Should I buy a starter pop-up, or what I REALLY want?

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by takeitoutside, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. takeitoutside

    takeitoutside New Member

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    And should I do it now, or in the spring?

    We're minimalists at heart. Before kids, we spent many weekends/weeks in WV, in the back of our Dodge truck with the homemade plywood bed and the cap with the kayaks on top.

    Now our kids are 8 & 6, and they LOVE camping. Just last year, we upgraded to the Big Ass Tent, but I'm finding that the amt of gear we take for a week out (and my increasing mattress needs) fill up our Highlander Hybrid. Once we get the 4 bikes on the back, and the yakima box on the top, we're seriously loaded down. When we add the galvanized washtub that we sometimes use as a firepit, we're the Beverly Hillbillies.

    We do love to go out for a week at a time, boondocking at bluegrass camp, etc. Next summer we're planning to go from CO to CA, to see the cousins and camp through Yosemite, Sequoia, maybe a week surfing on the beach in SoCal... doesn't it make sense to save the plane tix money and buy a pop-up? Hit the Grand on our way?

    I'm thinking a pop up would make for much more room/comfort in the TV, and a much quicker setup/take down than the tent for a multi-stop, multi-week trip like this.

    Do I... go for a clean $2500 Jayco of indeterminite age (cornflower blue curtains, 1990?) that we could sell to trade up, or save up and spend closer to 6-9K for a more jacked-up version. I'm telling my husband that the larger tires would be better for our big road trip (teehee). (I've got my eye on an E-1, our tow max is 3500 and I'd prefer one that's less than 2000 dry weight)

    Or is all of this a way of diverting my attention from the fact that the kitchen (and bathrooms) in our house need replacing?
     
  2. campermom

    campermom Member

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    I looked and looked till I found the PUP I wanted. Passed on many that I almost talked myself into and I am really glad I waited till I found the right one. Why spend money twice this is just my [2C].

    Good luck in your search.
     
  3. BigBaron

    BigBaron Dreaming of Tommy's chili cheeseburgers...

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    You'll need a bigger trailer than an E1. They are heavy for their size.
    Get at least a 10' box, preferably a 12' box with 13" tires.
    There are many that are at or less than 2,000 lbs. empty. Jayco 1207 is my favorite. Starcraft, Fleetwood/Coleman are excellent, too, but stay away from the ABS roofs on some Colemans (2003~2006). Also, get an older one. Less problems with quality and cheaper.
    That's my [2C]
    Have fun shopping!
     
  4. Twisty

    Twisty New Member

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    Welcome! [:D]
    I suggest that you read through the tow vehicles forum
    http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?board=47.0
    and study and understand about tow ratings, payload, gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), payload rating and gross combined weight rating (GCWR).
    Also read about those limiting factors by searching them on the Internettinessness.
    Example: the tow rating usually accounts for a full tank of gas in the tow vehicle and a 150 pound driver. Nothing else.
    Add you, the kids, bikes, cooler and other stuff. Everything that you put in the TV (tow vehicle) must be subtracted from the tow rating and the GCWR and the payload rating.
    If you load the TV to it's max payload rating or the max GVWR and hitch up to a 3500 lb trailer you will exceed the GCWR.
    It's a numbers dance.
    My truck is rated to tow 7700 lbs. Seems like a lot. Our trailer ONLY weighs about 6200 lbs and I am exceeding the payload capacity of our truck because of the payload rating. I am under the GCWR by about 1000 lbs.
    I am going to buy a truck with more payload capacity. With that comes a higher tow rating and a higher GCWR.


    Buy your last TV first and you will be able to tow your last trailer - which you should also buy first.
     
  5. Misc99

    Misc99 New Member

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    To answer your question, if you find a great deal on one right now, GO FOR IT. If not, it doesn't hurt to wait. Age is a factor, but condition is KEY!!!

    Our floor plan is the same as a Jayco 1207. We really like it. Others manufacturers have something similar (12 ft box Dinette & U dinette; Queen and King beds; GVWR is about 3000, but ours loaded doesn't even come close. We even have an AC, because Oklahoma is hot and humid. Our kids are 9 & 12 and they love it, too.

    We just got back from a vacation in Estes Park. LOVED IT!!!
     
  6. mikef.design

    mikef.design New Member

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    You could always Craigslist the popup for about $3K in late summer or fall, try it out a few weekends and see what you like about it versus a big a** tent. if it doesn't work out, you could always CL back on the market. The wife and I were hard core backpackers (we snuffed at those carrying coolers), take what you can on your back and that was it, since most of it was food, the tent was always minimalist.

    When the kids came and we wanted to try camping again, we did the big tent thing once. A pain. Went for the pop-up this summer. We shopped some, looked at what we liked and didn't like and pulled the trigger on the PUP we like. So much faster and still a tent. Makes it much easier. Sure, not minimalist, but it sure as heck isn't a TT (but it isn't backpacking either).

    Go for it and try it out. Rent one (but don't borrow someone's, it will ruin the relationship) if you have to, to try it out. The experience is worth it.

    Best of luck!

    MF
     
  7. arthuruscg

    arthuruscg Active Member

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    You don't have towing capacity for the E1. The hybrid system drops your available tow and cargo rating. Stick with a normal 10 or 12 ft box.
    Fyi dry weight is without any options, including battery, propane, furnace, fridge, a/c, brakes, ect.

    Sent from my DROID4 using Tapatalk 4 Beta
     
  8. CamL48

    CamL48 New Member

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    Dry weight is completely meaningless. Ignore it. Keep your eye on the GVWR. After you add factory options (e.g., furnace), dealer options (e.g., A/C), pseudo-permanent user gear (e.g., propane, battery), and your camping gear, you'll be near the trailer's GVWR ... regardless of the trailer.

    Using the 1207 as an example. Factory options include furnace, refrigerator, electric brakes, awning, 2nd table, bunk fans. It's got a capacity of 1,000 lbs. Add most of those factory options (e.g., most PUPs have furnaces and fridges) and the 100 lb A/C and you've eaten a good chunk. As soon as you sneeze, you'll be at 500 lbs of personal gear with your food, clothes, cookware, propane, battery, water, etc. You'll be a lot closer to the 3,000 GVWR than you will the 2,000 dry weight. Focus on the the GVWR.

    Whether to wait is a function of personal needs, personal finances, and your short-term camping plans.

    If you buy an older ~$2,000 PUP, it will likely hold its value. PUPs (esp. in CO) tend to bottom out at that price. So, you could buy cheap now and use it while saving for something larger. In 2-3 years, you can get your $2,000 back out of your PUP and add it to your saved funds for something larger for your pre-teen kids.

    CO is a seller's market. I recommend that you be willing to travel. I ended up driving to Wichita to get my PUP. Worked great. Spent $200 in gas to save ~$2,500 on price.

    Good luck.
     
  9. BigBaron

    BigBaron Dreaming of Tommy's chili cheeseburgers...

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    A puppy dies? That's funny!
     
  10. DigitalGuru

    DigitalGuru Active Member

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    The wife and I were in the same situation. We decided to go with the "high end" pup instead of testing out a cheaper one. We found a great deal ~$4500 for a 2004 Starcraft Centennial with all the bells and whistles. We haven't had buyers remorse once :) Well worth it!

    Buying now is preferrable. Prices usually go up in the spring and start going down after the 4th of July. We bought ours the week after the 4th because the seller dropped his price on July 5th. He said interest drops off quickly the later in the year.

    Good Luck!

    DG
     
  11. Mickeyrv

    Mickeyrv Week day camping is great

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    [TV] [HYC] I have found over the years that the best time to purchase a camper or a boat is in the fall. I cannot tell you the number of times I have done this and made a huge profit off of them by selling them early in the spring. I once purchased a boat for less than 2 grand in the fall only to sell it in the spring for 3.5 grand. Not a bad profit for 5 months storage ." That was my mother of all deals".
     
  12. Camp-N-Nuts

    Camp-N-Nuts KrustyKamper

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    A Jayco of that vintage would have an L&W...I would stick with something that had a Goshen lift (I am prejudiced) [;)]
     
  13. heckufaguy

    heckufaguy New Member

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    Buy what you like now. Camp, enjoy, learn all the things you'll want on the next one. I'd say it's near impossible to get it all right off, and no sense in even trying.
     
  14. Misc99

    Misc99 New Member

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    FYI We weighed our Jayco (=1207 floor plan) on a CAT scale one time. It has all the options and more. It was loaded with all our camping "stuff" and I still don't think it hit 2500 #s.
     
  15. Hammer_2012

    Hammer_2012 New Member

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    I'd go for the one you want! We did the start small thing, and weren't really happy with anything until we got what we really wanted. Life's to short to comprise, especially if it's something your family enjoys!

    Good luck!
    Cheers
     
  16. Harvardroger

    Harvardroger If it feels good, do it! If it hurts, Stop!

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    Go with what you want.

    Our first and probably only pup is a Niagra. Absolutely no buyers remorse.

    With all the great folks and info on this site the minimal issues have been resolved and we have taken advantage of quite a few ideas we have found here.
     
  17. Hanne

    Hanne New Member

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    If you prefer to boondock, determine what bells & whistles you really need, and how much time you are able to devote to customization.
    It's not too hard to jack up any PUP with a small to standard box. We bought cheap (about $600), and then bought a bigger axle and jacked ours up. We liked being able to rip apart something and learn about it from inside and out, so for us it was the right choice. Plus if it had turned out to be a lost cause, we would not be out too much money. Funny thing is, I thought I'd want to "move up", but for the most part what turns my head are the little vintage campers that are still out there being "upcycled", used and loved.
    But for you the choice might be different, based on time, family needs, budget, personal taste, etc. Either way, the right PUP for you has a way of finding you!
     
  18. 45ACP

    45ACP New Member

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    My honest opinion is based on what I have done and may not be right for you. I picked up a real fixer upper off craigslist for $400.00. The camper requires a complete gut, redo, and new canvas which at the end of the day will cost me about $1650.00 total for my camper.

    My wife and I ended up deciding to undertake the project because after the $1650.00 worth of work goes into it, the camper will be in perfect/mint condition.

    Here is where it kind of applies to you. My wife and I have never camped in anything other than a tent. We plan on having a newborn in the near future and we're not sure if we can manage camping with an infant and we're not sure that we're even going to enjoy popup camping in general.

    So in light of everything, we think the best deal for us is to try camping with a popup that is less expensive until we're 100% sure a PUP will meet or needs. What we believe will work out as far as space/appliances/etc may actually not work out for us once actually used. So, I would suggest going with the cheaper camper first and seeing how it goes for you.

    You may take on the PUP and learn that its perfect for your needs and keep it. You may end up deciding that you hate it and want a TV instead. But regardless, you will end up with a camper you can sell or trade in towards what you really want or need once everything is said and done. There are a lot of people on this site that went from a TV to a PUP and until you apply the camper in real life conditions you will not know what your needs really are. Don't go for what you think you want just to find out that it really doesn't meet your expectations. Go out and experience those needs first.
     
  19. Camp-N-Nuts

    Camp-N-Nuts KrustyKamper

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    So right! [:D]
     
  20. metro6775

    metro6775 New Member

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    I have budgeted 10 grand for the popup that I want. I've already got the financing secured now I'm just searching and waiting.

    I have gone into research overload and I probably need to stop. I caught myself checking out class C motorhomes earlier today.

    I recommend you get the pop up that you want now.
     

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