Rolling the dice: new vs used

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by JohnWI, Jan 29, 2017.

  1. JohnWI

    JohnWI Member

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    Really wanting to be in the $6,500 to $8,000 range.

    I'm very torn trying to buy new at this time when prices are sort of reasonable vs scouring the ads endlessly hoping to find that use gem which may or man not materialize.

    I'd feel a bit better about new if it was solid like a car but I keep reading about look for one that's had the bugs fixed already. But if new is a lot of work...??? But I suppose it's at least not a total crapshoot like if you bought used and missed that one little area that has water damage that's really a pain to fix if it only saved $xxx. Granted if I knew the owner, I'd at least have something to consider vs did a dealer (or ?) just get it in and did a great job cleaning it up?

    CL is a pain to navigate compared with RV trader as I only see a handful in my area along with "surrounding search areas." I would have thought there'd be a lot more. It's a free listing...no need to wait until later to post one for sale.
     
  2. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    I vote used. I want someone else to take that depreciation hit on a new unit before me.
     
  3. tzmartin

    tzmartin Well-Known Member

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    I'd go used. Be patient and you'll find a deal. This time of year the ads might be slow but sooner or later something will surface. I'd watch ebay and craigslist as well. If you talk to other camper owners they'll know somebody that knows somebody. Word of mouth will get you somthing too.

    If you want to renovate, try copart.com. They have new units that are slightly to horribly damaged. Most of them can be fixed, though.

    The mark up on new units is so high.
     
  4. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    We have never bought new.. always used but from dealers . On our pup I looked the trailer over for about an hour before making an offer... On our TT, I spent about two hours looking it over.but I knew of the guy who owned it previously (new him from another localish web group ) so I asked him a bunch of questions before looking at it... Also the dealer selling it offered an in house warranty of two years on all units 10 years or newer..

    Several friends of ours have bought both new and used.. many of them regret buying new do to the depreciation in the first couple years, due to what they paid and what is owed, they are stuck keeping the units now even though their camping styles have changed and they no longer need to sleep as many bodies and for one in particular a nice couples trailer would work now..

    So I would say buy used but keep an eye out for a deal on new.. sometimes you can grab a new year old trailer for a good price. .
     
  5. yetavon

    yetavon everything is better around a campfire.

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    We rolled on a new HTT a few years back after 30 years of used, bargain fix up deals. We did spend a lot of time looking online and in person looking at every Hybrid we came across. We could have saved a couple thousand going with a used newer unit, but we got exactly the unit we wanted most, 2 year hitch to bumper warrantee, 12 years on the roof. Sure we have had a few bugs to get worked out, but that's about on anything anymore. This is also our retire tour the world home....we hope.
     
  6. SHFL

    SHFL Active Member

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    When searching craigslist, use

    popup | "pop up" | pop-up

    You might even want to add "tent trailer". This way you can capture the different spellings. Also, you can set a maximum price, and have CL notify you of new postings.
     
  7. Jughed

    Jughed Member

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    Purely from a money standpoint:
    Used - take your time and look for the right one, something stored undercover, someones toy they didn't use very much, or someone that was meticulous with up keep...

    For 4-5k you can find what you are looking for. If you buy new you will take a big hit on resale, and there may still be issues with the unit.
     
  8. JohnWI

    JohnWI Member

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    Thanks for the replies so far, keep 'em coming!

    That's just it...yeah, money's money. I'm looking at it as a 10 year vacationing investment. But what concerns me is that buying a new car, I can bank on no serious issues for about 5 years.

    I just don't get the sense that new owners of Pups are getting solid reliability. Or are they, and they're just not a part of forums like this which may be catering to a more value conscious, "we get 'em cheaper and fix'm croud?" God knows I appreciate the experience of how you guys take care of stuff!
     
  9. JPBar

    JPBar Well-Known Member

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    I was lucky when we found ours 2014 model, saved 5K over a new one 2016 same model. I did have to drive 5 hours to get though. PO used it 1 time and traded it in because the wife did not like toilet/shower combo (never used). Shower curtain was still in factory package never open. Just keep looking you will find the right one. If I would not have found this we would have probably bought new. This will be our last camper we buy, unless I come into a lot of money.
     
  10. whitecastleman

    whitecastleman Member

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    I'm on my second unit- both purchased used. #1 was purchased from a dealer and #2 from craigslist. In both cases, I took into account my tow vehicle, the type of camping that I wanted to do, and the features that were important for me. Afterwards, I searched for the make and models available in my price range. Once I found what I wanted, the online search was on.
     
  11. rjhammetter

    rjhammetter Husband, Dad, Engineer & Camper

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    We are. And yes we're on this forum. According to this thread and some others past, I'm just in the minority.

    We bought new. Got a great price around 20% under MSRP. So we asked ourselves, pay $6999-7999 for a 4- to 5-year used, or pay $9999 new off the showroom floor with a two-year comprehensive warranty and lifetime on roof, frame, floor lift system? https://www.jayco.com/owner/2-year-warranty/ So we won't have to worry about defects leading to expensive teardowns while we own ours. It smelled new and looked new. Came in the exact floorplan we wanted. Obviously no concerns about leaks, mold, rotten wood and neglect. No tire rot or rusty suspension. The PUP to us was about camping and enjoying our time. I'm not interested in wrenching. If something breaks and I can't figure out how to fix it within 30 minutes, I'll tow it to the dealer. I love that there are people keeping these things alive and well for 20+ years. That just isn't me.

    Dealer fixed two minor things before we took delivery. We had no problems in our first year. Four trips. 20 nights. 1200 miles. Tows great. Sets up great. Breaks down great. No rattles or squeaks. Couldn't be happier. If and when we sell down the road in 5-10 years, we accept the depreciation as a cost-of-enjoyment and will let the next owner enjoy a great used camper.

    Nothing wrong with either approach. Used or new. Just a matter of what you want deep down, your risk tolerance, how you want to spend your time, your repair wherewithal and your budget.
     
  12. JustRelax

    JustRelax Well-Known Member

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    I bought a new PUP and a used travel trailer. Here's what my thinking was. There was not really much difference in the prices I was seeing on the PUP. I spent maybe $1500 more for a new PUP vs. one that was a few years old of the same model. I could have got a much larger unit that had more wear on it for the same price, but I wanted something newer and basic. I wasn't feeling the idea of buying the 10 year old Cadillac because it's still just a 10 year old camper. So for my $1500 I got piece of mind that I'm not getting somebody's oops practice run (maxing out and not greasing the lift cables, set it up on the stabilizers and it doesn't pull exactly straight from a bent frame, not leveling properly so the fridge may be shortened). I considered it a convenience fee similar to what you are thinking of new cars as I know that I can hook up and go camping without having to worry about it. I had to align the main door and adjust a few cabinets which I think are some of the warranty type things people are discussing that your are reading about poor workmanship from the factory. I however fixed those myself in less than an hour.

    On my hybrid I bought it 3 years old and saved almost $10k off of what the new ones were running. I can fix quite a few more oops problems with that money.

    So for me a like new model vs a new model the money is not significant enough on a PUP. However paying $6K for a new one will get you a heck of an upgrade on a 5-10 year old used unit - but you have to figure there will be maintenance cost sooner on it as well.
     
  13. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    It depends on the brand sometimes. the first popup I bought was brand new with no issues at all. Peco Camper was known for making sure that the Coleman popups are ready to go with no issues (almost none). But the next 2 popups I bought were used which came with issues from PO's limited knowledge of repairing or replacing parts. I fix both of them up as best as I could and they were great. the current popup will have some modernization renovation soon.

    The new popup may be up to date while the used ones are mostly not up to date. Again it depends on how good the popup manufacturers do in rolling popup out of factories. Do they do quality check before shipping them off? I hope so!

    one plus is that most dealers offer warranty on new popups while the used ones do not have any type of warranty.
     
  14. CamperMike

    CamperMike Active Member

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    John,
    I much prefer used but I'm also handy and can fix minor issues myself. I do see the draw for a new one though. There might be problems but with a warranty you wouldn't have to fix them. Also it's much easier to find one... used you really do need to pour through adds, and be potentially ready to run and grab the right one quickly.
    One thing you're mentioning though is a lack of options in used campers... in the winter no one really wants to bother putting theirs up for sale. If you do find one, chances are you can get a good deal right now, but again most people will wait until spring to sell. In spring, there will be a lot more available, but the good ones will sell fast and prices will likely be higher. The best time to buy is late summer or early fall as there will still be a good selection, but prices tend to be lower than in the spring.
    I'll give you examples from the two campers I have bought... My first one I bought in early fall. I didn't have to rush to buy it, and ended up getting a fantastic deal(I sold it for the same price 2 yrs later in ~24 hrs). I got the itch to buy my current camper in the spring. I had alerts set on multiple CL sites for any new popup campers, and as soon as this one popped up I called them. It was 2 hours away, but due to the price I agreed to go the same day to look at it and took cash. It ended up being a bit more rough than I expected, but the owners agreed to a very reasonable price since I had the cash with me. They had others coming that same day and I'm confident if I had passed someone else would have bought it. It has been a great camper after I took care of the minor issues.
     
  15. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    [2C] here is my two cents.... [2C]. If this is your first camper, first time camping etc I would buy used. That way you are not going to take such a huge loss if you find your not going to even like it. I was fortunate in that I acquired a used pop-up. A 1990 jayco 1006 bare bones. In the few years I had the camper I learned what I loved about it, what I wanted different. I learned my type of camping style and where I liked to camp so when I was ready to put my hard earned money down for my new to me camper I already knew exactly what I wanted where I would use it and knew that unless my family situation drastically changed I was going to love this camper for many many years. Sadly just taking a camper off lot can cause a drastic depreciation. My parents took a hit when their dealer sold them too much trailer for their car. When they drove off the lot with their new camper and discovered their car was seriously struggling they turned back around to trade it in for a lighter unit. Sure they managed to trade it, but lost money too.
     
  16. scubacamper

    scubacamper Well-Known Member

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    I also bought used from CL and it was two-fold.
    1. My DW was in a mood and wanted ME to pay for it though her salary is well multiple times what mine is so I needed it to be under $2k (I ended up paying $500) and it was in great shape.
    2. I wanted a PUP because if for some reason the family didn't like it and wanted to go back to the Tent or up to a TT I wasn't going to be out much $$$.

    The bottom line is that we're about to surpass 4 years with it and now I have a choice of replacing the canvas or getting a newer one (maybe a new one since the DW loves the PUP and doesn't want a TT).

    Best of luck in your hunt.
     
  17. CamperChrissy

    CamperChrissy Well-Known Member

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    John, I see you are in Wisconsin, near me in Chicago. I've been stalking our local-ish Craigslists for a while and can tell you there are significantly fewer pop-ups for sale right now. We bought ours last September and there were probably 50 for sale on Chicago CL at the time. Now there are maybe 5. So around us, this is definitely the worst time to buy - be patient and see what comes up in the spring. Besides it sucks outside, so we aren't going camping any time soon!

    I also agree with the PP who said that if this is your first camper, buy used. We got ours last fall, used it twice before winter set in, and now I'm already on the look-out for a larger one! We've never camped as a family, so we didn't have much actual experience to tell us what we need. Now I know that we need SPACE! Fortunately, we bought an older inexpensive model at a good low price, so it's no problem to sell and buy a larger one for a thousand or so more.
     
  18. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    There are many variables, so there isn't one cut and dried answer.
    Yes, used will save a lot on depreciation. Yes, some new ones have issues. A used one that has not been maintained or has hidden issues (whether or not the current owner is aware of them), can be a money pit, as can the occasional new lemon. Parts of the answer are: what is your budget?, how much work do you want to do yourself?, how patient are you, to wait for the right pup? what are your tow limits? Regional issues also come into play - what's in your area, what the going prices are, how many local dealers there are, etc.

    We've had 3 campers. The first we bought used, and were the third owners - long before CL, we used the want ads. There were almost no pups, used or new, at that time that were within our tow limits. We used it a while, then it stood idle when the canvas fell apart. Eventually we renovated it, spending almost as much as a new pup would have been. (It cost about twice what we estimated, but by the time we'd spent a bunch, finishing it was less of a loss than abandoning the project.) We used it for two full seasons, and used it more per season than we had done in the past. That showed us what we wanted when we decided to up-size - two not-so-tiny people in a very tiny pup got old after a while.
    When we decided to up-size, it was near the end of the summer. After visiting dealers (used and new) and using CL, I found a new-old-stock pup at a dealer, for less than anything on CL, even allowing for bargaining room. Because it was NOS, and a Coleman after FTCA went belly-up, it was as-is. We did some mods on it, maintained it, and had to have a couple of repairs (brakes and lift system) in the 3-1/2 season we kept it.
    When my back and other issues forced us to move on from a pup years before we expected to do so, I visited almost every dealer in town. Again, we were looking at the end of summer, which makes a difference in the units available, new and used. Given the limits we had for tow weight, length limit for parking at home, and what we really needed so that I could keep camping, our choices we more limited than we expected. We ended up with a new TT, from a dealer. It was already ordered, but we had to wait for it to arrive. We had one warranty issue with it, have had a few repairs, along with mods and maintenance. (There have been some Retros with more issues. That does not seem to be unusual in many industries - we had a weird issue with our TV last year.)
     
  19. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    I don't think is true at all. Our current PUP is almost 20 years old. It was rode hard and put away wet, and yet with minor investments of time of labor, it's rollin', looking good, and I could easily see it lasting 20 more years.

    Many people on here have PUPs that are 30+ years old. Most not taken care of at all until they got them.

    The new PUPs I have seen are equivalent in quality to both hybrids and travel trailers. Lots of the materials used are identical if you go look at the different ones on the lot.

    The only place where I have noticed a huge quality increase is in 5th wheels. Those things are built like a house, but will also run you as much as a house, in some places.

    Go check out some lots that stock the first three types of campers and check them out inside and out. You will notice much of the same materials across the board.

    With all that said, I've never bought anything new in my life, other than homes. If I was going to be living in it, or spending extensive amounts of time traveling in it, I may consider new. Otherwise, I'm always looking to go cheaper.
     
  20. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane I'd rather be camping

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    A pup is one of the things that I would never buy new. Just too much depreciation for Mgr. If you do a good job inspecting a used unit, there are great deals to be found.
     

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