 budget in general, you will probably be looking at some weekend handy work

    You're also going to find more amenities in a newer p'up; 70s and many 80s models don't have a fridge, heater, have hand water pump, etc. Certainly a lot of things that one can live without, but they do come in handy.

    We had the same problem when we were looking. We set a budget of $1,500 to $2,000 and everything we came across needed some work (some obviously more than others). I just kept picturing myself in the driveway trying to figure out how to fix this and that...find this part and that part, replacing wood and re-fiberglassing, etc. Ultimately we decided to save up a bit more and then sell our boat to get a pup we actually felt comfortable camping in. Of course, there's always routine maintenance, I'm just not much into big money pit projects.

    If you're handy and don't mind doing some work, older p'ups can be great and obviously cheap. In RE to overall set up though...really not much has changed from a technology standpoint for lift systems and the like. The only thing I could think is that people are talking about actual tent trailers where you had to unfold it and put up all the poles, etc. If it's an actual pup, it should take about the same amount of time as a newer one would I would think.
     
  5. dcornelius

    dcornelius New Member

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    Good. This makes me feel more confident about getting something a little older--at least as far as setup time. I understand things wear out, so it's good to hear about things to keep in mind and to check when looking at a used unit.

    I'm wondering if I had gotten some terminology mixed up when talking with friends. I had used the term "tent trailer" when perhaps I should've said "popup trailer." I've seen some 40-year old models that are more of a packed-up tent on wheels than what I'm looking for: hard roof that cranks up with pull-out the beds.
     
  6. Yooperwannabe

    Yooperwannabe Active Member

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    When you rented the popup, did it have an manual or mechnaical lift system? If it was manual, where you crank it up yourself, then the set should be about the same. Perhaps the folks advicing you against popups are refering to over all set up time. Seems to me it will always take longer to set up a popup than a Travel Trailer or Motor Home. When talking popup, set up times will vary according to what you bring along with you. Popping up or 73 Starcraft took no longer than does popping up our 95 Jayco. We can pop her up, pull out bunkends and level and stablilize in 20 minutes or less. Now it takes longer to "set up" everything inside and outside, they way we want it. Some people just don't like popups, while people like me, love them. I would say, if you enjoyed camping in the one your rented, then you will enjoy camping in the one you can afford to purchase.
     
  7. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    It will probably depend on the specific pup, and what is meant by "set up". Our previous pup was an 1984 Palomino Shetland (tiny) with external lifter arms - it really did pop up, no cranking involved. We could have it set up and closed in with the door in place, bunk pulled out w/Pop-up Gizmos installed and stabilizers placed and adjusted in about 10 minutes. Arranging the inside for living in took a bit longer. We also had basic set-up for over-night stops as a hotel room, and more elaborate (still simple by most standards) set-ups for base camping for 2 or more nights.
    The '10 Coleman Cobalt is a bit larger (still small), but I bet the basic time is similar, maybe 15 minutes, since we do have to crank the roof up and have 2 bunk ends. With both of these pups, we cannot travel with clothing duffels in the pup, so at some point transferring those from the TV is required; when I go solo, I can pack them in the pup.
    Take-down is probably comparable, too.
     
  8. OGL

    OGL New Member

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    We just bought a 1985 Starcraft Starlite. The sellers showed us the procedure once. We brought it home and did it the first time, in the dark, taking our time and being deliberate. We did it in 1 hour.

    I expect to cut that in half with just a few outings.

    edit: As far as amenities...no AC or battery power. But that's really all we were looking for. I feel we got a great deal for relatively small money.
     
  9. dcornelius

    dcornelius New Member

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    The one we rented had a manual crank. We set it up and tore it down twice within one week, the first time in the dark! It wasn't bad at all.

    The thing I liked most about it was that it was so compact when traveling. I have a truck with a V8, plenty of horsepower to pull something bigger, but I just like being able to see over and around the trailer.
     
  10. papachaz

    papachaz New Member

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    the first few times always take longer. as you do it, you'll develop your routine, and yes it will get smoother and take less time
     
  11. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    And with both ground tents and the pups, we have found the first trip of the year is usually a less-smooth set-up/take-down than the following ones.
     
  12. itfchaos

    itfchaos New Member

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    Our older '85 is setup quicker than our newer '97. Mainly due to the fact that it doesn't have the dinette slideout and additional jacks, grey water stuff, etc..
     
  13. warwgn3

    warwgn3 Car Shows are 2nd only to Camping!

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    My 71 has spring loaded arms in leiu of the more common cable pully crank system that most pop ups have, so I have to use the "arm-strong system" manually push the roof to the raised position. the bed sides also flip/fold rather than slide out, so there is quite a bit of interior setup needed more than exterior set up.

    It all depends on how rushed I am to set up, how much stuff I have to set up and whether or not I have someone to help me.

    If I'm doing camp driveway, and just opening the trailer by itself, with help I can have it set up and interior made up in about 30 min's.

    If I'm going all out and setting up the awning with the trailer, as well as the EZ-up Gazebo, with all the cookware, and I'm alone, it could take alot longer. The last time I set it up was last week's trip to Rideau River P.P. and total set up took me 4 hours.

    [​IMG]
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  14. daveo1289

    daveo1289 Active Member

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    I went the other way. We borrowed our SIL's older PUP before we got ours. It made us more aware of what we wanted in a camper. With using his camper, we went out and bought a new camper with a bit more comfort than what his had.
     
  15. heathdavis

    heathdavis New Member

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    Ours (1984, 7.5 foot Jayco) takes about 15 minutes to set up. It took about half an hour when we were less familiar with it.

    As for "will you be happy" with an older model-- only you can be the judge. We are thrilled with ours because we moved up from a tent-- and because it only cost $50 (and a lot of sweat equity on my part). [:D]
     
  16. raymonk

    raymonk New Member

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    I think that set up just takes longer these days, because we carry too much extra stuff with us. Back in the late sixties and early seventies when I went camping in my parent's pop up there wasn't extra screen houses, canopies, outdoor stoves well you get the point.
     
  17. MichelleMS

    MichelleMS Member

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    We had an late 80's Palomino and I had to invent some new swear words to commodate the pain and difficulty we had setting that thing up. I am not sure what you'd call the left system, but it was awful. It took a long time by myself. I am sure there aresome helpful hints on here I wished I would have had when I had my hand wedged in the blasted thing.
     

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