Is a Pop-up right for me?

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by Drbean, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Drbean

    Drbean New Member

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    Feb 13, 2018
    Hey guys,

    For quite some time I have been considering getting my first used pop-up camper. The primary purpose would be to extend my dirt bike trail riding range by having a comfortable place to sleep and eat (it's a drag dealing with tents and piles of camping gear). Anything further than a 2.5-3 hr drive and I'd rather camp a night so I have plenty of ride time and don't have to drive too much in the day.

    The tow vehicle is a 2004 Ford Ranger 4.0L. I would keep the bikes in the bed of the truck and haul the camper. The thing that attracts me to the pop-up campers is the weight (would like to keep total load to around 2500lbs incl bikes). I was considering converting an enclosed trailer, however I also prefer the smaller profile of a pop-up camper as I think it will haul more comfortably at interstate speeds than a big enclosed wind sail.

    So with that being said, do you guys feel a pop-up would be a good fit? I also read over the sticky post on what to look for in a used pop-up, and it has great info. My budget is going to be around $3k, I have seen a number of good looking pop-ups in my area, usually 10+ years old. Any brands or models I should avoid? I see a lot of the smaller Coleman pop-ups in this price range. The size doesn't matter as long as it has fridge, cooking, Heat/AC. No bathroom or shower needed.
     
  2. myride

    myride Active Member

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    I think that's a question only you can answer. The weight issue isn't a problem with the smaller 8' box and most are outfitted with the required amenities (except air) for the most part. You are correct in assuming that it would be MUCH more comfortable than a tent for those weekends.
    Most brands are equal as far as quality, some have adherent problems that you should look for but over-all they're pretty equal. Just set a budget, make a list of what are needs vs. wants and keep checking the weights against your TV's limits. If you have any questions once you start narrowing it down there are many many people that have danced the dance your taking on before and would be happy to offer some guidance.

    Oh...and welcome to the portal!
     
    Drbean likes this.
  3. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Active Member

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    Maplewood, MN
    Hello and welcome from Minnesota.

    You are asking a tricky question that in the end, only you can answer. Between hauling the pup and the bikes, you will have quite the load in the truck. You may want to limit your pup to an eight foot box. That will keep your tongue weight and tow weight down.

    I'm not sure that there is any one brand to avoid, but there are preferred brands that seem to be more reliable. The big thing is to check out each pup carefully before buying and do plenty of research before you go look at your first purchasing opportunity.

    HERE is a link that was recently posted on the Portal that is a very good reference for pup shopping.
     
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  4. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Albuquerque, NM
    Welcome. Popups are great campers for many reasons.
    They do have less sail area than hybrids and travel trailers. As for "interstate speeds", most tires have a speed limit of 65 mph, so your travel time is a bit longer than towing nothing.
     
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  5. SteveP

    SteveP Active Member

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    I assume, at your budget, your going to be looking at 7 to 10 year old models. If the popup meets your needs for amenities how well it was cared for by the previous owners will outweigh most brand preferences.
     
    Drbean likes this.
  6. Drbean

    Drbean New Member

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    Feb 13, 2018
    Cheers! This is very helpful.
     
  7. Drbean

    Drbean New Member

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    Feb 13, 2018
    The truck has a row rating a bit under 6,000. My aim is to keep it under half that for comfortable towing and braking. However you raise a good point about the tongue weight. With a couple of dirt bikes in the bed, the truck squats slightly. Now adding weight to the hitch, I may need to consider upgrading the leafs or maybe raising the rear an inch (truck is level) so the back isn't dragging on the floor.
     
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  8. Dingit

    Dingit Member

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    A popup would be great for your style of camping. Faster and more comfy than a tent setup. What's the payload on the truck? If it's already sagging, I'd want to look at those numbers.
     
  9. SteveP

    SteveP Active Member

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    Look at the Air Lift or Firestone spring helpers that are available for your truck.
     
  10. Drbean

    Drbean New Member

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    Feb 13, 2018
    I'll have to check the manual, good call. The payload is usually very low in these little trucks so I won't be surprised if I'll have to beef up the rear end a little.
     
  11. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Northern Virginia
    You may want to weigh your vehicle with your bikes and other gear, cooler fully loaded etc. so you know exactly what your numbers are currently so you know exactly what kind of weight restrictions you have. Your 6000 tow capacity may not be true if your carrying capacity has already been reached or close to it. A thing to note is don't always believe in dry weight numbers when looking at popups unless you know the camper has no options. As anything classified as an option,; AC, furnace, Awing, propane and battery are not included in dry weight numbers usually.
     
  12. xvz12

    xvz12 Active Member

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    I have a 2000 Ranger, 4.0L V6 & A/T, 203,00 miles on it, that I pull our Coleman Cape Cod (10' box) with...GVWR on the pup is 1995 lbs, & I'm sure between the wife, dog, & myself, along with other miscellaneous camping gear, add another 700 lb to the total. The Ranger tows the pup like it's not even behind it....as long as you don't get completely carried away with whatever you buy, I think you'll find your Ranger will do just fine.
     
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  13. gardenbliss

    gardenbliss Well-Known Member

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    San Diego
    I think the PUP would work well for you. It comfortably sleeps 1-4 friends/family (anymore and you are looking at a bigger PUP). We loaded 4 bikes on my car and towed a small Coleman for >10 years. I love the Coleman brand and the Destiny Series was my favorite. I never had any problems with my Coleman Taos and I took her through the mountains of CO and WA.
     
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  14. durhamcamper

    durhamcamper Active Member

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    Pickering, Ontario
    I'm not aware of any particular brand that should be avoided. My previous pup was a 2000 Dutchmen and it was a great trailer. I only replaced it because I wanted a pup with a one piece door (less bending over to unlatch from inside) and trailer brakes. The most important thing to look for is water damage on the roof ends and side panels which is very common, and generally how well the previous owner maintained and took care of it. Good luck with your search.
     
  15. Drbean

    Drbean New Member

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    Feb 13, 2018
    Sounds exactly like the kind of thing I'm looking for!

    Let me ask you something. What kind of MPG did you get with your Ranger when loaded?

    Also, does the Ranger stop pretty well or do you use trailer brakes? The manual recommends trailer brakes when hauling trailers over 2,000lbs but I routinely hauled 3,000lbs with my S10 and it stopped ok. Looking back, I think I'd feel better with trailer brakes anything 2,500 or more.
     
  16. Drbean

    Drbean New Member

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    Feb 13, 2018
  17. mpking

    mpking Active Member

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    One further point you should consider. They have Off-Road popup's too.....
     
  18. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

    Ya that does look nice. I like the floor plan with the big bed on the front & kitchen to the rear. This works great if your not planing to use both beds. You can use the other bunk like another counter top & store your luggage.
     
  19. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    Santa Clarita, California
    does the Ranger comes with Tow Package?
     
  20. xvz12

    xvz12 Active Member

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    Apr 6, 2017
    New Plymouth, ID
    Mine did, can't speak for newer models, mine is a 2000
     

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