Mrs. SPF and I have considered buying a pop up camper for the summer. We both love to camp, and little SPF is big enough to take along on our summer green camping adventures. However, before we take the plunge and purchase a pop up camper, there are several financial considerations.
Here is what we are considering:
1. Buy new or buy used? We could buy a new camper from Costco for $2,800. However, the model we are considering, the Lifetime Tent Trailer Kit with Sahara Tent, is literally like a tent on wheels. It will definitely provide protection, but the design and amenities are rather basic. It does however double as a utility trailer. The price is right, though. But should we pay $2,800 for a utility trailer that has a fitted tent add-on?
If we buy used, we’re considering the Quicksilver, which will run us $6,000 used. This is definitely not as reasonable as the Lifetime Tent Trailer Kit, but it has more amenities and sleeps 6. (Theoretically the Lifetime Tent Trailer Kit sleeps 6, but 2 of those people have to sleep on the floor.) The design is also more sturdy and durable (made of aluminium). When purchasing, we also have to consider possible resale value.
2. How much to insure the camper? Pop up campers must also be insured. I’ve been looking at auto insurance in Ontario to determine how much each camper would cost to insure. While the insurance is not that expensive, it’s still another cost we have to consider.
3. How will gas mileage be affected? Considering that the price of gas increases during the summer, we’ve also tried to determine what our gas mileage might be when towing each camper. The Quicksilver weighs more than the Lifetime Tent Trailer Kit and will affect gas mileage more. That is not necessarily a decision maker, but if we take long trips, the difference in fuel efficiency could be substantial. The Quicksilver is made of aluminium however which is much light that traditional pop up campers.
4. How easy is the camper to put up and down? This last consideration isn’t a financial one so much as one of convenience. Not every camper is created equally, and some are much easier to put up than others. When it is raining and our son is exhausted from a long day in the car do we want to put up a tent (time!) or pop open a tent trailer? This is also an important consideration in deciding what camper to purchase.
A pop up camper will definitely save us money over staying in a hotel for each vacation, but there are important financial considerations to make before buying one. We still haven’t decided which one to go with, but we likely will in the next few months.
Do you have a pop up camper? What other considerations are important?