Finally tired of tents. Pop up curious.

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Adrian Thompson, Jul 7, 2015.

  1. Adrian Thompson

    Adrian Thompson New Member

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    We've been tent camping for years and loved it. When we were first married and I brought up tent camping my wife’s original response was ‘what is the point of camping when Hiltons exits’ I soon converted her and we love camping, doing several trip a year, mainly within 2-300 miles within our home state of Michigan (Beverly Hills, Northern Suburb of the big D), but also Wisconsin, Colorado, Florida etc. etc. We've just come back from up North (Sleeping bear dunes, Platte River area for other Michiganders) for the 4th, and for the first time in my life I didn't love the tent experience. Part of it was the mozzies, part of it was the chaos of bags, tubs and containers of food, clothes, cooking equipment, utensils, washing up etc. constantly in and out of the tents, cars, table etc. That plus we had our grandson with us who is only 6 months old. My initial reaction is that I’m done with tents, it’s time to pull on my big boy pants and step up to a pop up. I’ve always loved pop ups and also love Tear Drop campers, we’ve often talked about building a tear drop for the two of us, but with our youngest being 14 and our eldest now giving us a grandson way earlier than we expected to be grandparent, that’s just not on the cards

    As a family we've talked about a pop up for years, we came very close to buying one about 10 years ago but crippled ourselves with scope creep. We started looking at small basic ones and fell into the trap of 'for a few hundred more we could get...' Repeat that 10 times and you are looking at monstrous pop ups that cant' be pulled with anything short of an F150, weigh and ton and are a pain to maneuver, handle, maintains, store etc.

    So this time I want to only consider smaller units with no built in bathrooms, slid outs on the side etc. etc. Also I have a company car which is changed every year. For several years I ran Mustangs, then a Lincoln Mkc, now an Explorer Sport. While the Explorer can tow 5,000lb’s and not think about it, as you can see we frequently have smaller lighter weight vehicles that either can’t tow as much or can’t really tow at all. My wife tends to drive my company car and I DD a Volvo C30 which is only rated for 2,000lb’s. I want to stay at the bottom end of the spec so I can be confident of towing with whatever we have that year, and personally being an Ex Pat Brit I am not a fan of large vehicles, I don’t ever see owning a full size pick up.

    I've just found a 2002 Viking 1906 on CL for $3,100. It’s small, only 12’9” overall when collapsed, light at 2,000lb’s gross weight. It’s got a double, a twin and a converting dinette meaning that 3-4 would be luxury and 6 a pinch. How are Viking as a brand? If I go and look at it I know to look for the condition of the canvas and windows, plus the condition of the roof for water damage and leaks. Is there an FAQ that gives a rundown of how to inspect a pop up and what to look for?

    I don’t know if I’ll follow through and look at it, this may just be a frustration fueled flash in the pan, but right now I feel like I’m done with tents. The allure of having the camper permanently stocked with all kitchen utensils and just having to thrown in food, clothes and sleeping bags before heading off is appealing. Also when in camp we wouldn’t be running back and forth between the car, the tent, our utility trailer and the camp table to find this or that. It would be all in one place. Washing up could be done inside, not traipsing up to the camp sink etc.
     
  2. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    First.. welcome to the Portal from the Toronto area..

    Second.. You dance around saying what you don't want, but never actually say what your TV (tow vehicle) actually is going to be, this is important information you need to know (and us if we are to help).

    Third .. You say the Viking your considering is 12ft 9 in closed up, is this the total length from rear bumper to tip of the tongue?? if so the the box is only 8ft and real small for a family of 4 plus grandchild..

    Forth .. $3100 is a bit high for a 2002 Viking, yes it is condition based, but still sounds high to me.. being a 2002 it may have a few things that will need replacing like the tires (all 3 of them) due to age, smoke/co detectors due to age, propane detector due to age.

    Fifth .. Big misconception on a smaller trailer requires less maintenance.. Every bit of maintenance I did on our pup I have also done on our TT, may take me longer now for some of it, but it still has to be done..

    Once you figure out what your tow vehicle is going to be, and you learn how the tow rating is figured out (some manufactures use a driver and full fuel, others use two people ..) and you got the tor rating (and other important numbers) then you can begin searching for a trailer that has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating less then you vehicles tow rating..
     
  3. Meli

    Meli New Member

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    No recommendation on Viking pop up.

    But I did want to say that camping with the popup will be very similar with in and out with supplies depending on how much cooking and or cleanup you want to do inside. It is nice to have all supplies in one general area. I always set up my "kitchen" and hand washing station outside. The popup for me gave us the sense of nice secure place to sleep and it was my camping gear storage. I have a family of 6. I started keeping clothing and food in my van.

    I guess all in all I'm trying to say basically popups are just like tent camping but the popup can keep all cooking and extra gear so you don't have to pack that gear before leaving, unpack, pack and then unpack when getting home. That in itself is awesome and a huge time saver! You'll work out all the other pieces as you go.
     
  4. Adrian Thompson

    Adrian Thompson New Member

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    The problem is I can't say what my tow vehicle is going to be. It must be small enough to be able to be pulled behind a cute ute (Ford Escape or Lincoln Mk C) with ease. This year we went big with the Explorer, but they've been smaller in past years. I get a new car every year, it's not my choice, it's the fact of a company car. I'd like to be able to pull it with my baby volvo in a pinch at the bottom end. the Volvo I've had since new and will never sell, but the company car (and thus main tow vehicle) is new every year.
     
  5. HappyFamily

    HappyFamily Member

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    You might want to give this a read before deciding on any one pop-up:

    http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?topic=31201.0

    We pull our PUP with a ford escape or hubby's Ford Ranger. Both seem to do so with ease!

    I hope you find something soon! Camping will never be the same for you and your wife!
     
  6. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Active Member

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    If you look for a basic 8' or 10' box with no slides, toilet, or storage trunk, then your dry weight will be 1300 to 1500 lbs +/-. With basic packing, you can outfit a camper like that at about 2K lbs. Especially true if you are used to tent camping. 2K lbs can be pulled by many vehicles. My basic advice would be to keep it simple and have the camper as a dry place to sleep and eat if necessary and store your camping stuff as noted above. This makes things easier. Down the road, if you see your desires and needs changing, then you can modify or upgrade as necessary. But, I think starting simple is the best way to go. You should be able to get a used rig like that for $2-3K in decent shape.
     
  7. bondebond

    bondebond New Member

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    At first read, you've got some diametrically opposed ideals at work here.

    Let me share my experience and please realize that everyone's experience depends on how they do things and what they do them with. This is simply my opinion.

    Our first PUP was a 10' box (it's how most folks refer to size in PUP land...size of the box sitting on the frame). It was ~1,800 pounds and pulled by an Explorer. While the Explorer was rated for 5K, it sure did not do well going up mountains in Colorado and the Western Rockies. Regardless, the 10' box without a bathroom did not provide much in the way of storage. It was a standard equipped, no real thrills, good basic camper. It had air conditioning, furnace, sink, running hot/cold water, etc. But one of the things that frustrated the fool out of me was the constant shuffle of THINGS inside the PUP. We were constantly having to move suitcases, bins of food, use what precious little counter space there was for other storage options, had a huge three shelf hanging pantry for foodstuff and had to store quite a bit under the PUP in the "basement". While we were up off of the ground and had a much more pleasant experience during inclement weather (no soaked sleeping bags and so fourth), it was cramped and not conducive to relaxation in my mind.
    We tended to not spend much time in the PUP. We don't go camping to spend quality time inside the PUP. But it was not that much fun when we were inside.

    Now, life is much different.

    Two things changed. First, we bought a bigger PUP and second, I made darn sure that when I transferred items from the old PUP to the new PUP, that we really needed those items and got rid of much of the "would be nice to have" items that rarely if ever saw any use.
    I now have storage compartments that are mostly empty. All items are stored away in "proper" storage during travel and while camping. The isle is used for transporting the EZup canopy, camping chairs and bikes when travelling. That's it. We toss the luggage in the back of the TV and take off. I do stock the refrigerator and often load the food into the food drawer before we leave. Both are easy to do without popping up the roof up very far. I do have to raise the roof a few inches to clear the travel door. I cannot recall the last time we brought along the ice chest, including a week in the mountains of Colorado without electrical hookups.

    Your amount of and usage of storage can be crucial factors in your satisfaction and experiences with your PUP. From what I read above, you're not likely to be happy with the combination of a small PUP and still bring along the same amount of stuff. Again, your mileage may vary but you've got to think of ways to reduce or eliminate superfluous things.

    For me, I had to drop the Coleman stove, several lanterns and lots of other items from my tent camping days. We camped for nearly two decades before the kids came along so we had a decent system developed. I had to change my thinking and not just simply just continue the tent camping experience inside a hard floored tent.

    I have decided to use the built-in appliances for the most part and therefore realize the fuller benefits of having a PUP. And for reference, I have a 14' box now with storage compartments accessible from the inside and out, a hard wall bathroom with full commode and two king size bunk ends. It is definitely a beast in size and weight but fits inside my shop just fine. I've made concessions that not everyone wants to make. But those concessions were not in the PUP. I now have a TV capable of double the GVWR of the PUP. The Explorer's transmission, BTW, gave out towing the first, small PUP. As much as I loved Explorers, I'm done with their history of transmission issues.

    Maintenance is pretty much the same regardless of size. There are a few things you might not deal with, like the gasket on the air conditioner (assuming you don't get one with A/C) but otherwise, you're in it. The exterior still needs upkeep. Water systems still need sanitation and winterization. Electrical systems still go haywire. All regardless of size.

    So, it comes down to your expectations, your goals, what you're willing to compromise on. If your main tow vehicle will change from year to year and you cannot be sure of what towing capabilities you will have access to, then you are either stuck with getting a small PUP that will likely not service your needs, OR more appropriately, purchase a tow vehicle that WILL allow you to purchase a PUP that meets your needs. Let's face it. You're not going to be happy with a Quick Silver 8.0 that can be towed by anything when you also describe the desire to get away from the "stuff shuffle".

    I hate being brutally honest but I think you're not really presenting a winnable model.
     
  8. friartuck

    friartuck Well-Known Member

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    If I haven't said it somewhere else - Welcome from Shiawassee County! I have a niece in BH, wave as you go by [;)].
    Many good points have been brought up so I won't help there, but here is a link on buying used, and a great website for all things pup. http://title-3.com/BuyUsed.htm
    Good luck!
     
  9. whitecastleman

    whitecastleman Member

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    Adrian- wish you well on your move to get up off the ground!

    I did the same thing a few years back. Tent camping is great, but I wanted to move up. Here's what I was looking for at the time- maintenance free (or nearly so), easy to tow with a smaller car, basic amenities, small enough to fit in my garage for storage, and something that I could stand up in without hitting my head. Make your list as well. Afterwards, I focused on those models that could provide all of things that I was looking for in a camper. I decided on several brands but narrowed it to the Quicksilver line from LivinLite. All aluminum, very light to tow, compact and plenty of storage for me. You might check out the 10.0 model. I figured the 6.0 model was what I needed and then searched the Internet for a month or so and found a good price on a slightly used model.
     
  10. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Look carefully at the layout of any pup you consider, on top of the max weight you want to consider pulling. Clearing out your TV and having all supplies on the pup is not as easy as it might seem. I don't wish to discourage you from moving to a pup, just to look carefully at your options, taking into consideration your tow limits, storage needs (at home or rental space), and how you like to camp. Take time to imagine your family moving around iside the pup and how you might use the space.

    We (just the two of us, so no kids supplies to consider) ground camped for a couple of decades before going with a popup for all front country camping. We had two popups - a 6' box with one bunk end (that our '96 Outback could pull easily) and an 8' Coleman Cobalt with two bunks (moved on to a 4Runner before we bought that). We realized we actually had more space for our bed and clothing duffels in our large ("6-person") ground tent than in the tiny pup, but it worked well for us for a couple of seasons.
    In both cases, the main advantage was that we had a place to be inside in bad weather, and a bed off the ground (not a 100% improvement - it may be drier but it can also be colder, assuming good sleeping pads on the ground). A stove in each gave us a place to do simple cooking in crappy weather, though our main cooking remained outside - which meant food supplies in the TV (better in bear country anyway), Coleman camp stove, etc. A furnace and actual lights in the second pup were sheer luxury. Due to the flip-over galley, we had to relocate the items in the top of that at each camp set-up/break-down. We could fit the clothing duffels under the dinette for travel, but I had to move them before putting the tenting support in place for the back bunk (DH could manage it OK).
    The sum total of needing to move all that stuff, pull out the bunks, and to some extent, lifting the roof (we had the drill attachment, but I usually just cranked it) was what made us realize that it was time for us to move on to a travel trailer. My deteriorating back drove that decision, especially since I do occasionally go solo.
    Moving to the TT has not been a complete fix, either, since we chose to stick within the limits of the 4Runner and our driveway space to park it. It actually is about the same length as the Cobalt was opened up, but we don't have to stash as much into nooks and crannies to move camp. My goal of an empty backseat has yet to be achieved. While we now have a 'fridge in the TT, we still use a cooler (just a bit differently than before) and most of our dry food supplies are in the TV. BTW, depending on the type of trip and expected weather, we still prefer to cook outside.
    I'm sure our experiences would have been different with different models of pups, or if we'd chosen a larger pup or TT.
     
  11. nineoaks2004

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

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    Congrats, from N/W Fl. you are going to be spoiled, enjoy all the privileges of PUP ownership....
     
  12. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Well-Known Member

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    Adrian, Welcome to the list from da UP of MI. [:D]

    We're now on our second PU and went smaller, not larger for the 2nd. We started out with a used 8ft Forest River at 1200lbs (can't recall exact weight). We found that it pulled fine behind our Astro van (it's been sold) but too heavy for the Honda Cr-v or Element. We didn't like the fact the wood was starting to rot, took to much time to setup, plus it had to be disconnected to be used. We eventually got a 600lb, 6' for our 2nd one which its light enough to be pulled by any of our auto's. No shower, no kitchen, no water tank, no heater, no AC and less of a hassle to use in every respect.

    Of course our camping might be different that your expectation. [A]
     
  13. Adrian Thompson

    Adrian Thompson New Member

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    Wow, a ton of info here. Thank you.

    It looks like the TowVehicle is really a big player in this, and as I get a new car every year I really don't know what we will have in 3-4-5 years time. The Explorer is as big as I would ever want to get, and with 365hp and 350hp it should handle anything up to 5,000lb with no issue.

    I'm voting for small small small, but SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed [;)]) votes for something larger.

    These are what I'm currently eyeing on Craigslist

    https://detroit.craigslist.org/okl/rvs/5109866752.html - Starcraft, very little detail, looks like two bunks, I'm guessing one queen and one twin. Without having checked it out it looks to be in great condition.

    https://detroit.craigslist.org/mcb/rvs/5104948948.html - an older Viking, again it looks in good condition and for the price you almost can't go wrong.

    https://detroit.craigslist.org/mcb/rvs/5110214386.html - 2000 Rockwood, the favorite of SWMBO. It's larger so could fit the whole clan. A bit of googling suggests a dry weight of 2,100 so I can assume 2,600-2,700lb's laden, well within the capabilities of the Explorer or any small future SUV like an Escape which can normally tow 3,500lb's (we always go for the larger engine option, never the base engines which would limit it to about 2,000lb's). It spent it's first 10 years inside, so a max of 5 years outside gives me hope for a good condition.

    https://detroit.craigslist.org/okl/rvs/5097035713.html - This is the Viking I alluded too in my first post. Something about it really appeals to me, especial being small and light, although it most likely wouldn't work for the full clan and baby. It does have the advantage that I could move it with the Volvo in a pinch

    Thoughts on any of these?

    I've been reading the various things linked in this thread and it sounds like the top, the floor and the lift mechanism are absolutely critical, the condition of the canvas and screens are easy to assess.

    Cheers
     
  14. HappyFamily

    HappyFamily Member

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    Wow! Finding a great looking used PUP is hard to do and you have found several worth looking at! If it was me, I would be off to see the 2000 Rockwood with the slide out first. The slide out is a feature that what I wanted but we couldn't find any in our price range. I like the color combinations too. I think it is a great price! Good luck! Let us know how it goes :)
     
  15. carolinacamper

    carolinacamper Member

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    We just purchased a Viking pup similar to the one you reference 3 weeks ago. Took it out this past weekend for our first night camping in it. My DW and I love it. So much more comfortable than tent camping.

    My wife has a 2011 Kia Sorento AWD with an inline 4 cylinder. The tv is rated to pull 1650 pounds, so we needed a small pup. This Viking fits our needs perfectly.

    And it is hot here in NC. Hit 102 today. The a/c worked wonderfully this weekend. I think I would have melted had we not had it.
     
  16. Adrian Thompson

    Adrian Thompson New Member

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    OK, been looking around. We've decided that we wants a 12' box with slide out. We went to look at a 2000 Rockwood. One owner, was kept inside until 5 years ago. IT was used 5-6 times a year. In reasonable condition, a dent but no leak in the roof, one of the darkened vinyl windows had a rip, but the fly screens were all intact. Noticeable wear and tear, but not unreasonable. The asking price was $2,500, it was the first unit we looked at so wanted to think it over, over night, but we both agreed it was a bargain and we would probably buy it. But before we even got home the guy texted to say it was sold.

    I looked at this one last night on my own and took my wife back tonight to look at it. http://detroit.craigslist.org/okl/rvs/5091203634.html

    IT's very similar to the Rockwood, but we prefer the interior layout, although they both sleep 8 and have the same amenities. We prefer the support for the beds, the awning, the position of the kitchenette area and the outside position for the stove. Lot's of little things. Also it's in way way better condition, very little wear and tear. They want $4,300, we offered $3,500, but they won't go below $4,200. We feel the price is fair based on the asking price for the Rockwood and the NADA value which I see as being $2,865 here. http://www.nadaguides.com/RVs/2003/Starcraft/M-2407/6004257/Values

    Now, I have no idea of the accuracy of the NADA guide, it does say $8,726 as the list price, but I assume that's from when it was new.

    So, advice, what do people think it's really worth?

    Thanks for all your help.
     
  17. tcanthonyii

    tcanthonyii Member

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    4200 seems high to me with no ac. It is a slide out so there is some value there. Do you plan on keeping it a while? If so then it might be worth it. I think nada is a little low. I'd say it's worth every bit of the 3500 you offered. 4200, I don't know, but I'm cheap. For perspective my 98 non slide jayco with ac and not heat is worth 2500 so nada is low IMO.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  18. nineoaks2004

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

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    We have a 2002 Rockwood with the slide and love it, We paid $ 2100.00 for it and it too was in excellent shape, with A/C and Furnace and awning. There were small things we did to "make it our own"
    Sounds like the price might be a little high but that depends on how badly you want it, Bottom line is only you can make the decision.
     
  19. canuckblues

    canuckblues Member

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    Welcome from Bowmanville Ontario

    We have all been in your shoes

    Just listen to what the member advise

    It will all come easy in the end
     
  20. HappyFamily

    HappyFamily Member

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