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Old 10-18-2016, 08:59 PM   #21
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OP, what does the pop-up offer over a tent? We tent camped a lot during our four month road trip and didn't see much of an advantage of having a pop up. We have a large, cheap, Walmart tent that we bought when the airline lost my luggage which contained a backpacking tent. If we wanted, we would have enough space to create a comfortable bed in the tent. As it was, we used our backpacking sleeping pads and bags.

Here is a link to class B rentals. I don't know anything about this site, but I believe there are some out there to rent. Class B Motor Home Rental | American RV
Easy, your off the ground with a 4 inch or so mattress and it is a roomy haven, compared to a tent, when the weather is bad! I do backpack but with the family, we've had great times in our 8" box pop-up. I keep things simple however, use sleeping bags on the mattress, keep meals basic and simple as you would backpacking. If we have power, use the microwave frequently. Only need a vehicle that can tow 2000 lbs.
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Old 10-18-2016, 09:07 PM   #22
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Easy, your off the ground with a 4 inch or so mattress and it is a roomy haven, compared to a tent, ....
Not compared to all tents. We have 12 ft x 8 ft. of roomy goodness in ours. And use layers of a 6 inch air mattress under a 1.5 inch self inflated thermal pad for creature comfort.

Although in the cold your Class B can probably be heated. Have yet to try a Mr. Buddy heater in the tent...although I've thought about it (they have some rated for tent usage).
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Old 10-18-2016, 09:24 PM   #23
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We've gone down this route. You want a small trailer that you can leave at your campsite, and then take your tow vehicle to explore. We started from tent...to sleeping in the back of a pickup truck...to a small pickup with a truck camper; we were really limited as to where we could go, and while I still enjoy backpacking, tent camping is just not comfortable for a week on the road. Taking your "house" with you is a pain wrt everything from parking, to roads (accessing primitive off roads to trail heads). Plus you burn that extras gas hauling that weight unnecessarily. There are many nice small light weight trailers these days (everything from an expensive 16' Air Stream to a smaller pop-up). I do recommend something that is less than 18' since many campgrounds have that restriction, and our 16' trailer has gotten us into some primo sites that the big rigs can't get into. Others have mentioned the benefits of big tents, but it all depends on how much you use it, what weather conditions you'll be in, and how long you'll be vacationing in it between moving from place to place. Finally, you say you don't want to tow, but we thought the exact same thing at one time. We were wrong. With a small trailer, it really is a low stress, no-brainer experience. Try a rental and find out.
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Old 10-18-2016, 10:11 PM   #24
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Explain why you don't want to tow anything? I think the idea for a medium size trailer would be good for what you want and not be too much trouble to store. Something like 18-22 ft range. It is nice to have something to be able to drive around once at your camping spot, and the tow vicle provides for that without breaking camp each time.

My main issue with a class B is you really only have about 12 ft of living area, and not much storage. Might be fine for a weekend, but going to become very small on longer trips. The 18022 ft trailer gives you enough room and is able to have more storage. It likely has a real bathroom and shower, the class B may not.

As pointed out, the trailer is actually less cost to buy. But that does assume you have something that can pull it safely. Even if you need a new tow vehicle, the savings of the trailer helps buy a lot of that new tow vehicle.

Your choice, but I think brushing off anything towed is limiting your choices.
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Old 10-18-2016, 10:26 PM   #25
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OP, what does the pop-up offer over a tent? ...
Huge difference between a pop-up and a tent. Just getting off the ground and on a nice 3" firm foam mattress is a huge difference.
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Old 10-18-2016, 11:36 PM   #26
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I have only tented.
Friends of mine have a pop-up and they use to tent a lot, but as they got older than 40, they found the popup was nice.
After a day of hiking around to be able to return to the campsite and sit at a table.
Personally, just having one with a toilet inside would be heaven compared to a tent.
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Old 10-19-2016, 03:18 AM   #27
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Retiring in December. I am 56 and my wife is 53. My wife and I have pretty much decided on a 25 foot Airstream to go on a few 3 week vacations per year. We looked for months for a place to rent, however, the price seemed ridiculous and we pretty much decided to buy. However, we stumbled upon a podcast with a link to an Airstream dealer that had a new rental fleet and applied the cost of rental to the purchase. So we are renting for a week before we buy. We need to drive about 500 miles to the place but the ability to "try it out" is worth it before purchase. Because Airstreams hold their value fairly well we have decided to buy new if the test drive works out. I believe this dealer has a Class B for rent. See the below link:

RV Travel Trailer Dealer | Haydocy Airstream Columbus Ohio
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Old 10-19-2016, 05:12 AM   #28
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OP, you mention you don't want to pay for the storage of a Class B when not I use. I take it you live somewhere with nil parking, since Class B and short Class C motor homes can fit in regular parking spots.
Unless you are confident you'll really be using it regularly (at least a month out of the year), I'd advise renting. I rented a short Class C for a few days last month and, other than downtown Quebec City (almost as tight of streets as Boston or NOLA), it was easy to drive. Buying means you have a whole other vehicle to maintain and I find repairs and maintenance more expensive on larger vehicles than a compact hatchback.
I personally wish to get a truck bed camper, but am holding off until I'm confident I'll use it frequently (post FIRE). But I concur with others that a hard-sided pop up will likely be the most economical way to get out of musty tents and open up off-season camping options.
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Old 10-19-2016, 06:14 AM   #29
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"Not sure I see the point in smaller RVs if you are able to physically (cold or movement) tent camp."


The point of a smaller RV is easy to see. There is the hot and cold running water, your own bathroom, furnace, air conditioner, a real bed, table/dinette, refrigerator, freezer, stove, oven, electric lights, cabinets to keep your dishes in, the list goes on and on. with a tent you have to pack up EVERYTHING. There really is no comparison.

I like many have camped and owned everything from a tent to a class A motorhome. What it comes down to is there is no perfect way to camp. Each camper/motorhome has its ups and downs. For what you want to do a small travel trailer would be ideal. With a travel trailer your set up and take down is very minimal where as a pop up there is all of the set up at each spot then of course when you get home you have to re-set up again so you can clean up and unload your things. Another benefit of a towable camper is that you can fill with water at home and use the camper the whole way to your destination. Its nice to be able to stop at nice park or way side rest stop and make lunch or use your own bathroom. Depending on the length of your trip you can pull into a parking lot and sleep for the night if needed with basically zero set up. I think you need to reexamine why you don't want to pull anything.

With that being said I do understand the class B van too. My current camper is a Mercedes Benz Sprinter chassis class C motorhome (much like a class B). Its like driving a pick up around. Its incredibly easy to maneuver around parking lots, easy to get into and out of smaller gas stations. Its a pleasure to drive but it is tight inside. Another down side is that since its small your fresh, black and gray water storage along with propane storage is minimal. I wanted to try one because I got tired of the production involved with hooking and unhooking a large fifth wheel camper. I also found it aggravating to get into a lot of the state park camp sites with something the size of a small country. Like I said earlier there are ups and downs to all of the campers.
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Old 10-19-2016, 06:52 AM   #30
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We've had pop-ups, hard-sided pop-ups, and a fifth wheel. Love it, but currently without one. Leaning toward renting, but DW wants to buy. Probably small travel trailer.

I know this is WAY too far for you, but it may give you an idea what used ones sell for, several Class B's listed....
Class B & C Motorhomes for Sale - PPL Motor Homes
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Old 10-19-2016, 07:34 AM   #31
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We have had black bears all around our RV here in the Florida pan handle on the forgotten coast. No way would I want to be in a tent or pop up.

I took some pictures of mama with two cubs the other evening, but she looked only to be 150 to 200 pounds. Last night we hung our garbage up in a tree about 7 feet off the ground to the bottom of the bag (I am 6'7") and I made jokes about constructing a bear pinata. Well, sure enough this morning all of the garbage was strewn all over and the bottom of the bag was shredded with big claw marks. Milk jug bit in half. I don't think a 150 pound black bear can reach 7+ feet standing up? Daddy might have come sniffing around?

Tent here? Nope.
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Old 10-19-2016, 07:37 AM   #32
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I am planning on a fifth wheel. If you want gloried camping, use a popup or class B. A class B is much like sleeping in the back of your car. A class C is similar to the class B, but a slightly larger version.

If you want to travel, get a trailer or fifth wheel.

If you want to really move on a whim, get a class A.
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Old 10-19-2016, 07:39 AM   #33
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The first time you have to pack up a tent in the rain will likely change your mind.
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Old 10-19-2016, 07:57 AM   #34
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We have had our Roadtrek for 8-9 years now (purchased new) and have ~180,000 miles on it. For two (or fewer) people, a Class B is the perfect RV. (Pets are a story all to itself.) The many "on the road" advantages include:

1. Having your house with you no matter where you are. (BTW, setting up or tearing down takes less than ten minutes.)
2. You don't have to go back and get anything if you are a true "Traveler" and not a "Camper." (Things like a trailer or other such baggage, for instance.)

We have a relatively large unit -- 23' bumper-to-bumper -- but (other than height) I can go anywhere a car can go... including parking. We have many times even gone where a 4-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle would have been a much wiser choice. There are 17' models which are even more car comparison-friendly.

The storage question has been mentioned above but I will just add that we simply park ours (plugged into shore power) at our stick house. FWIW, since it looks like a regular van, the chances of violating local ordinances is remote.

Maintenance has been pretty routine for us. The chassis goes in for routine maintenance whenever the on-board computer tells me to change the oil. In the house we have had to replace the macerator and the 12v sensor in the refrigerator. Other than that it has only been very minor things like replacing burned out light bulbs (yes, newer models use led so even the need to do that is diminished considerably.)
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Old 10-19-2016, 08:20 AM   #35
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...a Class B is the perfect RV...if you are a true "Traveler" and not a "Camper."
This is a very important point that needs to be emphasized.

Ron, you've said a number of times you usually don't stay more than a day at any one location, which I agree, makes a class B a good choice. (I recall a post or two about taking your granddaughter and a friend on a whirlwind summer trip, covering thousands of miles in a few days. I wondered how much those kids saw other than a brief glimpse of whatever natural wonder you were cruising by. )

However, I get the idea the OP wants to camp at a location for a few days to explore and enjoy, thus the recommendations he is getting to consider something with more room and the ability to leave his "house" at the campsite while taking in the sights.
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Old 10-19-2016, 10:19 AM   #36
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This is a very important point that needs to be emphasized.

Ron, you've said a number of times you usually don't stay more than a day at any one location, which I agree, makes a class B a good choice. (I recall a post or two about taking your granddaughter and a friend on a whirlwind summer trip, covering thousands of miles in a few days. I wondered how much those kids saw other than a brief glimpse of whatever natural wonder you were cruising by. )

However, I get the idea the OP wants to camp at a location for a few days to explore and enjoy, thus the recommendations he is getting to consider something with more room and the ability to leave his "house" at the campsite while taking in the sights.
And that is why I brought it up. There is a big difference between Campers" and "Travelers." However, it needs to be a little more finessed than that. For instance, you are correct that we have taken our granddaughter (and friend) on a "road trip" each of the past three summers. These trips were about three weeks in length. While we covered a lot of distance -- some days were spent simply driving down the highway (which, BTW, is amazing by itself -- say in the Southwest U.S.) -- most of the time was spent exploring whatever attraction we stopped at. As examples, it took us three days to "explore" San Antonio (6 Flags took one whole day) and Carlsbad Caverns is not something you can do quickly. The trip down the East Coast had us spending the whole day at most of the beaches between New York and Ft. Lauderdale... well, except Myrtle Beach where we spent two days because the girls just "didn't want to leave." Hmmm, same thing happened in NOLA; we had to force them to give up the French Quarter. So, yeah, they got more than a "brief glance" but, you are correct, not much more. Did we miss a bunch? Definitely but they also got to see a lot.

Now, "Traveling" (to me) means spending the day exploring and the night camping (with a small "c"). Sometimes it takes more than a day or two at a place but that should be the exception. (I should have mentioned above that Washington DC took five days.) As such, it is a big advantage to have your "home" within walking distance of your explorations -- whether that means your camera equipment or merely your lunch.

I am not questioning the fact that space is at a premium. If your intention is to "go to the lake" for the week-end to spread out and relax, then this is definitely not the RV for you. A related issue, if there are two people they MUST be compatible. I suspect failure to recognize this is the reason for those low-mileage used RVs on the market.

You are again correct. I don't know what the OP means by camping but if his idea was to spending most of his time hiking and otherwise exploring the places he visits, then a Class B used as I described above is not such a stretch.
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Old 10-19-2016, 10:20 AM   #37
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"Not sure I see the point in smaller RVs if you are able to physically (cold or movement) tent camp."


The point of a smaller RV is easy to see. There is the hot and cold running water, your own bathroom, furnace, air conditioner, a real bed, table/dinette, refrigerator, freezer, stove, oven, electric lights, cabinets to keep your dishes in, the list goes on and on.
I get that RVs have a lot of creature comforts, but if I had all the listed amenities in a small RV I'd feel like I was in a mobile hotel room vs camping out in nature. Not that there is anything wrong with a mobile hotel room that can be in nature! But I guess my viewpoint is part of the point of camping (for me) is the roughing it part (if you can physically deal with it). Yeah, we get cold at night at times, and yes, walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night can be a pain, but some of the best experiences we have had have come while doing just that (wildlife, surprise meteor shower, etc.).

If you can't physically, or don't want the added roughing it of a tent to feel like you are even more in nature, then for the OP I think I'd be swayed by the pull-behinds. Cheaper, can be left at the site, and easier to store.

Is it hard to rent Class Bs? Can you rent pull-behinds easily? Always nice to try before you buy.
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Old 10-19-2016, 10:57 AM   #38
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Explain why you don't want to tow anything? Your choice, but I think brushing off anything towed is limiting your choices.
So many good comments in this thread. To answer your question both my wife and I fear towing a vehicle and because we would not be confident doing so, and we would both be fearful doing so, I think that it would limit our enjoyment. We especially fear backing into parking spaces etc. Additionally if we towed anything other than a light pop up we would likely need to purchase a pick up or other vehicle made to stand up to towing a trailer. Both of our cars are paid for and will last another 5 -10 years and I hate the thought of trading one of them for a tow vehicle.

Also I kind of like the simplicity of just being able to drive a class B and park in town, not having to hitch and unhitch whenever we move etc. Not sure if we would or would not feel more cramped than we do in our current tent. However we would both enjoy not having to sleep on the ground any more.

I do intend to try to rent before buying and maybe always renting would make sense though renting is quite expensive. I sort of like the idea of buying something (if we enjoy the rental) using it heavily for 1 - 3 years and then selling it after we have aged a bit and are no longer enjoying it.
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Old 10-19-2016, 11:09 AM   #39
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Huge difference between a pop-up and a tent. Just getting off the ground and on a nice 3" firm foam mattress is a huge difference.
I just got back from a 4 day camping trip, and my 8" air mattress and 2" memory foam got me quite nicely and comfortably off the ground. A 6 man tent for me had plenty of room for my bed, a small chair and table. It's certainly not back packing, but I like to be comfortable even when I tent camp. DW doesn't do tent camping anymore, though.

For me the biggest advantage of a pop-up would be the kitchen. Nothing worse than trying to grill over a fire in the rain. DW would say the bathroom option is important too. And truthfully, taking down a pop-up is easier than tearing down a tent camp.

We're personally thinking of getting a used class C to make our trips between our two homes easier. Plus other uses. Of all the camper options, for me the class B would be the last choice. It's too small, and not being able to tow a car for use while you're camping means you'd have to disconnect every time you wanted to go anywhere.
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Old 10-19-2016, 11:12 AM   #40
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Among the advantages we realized with a 5th wheel over a Class 'B', (aside from the fact that you have to pack/stow every time you go anywhere), are that is financially advantageous to rent centrally located sites on a lower cost monthly basis, leave the rig, and do day trips in the truck; and, with a Class 'B', if you have trouble with the vehicle your 'home' is in a garage for the duration.
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