This is a used pop-up campers buying guide. It details what you need to look out for before you write a check. It is a good thing to know that there are used campers in the market. It means that those who cannot afford the expensive new campers can still own a camper and go out on camping trips that they love. The tips below will go a long way to make your camper buying an experience you won’t regret.
Can Your Vehicle Tow the Camper?
Before you even start shopping for an old camper, ask yourself this: what is the total tonnage that my vehicle can tow? This will help you limit yourself to the camper that is functionally realistic for you.
To understand your vehicle’s towing capability, check the owner’s manual. Never estimate or guess the tonnage that your vehicle can tow. Another mistake that you cannot do is trust the reviews on Facebook or blogs. Manufacturers’ documentation is the only thing you can trust to determine the tow rating. Remember that apart from the pop up camper’s weight, you will need to haul passengers and camping gear in your vehicle.
What Are the Features You Want in Your Pop-up Camper?
Make a checklist of the facilities that you want in your camper before you get into Craigslist to shop for the camper. There are those must-have facilities as well as those which you can compromise. Backwoods campers will probably want different camping gear compared to dry camping. You need to determine what kind of a camper you are. Do you need hot water or can you do with cold water? Make a list. It will go a long way. Use the following questions and considerations to come up with a checklist:
- Are you camping alone or with family?
- Are you going to bring friends along?
- What are the ages of your kids and how much space do they need for sleeping?
- Can your family fit in the camper for the long haul?
- What kind of climate in which you would be camping? You may need heater or furnace to stay warm.
- Those camping in warmer climates, you may want to consider an A/C unit. You need to decide whether air conditioning is something you want in your camper.
- From where are you going to cook? If you want to cook indoors, your camper ought to have enough space to accommodate a kitchen area. For those planning to eat from indoors, you will need to have a dedicated dinette that will not have to be converted into sleeping quarters during the night. If you want to eat and cook from outdoors, you will need to have a camper that has a removable stove and dinette.
- Do you need a shower, potty, or bathroom in your camper? An indoor potty is especially great for late night nature calls.
- Where will you be setting camp? Are you going to the RV Park or more off-the-beaten-path site where you cannot hook up to water pipes or electrical power? If your chosen camping site is remote and you want to have those amenities, you will need to ensure that your camper has these facilities. Do not forget to install a fresh water tank.
- You will need to make price considerations. You can stretch your budget a little bit if you have stumbled upon a camper that has all the amenities that you want. Remember that it is harder and more expensive to add the amenities that you want in a camper than procuring for one that has all these amenities. Remodeling the camper will make it ugly and take a hit on your finances.
Major Facilities Pop-up Campers Shouldn’t Have
A damaged canvas on a camper is a tell-tale sign of neglect. A well-maintained camper will have a clean, plush canvas. A damaged canvas may also mean that the camper has seen its better days. The only reason you will buy such a camper is if its asking price is so little that buying a new canvas will not be costly.
Rotted, Leaking Roof
A properly maintained popup camper will get a fresh paint job every year. Paint protects the metallic parts of the camper from rotting. If there is a rotting spot on the roof or on the floor of a camper, it will start leaking. This compounds the leaking problems, causing rot on other metallic appliances in the camper.
Soft Patches on the Roof or the floor
The soft patches are the clearest indication that the roof or the floor will come down or start sagging. It means that the roof/floor have not been waterproofed for long. Such a camper will cost you money to correct the problem.
Cracking or Sagging Roof
If you do not want to spend additional resources taking care of a camper’s roof, avoid buying one with sagging or cracking roof.
Damaged Lift System
The pulley system of a camper is one of its most important components. Try towing the camper with a rotten lift system and it will be your worst nightmare. A lift system also helps you expand your kitchen or living area. If it doesn’t work, then your camper will be cramped. If you do not know how the lift system works, get someone you trust, and let them check the system for you.
A dented frame will need fixing. A bent frame will render your lift system useless even if it is in tiptop condition. Ensure that the previous owner has done the structural repairs before you sign on the dotted line.
Bunks, Slide-Outs, Awning, and Stabilizer Locks
These might be periphery items, but they will seriously hit your budget especially if the camper that you are buying is a luxury one.
Buying an old pop-up camper is a great idea if you love camping and cannot afford a new one. You may get a bargain if you acquire one from somebody looking to make a quick sale. So go out there with an open mind, and if you look carefully, you might just get lucky.