We’re Thinking About Buying A Camper!

We’ve been giving serious consideration into the idea of buying a camper.

My wife grew up going camping regularly.  I never experienced camping until she took me for the first time.  I really enjoyed it and we’ve since gone a number of times, both just the two of us and with Little Boy Beagle.  We didn’t make it out his past summer as Baby Girl Beagle was just too little.

Every time we’ve gone we have gone tent camping, but looking at making it a regular family experience, tents simply won’t do.  Which brings the idea of a camper into play.
the campfire wasn't only a nice attraction...

We’ve looked at the idea of renting, but we know we like camping, and so we’ve actually leaned more towards buying, as we would at least own the value of the camper versus paying someone else for something that we don’t have.

I was curious if any readers have had experiences when it comes to buying a camper.

We’ve narrowed it down to either a pop-up or a trailer.  The SUV we have is more than capable of handling either.

We’ve done some research and we have a rough ballpark of what costs would be associated.  We would have the camper itself, taxes and registration fees, and then ongoing fees for insurance and storage.  We also know that there would be an upfront cost in getting anything we needed for it (things like bedsheets, etc.)

The biggest pro is that it gives us a built-in opportunity for family vacations.  We enjoy traveling and make a habit of going somewhere at least once per year.  There would still be costs involved with camping, but the campsite rental and travel costs would likely work out to much lower than renting a place or getting a hotel room, and potential airfare that would come with any out-of-state travel.

The biggest con is cost.  It’s obviously a significant outlay of cash to put out there.  I’m pretty much of the opinion that I don’t want to take out a loan (no new debt!) so we would carefully have to make sure that we could afford both the outlay and the ongoing expenses.  We’ve been doing our homework, going to camper shows, doing online research, checking out prices, and looking at online price guides that have given us a good idea on what to expect.

Any advice from anybody out there who has had experience with owning or looking to own a camper?

Editors Note: I wrote this post a couple weeks back and scheduled it for the ‘future’.  We’ve had some updates that will require a follow-up post, but I’ll wait until everything shakes out before providing an update.  Just be aware that there is one coming 🙂

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9 thoughts on “We’re Thinking About Buying A Camper!

  1. I look forward to the updates. We too love camping, and we currently have a (large) tent. I can fit us, and lil' SPF (in his pack'n'play) easily. However, if we have another child space will get tight. We are also running low on interior vehicle space to pack all of our camping gear – we have a 110lb dog that uses a lot of the "trunk" space!

    I'd love to read about the things to look for when buying a camper, if you have time.

  2. I love sleeping outdoors, but not on the ground anymore. I think a pop-up would be perfect and a less expensive choice.

  3. I grew up camping and go camping every summer. I too would be interested in the process you use to select a camper. We have rented a pop-up tent trailer and I am looking at buying one in the next 12 months.

  4. The further you intend to travel will make some difference. A travel trailer is heavier so if you are going a longer distance, the pop up will work better, but they have smaller tires, so you have to keep a close watch on them for wear, as they blow out easier. My advice is not to buy new. There are a lot of good deals out there right now, and a lot of the campers are hardly used. If you have been going to trde shows you will know what to look for in a used one. Advertise on Craig's list or somewhere like that is you are looking for used. Or Google used RV's. There aren't as many pop-ups out there. Another draw back to the pop-up is that sometimes the canvas rots, or tears. Camping is a wonderful experience and you meet so many great people.

  5. I am not into camping at all! Beaker, though, loves camping. So when we started dating, he introduced me to camping. I still hate it to this day! Lol We have friends who own campers. This what I tell about campers: gas is expensive, maintenance might be costly and to get real value for your money you will have to go A LOT and FAR AWAY which means a lot of time off. 🙂 Good Luck with your venture! People who love camping, enjoy their campers.

  6. I wish I had some words of wisdom for you. We are not a camping family. I spent 6 weeks camping as a kid (6 weeks in a row, not total) plus there were lots of family vacations involving camping so I'm in no hurry to do it again. That said, I'm looking forward to your update and maybe you can encourage me to want to start camping again!

  7. The big question in my mind is about the ongoing cost. Upfront cost is pretty easy to calculate, but how much will it cost you to insure/maintain/repair the camper each year? I don't have the answer to that, but that's an important consideration you should weigh against the cost of yearly renting.

  8. We are in our 60's and have been camping for years now. We started out with a small tent and we have grown into an RV ("A" style). Yes it gets expensive but this took many years of other styles (tents, pop-ups and others) but now it's really enjoyable to "camp out" with all the extras. We have warm beds in the cold mornings, hot coffee, cold drinks, etc. And our dogs and cats (yes we take them also) have room to move around while we are moving. Our 80+ lb. Shepard has the shotgun seat and provides security for us when we go places. We take vacations (yes we are retired and still need vacations) and visit family and friends from coast to coast without needing them to supply us a place to stay or us getting a motel. Since you are first starting looking at campers, I would recommend that, if you can find any, to rent a pop-up and see what you like about it and dislike. Then rent a travel trailer and do the same thing. That way you don’t invest into something and find out, after you purchase it. that there are things you don’t like. We started out with a pop-up and was great for us with the exception of storage (and animals) that required us to keep a lot in the SUV. Now the RV works out the best for us with what we want and what we need. Good luck anyway you try it.

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