Came back from the darkside to a pop up

Discussion in 'Going to the DARK SIDE' started by Mike Up, Jul 6, 2019.

  1. Mike Up

    Mike Up New Member

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    I went to the darkside after 2 pop ups but found they were more work and expense, and I didn't enjoy camping as much.

    The 2008 Jayco Jay Flight 19BH I had was a nice compromise but was to claustrophobic with it's corner double bed with a single bed and dresser above. Never slept good in that camper.

    The 2012 Jayco Jay Flight 26BH was the perfect TT for me. It essentially was the 19BH with an additional front queen bedroom. However caulking was always opening up which cost a lot in re-caulking at the dealer. It could cost anywhere from $600 - $1000 each year including a leaktech test. I had some other issues as Jaycos jagged textured aluminum siding is crap and doesn't last. Besides, towing was very expensive as well as plates and insurance. For the few trips we went, it was insane paying almost $1500 - $2500 per year on that camper in preventative maintenance, repairs, plates and insurance.

    Also with the 26BH, leveling at rustic and uneven state park campsites was timely and irritating. It took sometimes 30 minutes or more to get the rig leveled. On a concrete pad and leveled sites, not an issue but those were very rare.

    I had a Blue Ox Sway Pro anti-sway system since the trailer was long and very tall being a standard weight stick and tin build. My driveway and street are very narrow requiring to almost jack knife to get the camper in, so I had to jack up the trailer tongue and take off the spring bars while still in the street before I could back up. If I didn't, I risked damaging the hitch as what had happened with my previous Reese High Performance Dual Cam System. With the Reese, the bar caught on the head from the very sharp turn and boke the hitch head apart. Dealer was awesome, came to my home to repair and adjust, and talked to Reese. Even though Reese says you don't have to take the bars off to back up, they said in situations like mine, they have to come off or damage will occur. Wish they stated that in the brochure and manual.

    Then I had to carry the heavy bars and hitch head to my shed in the middle of the yard. That's about 80 lbs.

    The travel Trailer was just a lot of work and not much fun. Maybe if I had a wide road and large driveway, and close storage for the hitch, it would be different, but I didn't.

    I always felt like I was in an isolated cottage and not really camping in the travel trailer although I had every creature comfort available.

    The Pop Up I bought is very large, and is equal to the travel trailer is square footage which includes a King bed instead of the 26BH's double bed in the corner. Both have Queen beds as well. The 26BH also had a single bed above the double bed.

    The Pop Up doesn't require a weight distribution hitch or anti-sway. Pulls like a tiny cargo trailer and can be forgot very easily if I didn't see it in my mirrors.

    I get very good gas mileage towing it of around 17 - 18 mpg. My truck empty gets around 22 mpg thanks to transmission and aluminum body. Better than any of my midsize V6 SUVs! Towing the 26BH was between 10 - 11 mpg.

    I love being able to put it about anywhere without issue as it's very small closed up at 19'2" long, bumper to hitch and only about 7' wide. The 26BH was 29' bumper to hitch and 8' wide.

    Opened it's huge with the largest slideout offered by Forest River in a Pop Up.

    I love being able to open it all up and feel like I'm in a screen house again. It's nice letting some of the outside, inside the trailer with light, scents, nature sounds, and seeing 360 degrees all the way outside the camper.

    Camping is much more enjoyable again and I feel connected to the outside again.

    The plus side now is that I can move where ever I like and not worry about how much property I need to store the Travel Trailer or if the property allows for me to even tow the travel trailer to a storage spot. The Pop Up can fit in almost any garage so storage is no longer a concern. I hate offsite storage and would never go that route.

    On top of it, my plates and insurance are 1/3 the cost from a 2012 travel trailer to a new 2020 Pop Up. While it's new and hasn't needed re-caulking, there's much less to need it.

    I'm really happy to get back to camping in a pop up and not have many of the issues that kept me from wanting to go camping that I had with the travel trailer, as in all the work it required.

    Obviously this is my story so everyone has their own issues and experiences.
     
  2. Annunzi

    Annunzi Member

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    Great summary Mike, we looked at little TT's before we decided on our pup. We found the same thing with the tt that it felt claustrophobic and there was very little natural light. The pup has more headroom and tones of natural light, and like you said, it almost feels like you are camping outside. The only thing I miss is the bathroom, but we usually try and books sites close to one.

    I hope you enjoy your new camping adventures!
     
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  3. Mike Up

    Mike Up New Member

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    Thanks!
    As far as the bathroom goes, even though the travel trailer had one, for many trips didn't get used because we were camping out of season and it was still winterized.

    What we did was use a shower tent. I recommend one with real poles and rain fly. We had one with the thin wire metal, so that it could fold back flat in a round travel bag. It had no structural integrity and would blow side to side and even bent from side winds. Then there are all kinds of porta potties. Short, tall, large and small. I have a large, bellows pump porta potty we use. It's capacity is about what the cassette toilet in my pop up has. If you want a porta potti that's like a mobile version of a cassette toilet, the Thetford 565E is the one with an electric flush.

    Here's my old Rockwood and the Shower/Potty Tent.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Happy Camping!
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
  4. Rik Peery

    Rik Peery Well-Known Member

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    Got a couple of pals that did the same thing, less stress & more enjoyment for 'em now...
     
  5. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    My dad always said he regretted upgrading to the TT. From a popup they went to a 25' TT they still have it, but it's now parked on a permanent site at a campground because it's too much trouble and work. Not to mention they have to store it at a storage yard as their HOA forbids campers longer than a day. When I upgraded my popup I seriously considered a small hybrid but i put ALL the pros and cons of each camper and the issues I would face. Not to mention l also have an HOA so storage was going to be a huge factor that ultimately I chose a larger popup. That was the best decision for me.
     
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  6. Ladiesman

    Ladiesman Active Member

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    I went dark this year and it’s the best thing I have done. We are Camping as I type this and we can set up and level in no time at all. Literally 15 minutes including unhitching and stabilizing. Wife knows the routine now and we rock and roll. I won’t go back. Enjoyed the pup but so much work.
     
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  7. silverfz

    silverfz Active Member

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    I tow a 28BHS so 30 feet long. So on the pup our camping trips were so weather dependent. not with the TT. the only reason i left the pup was those beds that need to lifted to lock and a few things i had a tough time with herniated discs. now the TT i have improved the entire process. took me a few years to figure everything and how the dealers are clueless when it comes to hitch setup .

    4 yrs later , i cannot complaint. the longest trip we ever did with the pup was 145 miles one way. On the camper 600 miles one way and we camp from early april to late oct in new england and doubled our camping days from the pup days.

    Downside- Gas mileage. but if i want to save money i would never get into this camping and had my 20$ tent still around. I did so many trips on my motorcycle with that 20$ tent on my motorcycle that averaged 50 plus miles a gallon. I still use my motorcycle and tent for some camping. Nothing beats that setup .
     
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  8. Mike Up

    Mike Up New Member

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    In my pop ups, I always camped from later March/early April to early November. I did the same in the travel trailers. Both types were always winterized unless it was June to October, so we either used a shower/toilet tent and porta potti or the campground toilets.

    I took my first Rockwood pop up down to Hot Springs Ark. from Northwest Indiana (Chicago Burbs) and also down to Kentucky and Tennessee. Only took the travel trailers as far as Kentucky because towing mileage was so poor and summer time gas prices were so high.

    I did tent camp as well in Kentucky but that's as far away as I camped with the tents. No real reason though.

    Yep, the old Rockwood was a pain with the bunkend boards. You pulled them out first, then used your shoulder to push them up and put the poles in.

    The Starcraft and new Rockwood use a scissor type of pole that you put in first, then the poles create a platform for the bunkend board to be pulled out on. Very easy and simple. Only effort is pulling and pushing the boards which is really easy.

    I agree that you buy a travel trailer, knowing you are going to spend big money in using it. However when I would only use the camper 3 or 4 times a year on short trips, it was very hard to justify $500/trip and that wasn't even the cost of the campsite, fuel, or even the cost of the camper factored in. That was just preventive maintenance, plates, and insurance. Add campsite and fuel in that 3 night trip would be $700 without the cost of the trailer or food even factored in. Factor the trailer cost at $15,000 (my old 26BH) at 15 year total depreciation, and now each trip costs $1,033!! Depressing how much it can be with only a few trips per year. I love camping but not at that price. I want a much cheaper hobby where I don't feel obligated to do it because I have so much money invested in it.

    I finally had to break it all down because at this time in my life, I need to be more practical.

    But each to their own and everyone's situation is different. If I camped more, and my family enjoyed it more to go with me on every trip and more trips, then each trip would be less expensive.

    But as it is, I'm really the only one who really enjoys camping as my kids have their summers filled with activities that they enjoy far more than camping, which cuts down on our camping trips.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  9. silverfz

    silverfz Active Member

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    I think this is important, with kids growing they wanted there own bed and they were not old enough for a outside tent but too big to share a bed. The boy and girl take after me - 6 3/230 lbs. So they wanted a bunk setup . Also, bathroom for the smaller one. He is 8 now but been camping from 4 with the TT. They pack/store their stuffed animals and all the electronic stuff in the camper for summer. in my case they love camping alot and camping started as Wife thing so needless to say i have come along for the ride. As wife reminds me memories have no price every time i complain but then again i have a few motorcycles and go to the track which is not cheap either,so got to keep my mouth shut. After being hurt and losing a few friends to cancer i have become less picky.

    We have done a 3500 mile trip on the TT for 2 weeks [Weird i forget when i made the first post about that trip]. Started in Mass, went West for a few states, south for a few states and then back.

    If you talking money, 1 week is disney is insanity.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  10. Horby

    Horby Member

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    We originally had a pop up, then went to to 28ft TT with bunks. Way too much maintenance on the TT and costly on gas. Went back to pop up and only thing we miss is the bathroom. I can now keep the pop up in my garage out of the rain and sun here in Florida.
     
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  11. Toni Arnold

    Toni Arnold New Member

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    Sorry, my original message should not have been posted here. Congrats to the OP for going back to a pup after a TT.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
  12. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    As one who has been RV camping for 20 yrs now and has owned several popups, a hybrid, and a couple of travel trailers I'd have to agree with pretty well everything Mike wrote. Back when our boys were younger we did a lot of long distance travel camping, primarily in the US, and I can say with confidence they were the only ones of all their friends & classmates who had been to so many different places, probably their favourite being Yellowstone NP. However, that ability to just take off anytime we wanted and for as long as we wanted pretty well ended when they both got to high school as their time was dedicated to school, girls, sports, girls, part time jobs, girls! Eventually we traded our triple bunk travel trailer for a couple's model and managed to get in another 6 yrs of camping but mostly local here in Ontario and nearby NY state. These days our boys are working adults, have their own lives, so camping just doesn't have the same appeal. My wife & I find we enjoy staying home just as much, enjoying our back yard which backs on to a ravine, with any convenience we might want just steps away in the house. She gets to enjoy her favourite hobby, gardening, and I get to enjoy mine - doing nothing. ;) And the "campsite" fee is perfect - FREE! :)

    It was the overall cost of owning / maintaining / using a travel trailer that finally convinced us it was just costing us WAY too much for something we used only infrequently so we made the decision near the end of last season to sell the travel trailer. As it turned out we sold it to the perfect couple who were intending to do a major long distance trip around the US, a trip they're now on, so it was a win-win for both parties. We have full use of our driveway back, no longer have any travel trailer expenses, but I still have my truck! [A] We'll still camp occasionally with friends but without any responsibility for an expensive, constantly depreciating travel trailer that found only occasional use the last couple of years we owned it. For sure, for those who camp a lot and have the means to tow it a travel trailer is no-brainer but for those of us who have BTDT, not so much anymore. :(
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
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  13. bheff

    bheff Well-Known Member

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    Like Mike Up and Grey Fox, I have owned 3 popups, a hybrid and a TT. Each has its pros and cons. I can back in my Pup, level, raise the roof, slide out beds and fix the canvas in 15 minutes. 20 if I have the kids. Setting up the Hybrid was easy but the TT took just as long. The weight distribution hitch slowed down setting up the TT. My biggest concern was ease of pulling each. I needed a 3/4 ton to feel safe pulling the TT and making food or fuel stops wasnt as easy pulling the Pup. I now have a Jeep Cherokee and got 22-23 MPG on our trip to FL. Getting fuel or food was simple Even went thru a few drive thru's to grab a bite and some caffeine. The Pup is easier to store, and just cheaper overall ownership.
     
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  14. HappyTraveler

    HappyTraveler Active Member

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    We're empty nesters, but can totally understand how as the kids got older, their lives and ours changed. We did a LOT of tent camping/backpacking all over the country when they were younger; before the oldest was in middle school. All three were very active in Boy Scouts, which meant we all were very active in BS. ;) And that meant lots of camping locally with the troop.
    Then as they got older, and all that entailed, we had quite a few years there where we didn't do any camping. Shocking when I think about, b/c it was 5-8 years there with no camping. We did do other types of trips, mostly abroad. Now the boys are into their own lives and we are not working, so we went back to our favorite way to travel (thankfully we both love to travel) and that's to go camping. No plan, just a vague idea of a destination and all the time in the world to get there.
    Really enjoying this phase of our life!
     
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  15. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    Over the years I managed to refine how I handled various aspects of our travel trailer(s) but one issue I just couldn't overcome was our significantly sloped driveway - with the trailer leveled the bumper was less than foot off the driveway while the tongue was 3 feet. [EEK]

    [​IMG]

    In order to mount the weight distribution system I resorted to a triple stack of blocks under the tongue so along with an adjustable stand to temporarily support the tongue I could hitch the trailer to the truck yet still be able to mount the WD spring bars, then reverse the process when we returned from a trip - an annoying, time consuming, but necessary process. [V]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. HappyTraveler

    HappyTraveler Active Member

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    That is some serious slope on the driveway!
    Great for keeping rain and melting snow from running into garage. And if it's sloped toward the south, might even save you having to even shovel a light snow; just let solar gain take care of it. ;)
     
  17. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    Don't I wish! Last winter was particularly brutal here in S Ontario and it seemed we were always out there shoveling! [V]
     
  18. Nealster

    Nealster New Member

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    Went dark in 2013. Sold our Coleman Cedar and Bought a Coachmen 14FB TT. We are happy with it but it really cut into our gas milage. We went from 22 mpg to 12 mpg. We travel over 5000 miles per year. It has been a constant series of repairs as nothing on the inside was built to last. I also notice that the Wife tends to want to spend most of the time inside. I really loved our old Coleman but those extended beds always gave me the heebee jeebee's. Plus the 2 cats would have gotten out. We now include them on our vacations. Lately I have spent a lot of time looking at Aliners. They seem nice. Anybody have a idea how well they hold up especially in rough weather?
     
  19. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    When the subject is A frame trailers I'd personally opt for a high wall version, specifically the Rockwood A213HW. A regular height A frame, regardless of make, will have a small manual light fridge with no freezer, a high wall like the A213HW has a larger DSI fridge with a small freezer section. This particular model has twin beds that can be set up as a single king bed, has a built in cassette toilet but no space wasting shower, a front dormer which significantly increases head room over the dinette, and a large front cargo storage trunk. I just can't think of anything else it would need to be a great long distance traveling camper for an adult couple.

    [​IMG]

    https://forestriverinc.com/rvs/camping-trailers/rockwood-hard-side-pop-up-campers/A213HW/2132
     

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