Good camper trailer recommendation

We’re thinking about doing some camping, and paddling new waters. Can you recommend a fairly light camping trailer, popup type or trailer?

Thank you.

We = how many?

– Last Updated: Feb-13-06 6:46 PM EST –

I have a 13' Scamp. (Casita is similar and made by someone who once worked for Scamp) They make 13, 16, and 19' lightweight fiberglass body trailers. The 13 is light enough as not to require electric brakes. You can pull one with an econobox, but I don't recommend it in mountain driving. I'm pretty comfortable in mine, furnace, 3-way frige, stove, 12 gal fresh/26 gal gray water system, ceiliing fan, 120/12v systems, etc. If you're over 6' tall you will have to duck slightly standing up inside.

Addendum: I just looked at the web site and they had a fire last month. That should back up their always full order list quite a bit. If you can find a used one (good luck) check it out right away.

many choices
If you want more info than you’ll ever need go to

If you are looking for the most room for your money, then get a small pop-up like the Fleetwood neon (good for 1-2 people), fleetwood cobalt or graphite (all around $4500-5000), or if you need room for 4-6 get the Fleetwood Yuma (2600lbs, $5500),

Remember that with Popup, there is a minimum of 20-30 minutes of set up time.

If you are looking for a trailer you will have considerably less room, because you will have to find one that is less than 3000lbs. Recommendations are: teardrop trailers such as Little Guy, Camp-Inn, which are very small and only allows sleeping space for two people, no set up time, easy to tow, virtually maintainance free. Or you can get a hard sided folding trailer like the chalet or aliners (costs 10-20K and only accomodates 1-3 people in relatively cramped space.

We’ve owned …
a Coleman/Fleetwood “Bayport” pop up for many years. We’ve gotten a lot of use out of it. Mostly for spring and summer camping but used it in December too without problems. I can set mine up in less than 20 minutes by myself. (prob around 10min). Of course, I’ve gotten used to it too. It’s light (1750 dry weight to 2500 loaded). We really like it. You don’t feel cramped inside when it rains. Ours opens up to 25’. 2 Queen beds, a goucho pullout, and the eating table folds down into another bed. Can fit 6 comfortably. They make a lot of different sizes. Jayco is another good popup from what I hear.

see if BillinPa
has a pic of his teardrop camper…I got a peek at/in it at the Jocassee get-to-gether…sweet home on wheels.

Hard sided trailers
A few points I forgot to mention. If you plan on camping in bear country a hard sided trailer offers a bit more security than canvas or vinal. With the exception of my awning I have never had to worry about folding the Scamp up wet and drying out a clammy mess later. The awning is no problem to strech out at home for a very quick sun dry. A hard sided trailer is nice on the road, too. Pulling into a rest stop or just off the road somewhere to make lunch or snacks is a breeze. I even use the trailer at home for an office when the steptrolls are too noisy or obnoxious for bill paying. List the things that are pro and con for yourself between tent trailers and hard sides. Then, enjoy your adventures.


hard sided vs pop up
I think hard sided trailers offer lots of advantages over pop ups but I dont think bear threat is one of them. You would be hard pressed to find someone who felt vulnerable in a canvas sided pop up to bear attacks. You are more insulated from loud campground noises and extremes in weather and it is a lot easier to pack up and leave camp in bad weather. Unfortunately, most trailers have really cramped sleeping quarters. Even smaller pop ups will have up to two queen sized beds.

I have a Rockwood PU with a Chevy Tracker TV but I highly recommend you visit one of the forums for camping folks. Here’s a list for you to investigate:,, ww.popupexplorer

Stay safe on the water and good camping,


I had a POP-up, its better then a Tent. but it has some of the same drawbacks, meaning you cant keep it loaded and ready to go, you also cant put it away wet, and you have to set it up when you get to the site. I upgraded to a 28’ Travel trailer, its big enough that the family can hangout INSIDE when the weather is bad and the whole thing doesn’t fog up like pop ups do, when you cook inside them. It also has its OWN shower & Bathroom, yeah some pop-ups have that but the ones that do are really cramped and cost as much or more then a hard side camper. The worst thing about pop-ups is that they don’t have much insulation so you get condensation on the inside when its cold out and on the outside when it warm… As for bed size, mine has a Regular Queen in the back in its own PRIVATE room. No private spots in a pop-up… It also has a Two Fulls size beds in the front, one is couch bed the other is the kitchen table that we seldom use as a bed. It also has a slide out for increased space… Now the down side of a hard camper, eats more gas when towing, you are towing a big rig so you have to be more cautious when driving, and it helps to have a good tow vehicle. A Pop-up can just about be towed by anything. Now some stuff I have learned… Get the BEST brake controller out there, probably the prodigy. The cheap ones suck, trust me… also buy used; campers depreciate super fast.

Several forum’s to read up on.
Check out rvnet, good sam, trailer life directory. There are many web sites discussion list to read up and learn about rv/camping. We started out, renting a Scamp, then went to pop-ups. The Coleman was the best, (between it and a Viking). Didn’t take very many years before we had a hard side (Airstream). With kids the pop-up was fun, but couldn’t get set up quick enough, and I had it down to like 10-12 minutes. Also got tired of the little tires blowing out. A hard sided trailer is so much better for us. Now when we get where ever, the kids can go in have a snack, while I stay out, hooking up the water/elect/sewer. Plus on long trips when we need to stop,everything is right there, oh, and no more nasty restrooms.

There are many, many campers/trailers to choose from, just have to decide exactly what you want to use it for. We just ordered a new one, I say downgraded, the wife says upgraded from the Airstream. I love our Airstream but it’s not a good trailer with growing kids. Our next one is a Forest River Rockwood 8317SS. We camp year round and this will allow us a light weight unit but also we can go winter camping to cold areas. We live in south Georgia and like to take the kids snow chasing a few times a year if we can.

I ordered it through RV Wholesalers and will be picking it up either this week or next. After I get it I can let you know how the buying experience from ordering it went. So far, so good.


kayak hauling?
This is a thread expansion, not a highjack…

Is anyone using their trailer to haul boats? I’ve researched this a bit, and find that the toy haulers are overkill for kayaks, since they are designed for the weight of motorized vehicles. I’ve noticed a few travel trailers with “stow and go” doors at the rear that look like you could slide a kayk into.

Think older used popups
My wife and I are empty-nesters and always on a budget. After reaching the point where sleeping on the ground wasn’t as much fun as it once was, we decided to find a used popup to camp with. We wound up with a 1983 Coleman Royale (hence my forum name) in good condition that we got for $1200 off eBay. Older often equals lighter too, our 10’ box has one queen and one double bed, stove, heater, and a portapotty, and it’s perfect for our needs. It only weighs 1000 lbs dry and with all our gear in it it’s about 1300 lbs … an easy tow for our '89 Buick Regal V6. We take it to the Rockies most summers and it does fine … I mention this because your tow vehicle’s towing capacity will determine what you can go with. I second the recommendation for (PUX), a great group and the site has a ton of info on pups and towing. Tips on buying used, explanations of all the facets of towing/weight limits, pros/cons of specific models, etc. We went used mainly out of budget considerations, but also as an investment safety factor - if we didn’t like it, we could probably resell it for close to what we paid for it … buy new and the first step of depreciation will take a chunk of change if you buy a popup and later decide you wish you’d gone with a hardside. Hardsides have their advantages, but you have to have the tow vehicle to handle them. With canvas sides we still get that “we’re camping” feeling more than you do inside an aluminum box (imho). Go for it!

I’ve always wanted an Airstream
Safari Bambi 16. I think they just look cool.

Kayaks ride
on my pick-up topper. Gear and dog crate in the box. Trailer at the ready on the hitch. Solar panel on the trailer roof for an extra charge when not towing. Life is good!


I have a 20 ft trailer.
I would like to go smaller but want it to have a toilet/bath so that will limit the smallest size. I lived in the the trailer full time while building my house. I don’t see the advantages of a popup over just sleeping in my truck since neither has a toilet or bath. I figure if I’m going to the trouble of towing something it must be worth the extra hassle. It’s nice getting off the water after several days and going into the trailer, take a shower and heat up something to eat. Also, having a toilet allows you to sleep in a Wal-Mart parking lot or at the side of the road. I don’t bring the trailer on a lot of driving trips since I find it easy to sleep in the truck at a truck stop. Going up to Canada or for an extended camping trip, though, it’s worth the hassle and expense of towing the trailer.

It would be difficult to put a canoe on my trailer so I carry my canoes on my truck.

Our bears are dumb
they don’t understand the difference between pop-up and pup-tent. If it smells like food inside and a paw can rip through it’s all fair game. The folks who camp regularly around here, particularly after several drought years and low forrage, feel rather vulnerable to these “dumb” bears. I know personally of one smart bear who learned to open the side storage of a motorhome to get at the dog food inside. He got scared off when a case of Coke tipped over on his noggen.


What is your tow vehicle?

What is its tow rating?

How many people?

Can your kayaks rack on the tow vehicle?

How long are your trips?

How much comfort and convenience do you want?

Will you be weather bound for any length of time?

How much do you want to spend?

Answer these questions honestly and then start figuring out which trailer will fit your needs best. Consider necessary upgrades and/or repairs into the cost. A used unit will probably need new tires and batteries. Just because a tire has tread does not mean it is good. Most of the RV magazines recomend replacement after 5 years. I know many people will say thats crap but so is tire failure on the road. Replacing a refrigerator is extremely expensive. A friend just bought a used camper at what he thought was a bargain price. In the last month he spent close to $3000 for repairs for items that were working when he bought it. The repairs seem to hit at about 5 years. You can save money on used units but be careful about condition. We looked at a trailer in the morning and it looked pretty good. We went back in the afternoon after it warmed up and the smell just about gagged us. They traveled with pets that were not well trained. Check out everything and if in doubt have an expert check it.

Here are some links
Not sure what you are after, but if keeping it lite and easy to tow coupled with quality build I have seen the first of these (nice thought out sound rig) and the other has always intriqued me.

Lots to consider…
As other people have mentioned, there is lots to consider. My wife and I are also considereing buying a trailer for camping with the 2 kids. We got to borrow a friend’s pop up last summer for a trip to the Mammoth Mountain here in California. The tent fabric leaves you cold inside, but if it has a built in heater that will help. It does give you that camping feeling, and I like that we spent a lot of time outdoors. The set up time for me was over an hour, but that was my first time using a pop up. Its an old one to boot, so it had the spring loaded lifting arms. The newer ones should be easier to just crank open. However, you can’t store much inside. So you spend a lot of time moving stuff into the tow vehicle. This was worse for us as we were using a friend’s trailer. It towed like a dream though. Hello, anyone back there? Of course it was slower. But driving the Suburban to tow such a little trailer was nice. There was just no way that the trailer was going to push the Sub around from cross winds or passing trucks.

One word of warning on used trailers, and I’m all for buying used. The trailers are made (framed) from wood. Our friends old pop up is rotting away under the Aluminum skin. The floor is made from sheet particle board! Yuk! And the floor is uneven from the rot. The water from the road rots it out. Kneeling on the bench seats, I blew out a board. That I had to repair once I got home. The brace boards are old and brittle, and thin.

So for us, we are looking at hard side ultra lite toy haulers 3500 pounds empty, 7000 pounds loaded. Even though we have a 2500 Sub thats good for 10000 pounds, I just don’t want something that heavy pushing my tow vehicle around. They have queen beds that crank down from the ceiling, for me to strech out on.

Finaly, we kept the Kayak on the roof of the Sub the whole time we were camping. Only took it off for putting on to the water.

One of the reasons

– Last Updated: Feb-15-06 10:39 PM EST –

I like what the two companies I posted links to because their designs and materials deal with the issues of cheap materials and rot.

I've seen some great units that are produced in Europe which I felt were well thought out, designed and built, but their import cost rules them out for most of us. Why some American builders doesn't do it over here is beyond me, for I think there is a lot of room for improvement on materials and design from what is offered here.

Up to two years ago I used a 59 Nimrod soft top that had been in my family since 63 with the origional canvas till age and wear and tear had finally caught up with it. Simple, lite and easy to tow. The cost to refurbish it and canvas wasn't worth it, so I bought a 63 Cox soft top that has been doing the trick since then. Another option is a used Apache which can be found in all fiberglass/abs plastics and will fold flat for travel purposes. Ebay and the Apache site may be worth a look.