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Author Topic: Newbie questions about hard sided folding campers  (Read 1633 times)

lakey612

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Newbie questions about hard sided folding campers
« on: May 13, 2016, 02:28:28 PM »
Hi,

I am a newbie and so far I have never owned an RV of any kind.  However, I am leaning towards buying a hardsided folding or "A-frame" camper (ex. Flagstaff, Rockwood, or Aliner), if I can convince my husband, as well as my dad (who will hopefully be contributing some to the purchase, as well as storing the camper for us).   I really would prefer not to have to go through the setup of a traditional popup with tent beds.  And towing even a small and ultra light RV like an R-pod intimidates me.  All of which are reasons that I am leaning towards a hard sided camper, preferably no more than 5-7 years old.

Questions:

1) Most dinette tables in hard sided pop-ups convert to a 44-45 inch wide bed.   We have two boys that are 7 years old and 50 lb each.  Right now I think they would have no problem sharing that sleeping space.   Does anybody here have a A-frame style camper and youngish kids, and if so do you still enjoy your little camper?   I wonder how many years our boys could sleep in that space before they outgrow it?

2) Are such campers sealed up pretty tight when folded down?   Whatever camper we buy will be stored at my dad's and he lives out the country where there are plenty of mice and other critters.   Do you think mice would get inside during the winter?   Are there any steps we could take to try and prevent mice from getting in?

3) Our tow vehicle will be a 2013 Toyota Highlander V6.  It doesn't currently have a tow package though.  But we would eventually get a hitch installed (until then we could borrow my dad's truck to tow it).   Given the lighter weight of these campers, would we just need a regular hitch, or should we get a "weight distribution hitch"?  And is that the same thing as an anti-sway hitch?   

4) Are these lightweight campers pretty easy to tow?  I really like that we would have full visibility in the rear (at least I think we would).

Thanks in advance for any help with my questions! 

Mandy

Rene T

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Re: Newbie questions about hard sided folding campers
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2016, 03:06:06 PM »
With two growing boys, I would be looking at a regular pop up. This was our first RV and we had a ball in it. Sounds like you have a set of twins. We also had twin girls. Just about everytime we went camping we always took along 1 of there friends. With a regular pop up, there is usually room to sleep 6. The kids had there own jobs to do when it came time to set up and break down. They had a ball and it wasn't hard at all. I think you'd be much happier with a regular pop up. They may weight a little more so be careful about that. Don't believe what the salesman tell you no matter what you buy. Do your homework first or ask questions here. I would be looking for something used maybe 3 to 4 years old. You shouldn't have any issues with the canvas. There are plenty out there.  We kept ours for about 5 years until the girls wanted to bring more stuff like girls do. Then we went with a tag a long.
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

UTTransplant

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  • Salt Lake City area
Re: Newbie questions about hard sided folding campers
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2016, 03:11:42 PM »
Rene is right about pop ups not being a big problem. We had pop ups for many years while the kids were around. They are roomy enough to survive in during rainy trips without everyone going crazy too, something that would be hard to do in an A frame. I really would recommend taking a second look. Remember that all kids do is get bigger!
Pam and Kevin plus Minou and Lily (the cats) plus Lexi (the grand-dog)
2014 Outdoors RV Timber Ridge 240RKS
2015 Ram 2500 Diesel
http://toobusyforwork.com

lakey612

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Re: Newbie questions about hard sided folding campers
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2016, 03:36:08 PM »
I appreciate the input!  And yes, they are twins who will turn 7 in 2 weeks :) I do like how there is more floor space with traditional pop ups.   But then I read stuff about pop ups getting moldy if they have to be taken down in the rain, and it scares me!   And I'm afraid we would eventually get tired of the amount of time it takes to setup a popup camper.  I've watched videos on youtube, and I try to imagine what it would be like to set one up, and/or break down in the rain.   But pop ups definitely have plenty of benefits.

I've also considered a Wildwood X-lite 195BH (same as a Salem Cruiselite).  They have basic features but are very budget friendly, and they would allow for cousins or friends to camp with us and the boys.   And while it sounds like our Highlander could probably tow one, once it is loaded up with gear we would be pushing the 5,000 lb max (the unloaded vehicle weight of those is 3,022 lbs according to specs).  I would also have to get over my fear of towing a large camper.  I might just putter along in the right lane of the interstate at 50 mph the whole way, lol.

Ahh, so many things to consider! :)

Rene T

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Re: Newbie questions about hard sided folding campers
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2016, 05:16:37 PM »
But then I read stuff about pop ups getting moldy if they have to be taken down in the rain, and it scares me!   And I'm afraid we would eventually get tired of the amount of time it takes to setup a popup camper.  I've watched videos on youtube, and I try to imagine what it would be like to set one up, and/or break down in the rain.   But pop ups definitely have plenty of benefits.
It doesn't take long to set up and take down. Maybe 20 minutes each way. everyone should pitch in even the kids. You'll get proficient the more you do it. Yes if you do break down in the rain, you'll need to open it up when you get home so it will dry out and that usually only takes 24 hours. We had one for about 4 years and never had a mold issue.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2016, 05:20:48 PM by Rene T »
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

jackquontee

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Re: Newbie questions about hard sided folding campers
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2016, 08:08:08 PM »
I just purchased a 2016 Aliner Expedition which is the largest of the Aliners. I find it to be perfect.......for me. I have two teen boys and I bring a 4 man or 6 man tent (they get to decide) and, of course, teen kids would much rather sleep apart from their parent(s) anyway.


Jim Fitz

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Re: Newbie questions about hard sided folding campers
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2016, 10:22:37 PM »
We just sold a Rockwood A Frame.  In the looking stages for Class A so I/we can go mostly FT.  The Rockwood A frame took literally 1 minute to set up, and maybe 2 minutes to take down....VERY quick and easy for one person to do.  My wife did it easily.  We stopped many times for gas, pulled to the parking lot, set it up and made lunch.  It is very 'tight' when it is down (like a popup)...no leaks.  The down side is we had to carry a porta potty, but that is not a show stopper.  If you get the standard height one, you will even be able to see over the top with your rear view mirror.  We pulled ours with a Toyota Tacoma.  I didn't even know it was there.  VERY easy tow.  All in all, it is a great little camper.  Might get a little tight if you are going to be in it for a long time, but we enjoyed it.

Fitz
Retired AF Navigator
Camped over many years in pretty much everything.  Just gettin started as a Full Timer....lovin it so far.

mnormand

  • Posts: 4
Re: Newbie questions about hard sided folding campers
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2016, 12:01:02 PM »
Have you bought yet?  I know this is some weeks old now..

Owned both, regular popup, and now an Aframe.

Daughters were small with popup, they had a ball. I hated setting up and teardown, no help from fam (ha), and in deep south, always a sweaty job before and after.  Then dry canvas out at home, etc. ugh.

Just got a 2008 Chalet Arrowhead Trail Boss offroad version. Love the 1min raise/lower! When at home loading up and/or modding, etc, no big trouble to erect, etc. Kids are grown, so just wife and I, so far so good. Pulls easy with 4runner, no issues, just taken it easy. Much better insulated for hot/cold camping. Quieter inside too.

We just bought a nice used 2015 V6 Highlander that I will be adding a hitch to soon. Since this trailer has brakes, will move my 4R brake controller back and forth between vehicles as needed. This Highlander replaces our 2005 Highlander with 4cyl, which we never needed to pull anything.

Taking a step back looking at both types now, if I had small kids, would still prefer the Aframe, and would simply have a 10x10 or 12x12 quick up canopy with sides, or skeeter mesh, etc for the extra play room etc. That gives the best of both worlds. I see many very nice similar setups these days. 

 

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