Used Pop Up Campers: What You Need to Know Before You Buy

Affordability is one of the great things about pop up campers, and buying a used one can provide you with even greater savings. And since some of the best pop up manufacturers in history, such as Coleman, are now out of the business, the only way to get your hands on one of those great old RVs is to buy used. However, there are some unique issues that you’ll need to pay attention to when shopping for used pop up campers.

Buying a used RV is a lot like buying any other used vehicle, but there are some unique issues that don’t crop up with cars and trucks. In that same vein, used pop up campers can have some issues that you won’t see with other RVs.

If you’re looking to pick up one of the great models of used pop up campers that are out there in the wild, then make sure to pay attention to things like the:

used pop up campers can conceal defects like rot and rust

When looking at used pop up campers, check for defects like rot, rust, and deteriorated canvas.

  • condition of the canvas or cloth sides
  • zippers, snaps, and other fasteners
  • pop up hardware
  • axle bearings
  • brakes (if any)
  • tires
  • accessories and appliances

This is far from an exhaustive list, but it’s enough to get you started. In addition to those items, make sure to look used pop up campers over with an eye to any repairs you think it might need in the near future. Those extra expenses should be figured into the price that you’re willing to pay.

Care and Maintenance of Used Pop Up Campers

The longevity of any used RV depends a great deal on how it was kept and maintained throughout its life. But while any RV can develop leaks in its roof and windows, the canvas of used pop up campers is particularly vulnerable to poor care and maintenance. When you go to take a look at a used pop up, make sure to look for any signs of deterioration in the canvas. It is possible to have the canvas replaced, but that’s an expensive repair that can blow your budget out of the water if you aren’t careful.

It may be helpful to examine the stitching and fasteners like zippers and snaps. If you see a lot of fraying, or even separation, then you might be in for some leaks the first time it rains. You can also sniff around for any musty smells, which would either indicate leakage or that the canvas wasn’t properly dried before the camper was packed up.

You should also make sure to have the owner operate the pop up before you fork over any cash. If the pop up doesn’t operate smoothly, you could be in for some more expensive repairs. Of course, keep in mind that no used pop up camper is going to be perfect. If you want a trailer that’s flawless, you’ll probably end up having to buy a brand new one.

Consider a Professional Inspection

If you’re looking at especially cheap used pop up campers that have obvious defects — and are priced to match — then paying someone for a pre-purchase inspection probably isn’t worth it. However, getting a professional opinion can save you from buying a lemon. This is especially important if you’re looking at a higher end unit that includes a lot of appliances and other amenities. The more systems the camper includes, the more chance there is for a surprise repair bill down the road.

Leave a Reply