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Old 07-14-2012, 11:51 PM   #15
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I checked out the R-pods, and I realize that I have seen one and really like it. I need to check out the prices of used ones, as they are a bit more pricey than the pop ups. But, maybe worth a little extra if I could find a good used one. That looks very manageable and hassle free. Or as hassle free as a camper could be. The more I see, the more I want to take a look at all of them!

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Old 07-15-2012, 12:54 AM   #16
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What specific questions should I ask when looking at a camper? I know features I want (e.g. air and a little storage) but if I have a hitch and light preparation for my van, what else should I ask to ensure safety and efficiency? My brother doesn't own an RV, but he said ensure that the camper has chains, which makes sense; do chains come standard with campers? My husband said "emergency brakes" which my brother said wasn't necessary if hitched properly, but I like the idea of emergency brakes.

If I find something I am interested in, is it appropriate to post the link for that camper on this site? I don't want to put anyone on the spot by asking for opinions on specific products, but it would be helpful to hear the experiences of those who have owned similar or same model campers.

I do love those R-pods! They are just a bit more than I want to invest right now, with three kids and family circumstances. I'm going from two large tents, a screened picnic shelter, and a porta pottie (for kids who wake moms for those late night "comfort" walks) to a pop up or something else affordable, but who knows what will come next? Thinking of the porta pottie makes me think of one more thing; what is the general consensus as far as ease in managing the lines for shower and toilet? After many midnight walks with kids, I bought a porta pottie, and I have a bag with a release spout I fill with water and heat with solar. (Sometimes.) One person said it's "a pain dealing with those lines" and another said "Not true; make sure the camper has a toilet and shower." Opinions?

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Old 07-15-2012, 06:31 AM   #17
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We had a popup for a few years and LOVED it. 157 nights in it in the first 2 years.

But if it were me, as a woman alone, I'm not sure I would go that route, just because there were a lot of steps to setting it up. I did all the cranking instead of my hubby 'cause I like the upper body workout, so it's not that -- it's just that there are a lot of other steps like getting the door set up and setting up the slide outs... Hubby did the door 'cause he was tall enough to reach everything easily.

If it were me, I'd get one of those adorable Fun Finder trailers or something like that. About 12-15 feet long with nifty, straight-forward interiors. They are light, easy to tow, already "set up" when you park...
Emily & Mark Fagan, traveling full-time since 2007
2007 Hitchhiker II LS & 2007 Dodge RAM 3500 4x4
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:46 AM   #18
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I thought of the R-Pod simply because I know it is a smaller (lighter) trailer. I'm sure there are plenty of other brands/models to review.

Here are some of the reasons we upgraded from a popup:

On our last trip with the popup, we stopped on the way to catch a bite to eat. Because we had three (at the time) dogs with us, eating in the restaurant was not an option. It was fairly warm outside (we live in Arizona), and there was no outside shaded seating. We ended up eating on the tailgate of our truck, and the dogs had to crowd into the shade under the tailgate. It was not very pleasant. With our hybrid (hardside) camper, we are able to stop for food, while on the road, and eat inside the camper. This is not reasonably possible with a popup.

Our popup had a shower/toilet that was a HUGE improvement from digging a hole (boondocking) or walking to an outhouse during the night (or even during the day!). But, it was very cramped and showers were a challenge (the hot water heater worked very well, however).

Some of the setup with a popup might be difficult due to your size. As pointed out, setting the door into place will be challenging for you. It was awkward for me, and I'm 5'10".

If you're looking for a trailer that is nothing more than a bed (and maybe a bath), a few of the smaller hardside models might work for you. I think your biggest challenge will be getting something small enough for your tow vehicle to handle. There is a lot of information to be found on this (and other) forums, so I'd suggest you read as much as you can about what your vehicle can safely tow before you go and purchase anything.

Try posting into the tow vehicle section of this and other forums and see what responses you get. Put in what vehicle you have, and I'm sure you will get plenty of responses to better help you know what you can safely tow. There's a lot of very helpful and educated people that frequent these forums.

Forest River (R-Pod) has its own forum, so questions about those trailers are probably best posted there.

Have fun and keep us posted on how your search goes! :-)
2014 Arctic Fox 31D
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:48 AM   #19
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If I find something I am interested in, is it appropriate to post the link for that camper on this site? I don't want to put anyone on the spot by asking for opinions on specific products, but it would be helpful to hear the experiences of those who have owned similar or same model campers.
Go ahead...I'm sure you will hear +'s and -'s on whatever you look at...

I for-see two things here that are going to greatly limit what you can afford:

First off having a towing limit of 3500 lbs. means your looking at any RV with a dry weight of 2800 or less. And the 2nd thing is a budget of under 4k....Even a 4-5 year old R-Vision or S-Liner type RV is going to be more than that unless it is in bad shape with issues....

I think to get the most bang for your $$$ a 3-6 year old pop-up would fit your needs. Looking at a older (2006) Fleetwood / Coleman brochure and all except the two top end models you can pull....

The only other option I can see is: We have owned two Aerolite hybrids.....a 05' and now a 2013...They do make a model that is 17' long that comes in at 2700lbs. dry. What is nice about the Aerolites are even their shortest model (#160) it has a 46 to 52 gallon fresh water tank....That is huge for a hybrid RV...You might be able find one 05' and older...They have made this model / floorplan for many years...Here is a Youtube link to the Aerolite 160
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:58 PM   #20
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i would suggest the Rpod 172T or 176T, because of the expandable bunk end feature.

both have three sleeping options, the bunk bed, the dinette or the expandable canvas bunk end.
you have the option to "turtle" if you want to, meaning not opening the canvas end if you have bad weather or a overnite stopover on the road.

gives your dog or guest a number of sleeping choices.

and the 172T's GVWR will be close to your 3500lbs. limit.
the 176T will be heavier but you could load it lightly and be under your tow max. but its slideout is nice for opening up the inside, especially with the expandable bunk end open.
plus, the shape of the Rpod will make towing a little easier on your minivan.
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Old 07-16-2012, 06:15 PM   #21
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The wife and I have looked at the R pods and thought them quite roomy for two. But if price is rearing its ugly head, what about a used fiberglass egg of some kind? Hei thee on over to FiberglassRV.com and look at their classifieds. Those types have been around for years and, if maintained well, are good used choices. They tend to be lighter and can be pulled by lesser TVs.
'09 Tundra pulling a '12 Arctic Fox 22H
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Old 07-19-2012, 12:08 AM   #22
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Thank you all so much for the advice! I will look into the Aerolites and the Rpods, and if I find a good deal, I could invest a little more in a used one. I was concerned about the towing capacity of my van, and I didn't know that there are light campers that can tow some of the smaller campers.

I was hiking yesterday and met some campers, and I asked their opinions about a nearby pop up. They thought a small camper (they mentioned a "hi lo" or R pod) would be perfect for me. The pop up had a tent attached to the opening of the camper, and I thought that was great for times when I might camp with my kids and their friends. I do not allow them to sleep in a tent away from me where I can't see them and ensure their safety, so I always attach the tents at the openings. That pop up looked cozy and added extra room for the camper within a range where I could sleep, feeling that the kids were okay.

I might be overthinking this, but I want to make a good choice. One person said that the toughest part will be backing it up, but I can learn that; I can't learn to lift or maneuver something that is simply too cumbersome and heavy for me. I have several great ideas to consider, and I thank you all for your input. You've given me good ideas and introduced me to more options! I will keep you all posted.
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Old 07-19-2012, 12:10 AM   #23
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PS - I love the looks of that Aerolite! Small, but expandable!
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:44 AM   #24
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I am 5'3" we owned a very small pop up (8ft box) no bells and whistles. After my husband had his heartattack I did everything myself( he is now able to do everything) . It was np at all. The only thing that I found a challenge was the stabilizer jacks. the only reason we moved on to a hybrid was because I was tired of setting up and taking down. We had a screen house, and small fridge etc etc etc, took forever to set up but that was because of all the extra stuff we brought. I love the hybrid alot less work. If you can find a hybrid thats fits your budget and towing capabilites I say go for it.
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:13 AM   #25
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We have had three popups and were happy with all three. You can get a popup into places you can never dream of in a motorhome. The AC works great at night (the most important time) and only pretty good in the daytime, if you are out in the sun. I liked the Starcraft because it had a simple, trouble free lift system. If you can find one with a place for a porta potty, it would be better (for those middle of the night urges)
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15 year motorhome service manager. 3 popups....2 travel trailers....5 motorhomes....loved them all.
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Old 07-21-2012, 08:43 PM   #26
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Hi! I am also a small woman who loves camping. My husband helps and enjoys it too but I'm the adventurer of the two of us. Our teenage sons are not that into camping. So, I can relate to what you're talking about. I would look at small light weight pop-ups to start with. If you can get one with an electric winch (to raise the roof) it isn't that hard. A hybrid or small hard sided trailer would be great but I'm not sure if you'll find something light enough or cheap enough. I think a pop-up would be the best bet for your tow vehicle, and a good next step for you. You can easily get a used one for less than 4K. There will be a learning curve to learn how to tow, back it into a spot, hook up to water and electric, etc. but you can do it!!!
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Old 07-28-2012, 01:12 PM   #27
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Look at the Aliners....The wife and I had one she could setup and tear down by herself in no time...No canvas...

No I'm not selling them...
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Old 07-28-2012, 02:46 PM   #28
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2 people for a long weekend.. There are some very nice "Mini" and "Ultra-Mini" trailers.

I used to tow a 13' Scamp, (Personally I think you would like the longer (16') verson more) and it's not the only trailer in it's class.

This mini has a GVW of only 2,000 pounds, meaning that you do not need a lot of expensive additional hardware, at 2,000 pounds the state I towed it in does NOT reqire trailer brakes,, Just lights and safety chains, Towed well.. My 3/4 ton maxi van did not know it was towing.

Today I drive a class A.. It is 13 feet WIDE (slideout to slideout) when set up .

Home is where I park it!
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