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  #1  
Old 10-18-2011, 05:34 AM
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Default Pop-up camper brands

My wife and I are considering purchasing a pop-up. We have always been tent campers so have no knowledge of pop-up brands. We are looking for something very basic that can be towed behind a minivan with a towing capacity of 3000 lbs. Are there any brands that that stand out or that I should stay away from?
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  #2  
Old 10-18-2011, 07:00 AM
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There a quite a few out there. Coachman, Jayco, just to name a couple. You will have to watch the weight of the trailer with a towing capacity of 3000lbs. They come anywhere from 1800 to 3500lbs. That is an empty weight or curb weight. It will not stay that way for long. Everything you put into it will add to the trailers weight. Keep it around 23 or 24 hundred. Watch the tongue weight. That is how much weight you can put on the hitch or ball.
We had a Coachman for a few years and liked it. A few suggestions, get one with a front hatch and 14 or 15 in rims and tires. The front hatch make it easy to pack thing away and take out. You can access it without the trailer being open. There isn't a lot of storage in those things. Every little bit helps. I found that the trailer towed better with the bigger tires. than with the little donuts. Air conditioner, optional. If parked in the sun with no breeze they get like an oven inside. We used ours for one weekend and took it back and had an AC unit installed. It was more for the can't see um's, bugs, rather than the heat though. One with a toilet, pain in the butt in the middle of the night to get to the rest room. Also, one you don't have to crawl over the dining area to get to the bunk. It's just easier. Sometimes the dining table is a bed. You have to crawl over some one sleeping.
I would get a few ideas on line and go to a couple of RV shows, to see the layouts. Keep in mind everything you add to the trailer will get closer to your towing capacity. AC unit a hundred pounds or so.
One more thing. There are weight limits, to how much you can tow with out a braking system. Each state might be different. Your dealer should know what it is in your area.
Good luck. Hope I helped out a bit. Bob
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  #3  
Old 10-18-2011, 10:25 AM
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Camper Type: 5th Wheel
 
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Location: Murrieta, CA
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If you buy a new trailer it will include the braking system for its weight in order to be sold. For example, I had an Coleman (one of the most popular) and it did not have a braking system because the GVWR was about 1,200 lbs. Years later I bought another trailer that weighed 8,000lb and it required brakes. The vehicles I had required an aftermarket brake controller and it just plugged right in. If your vehicle does not have a brake controller plug, then the vehicle is NOT intended to tow anything that weighs whatever the limit is for your state.

I live in California, and I recall if a trailer weighed 2,000 or 3,000 lbs that's when a braking system is required. But you should check for the state you live in. I don't mind a supplemental braking system so it improved the stopping distance. It's better to learn about how these work and how to maintain them, than take too long to stop.

Jayco is a top of the line popup brand (price and weight), Coleman has a variety of sizes and weights and then there are plenty of really cheap light brands and types (A frame, etc.) to buy. I would suggest visiting several RV shows to learn what's out there. Don't necessarily buy the first thing you see, but create a list of what you like and don't like then look for one that matches as close as possible.

A good popup can weigh less than 3,000 lbs. Before you buy one, learn the towing capacity of the tow vehicle's GVWR and Combined GVWR (for both the tow vehicle and the trailer). You'll find you have less tow capacity than you might think and it's important to stay under! You'll need some leeway for gear, passengers, and hitch hardware.

The closer you get to the maximum weight, the more the vehicle will work and you'll need to learn to drive it differently because of this. Expect to learn some new ways to drive it, especially on long roads with lots of hills. I hope your vehicle has a tachometer because you'll need to be in the higher numbers when driving in shifting, unless you get a diesel. A gas engine has most of its power that you'll need for towing at the top ends of the RPMs which is why you need to learn how to use this. This is also why gas engines will suffer in the mpgs versus a diesel. But with a popup, you should be acceptable. You'll just need to get used to the engine sounds as it works harder to tow.
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Murrieta, CA

2006 Ford F-250/350
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Last edited by artmart; 10-18-2011 at 10:30 AM.
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  #4  
Old 10-23-2011, 11:44 AM
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Just purchsed a Jayco 806, small basic popup. It is light, weighs less than 1000 pounds dry. Tom
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