Buying our First Pop-up. New or used?

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by heflin6299, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. heflin6299

    heflin6299 New Member

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    We are in the market for our first ever pop up. It will be my husband and I, our 15 year old and her bestie, occasionally our 2 year old grandson. Will not spend much time inside at all, but to sleep and such. We've looked at literally hundreds online and traveled hours already to see a few. Our biggest issue is that people are not on the same page with 'excellent condition", "very clean", and "no issues". Others are just downright dishonest. We are old school and keep our stuff very well maintained, taking that extra time to make sure it lasts. I am seeing many do not, so it's buyer be very aware. But still, we have read on here and other places that used is the way to go budget-wise. We are traveling another 2.5 hours tomorrow to see another that looks very clean, says excellent condition but it's a 1998, so we are expecting a few things here or there. It has heat, no air (we have portable if necessary), Rockwood Premier 10 foot box, no extras. Asking price is 1800 but it has no battery and unless the bearings have been packed and tires are very good, we are offering 1600. Am I even on the right track here? Hauling with a GMC Sierra w/complete tow package and already set up for any camper tow, so no issues with that. Dealers in our area have a few used, but their prices are way off from private sale used.
     
  2. ny_rocking_chairs

    ny_rocking_chairs Active Member

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    Depends on how much time and money willing to put into it. Yes, used can definitely be cheaper but usually always requires some work and replacing parts. Could also be some hidden defects. I know there is a list here of "things to check when inspecting a camper".

    The issue we ran into in our area was all the used campers were requiring lots of work: roof repairs, canvas replacement, etc. In the end we choose new because we scored a good price on the weekend after Labor Day (the units that didn't sell at the big show and sale weekend over Labor Day). Buying new can also sometimes offer financing (ours did but we paid cash). Could we have save a couple thousand on a used? Yes, definitely, but without a warranty or knowledgeable dealer in the area...so far every missing or broken item has been replaced by the dealer at no cost.

    The "new" market is also on the decline, most dealers aren't stocking new pups and aren't interested in selling them since not as much profit and not much market anymore.

    Also our dealer is a 10 minute drive from the house or I can make it on my way home from work so didn't spend a lot of time driving about. Depends where your priorities are and what you're looking for out of the experience...some people love projects and to make things "their own".

    Good luck with whatever path you end up on.
     
  3. eoleson1

    eoleson1 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Quite a difference between a new unit and a sub-$2000, almost 20 year old camper. I don't know what part of MI you're in, but there are plenty to choose from in the SE part of the state, raging from $1000 to $15,000. Just a quick glance this morning on my local Craigslist brought this up:

    https://detroit.craigslist.org/okl/rvs/6004077550.html

    Nice little unit, basically beds and a stove. Reasonably priced IMO. Being 7 years old, you'd probably want to put new tires on it if they haven't been changed.
     
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  4. JustRelax

    JustRelax Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum! This topic has been discussed numerous times so using the search function will result in a lot of good information.

    That said here's my opinion. There is no right or wrong answer to this you can take what we provide and apply to your situation. I have a hard time looking at a 20 year old camper. There are diamonds in the rough but you will be spending time (and likely a bit of money) making it right, and they may be fair saying it's in excellent condition compared to most other 20 year old campers.

    On the other hand you will not come close to a new camper for $1600. The base models of a standard optioned (heat, inverter, fridge, etc.) are going to run close to $6000.

    So for me an older camper (more than 5 years) wasn't an option. Not because I couldn't fix what needed to be fixed, but because I wanted to spend my time camping not fixing something. All campers need work. As you have seen you can do that a little at a time or do nothing and have it catch up with you.

    When comparing a 3 year old camper to a new one, the price really wasn't that much different to me to get a new one of a comparable model. A 3 year old base unit will be within $1500 of a new one. To me this cost was worth the price to be in a new one. I didn't have to worry about getting somebody's traded in practice mistake ridden camper.

    However, I could have got a more luxurious unit 3-5 years old and paid what I did for a my base unit. Ultimately I decided for me a new base unit was my best option. I was coming from a tent and didn't see the need for all the nice stuff. A few years later I'm now spoiled in my hybrid. I did buy used on my hybrid because my 3 year old unit was almost $10k less than a new one out the door.

    You may think spending $5000 on a pup is crazy though. There is nothing wrong with looking at 20 year old campers. As long and there isn't water damage everything is repairable for a little cost and your time. Everyone has a different objective and ultimately is your time and money to decide how you spend both.
     
  5. bknjohnson

    bknjohnson Tyngsboro MA

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    Answering your first question, New or Used, just my opinion it's personal preference. We knew absolutely nothing about pop ups when we started looking, no idea how to maintain or repair, and we had not yet found the Portal and the wealth of information and helpful members. So, we went new. We had two dealers in our area at that time and we have no regrets with our choice. If we had to replace our current PUP today, we would start looking at used. Like you said, everyone has their own opinion on condition so I would want to see it in person and not trust online site-unseen. In addition to tires and bearings (you didn't mention the model you are looking at) you want to look for any signs of water damage, moisture, leaks etc. on the inside and inspect the roof. Check for tears or rips in the canvas, have them plug in so you can check the electrical system, and if you are interested once seeing it have them show you how to pop up and tear down, and how to winterize. You should be able to tell how well maintained the camper is by the ease or difficulty of that process.

    Answering your second question on the price, it depends on the specific model and condition/options. In the end, it's worth what you are willing to pay for it, right? $1600-$1800 seems reasonable depending on the condition and how much work might be needed. That's why we went new at the time, I didn't have a location to do the work myself (had to rent a spot at a storage location 30 minutes from home), and I didn't have the knowledge or the time for significant repairs. The warranty coverage period gave me time to learn how to do it myself without getting too far in over my head.

    Like eoleson1 said, there is a huge difference between a new unit and a 20-year old camper.

    Good luck!
     
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  6. BelchFire

    BelchFire I speak fluent vise-grip

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    None of us have bought a used camper that someone, somewhere didn't buy new first. Having said that, I'm a fan of used (at least until I have excess disposable income).

    This isn't a great time of year to shop as far as selection is concerned, but this is a GREAT time of year to shop as far as price. In another month or two that'll flip-flop; you'll begin to see more units, but they'll be more expensive. Patience and lightening-fast discernment are the way to buy a used camper. When you find a nice, clean one at a good price you need to recognize it for what it is very, very quickly, because if you don't, someone else will. Be ready to move fast. Cash in hand is the best bargaining chip you have. Good luck! :)
     
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  7. heflin6299

    heflin6299 New Member

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    Thank you all! I am like a sponge on this site devouring all the info I can from all the postings. Since we are starting out, we are definitely going used until we see what it is we will truly 'need'. Even if we get this one we are looking at (1998 Rockwood Premier) and only keep it for this first year to get our feet wet (and hopefully not our heads lol), we will know for next year what to look for. Being as excited as I am, I know I have to stay grounded in that: there are many coming on the market soon, the best ones will be snatched up quickly, and we have to stay on budget, but be realistic on what we are willing to do to it. The newer the year and the more we pay, the less we may have to fix. thanks again everyone! oh, and where is the best place to get the extras? We will need an outdoor rug/mat, table, etc. We have a portable air conditioner and a portable gas/charcoal grill, but that's about it. AND if our oldest and grandson come, how much weight can the end bunks truly hold? The two teens weigh about 110 each, so 2 on each max? Average weights.
     
  8. bols2Dawall

    bols2Dawall S.W. Ontario

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  9. daveo1289

    daveo1289 Well-Known Member

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    I understand what your saying. My SIL got this "Sweet" deal on an older PUP in NJ. He lives in western NY and had to travel to the middle of NJ to pick up the PUP. The price was $700 on the unit and he was stoked. My DD on the other hand wasn't so enthused. In fact she had a minor melt down when he got it home and set it up. The thing was an actual disaster. But, they got them selves together and rolled up their sleeves and spent a month cleaning and repairing the unit. My DD did a great job redoing all the linens things like the curtains and such and my SIL took care of a bunch of mechanical things. In the end, the work they did made it work. There were still some minor things that never got fixed before they moved to a hybrid but in all, it was a good deal in the end. When they traded it in, they got $1200 toward the hybrid. With all the work they put in, they probably broke even on it.

    A bit of a side note. My other DD borrowed the unit as did I. From the using of the $700 rolling wreck, both my other DD and I got back into camping. Her and her DH got a TT and my DW and I started out with a PUP and then moved on to a hybrid.
     
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  10. BelchFire

    BelchFire I speak fluent vise-grip

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    I don't know about the particular unit that you're looking at (if it's even the one you end up with), but the capacity of the bunk ends shouldn't be a concern for you. Most bunk ends are rated for 1000# or so. I wouldn't even give that a second thought if I were you. I'm over 200# and my wife "isn't as thin as she'd like to be" (and that's ALL I'm saying about THAT) and we've never had any wobble, creak or other reason to be leery. We sleep GOOD when we're camping. [:D]

    Keep your eyes out for the whole enchilada. When we bought, we found a 7 y/o camper that was immaculate. The only thing I noticed was some paint rubbed off the roof where he had strapped down a bicycle once but otherwise it was near perfect. He threw in every pot, pan, fork, tongs, yard mat, potholder, hose, connector & a whole box of extra stuff like matches, table cloth clips and such that he had. Shoot, he even threw in the pavers that he used under the stabilizers! I didn't have to buy anything but a park pass. [CP]
     
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  11. heflin6299

    heflin6299 New Member

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    hahahaha I love that 'thin as she used to be' as that was my concern! But we did get that one and it's immaculate for being almost 20 years old! We cleaned it 'my way' and that only took us an hour. Not liking that when they seald the roof edges they didn't smooth it out very well, and it only has plug in electric, no battery? Furnace kicks the heat well, no leaks at all (driveway set up for a week in a heavy rain!) so for 1600 we did well! oh, and we have portable air conditioner so that is covered for the humidity. We will be adding in all of our extras when we sell too. It really makes a difference for some!
     
  12. heflin6299

    heflin6299 New Member

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    Cannot believe I found a 9x12 at WM for 40, but THEN it went sale to $25??!!! Snatched it up, took the other one back lol More money for more goodies :)
     
  13. heflin6299

    heflin6299 New Member

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    We hit the jackpot. Drove 8 hours round trip but got a 1998 Rockwood Premier 2307 in absolutely amazing condition. We were crawling underneath, checking out every crevice, they were awesome sellers, went from open to close with every detail in between. Brand new tires and spare, brand new awning, super clean, not even a camper smell! I'm bummed it only comes with plug-in electric, no battery, pump water and no water heater, but the furnace, stove and fridge work awesome, we driveway camped for a week and got lucky and had a thunderstorm No Leaks anywhere. For $1600, it was perfect for our first one.
     
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  14. jumpoff

    jumpoff I'm in a camping state of mind

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    Nice, for 1600 you cant go wrong...you could probably sell it 4 years from now and get 1200 or more for it. Great find...enjoy it !!!
     

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