Need help with purchase on popup/tent trailer

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New member
Jun 19, 2005
Hi everyone.  We have tented for years and findhing our backs are old (not keeping up with our youthful bodies) and are wishing to purchase a tent trailer.  We have 2 boys ages 11 and 13 and would dearly love feed back on... what works for you ... what doesn't .....
any brands that stand out... etc.

We are very excited as you all seem to be very RV savvy.  We appreciate your input.
Hi Happy, 

Wife & I started in a Coleman (now Fleetwood) about 1972 & owned nothing but until last year when we bought a self contained.  Had very good experiences with Coleman.  We had 3 children and used a trailer with a 10 ft box & was big enough (except when it rained for days on end).  Newer tent trailers are afar cry from what we started with.  Lots of luck in your quest & take a look at Fleetwood.  Happy camping.
Welcome, Happy!

Having worked for both Starcraft and Coachman and began my rving with a pop-top, I share your love of them. Coleman makes a great rig. I'd also check the new Coachmen and Jayco TC's as I believe at Coachman, some of the Colemans are actually manufactured on the same assembly line with the same fiberglass molds these days. [My HS buddy's son is in purchasing at Coachman.]

To join in the choir here, we had a Coleman Taos and loved it.

At least look at the Colemans (Fleetwood) as a standard to compare the others to.

How big?  We had the Taos - 8 foot bed - I could tow it with the Corollas we had at the time.  It was a little short on storage space and I couldn't ever convince Camille that most everything stayed in the tow vehicle.  We wound up moving everything to find anything.

From other's experience, a ten foot bed gives you significantly more room and storage.  Make sure you're within the tow rating of what ever you're towing with.

we loved our pop-up for the years we had it but with all the extras and accessories [awning, canopy, leveling, transferring food / drinks cooler to small fridge, organizing etc.] total setup took about three hours start to finish. it just became too much work. granted it was all nice when completed but it got old fast. wiser money was spent on a hybrid. yes it costs a little more but if you're going to invest in something for years of use the money is definitely worth it. much more room, amenities and convenience. quicker setup was a big plus. the bed space doesn't take up floor / living space and you get the open tent experience a pop-up offers. think about it. they're really nice and we plan on having and using ours for a long time. perfect for 2 adults and 2 kids.
Hi happy!  We are picking up our new hybrid this week, so we'll let you know how we like it.  It's a small 2 tent Coyote pop-out by K-Z. Sleeps 6.  The only thing it doesn't have that I wanted is a bathroom sink!  But the dealer is putting a medicine cabinet in there for us.  What is your purchase time frame?
In my experience most popup brands have  strong and week points. The best advice I can give a newcomer to popup camping is to buy used because for one you are trying somthing new, and? you get more for your money when you buy second hand.? What type of vehicle are you going to tow it with?? I would base alot of my decision on what you really need to have and what you can live without,IE fridge,stove etc are pretty much standard equipment? but some have AC, bathrooms hot water tanks and other stuff that add a little more luxury but also add weight.? Do you have any friends with a popup that can go with you to look around at some so that you have a helper in making a good decision?? If not look at some in the paper and look at a few to get a good idea of what you want and how campers in your price range compare to each other.? Good luck
We bought a used 89 Coleman Plantation in 94 and used it for 11 years.  We didn't put a penny into it except for repacking the wheel bearings about every two years. We were very pleased with it. The plantation model had hard sides that folded up to enclose the toilet and shower which was a nice feature. We now have a travel trailer but if we were to go back to a pop-up, we would first look at the Colemans again based on our good experience.
I would purchase a hybrid for a longer term investment. The floor space is better since they have "pop out" beds and they are more "fully" equipped for your comfort, especially if you have two boys, 11 & 13. We just moved into a hybrid after a pop-up and are much happier. Besides after you buy a pop-up and all the "extra" accessories you will want to make your camping experience more comfortable (and believe me, you'll buy them. things like, awning, carpet for outside, tiki lights, this, that and the other, etc.) Setup becomes a 3 hour chore. Trust me on this one. The old rule is "keep it simple". which translates, the more you invest, the simpler your camping experience will be.  ;D ;D
Hi I am new here and full of questions - I know the physical difference between a pop-up and a hybrid, I understand that the hybrid offers more room and better amenities. But with the hybrid and it's greater amenities, there has to be a trade off on weight and therefor tow car capacity...I think?

My question: (bear in mind I am learning)  ???

Why would I be better off in a hybrid, when a Travel Trailer offers the same or better amenities and the added benefit(?) of having solid sides? Not to get pop-up people mad at me but, I'm currently a tent-er, so anything with cloth as a construction material almost seems like I am still staying in my tent and not moving up? I like the pop-up because of the potential of using a smaller tow car, but the set-up, maintenance issues seem almost "tentish" to me...of course I haven't packed the tents wheel bearings or replaced it's breaks in years.

Thanks, Mike
The choice between tent trailers, hybrids and travel trailers depends on a number of factors and they overlap in their uses.

1.? Your tow vehicle.? Tent trailers can be hauled by small vehicles.? TTs generally need trucks, vans, or full size SUVs.? Hybrids in the middle.? ?Since it all depends on trailer weights, there is much overlap in capacity.? Casitas for one TT, is light and small.? Their 13 footer has a GAWR of 2200 lbs and a dry weight of 1785 lbs -- comparable to the lighter tent trailers.? However, it is small.? ?See their line by cliciking HERE>.? ?Tent trailers will give more bed space for a given weight and length.

2.? ?Your style of camping.? Tent trailers appeal to folks who like a bit of roughing it.? You are more dependent on campground toilet and shower facilities. At best, you have a porta-potty which is the modern equivalent of the old thunder mug in the cabinet. Your kitchen will be rudimentry and may only include an ice box.? The kitchen may even hang on the outside.? ?Hybrids and tent trailers tend to have real galleys, indoor showers and installed toilets.? ?Most have tanks for sewage, waste and fresh water.? You are less dependent on campground sanitary facilities.? They have large battery and propance capacities.? ?Installed furnaces are almost universal in hybrids and TTs, and not so in tent trailers.? ?TTs commonly have air conditioning tho it requires 120VAC power from the campground or a generator.

3.? ?TTs are quite self contained and well insulated against weather.? Some units, many made in Canada, are actually capable of hard winter use.? They sure beat tent trailers in heat, heavy rain, or wind.? ? Hybrids are intermediate in use better than tents at resisting inclement weather but worse than TTs.

4.? Finally, privacy:? tents offer the least, TTs the most.? ?Canvas transmits sound nicely.? ?TTs are amazingly well insulated againts the small sounds of camp life.

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