First Timer - Go big or stay home?

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by jezter6, May 4, 2016.

  1. jezter6

    jezter6 New Member

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    Hi all. New here and am purchasing my first PU for a small family of 4, with 2 kids 9 and 3.5.

    I'm going looking at a used RV dealer (while also scouring craigslist, facebook sale groups, etc) hopefully on Saturday to peek around at a few models to best determine what kind of size and interior layout best meets my need.

    I like the theory of some bigger campers with that front cooler-style storage box, and of course the added interior space for when we need to sit inside with the kids. But I wonder about things like added slide outs, the weight that goes into that, and if it's worth jumping in a little early on a bigger and maybe more expensive model.

    I don't want to buy one that is just way too small out of the gate and need to upgrade quickly. But I also have kind of a steep angle driveway that I don't know about with a longer base.

    Right now my plan is to look kind of closely at a few:

    2004 Coleman Santa Fe ($2900)
    1999 Coleman Utah ($1600)
    2004 Fleetwood Yuma ($2500)
    2004 Starcraft Centennial 3600 ($2500)


    Thanks for reading, and happy camping!
     
  2. Mally

    Mally Member

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    In my personal opinion, I would get as much bang for your buck as you can. But you want to be comfortable with your purchase.
    When I get my first pup, EVERYTHING was new to me. So learning extra about the slide out, water pump, cassette toilet, etc were just add ons to the list which already included everything [LOL]

    So as long as your vehicle can safely haul it, your family, and your gear, I would get as much PuP as possible for your budget.

    But that's just me!! Best of luck in your search!
     
  3. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    Consider walking to public bathhouse during middle of the night with kids? Having a cassette toilet in the camper would help.

    Looks like 1999 Coleman would work best for you. It has slide out to make room inside the camper for your big family...
     
  4. p

    p Active Member

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    re: toilet

    But...also consider who is emptying the toilet.
     
  5. jezter6

    jezter6 New Member

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    Thanks everyone.

    I think we can safely say that the Yuma is going to end up being a no-go. There's one at the "dealer", one or two on craigslist in the area, but I didn't want to bother a private owner just to see inside and know it's way too small in the first minute.

    The only thing I liked about the smaller one was probably ease of getting it into the driveway without scraping. Will have to see how a longer one is.

    I like the thought of the Utah.

    I really liked pics of the Starcraft, but the guy bailed on me temporarily as he couldn't show it this week...which is fine though I'm not really wanting to pause everything waiting for him (and it's a good hour and a half drive).


    Hoping for sunny enough weather in the Northeast on Saturday in hopes the dealership will have some things open and able to be looked at without asking them to open a bunch of different campers.

    It's absolutely KILLING me to not go down there tonight just to look around, but it's been raining for days with 2 more days of rain on the horizon.
     
  6. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    It is no big deal. It is VERY easy to handle. Thedford has a tank that you can pull out and pour out at the full hook up and wash it out. my rule is NO #2. only #1 at night. If #2, go to public bathhouse. and at day time we all go to public bathhouse.
     
  7. tcanthonyii

    tcanthonyii Member

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    I have a family of 4 with similar ages kids and 2 dogs. We have a jayco 12 with the U shape on one side. I LOVE this layout. Lots of space.

    The biggest drawback is no storage for clothing and all storage being on the ground. You're on your hands and knees a lot.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  8. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    With practice you will become an expert in backing up. Invest a back up camera for the camper if you like. And I recommend that your TV have a back up camera. I cannot tell you how much I love it. I do not get out of TV to check to see how far I need to back up.... or how close I need to move etc etc..

    I believe that UTAH has front cargo storage which would help you.
     
  9. jumpoff

    jumpoff I'm in a camping state of mind

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    Condition is everything on these older pups. I have a 2001 Utah with a/c, I paid 2900 late last year. If that 99 Utah is nice and has air for 1600 it would be a steal. The space in the Utah is great with the slideout dinette and the 2 king sized beds... With 2 kids you won't regret the extra space.
     
  10. jezter6

    jezter6 New Member

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    It's not backing up that I worry about, it's angle of transition between public road and driveway. Longer bed = more tilt angle at the wheel? I worry about scraping the rear bumper area.

    Between the slide out and extra storage, I like the theory of the Utah.

    My main trip was going for the Santa Fe, which had neither...so the Utah could be a great find as @jumpoff said.
     
  11. Milktrk

    Milktrk New Member

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    We almost bought a Utah for the space, the size of the beds, and the potty. We then went to another dealer and saw a Niagara and my DW said that was the one. Be careful and pay attention to the roof especially if it's ABS. There was some bad roofs delaminating and Coleman had to replace a lot of roofs. The Niagara didn't so that was a non factor. Also make sure there are no set spots on the floor. Most Colemans are solidly built but go over everything.
    You will learn the joys of PUP ownership from towing in traffic to backing up and leveling to dumping the potty tank!
    With the colemans replacement parts are out there but are getting more and more expensive
     
  12. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    I looked at a ton of them when I was trying to figure out what to get. I think I used up a whole ream of paper printing out old brochures, comparing different models and brands, etc. I would zero in on one that I liked, then find one and it was trashed and not worth the investment, then I would find one I didn't even know about, and yet more research. In the end I bought a 1999 Jayco Heritage Laurel, and I really like it. It is a big PUP, dual king beds and a slide out dinnette, but I knew up front I wanted the biggest one I could find, even if it is primarily for just my son and I to use, with my wife joining us every once in a while. I am a firm believer in comfort when camping, whether it is in tents or a camper. I didn't even know this model existed until I found it for sale, and eventually got it for a great price.

    I did decide early on after looking at some of the smaller ones that I did not like them. Big beds and a dinnette were a requirement. About the only thing I wish I had was a Coleman style fold over galley, but that is a minor annoyance.
     
  13. utah steve

    utah steve New Member

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    I have a Utah. Great Floorplan for family. It's 19 ft. closed. Has a toilet. Depending on A/C included and condition, good price.

    Sent from my SM-T330NU using Tapatalk
     
  14. niagarafam

    niagarafam Active Member

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    I vote Utah, Niagara, or Avalon - depending on your TV.
     
  15. ThePatrams

    ThePatrams Member

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    Our hitch used to hit the sidewalk when we backed into our driveway if I didn't first stop and completely unload the van before backing in. Drove me nuts. So we bought a set of curb ramps (attached a pic of what I mean), and it completely solved the issue! Love them. We bought ours second hand - they aren't cheap. But worth every penny.

    As for the cassette potty, I camp alone with my girls all summer, so we use the potty at night. I empty it myself, and it's not bad at all. We were stubborn about using it at first, the gross-out factor was holding us back. But once we broke it in, we've never gone back. The convenience of having a potty wins. i may actually use it as much as the kids do. Heh heh. That last beer around the campfire always comes back to haunt me around 1 am. [LOL] I'm super happy I don't have to walk to the bathrooms alone in the dark anymore.
     

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  16. 94-D2

    94-D2 Happy Campin'

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    The ramp idea is perfect the approach angle in the driveway. That should solve the issue. Also an axle flip could do the same. With the F150 there isn't a oil you can't handle. If you get a pup with an ABS roof (it is a 1 piece molded roof) make sure to look for problems like delamination, bubbles, cracks and blisters. Look for water damage if it has vents or A/C. Go for the slide out medel with at least a cassette toilet. No big deal emptying even with #2 in it.


    Good luck!
     
  17. jumpoff

    jumpoff I'm in a camping state of mind

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    Well, which one did you decide on ?????
     
  18. jezter6

    jezter6 New Member

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    [​IMG]

    2005 Starcraft 2407, slide-out, heat and air, awning with screen room which I haven't opened up yet.

    Delivered yesterday morning. I absolutely LOVE it!
     
  19. Ductape

    Ductape Well-Known Member

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    Nice !
     
  20. jumpoff

    jumpoff I'm in a camping state of mind

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    Congrats on your new camper...it looks like you made a nice buy on a very clean camper.
     

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