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Old 02-19-2013, 02:26 PM   #1
lukenick1
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The good, bad & ugly of owning a camper

Considering buying a camper this summer after having a blast camping last summer. However, sleeping in a tent is much to be desired! I would love to pick up a camper that has a full bathroom and something small enough I could tow with my Toyota Sienna minivan. Never owned a camper and know nothing about what is involved. Can someone give me all the details of ownership?
Thank you!
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:49 PM   #2
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I would go post under the camping thread... we own an RV and I love it. I used to backpack but camping with the kids has never been my idea of fun. Now that we all have our own comfy beds and indoor plumbing- I love it! You should look at the types of camping you are likely to do- if it is a lot of fort wilderness and similar type places you might not want the bathroom at all as these places have good facilities. Even in our 32 ' RV with slides, the bathroom is not big enough for my husband to be comfortable so he always uses the provided facilities to shower etc.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:56 PM   #3
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We have a Palomino Hybrid, which we tow with our Kia Sedona.

I love it, and MUCH prefer it over tent camping. Love the Hybrid because it feels like you're in a tent with the canvas over top of you while you sleep, but then it has a full bathroom, kitchen, dinette, etc. on top of that.

The only bad thing I can think of is the initial cost of buying one, and then just have to remember that if you're in a northern state, need to winterize it before the first deep freeze.

But we love ours, go out in it every chance we get, and love taking tons of 3-day "weekends" (I work weekends usually, so we go out either mon-tues-wed or wed-thurs-fri) from april through October.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:02 PM   #4
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We have a Palomino Hybrid, which we tow with our Kia Sedona.

I love it, and MUCH prefer it over tent camping. Love the Hybrid because it feels like you're in a tent with the canvas over top of you while you sleep, but then it has a full bathroom, kitchen, dinette, etc. on top of that.

The only bad thing I can think of is the initial cost of buying one, and then just have to remember that if you're in a northern state, need to winterize it before the first deep freeze.

But we love ours, go out in it every chance we get, and love taking tons of 3-day "weekends" (I work weekends usually, so we go out either mon-tues-wed or wed-thurs-fri) from april through October.
What does "winterizing" involve? I am in the Northeast.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:08 PM   #5
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We used to tent camp as well and them moved up to a pop up and now we have a travel trailer. We would have probably kept our pop up but we went from one child to three plus a dog and ran out of room.

There is a great RV forum out there. Google RV.net and you should find it. They are great at providing advice.

Ours is now too big to store at our house so we have to pay storage. We have to winterize it every year as well but that is not too hard.

Make sure you know how much you can tow before you begin looking as you don't want to fall in love with something you can't tow.

We love our camper. We call it our condo on wheels.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:11 PM   #6
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What does "winterizing" involve? I am in the Northeast.
My DH does it but I believe it is draining the water out of the lines, putting RV Anitfreeze down the drains in the sinks, he removes the battery as well I think.

When you purchase an RV most places offer classes to teach you how to winterize. Also when you purchase you don't just pick it up you usually do a walk through so they can show you how everything works and you can ask questions. That it how it has worked when we bought ours.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:15 PM   #7
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Before looking for a trailer, check into what weight your mini van will be able to tow, if you need to add a tow package to it, etc.

When you are shopping many RV salespeople will try and tell you that you can tow almost anything - which isn't quite true. Yes, you may be able to tow something a short distance, but you could wreck your vehicle towing it long distances, or if you dare to pack anything inside or have passengers in your mini van!

There are a lot of lighter trailers out there now. Just do the research before you buy so you don't wreck your mini van the first season you have it! LOL

We have a tent trailer and I love it. Light and it's easy for me to tow and park on my own, as dh often has to work weekends. Super easy to set up too. Would love to have something bigger with my own bathroom, but then we would have to upgrade to a truck, and that's not in the cards right now!
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:21 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by lukenick1 View Post
What does "winterizing" involve? I am in the Northeast.
I did it myself. Just drain the tanks, add antifreeze to them (I bought a 10 dollar hand pump to help add it + down all the drains. I disconnected the hot water heater too, but you don't have too just takes more antifreeze if you don't. With the hand pump it took maybe 30 minutes and 4-5 bottles of RV antifreeze (which is at Walmart) for an RV with a full kitchen and full bath my first time.

Our HOA won't allow any camper/rv etc. on property either so be sure to check before you buy, it costs us $45 a month to store.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:50 PM   #9
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just my 2 cents:

We had a hybrid- 28ft and towed with Yukon xl
we had it for about 5 years and went to disney every year for 10-14 days a trip
we loved Disney campground- the grounds are beautiful- we camped at Assateague, Md and also other nice places. We sold it a few years ago because they kids were getting older and bigger and for us to move up to a bigger camper would also mean a newer and stronger suv. My kids started doing more in the way of sports and we had less time to go anywhere.
We have very fond memories and I'm happy we had it for a while- but they are like cars- they depreciate, need to pass inspection every year and have other maintenance as well( roof care, tires, etc.) we also had the cost of storage as we didn't want to upset the neighbors having it in our driveway all of the time.
a pop up might work well for you- some have bathrooms- it also depends on your life style- the more you can use it the better value it is.

If your serious then go to a few rv shows- you can see a bunch of different types and and gather a lot of info ..

Good luck with the decision. Also, check out the camping forum here on the dis- they are a wealth of information.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:14 PM   #10
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We've had a camper for about 10 years now. It's a great way to get away and be close as a family. There are other costs involved to consider when owning a camper. For us in VA, the personal property taxes on RVs are significant. You also have to maintain tags and a yearly inspection just like other vehicles. (That could very by state). Upkeep, winterizing, storage are also considerations. The actual cost to camp can be pricey. Depending on where you go there can be an extra cost of additional people, pets, cable, and activities. There will be an increased cost for gas when towing a camper as well. You will more than likely need to equip the camper with many essentials (water hose, sewer hose, kitchen and bathroom items) and things you just want to have. A loaded camper weighs alot more than an empty one so that weight should be considered when deciding what you can tow with your current vehicle.

So, it's not always budget friendly but for us it is a special time to slow down and get away. Most people at campgrounds are so friendly and helpful and there are so many great places you can go. Good luck with your decision and if you decide to go camping have fun!
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momof2gr8kids View Post
Before looking for a trailer, check into what weight your mini van will be able to tow, if you need to add a tow package to it, etc.

When you are shopping many RV salespeople will try and tell you that you can tow almost anything - which isn't quite true. Yes, you may be able to tow something a short distance, but you could wreck your vehicle towing it long distances, or if you dare to pack anything inside or have passengers in your mini van!

There are a lot of lighter trailers out there now. Just do the research before you buy so you don't wreck your mini van the first season you have it! LOL

We have a tent trailer and I love it. Light and it's easy for me to tow and park on my own, as dh often has to work weekends. Super easy to set up too. Would love to have something bigger with my own bathroom, but then we would have to upgrade to a truck, and that's not in the cards right now!
Good advice! Once you know how much you can SAFELY tow you can begin shopping.

RV shows are a great place to see a lot of different ones all in one place. Not sure where in the Northeast you are from but there is an RV show in Syracuse at the Fairgrounds February 28, March 1, 2, 3.

Good Luck!
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:34 PM   #12
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Good advice! Once you know how much you can SAFELY tow you can begin shopping.

RV shows are a great place to see a lot of different ones all in one place. Not sure where in the Northeast you are from but there is an RV show in Syracuse at the Fairgrounds February 28, March 1, 2, 3.

Good Luck!
Thanks...we went to an RV show yesterday which is what sparked me up to get one As far as what I am reading online my 2004 Toyota Sienna came standard with the towing package and can tow a max of 3,500 lbs. I really like the idea of a hard camper and I saw some cute ones that they claim I can pull with a minivan. Now just need to know what is involved with ownership.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:53 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by lukenick1 View Post
Thanks...we went to an RV show yesterday which is what sparked me up to get one As far as what I am reading online my 2004 Toyota Sienna came standard with the towing package and can tow a max of 3,500 lbs. I really like the idea of a hard camper and I saw some cute ones that they claim I can pull with a minivan. Now just need to know what is involved with ownership.
Yes that is the weight you can tow. I would make sure the GVW is under that. That is the total weight the trailer is loaded. That way you will not be over weight.

If you have found a trailer you like make an offer. When i am looking i try to find a left over from the previous year then try to get them down 30%.

There is a discussion board that is all about RV.net they are very helpful over there.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:19 PM   #14
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We love our RV! Bought a used one at a great price & it's in great shape. We bought it in 2011, intending to take a month-long trip to see a lot of the national parks out West. Unfortunately, due to the unexpected death of my Mom, we had to postpone the trip until 2012 (although we did get it out for a couple of much-needed shorter trips in 2011). It was an awesome experience & a great way to travel for our family (we have 2 kids, ages 14 & 10). My guys (hubby & 14-yr-old) love to camp (although their preferred method is no tent---just sleeping bags outside---in the winter---crazy guys!!), but my daughter & I both prefer comfy beds & indoor plumbing. Having the RV makes everyone happy. We are planning on taking several shorter trips this year in it (definitely can't afford to do a month-long trip again this soon! lol). The RV has been one of the best purchases we have ever made.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukenick1
Considering buying a camper this summer after having a blast camping last summer. However, sleeping in a tent is much to be desired! I would love to pick up a camper that has a full bathroom and something small enough I could tow with my Toyota Sienna minivan. Never owned a camper and know nothing about what is involved. Can someone give me all the details of ownership?
Thank you!
We also have a sienna and a camper. Ours is 24ft and parked on a seasonal site. The maximum towing capacity for a sienna is 4500 pds. You will need something like a hybrid or a pop up to stay underweight. We could not pull our camper with the minivan. We towed ours with a dodge ram 1500.

A great source of information is the folks on RV. Net.

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