For those who wish to try camping road trips with their families, finding the right vehicle can be overwhelming. There are a number of things you need to consider, and it can get expensive pretty fast if you’re not mindful. If you’re new to the world of RVs, going for a camper—particularly a fold down one—can be a cheap way to test the waters.
What is a Fold Down Camper?
A fold down camper, which is more popularly known as a pop-up camper, is a collapsible tent trailer that can be towed behind a light vehicle. Because of its collapsible nature, it’s definitely more convenient to tow around and maneuver compared to other types of travel trailers.
Buying Considerations for Fold Down Campers
Purchasing a camper is both an investment and a commitment. Whether you’re buying a brand new or a second hand model, it still involves a significant amount of cash. It also means that you’re pretty much committed to using it on a regular basis since you’ve thought about having one for yourself.
If you’re mentally and financially ready to buy a camper, here’s some factors that you need to consider when going over your choices:
- Towing Capacity of Your Vehicle
The weight of fold down campers range anywhere from 800 to 2,000 lbs., while standard travel trailers weigh at least 5,000 lbs. Hence, towing your fold down camper isn’t going to need as much effort as towing fifth wheels, for example.
But just because it’s significantly lighter, it doesn’t mean that it can be towed by any vehicle. Make sure you go through your vehicle’s manual to know its tow ratings. It’s important that you go for a camper that is nowhere near your vehicle’s maximum tow rating. Besides, you still have other stuff to carry around (e.g. other passengers, camping equipment, etc.), and you might need the extra weight allowance for emergency purposes.
Campers also come with various amenities. Some will be very basic—they are more like a tent upgrade in which you have a bigger sleeping space. Others will have a storage space, kitchenette, toilet, and shower. Some even come with heating and air conditioning systems.
Unfortunately, you may not be able to hit all of your preferences in one camper, so you must carefully consider which amenities are really important to you. If you want to familiarize yourself with your choices, places like JRV Country features various types of RVs in their inventory.
- Weather and Climate
Since your only protection from the elements is a non-insulated canvas, you have to keep yourself updated with the weather forecast and be prepared for the climates in your chosen destinations. Although a fold down camper can do its job of protecting you from the rain, it can still be damp inside. This can cause a whole string of other issues such as rot and mold.
Most fold down campers are also not equipped with air conditioning or heating systems. Hence, your camper must be able to help make your trip comfortable—or at least, minimize the discomforts during unexpected conditions.
- Available Space
In terms of space, you can’t really expect much from a fold down camper, although some models will be considerably larger than others. Perhaps the small size would be much easier to deal with if you just think of it as a sleeping area. In any case, most fold down campers won’t have that much space to move around, so choose the one that doesn’t feel too suffocating.
- Price Range
You must not forget about your budget constraints. Brand new campers can be anywhere from $6,000 to $20,000, while second hand ones in good condition can range from $1,000 to $6,000. RVs are much more expensive, but thanks to campers, even people with lower budgets can enjoy the RV life.
Despite being a trailer, you still need to have your fold down camper insured. The laws may vary per state, so make sure you review your state laws to properly cover all the legal aspects of your camper.
Find a Camper That Meets Most of Your Needs at the Moment
You don’t have to go all out when purchasing a camper—it just needs to match most of your basic camping needs. Once you experience the fun side of RV life, you’d surely be the first one to think of going for a camper upgrade.