If you're thinking a used pop up might be neat (it is), think about this first...

JimintheNorth

Member
Mar 6, 2021
21
We bought a '98 Rockwood, after looking at all the 'what to look for' websites and whatnot. The pop up itself is in okay shape; frame is good, floor is good, lifting mechanism is good. Canvas is a little rough going in, but we knew that. I am satisfied with my purchase. But there have been some surprises that I didn't see listed elsewhere.

Here are the things the stuff I saw and read don't tell you:

A) Build quality on all the pop ups I saw is for crap. Think like late 70's auto industry. Wiring harnesses poorly wrapped; bad materiels, poor assembly. On ours they used press board for the roof sides and it's like a sponge. After our first trip I'm going to yank the roof and rebuild it.

B) Pop up parts are difficult to get. I have a 27 year old Mazda. I can go to O'Reilly auto parts and get or order most parts, and they are pretty cheap. I have a 26 year old OMC boat; and I rebuilt the fuel lines and the throttle linkages the last two years by just going to the store for parts. I can't find a replacement door for my pop up that is guaranteed to fit or reasonably priced.

C) Every. Single. RV place I have talked to said they don't do any work on pop ups. One told me he would look at the wheel bearings but that's it. So, lifting mechanism, suspension, propane system, furnace, canvas, electrical... you're on your own.

D) The parts you can get (Canvas is what I'm thinking of) is *not* cheap.

I'm not saying don't do it. Ours is cleaning up pretty nicely and I'm enjoying the process. I'm also excited to go camping in it. But just know going in that you'll be on your own for a lot.
 

CamperMike

Super Active Member
Sep 27, 2012
1,015
I think everyone here would have told you that! Lol. Have fun. You need to be a little handy also, if you dont want to get your hands dirty, and do a little work they arw not for you.
I would say any camper this is true on... travel trailers aren't any better. You either need to be handy or have a pretty good amount set aside for repairs/maintenance.
 

CamperFamOf6

New Member
Aug 27, 2020
4
Kansas City area KS
Jim. I fully agree. This is funny to read since I just joined the site recently. Had I known the challenges I would face in the upcoming year after my purchase, I would have opted to pay another 1 or 2 thousand on one a little newer and nicer. I have been doing everything from:
Replacing/patching a few sections of the OSB flooring (the one item I expected).
floor.jpg
Replaced the failed water heater (added the electric heat option) and dropped and cleaned out the water tank while replacing/installing PEX.
floor-heater.jpg
pex.jpg
Installing new linoleum and replacing a wall and some rotten wood.
linoleum.jpg
Also, fixing a crack in the cargo lid which was the culprit for the floor rot. And removing the JBweld like substance from the cargo lid hinge and re-riveting it back onto the repaired lid.
fiberglass.jpg
jbweld.jpg

I completely agree with SJM; being handy is almost a necessity. I has been a blessing for me (but also it's my curse, not one day camping in it yet since Sept 2020 purchase)!

In the forest soon!!
 

Dingit

Super Active Member
Mar 8, 2017
1,947
Used popups though? Why single them out? New ones aren't better.

I bought a 10 year old popup a few years ago after looking at the new ones and judging it was built better than new (plus it had features that better suited me).

But if you go further back, I used to have a used popup made in 1974. It was built carefully and precisely of high quality materials with every rivet perfectly positioned...of course it was an Apache and they were always a lot nicer than tent trailers....
 

firepit

Super Active Member
Feb 26, 2020
2,669
Im in the buy new crowd...not because new campers dont have problems but because i am picky and i dont want work on them..i would rather be camping than be messing with them all the time.
I like knowing i am the only one that has owned it and i dont have to fix other peoples mistakes.
Plus i know other than when camping...my camper will be inside all the time and being super picky the shelf life of mine will be much longer and worth more when i sell or trade.
I have seen some pretty ratty newer pop ups (only a few yrs old) that look like they have never been cleaned/washed or takin care of....dirty canvas...rusty wheels...tree sap and bird droppings coating the roof...AC caked with debris.
I know not everyones budget is the same but my thinking was
At the time...spend 2-3 grand more and buy new.
I know if your patient you can find decent used ones...i just got tired of getting my hopes up and being let down looking at one junker after another.
When i finally found a good one after 1yr+ of looking i vowed the next one was gonna be new.
I am glad i bought new last time around and will continue to do so.
 

SDK

Active Member
Jul 3, 2020
109
Massachusetts
I enjoy building things and working on/modding the camper.

Having said that, I also like actually camping, so I picked up a 7 year old model. It’s in good enough shape that I can actually use it, but the maintenance/improvement laundry list is surprisingly long for its young age.
 

Fish N Farm

Active Member
Aug 4, 2020
586
Pearland Tx
Well, let me see here, the last 2 trailers I purchased I purchased new. Not because they are better but, because I don't have a decent place to work on one to rebuild. Garage is small (short) driveway is very steep. The HOA would not love me. I worked in auto dealers all of my life and I purchased my first new vehicle when I was 37 only because I couldn't find a 4WD like I wanted. Having messed around with hot rods all my life stock is boring. When you can't knock mud out from under the fender wells and haze the tires a little when changing gears you are down on horse power. If you are up to it and can, anything you reconditioned is better than when you started. Wives to houses:)>) When you finish refurbing a PUP you will be the guy answering questions not asking them. If something breaks or quits working you know where to look. I know people that buy new and or used vehicles and once they get them all dialed in they sell them because fixing them up was the fun and I will not in no way admit to any part of that.
 

Fixitup

Active Member
Jun 7, 2016
425
It pays to do the research. If you don't know, then ask. What you posted is very discouraging for those that may want to get into camping. You experienced a newbie mistake. We all learn from mistakes.
 

1380ken

Super Active Member
Nov 7, 2013
2,846
Mass
Not all campers have problems. I paid $500 for my 1997 Starcraft in 2013, it had a broken lift cable. I have use the camper for 8 years and have only replaced the tires, a faucet, door lock and sewed in new screens on the bunk ends. It is ready to go camping now.
 




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