High Wall Questions

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by retired@55, Aug 13, 2019.

  1. retired@55

    retired@55 New Member

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    I've been looking at TTs and pop ups for the better part of a year and have zero'd in on Rockwood/Flagstaff High Walls. I like the space of the HW296 and like the fridge access with the top down of the HW277 (or 276). The 277 also has a nice outdoor stove/sink, but at the sacrifice of storage. The 296 is less than 400 lbs heavier but provides 800 lbs of extra cargo weight. My TV is a 2001 Yukon XL with 5.3L V8, max tow rating of 7800 lbs with max tow package, so weight isn't a major concern with either camper. Either would fit into our garage. My wife and I tent camped when kids were little and we'd (I'd :) like to get back to it again, but not on the hard ground and with a few amenities afforded by pop ups.

    I'd love to hear from experienced owners on a few questions:

    1. How much storage is actually needed? Given that most trips would be just be my wife and I, I would expect most of our gear would go into the Yukon. Is almost 1300 lbs of cargo capacity overkill?

    2. How much difference will the tandem axles make on towing experience? Would anyone still recommend WDH/sway control with either camper?

    3. Is fridge access with top down a big deal? Any chance one can "crawl" to the fridge in the 296 with the top down? The high wall aspect seems to make this potentially doable if needed, but probably not desirable. Can the top be partially raised to get to fridge?

    4. How realistic are long trips with a pop up - something like 2-3 weeks? We're in TX, so summer camping here is not very attractive.

    There's not a significant price differential between the 2 campers, so I'm hoping to hear pros/cons from actual experience.

    Thanks in advance for any/all input!
     
  2. michigan_camper

    michigan_camper Member

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    I have the 296 and I like it. To answer some of your questions, the fridge is really not accessible. Its never mattered to us, because we have a cooler in the back of the SUV anyway. I can't imagine partially lifting the top just to get at the refrigerator.
    The tandem axle greatly improves towing. It feels more stable and has much less sway than my previous popups. I tow with a GMC Acadia, which is like a chevy Traverse. I don't use sway bars or a weight distributing hitch. I just hook up and go.
    How much storage you need is a question only you can answer, but we never feel like we have enough. We camp for a week. I have never camped longer, but I suppose it's possible in the popup.
    Bottom line for us, the HW296 is a big popup. It has high ceilings, big heated beds, lots of amenities, and good storage and interior space. I love the bench with the table. My wife and I camp by ourselves most of the time these days. We like to read. She sits at the dinette, I sit in my "office" on the bench with the table. We haven't used the oven, but use the burners, outside grill, microwave and refrigerator. We keep a YETI outside with the cooler packs and recharge them in the campers freezer so we don't buy ice anymore. The AC works well for us in Michigan. Not sure how well it would hold up in Texas. Furnace keeps us warm at night. We never use the bathroom. It stays put down and serves as more counter space.
     
  3. michigan_camper

    michigan_camper Member

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    One thing about the tandem axle is that combined with the weight of the camper, it's not easy to move by hand. I used to be able to grab the tongue of my small popups and move them around the garage. Not so with the hw296. You better be able to park it where it needs to go with it still attached because you aren't going to just manhandle the thing. Probably true of the smaller highwalls too. The weight is one thing. With the hw 296, the tandem axle resists sideways motion. Great for towing, hard to manipulate when sitting still in your driveway or garage.
     
  4. michigan_camper

    michigan_camper Member

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    By the way, did you really retire at 55?
     
  5. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    The storage question really depends on you and your family. I follow the KISS (keep it stupid simple) method ,however my family packs as if they will be leaving for a thousand days even if it's a simple four day trip. So yeah, storage is a problem if they insist on bringing a ton of gear that may not even get used. I camp in bear country so I keep all food and coolers in the car. The fridge does not get used much.
    Tandem axels give you a much better stable ride however if you have any toll roads beware you will pay a fortune.
    As far as road trips it is doable but it is a lot of work to stop just for a single night. So you will have to keep your set up process very simple. What my parents did when I was growing up they alternated between motel stops and Campground. So they didn't need to set up every overnight stop. Campground stops they just got off the road a little earlier so they weren't setting up in the dark. To each their own.
     
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  6. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    And twice as many bearings to maintain, twice as many tires to replace. [V]
     
  7. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    I looked at these models last year. We had planned to buy a new travel trailer, then decided a popup would be nicer. Just because of personal preferences about available features, we got a 10 year old popup from a different manufacturer instead, but I think much of this is similar.

    There is plenty of storage space. We do 2 kids, 2 adults, and a dog and I overpack. A highwall really does have more storage than a low-wall model. If you fill all that storage and travel with water, it might be possible to go over the weight limit on the single axle models. Ours is really bad and would probably be overloaded if it had an air conditioner (but the Rockwoods do have better carrying capacity). If two feet in length doesn't bother you in terms of storage, towing, or getting into tight campgrounds, totally get the BIG ONE with the double axle. :)

    I'd want fridge access if all else was equal. I don't mind popping it up to load, but I want it popped down the night before we leave and not having access to the controls on the fridge is annoying. Even if you can't get into the fridge, see if you can reach the buttons. Maybe they finially got clever and but some controls on the outside by now? We always carry a cooler for food on the road because the fridge isn't that big, so we can do without accessing the fridge for travel food. (It would be pretty great if we could, though!)

    I have a single axle. You still don't move it by hand. You can jiggle it and maybe push it a wee bit on a nice surface but it's not like my sweet little 12' x 6' vintage popup. I think the old Coleman/Fleetwood highwalls are heavier (and wider) than the new Rockwoods, so maybe you can move them by hand.

    My HW is almost 4000 lbs loaded, 14' x 7'5" box, single axle. We don't need WDH for our truck and haven't felt the need for sway control. (If that thing sways once--even the tiniest bit--be assured that steps will be taken.) A lot of people report that double axles tow nicer and are less scary during a blowout but I don't have experience with that.

    If I were shopping for a camper for only two people, though, I'd be looking for something smaller and more agile. I enjoy my big fat tent trailer, but it limits us quite a bit. A smaller rig is so much easier for many of the places we like to go.
     
  8. HappyTraveler

    HappyTraveler Active Member

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    Other's have pretty well hit your other points; but I will add that I would tend towards the 296 for two reasons. The first is the U-shaped dinette (more storage under the seating, and seems more roomy than the regular booth style). The other reason is sofa seating with the added advantage of being able to put your feet up on the ottoman. We have both these features sans ottoman (on the mod list) in our pup and makes it very comfortable to relax in the evening after a busy day.
    We got a pup and went with the HW b/c we fully plan on camping in it for 6+ weeks when we escape our winter weather. I have no fears that we can do this since the last two winters we've done it in a tent.
     
  9. retired@55

    retired@55 New Member

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    Great feedback - thank you!
     
  10. mattlreese

    mattlreese Active Member

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    We took a 9 night trip with our standard popup and we have 3 young kids. It was hard because the kids were young, one sleeped in a pack and play where the dinette would go. However, we went on a 5 night trip later in the summer and have a 9 night trip planned for next summer so it is doable.

    The upside of a popup is how easy they are to tow, ours is 19 ft long so we can go anywhere we can find a double set of parking spots. This allowed us a lot of flexibility to visit places between campgrounds. However, if its just you and your wife you could get a 20 travel trailer and have the same flexibility.

    The con is how often you have to setup the popup. It is not really about the time and workload, I do not care about that. On our our 9 night trip we stayed at 5 campgrounds. Opening and closing the popup that many times does put additional strain on the lift system, canvas, etc.
     
  11. retired@55

    retired@55 New Member

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    Yes, I was fortunate enough to do so and made the decision that the trade-off in experiencing more vs accumulating more was the right move for us. Certainly comes with sacrifices, but so far so good!
     
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  12. CamperChrissy

    CamperChrissy Well-Known Member

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    We have a different HW, the Niagara for our family of 5. My thoughts are that if you are planning trips with multiple stops, then you would want a lot of built in storage. Meaning everything goes in a cabinet. When you set up the camper, then you are just setting up the actual camper, not a bunch of extra stuff. For example, we bring a big plastic drawer stack to use as a dresser, so it gets moved from the floor to the counter. And a pop-up hamper. Setting up a pop-up doesn't really take much more time than a travel trailer (we rented a travel trailer once to try it out). What takes time is us unpacking and rearranging all the crap we crammed in there!

    I'll second the thought that having a couch would be nice for longer travels.

    And I'll second that even a "smaller" HW is tough to push around. Two of us can push ours around once it's backed in to our garage with a level concrete floor. But on dirt or gravel I don't think we could.

    Good luck and happy travels!
     
  13. retired@55

    retired@55 New Member

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    I'm assuming you'll make use of your shower/toilet. For trips of 6+ weeks, what do you do about black/gray tanks? Portable totes?
     
  14. HappyTraveler

    HappyTraveler Active Member

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    We have a 22 gallon portable waste tote (see image). Haven't used it yet, but yes, we plan on using it on our extended trip.
    Probably won't use the shower, have no problem using the showers at the campgrounds.
    Really like the convenience of having a toilet for those middle of the night visits.
    We also are finding that we like having the kitchen sink with running water for washing up, brushing our teeth and washing dishes. Probably need to empty the holding tanks once a week, but shouldn't be a problems with the tote while we're camping.
    So far, we've only emptied the holding tanks on our way out of camp and stopping at the dump station.
    Capture.JPG
     

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