We've are still shopping for used campers, but we have lowered our expectations. When we started our current search, we wanted something that would be a step up the ladder from pop-up campers. We've had two of them in the past, and they are affordable if you are willing to buy a used one; however, setting them up in bad weather can be a drenching experience, and we thought there might be something in our price range that would be a step up.
Evidently not. So we find ourselves, once again, perusing Craigslist for used pop-ups.
The thing is, we don't plan to go to Arizona for the winter, or Texas. We only want to go on a few three-day weekends to tractor shows across the midwest, perhaps visit Branson once a year, and maybe go to Colorado once in awhile... although lodging is very affordable there, and we really wouldn't need a camper.
We looked at one nice twenty-seven-foot-long camper, and it was a deal! It was so roomy I could easily live in it year-around. It was immaculate and priced right... but not for our budget. We admitted to one another that while we were inside the camper, we lusted after it.
But common sense prevailed. There is no way to justify paying thousands of dollars for something we might use five times a year at most, and it appears to me that even maintaining one of those behemoths would be cost-prohibitive. Besides, it would be just another house to clean, and I don't do so great keeping up with the one I call home.
We want a minimum amount of space: a bed, a stove, a place for an ice box and porta-potty. The only way we can get the size camper we really require for something in our price range is to buy another pop-up camper, which can be pulled by any ordinary car and, bought used, is affordable. We have owned two of them in the past and know what problems to look for. As simple as those campers are, there are things that can go wrong, and we've had experience, so we know what to watch for when we're shopping around: things like mouse invasion, damage to the mechanism that cranks out the beds (fixing that was quite an experience, but we knew someone who told Cliff how to do it), and leaks.
As it turns out, you have to watch out for leaks on all used campers, even the big expensive ones.
So we looked at a Craigslist pop-up camper yesterday, eight miles from home. They're asking $1,500 but would go down to $1,300. It would actually work for us, and I think Cliff would buy it, but there are some little things I'm uncomfortable with. It's had new canvas put on, but it's had a leak in the top that has been fixed (?), a couple of broken lights, it has absorbed a lot of cigarette smoke, and isn't the cleanest inside, although it's easy to disinfect and clean something that size. I don't think it's worth over $1,000; the lady said they've been offered $800, but it will sit in the yard forever, she says, for that price.
While we are keeping that one in mind, I think we'll look further. I'd pay more for a camper just a little newer and cleaner.