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Old 09-22-2009, 09:34 AM   #1
cmaee
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Advice needed...thinking about buying a pop-up camper

We are planning on coming to the Fort this April and staying in a friends pop-up camper. Well, I should say, I have been planning on doing that...my DH is another story... Anyway, My DH would rather us buy our own pop-up camper this spring and then we can take long weekend trips this coming summer, next fall, and maybe Disney in April 2011...and of course for many trips throughout the rest of our lives. If we go to Disney this spring, that would put off us being able to buy the pop-up until the following spring and us not being able to take the long weekends this summer. So, I see his point in wanting to do it this way, but I am quite sad at us not being able to go to WDW this spring too. So onto my question...

Which pop-up manufacture would you go with? Are there any real differences to them?

Would you buy new or used? We plan on having this for MANY years to come.

I found a pop-up I like online...Coachman Clipper Sport 127st. It has both a cassette toilet and inside shower. Would this be a good buy? I think that a cassette toilet is a porta-potti, right? I am curious to know where the water goes from the inside shower. Is it better to have an inside or outside shower?

Is there a different pop-up you would suggest? We can only pull something lightweight. My DH has a 4-door Jeep Wrangler and it can pull up to 5000 pounds.

Thanks for any advice...I figured who better to ask my questions than FW campers!
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:55 AM   #2
Pirate-Jeff
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You won't use the shower after the first time it's a PITA, Way to small and you wont have enought hot water for more than a quickie shower. Just request sites close to the bath houses, The porta potty is OK if you have little kids but for adults it's wasted space. My first pop up had both a shower and potty. After a couple of trips we never used them again.

What to get in a pop-up
A/c would be nice
The more storage space the better
Awning with an add-a-room is must have
An 110v/gas refrig-not an Ice box

get in contact with TCD and look at his set up
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:03 AM   #3
LONE-STAR
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We just get drift wood and use it
 
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This is one of the pop up campers I like.
http://www.campingearth.com/images/f...toy-hauler.jpg
If you will be towing with a jeep you may want a toy hauler pop up. That way you have a place to put coolers, bikes, firewood, or what ever fits as long as it stays within your weight limit.
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:04 AM   #4
Judy in Texas
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We have an Aliner Sport Weekender. It isn't as roomy as the Coachman but it literally takes less than a minute to pop it up - slightly longer to level it and hook up the utilities. We can have it completely set up start to finish in 15 minutes. You can find information at www.aliner.com. Our unit does not have a bathroom, but then we don't plan on roughing it. It has a narrow twin bed in the front, a dinette in the back that we keep made up as a standard twin bed, and a kitchette in between with a sink, 3 burner propane stove, refrigerator, microwave, and air conditioner. We stayed at Fort Wilderness last week and the air conditioner worked great. It was in the 90's with normal Florida humidity outside and we kept the inside at 70 with no problem. I can handle it by myself so I would have no qualms about going camping alone. You will find an active discussion group at http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/...haleta-frames/

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Old 09-22-2009, 10:10 AM   #5
LONE-STAR
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Here is a smaller pop up camper with a toy hauler deck with a off road look to match the jeep. http://www.starcraftrv.com/starcraft...ighlights.html
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pirate-Jeff View Post
get in contact with TCD and look at his set up
While I appreciate the vote of confidence, I am no expert on pop-up campers. I have purchased exactly one pop-up camper in my life, which is the camper that I currently use for all of the TCD gang's Fort Wilderness adventures. It is a 2000 Coleman Utah CP, which I bought brand new in the Fall of 1999. I always intended to trade up to a travel trailer, and then eventually a motor home, but that camper has been perfect for my family.

So, I am partial to the Coleman brand (which was really manufactured by Fleetwood back then). For a period time, Fleetwood lost the Coleman brand, and there were no more Coleman trailers being manufactured. I believe that I saw somewhere that someone is selling Coleman trailers again, but I am not sure who the manufacturer is now.

I don't know anything about other brands. But, here is a great website that you can check out:

Pop Up Times

If there is any way that you can go to an RV show, I would urge you to do that. That would be the best way to see all of your options and decide what is best for your family.

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Old 09-22-2009, 10:56 AM   #7
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We had a Fleetwood Tacoma (12 foot box) for 5 years and towed it for over 30,000 miles. This past year, we moved to a travel trailer and have already put over 9,000 miles on it, including a trip to FW.

For towing weights, you want to study the Jeep's manual carefully. As a rule, I would base my calculations on the Gross Weight Ratings for both the tow vehicle and the trailer. This is the maximum weight allowed for each. Manufacturers will tell you dry weights, but you will never use the trailer "dry"; in fact, as it sits on the dealer's lot, it will probably weigh more than the dry weight. The Jeep's tow rating of 5,000 lbs is probably reduced by the cargo and passengers (and its accessories) carried in the jeep itself, but you will want to confirm this in the manual.

A cassette toilet is a built-in porta-potti. The cassette is the black water tank, which can be removed from the trailer (usually accessible from the outside) and dumped. Some larger pop-ups now have conventional black water tanks that have to be emptied through a sewer connection or dump station.

Most tent trailers do not have a gray water tank. You would need to connect the drains for the sink and shower to the sewer connection or set up some type of collection system (not having a shower, we used a bucket).

The water heater on a pop-up is 6 gallons and that will give you a couple of showers. It is the same heater that most RVs have.

Shower and toilet facilities in tent trailers are tight. They are designed for convenience rather than comfort. Some people love them, but if you don't use them, it is a waste of valuable space. Our pop-up did not have them, but we carried a porta-potti primarily for my DDs, who were 1, 3 and 5 when we first started camping in the pup.

Try to see the campers in person and imagine them full of stuff. Not the flower vases and dinner settings that are used in the pictures and displays, but your bags and gear. Look at different floor plans. Try out the dinettes. Do you have to climb over it to get into a bunk? Do you want a couch to sit on? Can you get at the fridge when the trailer is folded down? Does this matter to you?

If you buy new, you get a warranty and instructions from the dealer on how to use everything. To be sure, I probably would not let the issue of warranty be a deal breaker for me: we never did have much luck getting warranty service from Fleetwood.

Best of luck.

Joe
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:00 AM   #8
cmaee
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Thanks for all the advice.

The closest RV show to us isn't until January, so we have a while to think on this. I called the closest RV dealership to us and they no longer carry pop-up campers, so we will have to drive a distance to get a new one. The dealership said that they used to carry Coleman campers, but apparantly Coleman campers is in bad shape financially and can't honor the warranties. They said they may start carrying Forest River pop-up's in the spring.

Here is what I have decided that I think we need. I know whatever we end up buying will have to have AC. I really like the idea of having the toy hauler deck. I didn't even think about storage room in the back of the jeep and there isn't much room for suitcases...let alone all of the other camping supplies we would need. We need at least a King or Queen beds on the sides...our kids won't be little for long, so I need to think about my kiddos the size of teenagers, not young children....and we plan on having this for MANY years...no upgrading for us. I ideally want it to be big enough to fit 6-8 people....but at the least 6 people. I want it to have a toilet. I think that will be an added bonus for our kids at this age. I think that we will forgo an inside shower and just get one with an outside shower hookup.

As far as new versus used...does anyone know how long warranties are good for? Are there better times of the year to buy one to get a better deal? I didn't know if early winter would be a good time. I can't imagine too many people are buying pop-ups at that time of the year. I didn't know if we might get a better deal during their slow sales months.
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:38 AM   #9
sshudson99
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Another forum to go to about popup campers (PUP) is popupportal dot com.

I love that website as much as this one. We have a 2002 Coleman Destiny (by Fleetwood) and I absolutely love it. It has a king bed and a full size bed, the dinette also folds down to a bed. The only down side to owning a PUP is putting up and down in rain. My husband is ready to get a travel trailer, but I still love my PUP. Good luck on finding one, I agree with your husband that I would rather buy than borrow from someone 'cause, I would hate for something to happen to it. I also don't have a shower, nor a porta pottie, I use the bath house, a PUP is so small that you need all the storage space you can get, and besides, who wants to be in such a small space and use the bathroom????? YUCK!!
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:18 PM   #10
CampingChristy
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JAYCO ALL THE WAY

Please check out the Jayco brand! Love loved our Jayco pup, wish I had bought a Jayco when we bought our Hybrid.
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Old 09-23-2009, 01:06 PM   #11
clkelley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sshudson99 View Post
who wants to be in such a small space and use the bathroom????? YUCK!!
I have a teeny tiny T@B and it has a portapotty. Yes I do use it in the middle of the night for liquids only!! With the blue stuff in the waste tank, no smell at all!!

It sure beats finding shoes and getting to the comfort station in the middle of the night!!
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Old 09-23-2009, 01:16 PM   #12
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I have a Coleman Santee.....no shower,no toilet...as amatter of fact, I removed the faucet and hot water heater as well as the stove top, made a countertop where all of that was and now have alot more room for storage drawers. I would never have used a shower in such a small camper,a toilet would have been nice...but most pop-ups only have cassette toilets anyway...so they arent any more convenient than a 5 gallon bucket with a hefty bag and cat litter in it for midnight emergencies for the kids.

I have gotten my moneys worth on our camper already after only one summer....we used it every other week or so, and I hated for school to start back up because that ended camping season for us. Its so nice to have a reason to get out of the house when the kids are home....theres a camper sitting there....we might as well use it!!!

Like you, I had to stay in the lightweight area....and a pop-up has made our summers FUN!!! Once you get a routine together,setting up/tearing down is a breeze. I dont have the ADD A ROOM option...but a screened in FirstUp is serving us just fine. I do have a small deck on the front of mine for extra storage...I keep a heavy-weight plastic foot-locker/tool box on mine with all our gear in it with enough room left over for a large ice chest.
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:16 PM   #13
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I love my pop-up and wouldn't give a Class A for her (well, maybe)

As to what brand, Jayco and Fleetwood/Coleman are most commonly known and respected. I have a Jayco and would recommend it but your tow vehicle limits will determine what you can handle. I'd also recommend buying a brand that has a nearby dealer for service and support.

If you plan to buy and hold onto it for a while, I would suggest buying new even if it sets you back a year from going to the Fort. From what I've browsed in the paper and Craiglist, most pop-ups are 1-2 years old ("only used 3 times") or 10+ years old ("still in good condition"). Given the fact you want to use it for a long time, I'd advise new.

Labor day weekend is typically around the time when the next year's campers come out (2010 models) to dealers so they are willing to take offers on last year's models (2009). Your starting offer should be about 25% off MSRP - they're should be alot of good deals given this economy. Most RV shows kick off around that same time although they focus toward the high end of the market and not pop-ups. But you never know.

We have a builtin shower/casette potty with a curtain that folds up and down. We have never used the shower part of it (also have an outdoor shower which we have used to wash sand off feet at the beach). We always stay in state parks or COE campgrounds or the Fort where there are bathrooms and showers. My DD and DW like the potty at night (no need to walk and the curtain provides some privacy); my DS's like the potty/curtain as a quick place to change into their jammies'; me I'm happy if they're happy. How you plan to camp will determine what you need; if you want to go out in the back country with no hookups on the side of some lake, your needs are different than if you're camping at the state park.

We have A/C (we live in Alabama) and we run it often although in summer it is hard to keep up with the heat if we are out in the open with no shade. I often run it at night moving the thermostate up not so much for cooling as for background noise and to dehumidify the inside.

We also have a slide out dinette plus a king/queen bed to give us space for my 3 big teenagers. Their social schedules make it hard to find a weekend where we all can go but some of us go as often as possible.

I am a maniac about taking care of the popup . I store it in the unfinished portion of my garage (indoors). The scourge of all pop-ups is mold on the inside of the bunk ends or awning. It's caused by moisture being trapped when it's folded up and put away. I keep some DampRid in my camper interior and in the storage compartment at ALL TIMES when stored. If you have to come home with a wet roof you have to pop it up at home and allow it to dry before you put it away. If you store it outside, I can't advise you but you need to take good care of your pup to get the most out of it.

It sure beats sleepin' on the ground and the Fort is wonderful when you can get your campsite for about $50, have your kitchen and fridge, all the amenities of the Fort, and your own bed to sleep in.

Oh, and one more word: Memoryfoam for the mattresses (2" topper from Overstocked.com).

Bama ED
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Nov 1987 FW 100 Loop(tent) ...... Oct 2003 FW 2000 Loop (tent).........Mar 2011 FW 900/1500 loop (pop-up) to/from KW
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Dec 1995 Contemporary.............. Mar 2007 FW 1000 Loop (pop-up).... Apr 2013 FW 100 Loop (pop-up)

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Old 09-24-2009, 09:13 AM   #14
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Hi Cmaee!
As far as buying and putting off a trip...buying our PUP was one of the best decisions we've made. We sold our DVC and bought it and our tow vehicle and haven't looked back. Just the amount of family time we've spent over the last couple of years since we bought it has made it SO worth it for us. We're just having a great old time getting out and enjoying tons of things around us (and far away too, including the Fort)

Hey Judy, yay - another Aliner here in the DIS! We have a Scout model - bare bones since we cook outside and had all of our gear from our tenting days.

Looking at the Cmaee's signature, though, I don't know that I'd recommend an A frame - 3 kids would be a little snug. Our family is 3 plus a 65 lb. dog - DS and DDog sleep on one side and DH and I sleep on the other. Counting our DDog as a "kid", I don't know where we'd put a third kidlet at bedtime. We did meet a family this year that has bunks for their two kids...I suppose you could put two kids on one of the two bunks since I believe they were just about full size.

However, like Judy said, setup on an A frame can't be beat! Especially awesome when we're on the road late at night and DS is asleep in the car: pull in, pop up, and plop him in his cozy bed in a matter of a couple of minutes.

In case you want to see pics of the inside of our Aliner as well as some of our travels: www.alineradventures.blogspot.com

Another great pop up resource is www.popupexplorer.com Lots of helpful folks over there that would be able to answer PUP specific questions.

Oh, and I totally agree with Carol - that porta potti in the middle of the night is mighty nice - especially if it is rainy or cold! As for a shower, we usually use the shower house at the campgroung. There are a couple of state parks that we love that are way primitive, so DH bought me a propane shower and shower tent for Christmas last year - very nice! Especially since we're both runners, a shower is fairly necessary...if I don't run, though...eh, I'll go a weekend without a shower
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1994 Poly Honeymoon - 1997 BWV - 1998 Contemporary - 1999 Coronado Springs - 2000 Joined DVC! BWV & Vero Beach - 2001 BWV & CBR - 2002 BCV & OKW - 2003 Grand Californian & AKL - 2004 POR, DS's first trip to WDW and our 10th anniversary! - 2005 BWV for DS's first birthday! & SSR - 2006 Pop & OKW - 2007 VWL for DS's 3rd birthday! also in 2007 - started living Debt Free! - 2008 BWV for DS's 4th birthday and sold DVC! (and yes, it's a good thing for us! ) and Fort Wilderness for Thanksgiving 2008 - 2009 Bay Lake Tower for our 15th Anniversary 2011 Fort Wilderness, Princess Half Marathon 2012 Fort Wilderness - 2013 1st Dark Side visit - Universal for WWoHP! 2013 AKV for Princess Half Marathon Girls Weekend!

Last edited by KristinU; 09-24-2009 at 09:43 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:29 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by LONE-STAR View Post
This is one of the pop up campers I like.
http://www.campingearth.com/images/f...toy-hauler.jpg
If you will be towing with a jeep you may want a toy hauler pop up. That way you have a place to put coolers, bikes, firewood, or what ever fits as long as it stays within your weight limit.
Okay, I'm sold - I like that one too!
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