EPDM Coatings
rvupgradestore.com Composet Products Custom Yacht Interiors

Author Topic: Reality Check  (Read 3962 times)


  • ---
  • Posts: 16
  • "I Just Can't Wait To Get On the Road Again . . ."
Reality Check
« on: June 14, 2006, 10:01:48 PM »
Okay . . . be honest.  How long does it really take to set up (or take down) your pop-up camper?  The salespeople make it sound like you can do it in five minutes while holding a beer in your other hand.  My wife (who would rather get an ultra-lite travel trailer) is convinced that it would be an hour of sweat and swearing.  What's the reality?  Be honest.  :)


-- Derek

Derek and Cara
Ethan (7) and Griffin (2)

N Smock

  • ---
  • Posts: 246
Re: Reality Check
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2006, 06:00:34 AM »

I do not currently own a Pop Up but have owned several in my past. A Pop Up is easy to maneuver in the site, you can even push some by hand. Below is a step by step to set up a Pop Up, you can assign times based on your proficiency:

1. Position and use boards under the low side, till the unit is level side to side.
2. Disconnect from the truck.
3. Once positioned you set the front jack to level the unit fore and aft.
4. After leveling is complete you crank the stabilizers down. ( electric drills are great for this chore)
5. Turn the crank to lift the lid, then pull out the bunks and mount the support arms below the bed.
6. Go inside flip the sink and range upright
7. Position the door and lock in place.
8. Go outside attach power and water lines with a pressure minder and filters, attach drain to a collection bucket. If boondocking this step is skipped. Assume that you filled the on board water tank.
9. Attach cable TV
10. Pop a beer

The steps outlined above would be the same for the Ultra-Lite with the exception of cranking up the lid, flip the range and lock the door in place. Now the Ultra-Lite has other advantages like holding tanks, pressure demand water vs pumped water. Easier to cool, dryer in the rain and damp weather. Bedding does not get wet during setup, you do not have to open up after breaking camp in the rain.



  • Posts: 1
  • Weekend home
Re: Reality Check
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2006, 05:08:24 PM »
For me, it takes no time at all!  I make my husbad do it!   ;D

Truthfully though, I'v been camping in a pop-up all my life.  The setup and teardown don't take all that long, especially if you can get the whole family into it.  My husband and I work together, and as he is setting up the camper, I may be placing stuff around the campsite (chairs, firewood, coolers, etc).  Then we switch - as he chops the firewood or sets up the other "accessories" we have, I go inside and put on the bedding, arrange the stuff inside the camper, etc.  I would say setup depends more on how much "stuff" you have vs what type of camper you have.  Worse case scenario, setting up in the rain on a not-so-friendly campsite, it has taken us 30 minutes.  Most times we have it up in 15.  But then, we are a practiced team.

Some things to think about - while a TT may not require cranking up and other steps, you still have to manuver it into a site and level it.  These tasks are a breeze with our pop-up as we can hand-push it around.  This has allowed us the freedom to "spin" our camper into a campsite configuration that would have never been possible with a TT.  At times it gives us more parking in a small campsite, or allows us to position our step on something solid as opposed to mud/dirt.

No matter what you chose, planning ahead will make the setup process faster - as will practice.  Hope you have fun!


  • ---
  • Posts: 1988
Re: Reality Check
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2006, 05:42:07 PM »
We traded our12 year old pop-up trailer for a TT last year.  There is pluses and miniuses to both.  The pop-up was easier to pull, took up less storage space, I was able to put the canoe on top  and it generally took us 45-60 minutes to get set-up. I hardly knew it was there when towing. Set up took some energy, maybe because our pop-up was a 89 Coleman plantations with two king size beds. If the weather was very nice and we could all sit outside, it was a very enjoyable experience.  When it rained, the pop-up became a little too confining.  And it is not fun putting it down in the rain. For us, there was always three set-ups for any one camping trip.  At home before the trip, I would put it up so I could load the cooler or other things into the trailer, then put it down for the drive to camp.  Of course there is the sit-up at the camp and then when we got home, I always put it up to take stuff out, my wife would wash the sheets and towels which we put back on the bunks before we put it in storage with some of those fabric softeners lying on top.  I was always amazed how clean thing stay inside while in storage.

With the 28 ft. slide-out TT, it takes more truck to pull and probably cost me 5 mpg.  It takes about 15 minutes to level and make hook-ups if doing so. I use an cordless electric drill to put down the stabilizers.  Everything is easier including getting out the lawn chairs, etc.  But now  I can't put my canoe on top of the trailer.


2005 Cherokee28A TT
pulled by 2009 Dodge 1500 Crew Cab 4X4

Tempe, Arizona

John From Detroit

  • ---
  • Posts: 20686
  • ^My New Home^
    • Diabetics Forum
Re: Reality Check
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2006, 06:55:14 PM »
The one thing the salesman never mentions is loading and unloading.

With my motor home I have 4 containers plus the cat-house that need to be unloaded, this takes just a few minutes

With my ultra-light, I had about a half hour of unloading as we packed it rather full for travel

With my popup it was even more,  As we had to set it up then unload it.  and we had to pack very compactly (I carried alsost the same amount of stuff in it however)

Want to comprimise, Consider a HI-LO brand.   I really wanted one of those in my pop-up days, but settled on a Scamp instead (Nice little polystyrene or fiberglass bubble)  Just for the record, that Scamp was darn near as long as my Motor Home is wide when it's all set up (If you include the awning I think the Intruder (M.H.) is wider :-) )
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.


  • ---
  • Posts: 13
Re: Reality Check
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2006, 06:28:59 PM »
Well here goes,

Just recently graduated from a pop-up to a TT / Hybrid. Pop-ups are great if all you have is 2 chairs to set outside of it and then you're done. Not !! Let's see, after pulling in and leveling, crank the top and pull beds out and setup. Then proceed to unload. We had a few tables and chairs, a canopy for the picnic table, an outdoor rug, a seperate (aftermarket) awning to attach up and stake down. Unload 2 coolers (1 drinks; 1 food) see what would fit into small refrigerator and reorganize the rest in coolers. Get all your goodies out and set up, coffeemaker, grill, outdoor stove, etc.  I think you're getting the picture here, yes ? Either way, I don't want to knock it as we enjoyed it but when we made the decision to get a hybrid it was the best decision i ever made. pull out beds and everything else is all set or very easy quick setup. Went from 2 hours in a pop-up to 30 minutes. Thats' my experience.


  • ---
  • Posts: 16
  • "I Just Can't Wait To Get On the Road Again . . ."
Re: Reality Check
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2006, 10:28:13 PM »
Thank you all for sharing your experiences and wisdom!  I think we have decided to go with a hybrid or TT because of our travel plans.  We are not "go to one place and stay there for a few weeks" type people.  We want to use our trailer on 4- or 5-week road trips (the Canadian Maritimes next summer) where there will be a lot of set-ups and take-downs (about every four or five days).  With this road trip, I think a TT would be best, if we can find one that we can pull with our TrailBlazer.
Derek and Cara
Ethan (7) and Griffin (2)


Hosted by Over The Network