Last month (I can't believe it's been almost a month already) I revealed that we were thinking about buying a camper.
I'm proud to say that we finally did!
Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures because we basically got it and parked it for the winter, but I am sure that I'll have lots of pictures to share once we start going on trips next year.
We had initially considered purchasing a pop-up camper simply because it looked like it would afford us a good camper at a good price. One of those was definitely in our price range, but when we started thinking about it, we ended up going a different direction.
We ended up going with a travel trailer. It's a 23 foot Jayco Feather, from 2004. The camper itself was in impeccible condition. Everything looked new and the mechanics all seemed to be in order. Jayco is built very sturdy so we had pretty much narrowed it down to wanting one of those.
My wife happened to find the listing on Craigslist. I was a little nervous, but when we went to look at it, we were very impressed. The seller had it parked in his driveway, with his kids around, in a nice neighborhood, and he was very personable. My gut instincts gave me no bad signs about him (I did do as much Internet research as I could after we made the offer…just in case).
We made an offer on the spot. We actually went full price on the offer, actually going a little higher because we negotiated the hitch as part of the deal (at the recommendation of my father-in-law who has experience with campers and thus came along to give his input).
We put a down payment that day and it took about three weeks to complete the deal. He had a shared title that he needed to get fully in his name, which he did. We needed to meet at his credit union since he had an outstanding loan that needed to be paid off with my funds (we paid cash!). Afterward, I took care of the title transfer and plates, then it took a couple of more days before I was able to go pick it up, but we now have everything and we couldn't be happier!
It was a little more than I was originally intending on spending, but we had the money available and the extra payment seemed worth it to us because we got:
- A good deal – We researched comparative campers and this was priced pretty low. The fact that he was selling in the fall, when demand was low, worked to our advantage since he didn't have too many other lookers.
- Extra time – One of the things I hate about camping is having to load everything in and out of the car every time we go. A pop-up would have changed where we loaded things in and out of, but we still would have been doing that every time.
- Storage – Along with that, pop-ups just don't have that much storage. The camper we got has tons of cupboard space plus storage space under the seats.
- Comfort – The camper we got has a slide out to give us extra floor space, plus both beds pop out at the ends. This means that virtually all 23 feet of space is available to us for when we need to be inside.
The SUV that we own is more than equipped for towing the size camper that we bought, and my parents (who sold us the SUV a couple of years ago) happened to get one that already had a towing package, so it was pretty much good to go!
I'm nervous about driving it and all that, but like my father-in-law said, there are many people that make it work and many of them are far less intelligent than I am. I've been reading a ‘general RV handbook' that I rented from the library and taking notes. I'm planning on spending a few days next spring with it parked in my driveway, and taking it to local parking lots where I can practice, practice, practice.
It's an exciting purchase and we couldn't be more thrilled. I think this will give us lots of great memories for our family. I never camped growing up but my wife did and she got me into the experience.
Any great camping memories or horror stories that you have?