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Would You Buy a Used Camper

Discussion in 'Shelter' started by bluemoonmama, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. bluemoonmama

    bluemoonmama Newbie

    I've always used a tent when camping, but as my family has grown I have lately been considering a used camper. I've seen a lot of really great deals, but worry that maybe they are too good to be true. Have you ever bought a used camper? I've heard of people running into problem after problem with them everything from cosmetic to major problems - leaking roofs, electrical issues etc. I'm torn between a new, bigger tent or a used camper. Suggestions?
  2. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    I don't have any experience with used campers however my family did buy a used boat which I think is a similar purchase. We also had the same decision make over buying new versus getting a better boat that was older and used.

    All I can recommend is that you get it inspected first for mechanical issues before you buy it and also check as thoroughly as you can to make sure everything works properly. Buying used is also often cheaper from an individual than it is from a dealer but that again gives you one less level of protection. See if the used reseller offers any kind of third party warranty.

    With that being said, even if everything is working as it should with a used camper depending on how old it is you may notice that the design and decorating is out of style and the electronics are dated. I guess what it all comes down to is how much you are going to be using it and how important these features are to you. I can understand wanting to spend more if you are using it to make cross country trips but if your goal is to use it to drive it out to a nice area and stop their for a while to enjoy the outdoors I think it would be alright if you went with the bare minimum. After all, you want to spend most of your time outside, right?
  3. Esperahol

    Esperahol Newbie

    There are a lot of things to consider particularly in light of things like whether it has a toilet or not. That said you'll need to at least get some face time with it, and you should try to have a couple choices so you can make comparisons for a better experience. That said maybe you ought to make a list of pros and cons for these purchases? See how it stacks up on paper before going any further.
    campforums likes this.
  4. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    My parent's bought two different used camper's over the years. One was a pull behind camper that had a kitchen and bathroom, dining area that made into a bed, plus a couch that made into a bed. It worked well for the 15 years it was used for camping, in fact we still have it at our camp. It is in really bad shape now.

    The second was a truck camper. It sits in my mom's driveway awaiting whoever will haul it away for free. A large chunk of ice fell off her roof and damaged the roof. Now it is a mess, but it was a nice camper that dad used during hunting season.

    I think the best thing you can do is have it checked out by a expert for electrical stuff, tires and brakes, and roof leaks. Sometimes it is better to buy it from someone you know or from a trusted dealer. They always say let the buyer beware and you get what you pay for. So if it is cheap that may apply.
  5. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    I just want to add that you should always do your research so that you know what you want and can become educated on the price of the kind of trailers you want is. If you see one that is significantly less than the rest of the ones on the market you better find out why or there is a good chance you will regret it.
  6. Esperahol

    Esperahol Newbie

    This is an excellent point - sometimes a deal is more of a trap. Kind of like if you find a great house in a nice neighborhood for the absolute cheapest price ever... then you find out someone got murdered in it or it's haunted or it's infested with snakes in the walls. Too bad they don't have a Car Fax type of thing for campers... are do they?
  7. There is a lot of good advice here about used campers, but I wanted to add my opinion that I would also buy a used camper. Considering the high price of new campers, a used one would be the only option for me at this point. I agree that you should have the camper checked to make sure it runs properly and is safe, but it really seems to me that campers can last a very long time if they are well maintained, so don't let the age of the camper discourage you. Also, just because you are using a camper doesn't mean you can't enjoy the outdoors or cooking on the campfire. I think one of the biggest benefits to a camper is that you can sleep "indoors" in case it rains and you have a secure location to keep your valuables, as well as a toilet on the campsite, etc. I would still continue starting a campfire and cooking on it, as the kitchen area in some campers tends to be pretty small.
  8. ashley0323

    ashley0323 Novice Camper

    Yes, I would actually be more opt to buy a used camper, than a brand new one. Typically you can find a really good deal on your local buy/sell/trade sites. The way I see it is, If you can get a really good deal on a used camper, you'd spend under half of a brand new one. Fix up the used one if needed, and taddaaa!
  9. Jasmin Cottontail

    Jasmin Cottontail Novice Camper

    Haven't experienced using a camper yet but I would love to because I think it's more convenient to use, especially if you are a group. Buying a used camper is a good idea particularly if you are tight on a budget since you will definitely save a lot. But be careful in choosing what to buy because as you have said, some deals are just too good to be true and some are too good to let go so better check everything first before purchasing :)
  10. rz3300

    rz3300 Explorer

    I can definitely not rule anything out when it comes to getting things used, and although this might not be the best thing to do if it means that I can fulfill my needs and save a little money, then why not. I can see myself doing something like this later on.
  11. Alexandoy

    Alexandoy Survivalist

    Campers here are rare and costly too. Even if I have the money, I probably would not buy a used camper because of the maintenance costs. It is just like a car but requires more attention since it is loaded with facilities. Besides, I don't think campers are allowed in the camping sites that we go to. Perhaps a new tent that comes complete with flooring and beddings will do especially if it will fit in the car's trunk. That would be more convenient and lesser worries than using a camper that might break down on the way to the campsite. But to be honest, I also dream of an RV because my parents had lived in one when they were in the US many years ago.
  12. rz3300

    rz3300 Explorer

    I suppose that I would buy anything used if it is in good shape and I can look and examine it before purchasing. I would like to see if those services like Car Fax are available for bigger motorized items, but I am not sure if they do.
  13. happyflowerlady

    happyflowerlady Survivalist

    Actually, you can find an older RV that is in good condition and even low mileage, if you shop around. because they are notorious for getting terrible gas mileage, people do not travel as much in one of the large RV's as they did when gas was much cheaper.
    We moved from Idaho to Alabama, and we had several little dogs that we were taking along for the trip; so we started looking for an older RV in drivable condition that could make the trip cross-country.
    We ended up with one from the 70's which had less than 50,000 miles on the motor. The people had used it for a week or two in the summers when they went on a family vacation, and a trip up to a nearby campground now and then; so it really had not had a lot of usage, even though it was an older model RV. I don't remember exactly how much we paid for it; but I am thinking it was around $2500. When we got to Alabama, we sold it again, and got most of the money back; so it worked out well for us.
    You can also find good bargains on travel trailers, if you do not mind towing something, and have a large enough vehicle to tow a trailer with. Then, you do not have to worry about the engine breaking down somewhere because you are driving your own vehicle that you are comfortable with.
    Another option, that would be a compromise between a camper and a tent, is one of those tent camper trailers that folds down to about 2 feet tall, and then opens up into a tent with cooking stove and small bunks inside for sleeping. They are cheap enoug that you could get anew one of these, and it would be more comfortable than sleeping in a tent, and cheaper than an RV.
  14. Jason76

    Jason76 Novice Camper

    A used camper could be a good deal for a home. I mean, I wouldn't be ashamed to live in one! In fact, with some minor repairs, it could be quite good looking. Has anyone considered using a used camper, or new one for that matter, as a home?
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
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