The first thing you need to do is find out the towing limits
of your tow vehicle. There is no reason to fall in love with a pop up that
you could never tow. Verify yourself what your towing limitations are and
decide what size hitch you will need. Check out the Towing
and Hitch page for more information
Pricing for specific makes and models are different for
different areas of the country One good source for pricing information is the NADA
As to the rest, just make sure that you go through the camper, part by
part. You should set it up and take it down whole drill - from start to
finish with the owner BUT make sure that you do it with them.
roof for any damage or abrasions
latches and seal for proper seating (recheck this when you close it back)
sure the lift system is in order and works correctly - let them show you how
it cranks and you do it to see how it feels and works.
the door works and sets correctly
bunks and slide out pull out smoothly and watch how it sets up and poles to
bunks set-up and attach.
them show you how to set-up the awning as well
them show you how to turn on and off the propane and look at the hoses
making sure that they look in good shape. (You may find this easier to do
before pulling out the bunks)
the stabilizers are down, go inside, have them set-up the galley and have
them hook-up to water (if possible) and check the sink, look under sink for
visible leaks and inspect the hoses - bring a flashlight for this.
him run the stove and refrigerator (on gas you should be able to feel that
the inside of fridge is cooling off)
inside for any visible signs of patching on canvas material, test all
zippers, flip cushions to look for tears, rips or faulty zippers. Check
curtains for water spots and rips. Look up at roof interior for any signs of
water marks or damage.
drawers and cabinets for any sign of runner/latch problems and observe
storage space needs for your family
all interior lights and A/C and ceiling vents
them light the furnace and show you how it works as well as the hot water
around the shower floor for leaks and have them show you how the cassette
toilet works as well as the shower and its set-up
the whole floor checking for soft spots (wood rot).
them show you how to hook-up and run the outside stove (if applicable)
them show you where the fresh water holding tank is and the water pump.
them show you where the fuses are located.
If all is in order, go back outside and have them show you all the outside
utility hook-ups and electric cord and the battery set-up.
Walk out the whole exterior for signs of side wall damage or any visible damage
to the canvas/vinyl or how it attaches to camper.
Then slowly start the process for closing the camper and watch
them as you help them close the camper. Make sure that it closes smoothly, and
that the top is tight to the body and latches without too much effort.
Assuming that you have a hitch for your tow vehicle - attach it to your camper
and test the lights and turn signals.
If you have grease pencil, mark where the bottom of the tire
is (on the sidewall) Pull forward and look at the tires all the way around for any
signs of irregular wear or problems. Ask them how long the camper has been
sitting. Tires that are exposed to the sun (UV rays) begin to break down
quickly and become dangerous. Be wary of the spot you marked where the tire contacted
the ground and look for any signs of a "flat spot". If in doubt
about the tires, assume you will need to replace them and adjust your price
Have them show you the manual and all paperwork for the
appliances so if you do decide to purchase you will know up front if they have
the information on the camper.
Inquire if they have made any warranty repairs or if they have ever had the
wheel bearings repacked. The bearings should be repacked once a year and
you may need to have it done immediately upon purchase based on the age of the
My thanks go out to CamperJones of
the Pop-Up-Times message board for this list. If you wish to see the
original message board post, go here.
You can find more of CamperJones' wisdom at the Florida
Pop Up Campers website.
Revised: September 7, 2008