From tenting to pop(ing) up camping. Need advice, suggestions

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Camper054, Jul 23, 2019.

  1. Camper054

    Camper054 Active Member

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    Hi fellow campers,

    I am transitioning to start with a pop up camper from tenting after recent bad experience. After going to the camp ground and trying to set up the tent, we realized that it is too hot and humid to be able to have any sleep at night. Packed and left - not a pleasant experience :(. So, kids and wife done with tenting. So, started looking at a used, but decent, relatively inexpensive pop ups. One requirement from wife is that it would be really *nice* to be able to haul our bikes (family of five)!

    Oh my, they come in all sizes, shapes, and makes. After doing some research and looking through Craiglist, it appears that one can get a decent pop up from $2K-$3K that are about 8-12 yrs old. I found one with four bike racks, which is a Coleman 2002 (does not have a slide out). Really well kept, stored inside with AC/heater, and other usual amenities and of course with 4 bike racks (I guess, I can live with 4 if not 5). Last price offered is $2,900 (initial asking price was $3500). What do you all think? I know that the price is right what the buyer wants to pay :). And I hope this is not too outrageous. Granted, it could go a hundred or two lower, but probably not much. This is one of the best kept and best maintained pop up campers I have seen in my three to four weeks search.

    One other thing - this is a relatively smaller camper (since does not have a side out) and open length is 21'7". Do you think it would be too small for us (three teenage kids)? I think it would be bit small, but what your experience tells?

    Lastly, how easy or difficult to install something to haul bikes on a pop up? I know the roof is not sturdy and you do not want to drill holes! I searched around and didn't see something particularly good. If we let go of bike rack option, then within $2.5K, we could get a bigger camper, maybe!

    Would love to hear your advice and thoughts, specially on the price.
    MC

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  2. eoleson1

    eoleson1 Well-Known Member

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    A well maintained pop up can last 25-30 years, so if it's condition is as good as you say, it probably has lots of life left in it. The price of campers can vary a lot based on where you are and the time if year. The price seems ok compared to what's being offered near me (Michigan).

    As far as the size goes, I used one a little smaller with two teenagers. It can feel a bit tight, but if you spend the majority of your time outside and jsut use the pup for changing/sleeping, I think you'll be ok.

    For the bike rack, we used a dual receiver (see link below) to haul the bikes between the truck and the camper. It worked fine, but kind of made the truck squat, and it only held three bikes. There are tons of ideas on this site about hauling bicycles. Just do a search.

    Good luck in your quest!
     
  3. davido

    davido Active Member

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    If it has crossbars, nothing should prevent you being able to slide the four existing racks a little closer together and adding a fifth. I have four on mine but there's easily enough room for six if I space things carefully. Running bikes in a frontward-backward-frontward alternating pattern also helps with handlebars that always want to get in the way. The four racks I have on mine are cheap ones I got on Amazon. For the handful of times I use the popup bike racks each year it just made sense to get the least expensive racks that were up to the job. I probably paid about $40 each.

    So get a $40 rack online and add it to the existing crossbars.

    The trailer looks clean. Sometimes it's the little details, though. Does the AC work? Does the stove ignite? Does the fridge work? Are the batteries ok? Are the tires ok? ...even if the tires look good it may be useful to replace them because if they're more than five or six years old, they're weakened by their age. Does the water pump work? Does the plumbing hold pressure? Does the water tank leak? Are the brakes in decent shape? Any obvious signs of water intrusion? Is the awning ok? Does the roof lift work? Are there signs of mold on the tenting? Does the door fit in place and work?

    Inspect all those little things, and assume you will have a few hundred in repairs/upgrades to do even if you inspect carefully.

    The other thing to consider is can your tow vehicle handle the trailer? Is the tow capacity 3500 or more? (It needs to be, for that trailer.) Is the tongue capacity at least 500? (It needs to be, for that trailer.) Are you wired for brakes and charge-line? Assuming your vehicle's tow/tongue capacities are adequate, you can always add a brake controller and charge line, but that'll set you back a few hundred.

    Overall, that looks like a great trailer. Very similar to my 2015 Rockwood Premier 2516G, also with AC.

    Do be aware that unless you have electrical hookups at your campground, or run generators all night (which most campgrounds don't allow), you won't be able to use the AC. If you do go the generator route, you'll need either two lower-capacity 2000 watt generators, or one 3500 watt one. I think there are some newer 2200 watt ones that could possibly handle a roof AC too. But electrical hookups are best for running an air conditioner; generators make noise and burn gas.
     
  4. bheff

    bheff Well-Known Member

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    You didn't mention what type of Tow vehicle you have. On my jeep. I put the bikes on the crossbars of the jeep.
     
  5. Camper054

    Camper054 Active Member

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    OMG, you all are so helpful and kind to provide so much details and things I should check or can do. Love it and extremely helpful as I make my 'to do(check) list' as I go to get the camper. I have a Ram 1500 (with towing package), so I should be okay. And as for the price, I think I could have 'haggle' little bit to lower it by another hundred or two, but definitely not below. But I guess I was a bit desperate :(...

    Again, million thanks to you all. Happy camping folks!
    MC

    By the way, sorry about how the pictures on the post - didn't realize this is how they would be posted.
     
  6. bheff

    bheff Well-Known Member

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    If you need the bed of the truck open to haul camping stuff, you could consider get an above the rail rack.[​IMG]
     
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  7. Shaman1

    Shaman1 Well-Known Member

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    Welcome from Oklahoma. That is a good price around the OKC area. I like the direction bheff took. Any RV will be a challenge for racking 5 bikes. The weight of a pup, make it much easier to add weight on the TV, especially a 1500. Make sure you check all of the corners (floor & ceiling) for soft spots or mildew. Check all of the appliances yourself. Don't trust that they will work. If AC is truly the deciding factor, you will definitely want electric hook ups where ever you camp. Good luck!
     
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  8. Camper054

    Camper054 Active Member

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    Thanks both Shaman1 and Bheff! While on the road to Virginia beach, we saw a truck carrying couple of bikes on the bed. So, I searched on the web and found a website that does have good solution:
    https://www.truckcoversusa.com/american-rack-system/
    But looks like they are all expensive and permanent. I have a soft tonneau cover on the bed and I like it that way - so having something permanent is probably not my first choice at this time. (I guess I want to have the cake and eat it too :)).

    Again thanks for the advice and suggestions - I am sure others will find them very useful.
    Best wishes-
    MC
     
  9. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    Screen Shot 2019-04-13 at 11.53.58 AM.png
     
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  10. friartuck

    friartuck Well-Known Member

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    Welcome from Michigan! When we upgraded to a bigger camper DW had to have AC. In the 9 years we've had the Bayside I think we may have run the AC twice. What we found is the fan in the AC unit (not running the cooling unit just the fan) moved so much air we didn't need to run the AC. Even a couple of small desktop type fans are often enough to keep things cool. So maybe don't worry too much about generators right away. See how you camp in a popup and what you really need. Good luck and enjoy
     
  11. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum from Midway USA.
     
  12. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Back when I was growing up, my family owned a 10' popup for a family of 5. It was very tight inside and no bathroom. The two youngest boys got the bed and me, the only girl got the dinnette table. That mom insisted had to go back to a table at 7:00 exactly. It was doable but when it was raining, cold, too hot we all went inside. We tripped over everyone. In order to get around people someone had to sit. Yes a smaller unit is doable and many families make it work if you are limited. As an adult I upgraded to a unit with a slideout and it's so much better. For me it seems to rain a lot on my trips and although I something hang out outside sometimes we're stuck inside. As far as a bike rack for a camper they do make a pro-rack so you can bring bikes and not have to make holes on a camper.
     
  13. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

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    I always thought this would be a great idea bringing your bikes along...

    Looks like your trailer design would support this idea just fine...

    [​IMG]
    Google image

    Our OFF-ROAD POPUP has the front deck and with this and the truck bed we can bring along some serious camping supplies and items... My truck bed has a somewhat water tight folding hard panel cover on it...

    Most all of our camping has been off-road and we have a large battery bank to support all of this... Camping off-road however does not include the air conditioner or high wattage microwave if that is one of your prime items to have available...

    Roy Ken
    [​IMG]
     
  14. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the Portal from South Carolina.
     
  15. Camper054

    Camper054 Active Member

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    Thanks all!
     
  16. JWeible

    JWeible Active Member

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    We are a family of 4 and a dog. Having gone from a smaller pup to a pup with a slide out, I would never again have one without a slide out. It opens up the floor space and two people can actually walk past each other! We don’t plan on much time indoors, we mostly camp to hike & fish. However, if it rains we go inside. It’s nice to have more space available. And it has a goucho couch so the dinette doesn’t have to be turned into a bed if we have an extra person with us. I hate not having a table to sit at with my coffee in the morning.
     
  17. Camper054

    Camper054 Active Member

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    Hi JWeible,

    I definitely agree with you that having a slide out gives more space as the pups are already a smaller area with a kitchenette, table, seatings etc. I did look into those as well and gave serious consideration. They are bigger, but bit more heavier and bit more pricey than those with not. For our first one, I think we can 'manage' with a smaller non sliding one. Besides, The one I am hoping to get is really well kept and maintained by the owner, plus has four bike rack - original Coleman equipment. So, let's see :).

    Thanks!
    MC
     
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  18. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Take the 4 bikes and rotate use. You have to make some sacrifices! Lol. If the pup gets small make sure you get a screen room for outside. You can also bring your tent when the weather is cooler. So many ways to camp, tou just have to figure out what you want to get out of it. I took 3 bikes along on a trip recently, no one used them. I through them in the bed of the truck.
     
  19. Camper054

    Camper054 Active Member

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    Hi Sjm9911,

    You are speaking my mind! Yes, I am thinking taking 4 instead of 5 is better as we can rotate usage plus bit lighter and friendlier on the roof as well! YES, the one I am planning to get has a screen room and can potentially sleep under on my airbed or sleeping bag, right under the dark skies and stargazing :). And, YES, I still plan to haul my tent in the back of my truck :).

    Thanks so much for your thoughts!
    MC
     
  20. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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