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Old 09-13-2011, 05:45 AM   #1
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New or used and what brands?

So we have started shopping and I have more questions. We are looking for something small and don't need many amenities. We found a new Starcraft 816 for $5999.00, and a Viking 1706 $4495 (no fridge). This would be in our budget, but stretching it. We only plan on keeping the pop up for a few years while we learn how to pull something and make sure we would use it as much as we think we would. Then we plan to order a Casita and sell the pop up. So my questions are...
- Should we buy new since we can afford a new, lower model or should we look for a well cared for older model?
*and*
- What brands do y'all recommend? (I am hearing mixed reviews about Starcraft and that makes me nervous) I can't find any real "reviews" anywhere online...
Thanks All!!!
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Old 09-13-2011, 03:46 PM   #2
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Since you know that you want a Casita TT in a few years, I think the "new/used" question is best answered by your 1) ownership time frame and 2) financial position.


In my opinion, it comes down to how you define "a few years".
  • If you mean 2 or 3 yrs., then I'd definitely suggest seeking a well cared for older model. The reason is because the original owner would have taken the depreciation hit and not you. This way if heaven forbid, you can't figure out how to pull it correctly (don't let this be a concern by the way... you'll do just fine), or you don't use it as often as you thought you would, then you'll be able to resell it and recoup most of the purchase price if you take good care of it.
For example, you could easily find a 6 - 10 yr. old model that has been pampered and includes all sorts of bells & whistles (sink, heated water, indoor cook top, outdoor cook top, refrigerator, indoor heat, king/queen beds, etc.) for much less than what you are considering spending on the new Starcraft and Viking.
  • If you mean >3 years , then I'd go the new route and select the model that best meets your needs. This way you're able to get exactly what you want and not what someone else wanted.
Personally, I'd want that little mini-fridge if nothing more than convenience. They are very nice.

Lastly, I know you've already got my opinion of Starcraft in your other thread, but I don't have a lot of experience with Viking. We camped with a friend who rented a Viking this summer and I helped her set it up. Personally, I thought the quality was even worse than Starcraft.

Good luck with your continued research and hopefully, other folks will chime in!
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Old 09-13-2011, 05:15 PM   #3
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Thumbs up Thanks!

Thanks, Stumblefoot! That sounds like great advice. Probably go used b/c it will probably be close to 3 yrs. I expect we will order our Casita in the fall of 2014 for pick up in 2015, built to spec. Like you said, we can afford more bells and whistles if we go used.
The experience of your friends with the Starcraft have put a big in our thoughts about getting one of those. I figured that about the Viking as well with the price they were asking. This is the kind of feedback I am looking for!!
Thanks Stumblefoot! Almost went and looked at an old Coleman last week. Garage kept with a bike rack, no tears or leaks for $2200, but it's a 1986. Seems like too much for something that old. !!~Coleman Pop up Camper~ Amazing shape!!
Is that reasonable? Or do you think his love for the camper is part of the price? I was thinking that something 2000 or newer would be better. But this camper was well taken care of. He sent me more pics.
I will keep looking...
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:30 AM   #4
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It's so hard to tell about that price without knowing what the model is and what options are installed in it. Here's a great guide that I've found lots of dealers use when determining trade-in value; Prices, Used Values & Specs for Camping Trailers from NADAguides. You can plug in the model and options and it'll provide perspective on what a dealer would try and sell the unit for. This way you'll know if that '86 is a deal or not!

Good Luck!
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Old 09-14-2011, 01:30 AM   #5
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I think the best thing you can do is go look at both of them. I got my pop-up in 1999. It was a 1977 but was in great condition except the ice box leaked. The canvas was supple and hole free and the outside was perfect. Don't get hung up on the age of the camper, go see it, see if you like the layout and if there is holes in the canvas or something else that would sour the deal for you. What was nice, I got it for $800. And we used it for 7 years. I considered it money well spent.
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Old 09-15-2011, 08:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Thanks Stumblefoot! Almost went and looked at an old Coleman last week. Garage kept with a bike rack, no tears or leaks for $2200, but it's a 1986. Seems like too much for something that old.
I would agree...

Back in 99' we were tired of 10 years of tent camping. So we started looking at used pop-up's, but didn't find anything we liked, or without issues. Ended up buying a new 99' Coleman (Cheyenne) ($6400 out the door). Ended up selling it for $4200. Very positive experience with the Coleman. Had it for 6 years and about 225 nights. We were going to buy another larger Coleman (Mesa) in 05' but once we saw the hybrids were were hooked. Ended up buying a 24' Aerolite hybrid.

One word of advice on any pop-up purchase. Get one with a front storage trunk. It just adds some much more storage space....If you go new, get the largest frig possible....
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Old 09-15-2011, 08:25 AM   #7
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On the older Coleman pop-ups. They had some problems with sagging roofs on the larger 12' box models from years 1996 to mid 99' models. You should be able to find a used 99' to 06' Coleman or Fleetwood popups in the $2000 - $4000 range.

Half way thru the 99' model year they started installed a metal brace on the inside of the ABS roof to help stop the sagging problem. By Dec. of the 99' model year all 12' and 10' box sized pop's had this brace installed.
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Old 09-15-2011, 10:42 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Superslif View Post
One word of advice on any pop-up purchase. Get one with a front storage trunk. It just adds some much more storage space....If you go new, get the largest frig possible....
I totally agree. The front storage trunk is soooooo important!

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Originally Posted by Superslif View Post
On the older Coleman pop-ups. They had some problems with sagging roofs on the larger 12' box models from years 1996 to mid 99' models. Half way thru the 99' model year they started installed a metal brace on the inside of the ABS roof to help stop the sagging problem. By Dec. of the 99' model year all 12' and 10' box sized pop's had this brace installed.
And, by the '03 model year they had two braces inside. I never saw a single roof problem in units with the braces. It clearly worked very well.
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Old 09-15-2011, 06:29 PM   #9
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Thanks everybody!! Great info! We are actually looking for as small a box as possible b/c we want to store it in the garage and we have two scooters that would be sharing that side of the garage with the pop up. Also, I have a truck and will be getting a shell for it, so we should have plenty of room for other stuff. I think the old Coleman is a 10 ft., which is why we were considering it. Still just looking and comparing what I see...
You guys are great!
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:38 PM   #10
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And, by the '03 model year they had two braces inside. I never saw a single roof problem in units with the braces. It clearly worked very well.
Actually they (Coleman) added the braces for the 99' model year trailers in the 12' popups in any trailer manufactured Sept. of 1998 on ward. The 10' popups received them on about Dec. 1998 onward all for the 1999 model year trailers. We had a 99' Coleman Cheyenne (10' box) which was manufactured in Dec. 98'. At least that was what I was told...I did have a friend who had a 98' Coleman with a 12' box who had his roof replaced twice for the "birdbath roof problem". The 3rd time the trailer was bought back by Coleman...(Lemon law)....
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:35 AM   #11
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Just purchaaed a 96 Jayco through Craigslist for 1000. Shows some wear and tear, but structurally sound, leak free, and usable now. I am pretty handy so it will give me something to do this winter. Stove, sink, refridg, a/c, and adaptor cord included. :-)
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