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Old 04-22-2008, 08:09 AM   #1
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Campers

BIL and I have a 37 year old camper that we use at our hunting lease. We're definitely LBYM when it comes to hunting and only paid $500 for it about ten years ago. But with the addition of his SIL, my kids growing up, and the lack of an indoor shower, we have decided to pry some dead presidents from our clenched claws and upgrade. I volunteered to do the research.

The problem is, I know squat about campers and there are a jillion different makes, models, styles, etc. I found one prospect that I liked, but the shower was outdoors. I keep finding campers that fit some of our needs, but lack something important. What I thought would be a real simple task is being complicated by way too many choices and no central place to search for features. So, I'm looking for some inside scoop anyone here might have to offer.

Does anyone have any recommendations based on our needs? We generally just sleep in the camper and do meals, socializing, etc outdoors.

Must haves:
- Sleep 4 or 5 full sized guys who don't want to share beds.
- Indoor shower (an outdoor shower in November is too invigorating).
- Small stove to boil a pot of coffee.
- Not expensive (did I mention that we're cheap?)

Nice to have:
- Some storage space for the junk we leave up there (lanterns, tarps, heaters, some small eqpt. - takes up a small closet worth of space)

Don't need:
- Refrigerator, entertainment center, all the other amenities that make for civilized indoor life. It's an outdoor experience except for sleeping and bathing. We just need beds, shower, a little storage and a burner for the morning pot of java.

Thanks

Edit: It has to be a camper. We can't build any structures and the location is on top of a plateau that has some strong wind gusts and tents don't last long before they fly off in the general direction of Mexico.
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Old 04-22-2008, 09:31 AM   #2
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Try a look at rv.net, a forum for RVer's for advice.

Hawk craigslist for as far as you're willing to drive (or pay somebody with a truck to drive). I see more there that have potential than on Ebay.
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Old 04-22-2008, 09:42 AM   #3
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Sleeping 4 or 5 guys who don't want to share beds is going to be the big challenge. I've seen several bunkhouse style configurations. Finding one in decent shape, for a reasonable amount of moola will be an interesting adventure.
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Old 04-22-2008, 09:49 AM   #4
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Yeah, I think craigslist rooting around for a bunkhouse model makes t he most sense. Will you be leaving this thing in situ, or hauling it back and forth?
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Old 04-22-2008, 10:28 AM   #5
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As the others have said, seperate sleeping for 4 to 5 people is a tall order. Would they be willing to roll out sleeping pads on the floor? If so, look for a big old travel trailer that is 15 to 20 years old with lots of floor space.
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Old 04-22-2008, 10:52 AM   #6
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What utilities are available at the site? (Hope you're not running that shower water out on the ground!) Any issue with the access road accomodating a larger camper? Any of you handy enough and willing to spend some time pulling out cabinets, furniture, interior walls, etc, leaving just the bath and an open area with bunk beds you either build or buy?

Or.... a used construction site trailer might fill the bill. They're usually just a big open area with a bath/shower. You add three bunks and.....there ya go.
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Old 04-22-2008, 06:56 PM   #7
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I think you're shopping at a good time. With gas prices so high, many are ready to dump their "campers".

My DH is always browsing the "Truck Trader" and "RV Trader" weekly magazines that you find for sale for a couple of bucks at convenience stores like 7-11 or grocery stores, etc. That would be a good source. Really gives you a picture of "what's out there".

Re: the showers. I didn't know true blue "hunters" took them! You'll have to haul a lot of H2O for 4-5 guys to shower. Heating the water, another factor.... you'll need a propane tank for that. Most campers have a gas range which uses propane, too.

As for sleeping arrangements.... another suggestion: maybe 2 could sleep on the bed each with his own sleeping bag.
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Old 04-22-2008, 07:41 PM   #8
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Another place to poke around to see prices and what is available is RV Trader Magazine Online - New and Used RVs for sale.
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Old 04-23-2008, 12:58 AM   #9
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Here is an example of a travel trailer that will sleep 6. It has a double bed and 4 bunks. Look for a Double Bunkhouse floor plan for the 4 individual beds.

Fleetwood Enterprises : 2005 Fleetwood Prowler 32' Travel Trailer

or this one

2004 Wilderness 32' Double Bunkhouse Travel Trailer - $16500 on Craigslist
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Old 04-23-2008, 02:15 AM   #10
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Your tow vehicle will determine the weight of trailer you can buy. Then you can zero in on your trailer of choice in that weight range. Allow plenty of margin for the fresh water and propane and equipment and everything else you'll take. Make sure you understand definitions such as hitch weight, dry weight etc. and compare the fresh/black and grey water capacities of various models.

Since you're not looking for luxury, a toy hauler with bathroom and limited kitchen facilities might suit your purpose. You can sometimes find used ones with wide open floor plans that you customize. Some have a couple of sofa beds plus plenty of room for mattresses and sleeping bags.

Some items you might need:

Generator since you'll be dry camping.
Heater - propane? (Don't forget a detector)
Water heater for showers
Propane frig
Outdoor grill

Lastly, something that has stood us in good stead over many years of happy camping - make a list of everything you need to take with you and check it off as the last thing you do before you leave on your trip. DON"T OVERLOOK THIS STEP. Amazing what you can forget when you're out in the wilderness and can't run to the store to replace.

Sounds like a lot of fun.
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Old 04-23-2008, 08:27 AM   #11
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Leonidas, just a random though, but the (new) trailer we are taking delivery of this weekend actually has a queen sized bed plus three single bunks and is pretty compact and simple/cheap. You could probably find one used inexpensively if you look around. What we are geetting is a Fun Finder X-160, and there is a clone out there too (Cikira 16).
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Old 04-23-2008, 10:44 AM   #12
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Dunno what your cheap range is. $10,000? (not my idea of cheap) here's a 31' with 200 gallon water storage and plenty of room for sleepers:
31ft ToyHauler, 99 Curtis Baja, Great condition, Beautiful Interior!

Seems to me that 5th wheels are just about given away on occasion, because they require more than a trailer hitch to drag them off - ditto campers. My BIL was happy to get $150 for a 5th wheel that came with his coast house - kinda a bummer, as we used it as an out-of-house bedroom when we visited. Got the impression you were planning to leave it onsite as a hunting cabin. if so it just has to barely get there....
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:05 PM   #13
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How about one of these?


AMERCICAN STEEL CARGO CONTAINERS, LLC
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:11 PM   #14
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These guys could probably do the container thing, too: Public mobile storage and portable storage solutions. Less expensive than self storage.
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Old 04-23-2008, 04:59 PM   #15
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Leonidas--do you want to get a slide in truck camper? or a travel trailer? If you want a truck camper, how about looking at Truck Camper Magazine | Dedicated to the Truck Camping Lifestyle (I kid you not--it really exists) and maybe you can get some advice from other truck camper owners.
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Old 05-03-2008, 10:37 PM   #16
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Thanks everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
Try a look at rv.net, a forum for RVer's for advice.

Hawk craigslist for as far as you're willing to drive (or pay somebody with a truck to drive). I see more there that have potential than on Ebay.
Craigslist is my buddy - I'll be looking at CL sites for three different cities so I can have a larger market to play in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet H View Post
Sleeping 4 or 5 guys who don't want to share beds is going to be the big challenge. I've seen several bunkhouse style configurations. Finding one in decent shape, for a reasonable amount of moola will be an interesting adventure.
I'm hoping that time will be my friend and I'll catch somebody with just what I need at the right time. For the right price, of course.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
Yeah, I think craigslist rooting around for a bunkhouse model makes t he most sense. Will you be leaving this thing in situ, or hauling it back and forth?
The original hasn't moved in years. We're pretty cheap on this issue and would rather just let it sit on the ranch rather than spend money for a storage spot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hankster View Post
As the others have said, seperate sleeping for 4 to 5 people is a tall order. Would they be willing to roll out sleeping pads on the floor? If so, look for a big old travel trailer that is 15 to 20 years old with lots of floor space.
We might have to adjust a little, but I'm starting out looking for something that fits our needs and desires before I look for the compromise model.

Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet View Post
What utilities are available at the site? (Hope you're not running that shower water out on the ground!) Any issue with the access road accomodating a larger camper? Any of you handy enough and willing to spend some time pulling out cabinets, furniture, interior walls, etc, leaving just the bath and an open area with bunk beds you either build or buy?

Or.... a used construction site trailer might fill the bill. They're usually just a big open area with a bath/shower. You add three bunks and.....there ya go.
No utilities - it's a goat and cattle ranch. I figure if the goats and cows can pee on the ground I can drain my bathwater there.

We could get a large construction trailer in there, but it almost sounds too big for our needs. There is plenty of land there, but we do try and keep the footprint of the campsite compact and neat. If they make a smaller one we might go that direction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bram View Post
Re: the showers. I didn't know true blue "hunters" took them! You'll have to haul a lot of H2O for 4-5 guys to shower. Heating the water, another factor.... you'll need a propane tank for that. Most campers have a gas range which uses propane, too.

As for sleeping arrangements.... another suggestion: maybe 2 could sleep on the bed each with his own sleeping bag.
I used to do just like I did in the field in the Marines - a pot of water and a small heater did the trick. But after building our outdoor shower stall I find that a real shower increases my overall enjoyment of the whole experience.

In the outdoor shower we use a Coleman portable water heater that is rechargeable and runs on the small propane bottles. But the trailers that I have seen with indoor showers all have small water heater and we can just fill them up from water jugs. We get two showers out of 5 gallons and sometimes have water left over.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha View Post
Another place to poke around to see prices and what is available is RV Trader Magazine Online - New and Used RVs for sale.
Thanks, I bookmarked it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveR View Post
Here is an example of a travel trailer that will sleep 6. It has a double bed and 4 bunks. Look for a Double Bunkhouse floor plan for the 4 individual beds.

Fleetwood Enterprises : 2005 Fleetwood Prowler 32' Travel Trailer

or this one

2004 Wilderness 32' Double Bunkhouse Travel Trailer - $16500 on Craigslist
The second ad was gone, but the first one looks nice. Of course we will have to look for the older, cheaper model.

Quote:
Originally Posted by outtarentals View Post
Your tow vehicle will determine the weight of trailer you can buy. Then you can zero in on your trailer of choice in that weight range. Allow plenty of margin for the fresh water and propane and equipment and everything else you'll take. Make sure you understand definitions such as hitch weight, dry weight etc. and compare the fresh/black and grey water capacities of various models.

Since you're not looking for luxury, a toy hauler with bathroom and limited kitchen facilities might suit your purpose. You can sometimes find used ones with wide open floor plans that you customize. Some have a couple of sofa beds plus plenty of room for mattresses and sleeping bags.

Some items you might need:

Generator since you'll be dry camping.
Heater - propane? (Don't forget a detector)
Water heater for showers
Propane frig
Outdoor grill
Between the six of us we have many of the luxuries you describe. Plus picnic table, and couple of awnings, etc. As far as moving it, as I said all I need to do is get it there and that's where it will stay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
Leonidas, just a random though, but the (new) trailer we are taking delivery of this weekend actually has a queen sized bed plus three single bunks and is pretty compact and simple/cheap. You could probably find one used inexpensively if you look around. What we are geetting is a Fun Finder X-160, and there is a clone out there too (Cikira 16).
I like the looks of this one. It depends on the bunk bed capacity on a couple of versions of the floor plan I glanced at. Since one of the kids could bunk with me in the Queen size bed it might work out. Not ideal if my BIL's SIL shows up when both my kids are there, but if I can't find the ideal model this might do pretty nicely. Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by calmloki View Post
Dunno what your cheap range is. $10,000? (not my idea of cheap) here's a 31' with 200 gallon water storage and plenty of room for sleepers:
31ft ToyHauler, 99 Curtis Baja, Great condition, Beautiful Interior!

Seems to me that 5th wheels are just about given away on occasion, because they require more than a trailer hitch to drag them off - ditto campers. My BIL was happy to get $150 for a 5th wheel that came with his coast house - kinda a bummer, as we used it as an out-of-house bedroom when we visited. Got the impression you were planning to leave it onsite as a hunting cabin. if so it just has to barely get there....
I think you're right about the 5th wheels. If the price was right for something like that I would be willing to rent a truck with a fifth wheel setup to do the move.

Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
We've talked about these, but then we looked into pricing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocketdog View Post
Leonidas--do you want to get a slide in truck camper? or a travel trailer? If you want a truck camper, how about looking at Truck Camper Magazine | Dedicated to the Truck Camping Lifestyle (I kid you not--it really exists) and maybe you can get some advice from other truck camper owners.
If we didn't want to try and get four or five grown guys in there it might be an option. Fun magazine to look at though.

Thanks again for all the help. I got back into town a few days ago and am going to spend the next week or two trying to narrow down the options before I go shopping. I'll update you'all when I make the buy.
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