Camper Question

gdgwp

Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2015
Messages
78
I'm in the market for a small-ish used camper. I don't know squat about them, but am hoping you all can help me out. What should I be looking for?

Usage:
- this would be used as a summer camping rig for the family. No big across the country type trips, just local camp grounds to get my young family into it (wife, 8/6/4 year olds).
- hunting trips - nothing extreme like Wyoming elk, but I'm thinking for antelope trips or deer trips that have easy camping setups.

Requirements:
- No 5th wheel - want to pull behind Tundra.
- Sleeps 5 somewhat comfortably
- Small - I don't need some 35' thing. How small can I find a camper that can get 5 people into it?
- Bathroom - not a requirement but definitely a nice to have with two girls in the group.

I don't want a pop-up as that would not be efficient in the hunting season. Are there 20' travel trailers that could sleep 5? I don't mind a project either. Not in the market for a 30k setup.

Lot's of questions but no answers. Appreciate any feedback.
 

A207X2

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 20, 2020
Messages
316
Location
SW Florida and N. Georgia
Go to RVtrader.com. It's the single best place to look for an RV.
You want to be looking for a "bunkhouse" travel trailer. They are generally designed to sleep lots of kids, and will have a master bedroom as well.
Whatever you do, don't skimp on a hitch. I highly recommend a Blue Ox hitch. Don't wasted your money on the cheap "friction" hitches. They are all crap. Pay once, cry once. The difference in towing with a good hitch is night and day.
Pay very close attention to any water damage when looking over the trailer. Water is the kiss of death to an RV.
Check the date of the tires. Anything over 5 years old can be dangerous. Don't go by treadwear.
 

JLS

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 26, 2012
Messages
16,131
Location
Almost Arkansas…..
With your Tundra you’ll want to keep weight around 4-5k max in order to stay within your payload. We just bought a Nash 22H that sleeps six. It wouldn’t be an ideal setup for six.

Whether or not you want a four season model will greatly influence what brands you look at.
 

4ohSick

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
240
Location
Helena, MT
The type of camping you do/how you USE the camper will be a factor in whether you can sleep 5 in a camper that small. Are you mostly camping in good weather where you will do all your cooking and hanging out outside? Then a 20' bunkhouse model with the dinette made into a bed will sleep 5, but you won't want to do much other than sleep in it. If you're camping early/late season and may wind up spending a day in the camper playing cards while it rains outside, you're going to want more space. Parting thought; converting a bed back to a table every morning for breakfast is a bother.
 

SD_Prairie_Goat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
1,384
Location
SE SD
Small will be tough to sleep that many, no way around it really. Need room to sleep.

4oh is spot on, converting a bed into a table is a pain that gets old in a hurry.


Other things to think about when buying:
  • Dual axels are a plus for me. If you blow out a tire, you'll still be able to maintain control to get stopped.
    • Minus is having to buy four tires... plus a spare
  • Slides are nice to open up a space, but will add to the cost in a hurry
  • You'll want to look at bunk options for that many sleepers
  • Bumper pull tends to be slightly more rare to sleep a lot, seems to always be more 5th wheels on the market when I was looking
  • If you want to be camping in real winter temps, you'll either have to use RV antifreeze in the water tank, or buy a 4 season camper which will add to the price
  • If you plan on camping out on BLM land or the like, you'll probably want a generator as well



That will help you start to think about more questions to ask while you're looking at campers.
 

JEL

Well-known member
Joined
May 20, 2013
Messages
1,338
Location
Helena, MT
I would agree with most of the above but jeez a camper doesn't need to be like home. I have three boys and we spent all of their growing years camping in a 22 foot that had a double bed, table bed and couch bed. It worked fine. We mostly slept in it. Did everything else outside.
 

Ben Lamb

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 6, 2010
Messages
17,712
Location
Cedar, MI
Buying a used camper can be a crapshoot. So be sure to really inspect the hell out of it. Water damage means rot & leaks, I don't care how old the water damage is, and if people say it's been repaired. Unless it's been totally rebuilt, it's gonna have issues down the line. Diligently check all of the appliances and the heater/heaters.

Sounds like a 22-24' bunkhouse model is what you need. As others have mentioned, you'll be outside most of the time, and it's mostly a sleeping quarters & place to get out of weather/cook in. An awning can really be a lifesaver as well.

be prepared to lose money on it the second you purchase it.

Have you considered a wall tent or something similar?
 

elkduds

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2016
Messages
3,254
Location
CO Springs.
Consider bumper pulls w pop out beds, called hybrids. The pop out beds are covered by canvas or other fabric. Pop them out in the summer when there are 5 campers. In the fall when you want heat @ night and have fewer people, leave the pop-outs closed up and keep the heat in. Campers depreciate faster than junkies' livers, so finding one a few years old should save you 50% or more. @ least in CO, over the last 2 years many people bought campers new that will be for sale as COVID fading allows more social recreation. Rent a couple of different configurations to decide the best size for your clan before buying. Bunks are good for little kids
Hybrid-travel-trailer-Facebook.jpg
 

wolfpup

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
371
I have often eyed the hybrids as well. They seem to be the way to go especially when your trying to stay small and non fifth wheel. I look for ground clearance from factory as well as the ability to raise safely. Where I take my camper (probably shouldn't but I do anyway) would bottom out most rigs. Water damage as most have said. Your wanting to look in the corners of the camper especially at the front. Don't worry about the beds.. none of them are good but can be replaced for a few hundred bucks. Don't skimp on tires... you will have a blowout at some point is just a matter of when. With that said unusual wear on tires is an indicator of bent axle. Be wary of fresh tires and fresh service to wheel bearings. Check the underbelly for tears, leak, mice. No setup is perfect... your going to have to adapt to your preferences. I prefer aluminum siding as most laminates fade and or have bubbles and or get brittle with age.
 

ILbowhntr

Active member
Joined
Apr 24, 2021
Messages
156
I'm in the market for a small-ish used camper. I don't know squat about them, but am hoping you all can help me out. What should I be looking for?

Usage:
- this would be used as a summer camping rig for the family. No big across the country type trips, just local camp grounds to get my young family into it (wife, 8/6/4 year olds).
- hunting trips - nothing extreme like Wyoming elk, but I'm thinking for antelope trips or deer trips that have easy camping setups.

Requirements:
- No 5th wheel - want to pull behind Tundra.
- Sleeps 5 somewhat comfortably
- Small - I don't need some 35' thing. How small can I find a camper that can get 5 people into it?
- Bathroom - not a requirement but definitely a nice to have with two girls in the group.

I don't want a pop-up as that would not be efficient in the hunting season. Are there 20' travel trailers that could sleep 5? I don't mind a project either. Not in the market for a 30k setup.

Lot's of questions but no answers. Appreciate any feedback.
I agree with the idea of selecting a unit with the fold out beds like the one pictured above. It’s amazing the amount of space you gain when the beds are exterior to the frame of the trailer. You do need to keep them dry during storage, so if you have them deployed in the rain, just open it up when you get home (on a dry day) before you store it. We also use a solo stove fire pit and a black stone grill when camping. They are both great.
Lastly, check the dates on the tires. if they need to be replaced don’t be tempted to use the cheapest Chinese tires you can find. When they fail, the damage can be very significant. get good tires.
 

David658

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 15, 2021
Messages
241
Location
Northern NM
We have an 18'9" camper, set up for two. I second the idea of a hybrid - much shorter to store, lighter. Downside is some camping areas with bears are not the best for soft-sided rigs. For hunting, it can get cold, but you can get heaters that will help you sleep warmer - being up off the ground and in the wind can make for a colder night than sleeping on the ground.

Also, dual axle is a good deal - redundancy is a good thing, and do use those good tires.

I really like our hard-sided rig (a Riverside Retro) for the two of us, it is a real luxury whether fishing, hunting, plain old camping.
 

David658

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 15, 2021
Messages
241
Location
Northern NM
Depending on where you camp, you may not be able to meet food storage orders without a full hard side trailer. IF that is a concern. It was for us.
I know of campgrounds in Yellowstone where hard sides are required. There are enough bears in NM that the hard side is nice, but a determined black bear could make a mess even if he didn't make it into the rig.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
102,446
Messages
1,651,090
Members
31,998
Latest member
Brandamuffin
Top