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Old 06-15-2016, 07:39 PM   #11
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Ottawa, ON
Posts: 544
Wastes of money (or cargo capacity):
- Outdoor room - used maybe 3 times in 8 years
- Hot water tank - never used, but why waste propane keeping several gallons hot, a kettle does just as well. Just leave it bypassed all year.
- RVQ - never used ours, pristine at trade in. Coleman RoadTrip BBQ is so much bigger and better.

Money well spent:
- Coleman All Day Dome - a full outdoor room on a rainy day, doesn't trap the bugs inside with you like the bug tents do (took several tries to understand that a screen room is a captive buffet for the bugs).
- A small, tall tent. For long trips with full family, a separate change tent is great.
- Outdoor "straw" type 8*10 mat - keep it strapped to the back bumper. Keeps the door area clean.
- Storage bins that fit your floor space perfectly. By the end we had 8 bins packed in.
- Firepit tools. We have a log grabber (giant tongs) and two really good fire pokers, welders gloves, and a Frisbee (fire fan, and recreational device) in our essentials kit.
- bags of good dry kindling. Don't care how wet the local wood is; good kindling will always start it (those last two are just general tips).

- there is always one more piece of gear to buy
- go through your gear every fall, toss it if you haven't touched it in 2 years
- accept that eventually your gear will surpass your pup's CCC. It was a very large bump and a very full load that led to the demise of our axle last year. But, it also led to our latest acquisition
- always bring two extra camp chairs. Never know who's gonna drop by.

2011 Jayco X19H (purchased 2015)
2008 Jayco 1007 PUP (purchased new, traded for the X19)
2012 Chev Traverse LT with TP
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Old 06-15-2016, 08:17 PM   #12
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Location: PNW
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I always keep a big cooler with me, just in case the fridge craps out. Also handy for times the fridge needs defrosting.

2011 Dodge Ram 1500 HEMI Quad Cab
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Old 06-16-2016, 01:41 AM   #13
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Location: CANADA
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I would have bought the BAL Leveler and single axle locking chock before the first trip. Would have saved experimenting with other methods that were more tome consuming and never got the trailer as rock solid; so nice to not have it jiggle at night when someone gets up to pee or get water.
2015 Jayco X213
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Old 06-16-2016, 05:13 AM   #14
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: King George
Posts: 2,124
We were avid OFF-ROAD Jeeps and tent campers back in the 60s and 70s running the high country and Canyons of AZ... Lifestyle there was to pull a small utility trailer loaded down with all your tent camping supplies and gear. Running the trails in groups was the most fun back then

Following the work years we ended up in Northern Neck of Virginia continuing our love for tent Camping and started making longer excursions mainly Camping up and down the Blue Ridge Parkway and the high country along the Virginia and West Virginia wooded State line borders as well as the high country in the northern parts of the southern states namely ALA-GA-NC-TN... the Smoky Mountains at Gatlinburg TN became our jewel for camping...

We started looking at the POPUP trailers soon after arriving in the Northern Neck of Virginia and immediately fell in love with the Fleetwood Evolution E series and Starcraft RT series OFF-ROAD trailers...

These of course was bringing us into the modern appliances and alternate power sources to operate them... No more keeping up with white gas and bags full of D-Cells haha

Momabear just couldn't take the yellow E series trailers with Gray and Black interiors of the Fleetwood E series units. Said it reminded her of the office at the Quantico Base... Then when when we looked at the first Starcraft RT seies decor she was sold on this is the one... Turns out the Starcraft models had the better beefed up frames anyway so was my choice as well...

We ended up with the 2008 Starcraft 14 RT OFF-ROAD series.

I think the biggest mistake was getting the very large and very heavy to us roof mounted 13500 BTU Air Conditioner. The dealership did an outstanding install and with the trailer Electric roof raise none of that was a problem. This included adding the additional support frame items on the ceiling as well...

We added all of the new gadgets as we went along and was using our back yard and a local camp location at Westmoreland State Park to learn all of the ins and outs with camping in the POPUP trailer. Westmoreland was already one of our Tent Camping sites.

The Air Conditioner ran us out of the trailer right away and we started noticing heat up around the original Elixir 30A 120VAC Breaker location only installed circuit breaker. Turns out it finally burned up the Bakelite around it and finally had to shut down. This was about a month into our new camping toys... Turns out the dealership had rewired the one 120VAC circuit breaker to control the 13,500 BTU Air Conditioner only and relied on the Campground 30A pedestal breaker to be the 30A main for the trailer.

I immediately removed the small ELIXIR Converter/charger from the trailer and installed a WFCO 8900 series Power Distribution panel that had a WF-8945 45 AMP converter/charger in the bottom compartment. This required re-connecting up all of the various 120VAc item to individual 120VAC Circuit breakers and a whole bunch of 12VDC wiring to the 11 fused circuit provided. This cleanup one hugh wiring mess behind the converter/charger where all fo the wires were grouped in zones and feeding the one 120V Circuit breaker and three 12V fuse location. Now I have One Main 30A 120VAc circuit breaker with 8 1/2 size 15A 120VAC breakers on the AC side and Eleven 12V FUSE Zones for the 12VDC side of the power panel. Rewiring only took about 2 hours as all of the wires were there behind the old ELIXIS unit.

Then it turned out I got the wrong new WFCO WF-8945 Converter/charger unit that would not go into its smart mode charging for my multiple battery setup. I had to also then replace it for a PD9260C converter/charger unit which I decided to install stand alone closer to the battery bank and keep the WF-8945 unit as a backup. Both units had their own 120VAC Circuit breaker so having both wired in on the 12VDC side was no problem. I could turn on the one i wanted to use by just flipping the right circuit breaker. Now I go a back converter/charger.

My big Air Conditioner is not used all that much and I really wished we would have gotten one of those low profile types in the 9000BTU range. Less weight on the roof and can be run by my 2KW Honda generator when camping off-grid...

Guess we got carried away with the new things we were seeing in 2008.

Kinda wishing the ole air conditioner would bite the dust so I can replace it with a smaller unit and save on some weight on the roof. I'm just now wanting to add some solar panels on the roof to help out my battery bank recharging using the 2KW generator when camping off-grid...

Roy Ken
Roy and Carolyn
I claim Horse Creek Country in Southern Ill - Momabear is from North Texas
We live in King George VA

"We're burning daylight" - John Wayne
2008 STARCRAFT 14RT OFF-ROAD POPUP with PD9260C and three 85AH 12VDC batteries
2010 F150 FX4 5.4 GAS with 3.73 gears - Super Cab - Towing Package - 2KW Honda EU2000i Gen
K9PHT (since 1957) 146.52Mhz
"We always have a PLAN B"
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Old 06-16-2016, 05:16 AM   #15
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Webster
Posts: 9
Piggy backing on the bumper storage, hot water heater and stuffs...

Bought a length of 4" PVC and two threaded caps. Used giant hose clamps and secured it to the back bumper (mine slipped behind the spare tire and rested on top of the bumper supports). Can throw poles, etc in there (possible the indoor/outdoor carpet if can roll tight enough). I carry two sections of rebar and an extra grilling grate for cooking over fire pits. Ditto the fire tools and kindling.

There is an electric hot water heater kit, never used the hot water heater on gas, but with it converted to electric I don't mind using the electricity already paid for...boondocking then ditto heat the water on the stove.

Bought a couple soft tool boxes...one for tools (always take more than you think you will need) and one for our web straps that we use to mount the bike or boat racks.

The fridges are really inefficient and there is another mod that can be made. Put sheet metal behind the cooling fins to help direct airflow then mount an PC style cooling fan to draw air up and across the fins to better cool the radiator and help the fridge work better. I also threw in a digital temp controller so the fan turns on at a set temp and shuts off 10 degrees below that step. I set mine up as all AC powered but DC units exist too.

One other thing we're adding this year is a chuck box (self built). That way all the kitchen stuff is in one organized box that gets setup outside...
1969 Nimrod PUP (retired)
1988 Chevy School bus (conversion, sold)
1997 36' Airstream (restored, sold)
2015 Jay Series 1207UD - Current

TV: 2008 E350 15-passenger traded for 2014 Honda Odyssey (current)
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Old 06-16-2016, 06:50 AM   #16
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: Dale Hollow Lake Tn/Ky
Posts: 1,375
Like RoyB said you don't need a 13.5 AC in a popup, one of the smaller units has plenty of capacity. They may be used infrequently, but when you need one its nice to have it. A/C expands usage of your camper into the hot months the same as the furnace does for cold weather. I don't agree with the comment about not needing the water heater. Once the water in the tank is heated, it stays hot with very few heat up cycles. In fact the only time I hear the unit kick on is when wife is doing the dishes or someone is using the shower. Both are more than useful. There is a wide divide between off roaders and more typical popup owners that frequent State Parks and defined camping areas.

In any usage pattern, you can forgo the monkey lights and all the trendy solar powered butterfly and color changing lawn ornaments. Plastic totes to pack your stuff and a patio mat are great things to have. Bike and kayak racks and a the kids play toys from your back yard just take up space and add to your pack up and pack down time unless you really intend to bike or paddle. It is often better to leave that stuff at home and rent bikes for that single afternoon of biking during the week. Popups are great, we raised our kids in them and didn't step up to a hardsided TT until we retired and wanted to treat ourselves to the added creature comforts.

In all camping and for sure with PU's, "Less is More".
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Old 06-16-2016, 09:40 AM   #17
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 223
Regarding the air conditioner -- when we had a popup it did not have air conditioning. We camped at a campground near Virginia Beach and no one slept the first night because it was so hot. The next day we made a trip to Lowes and bought the smallest room air conditioner they had, some wood, and some hardware (including hinges). We returned to the campsite and my husband made a stand for the air conditioner that could be folded and strapped to the hitch to transport home. We then unzipped one bunk end where it met the body of the popup. We placed the air conditioner on a board on the edge of the bed so that the back end of the air conditioner stayed outside. We zipped the zipper as tightly as we could and then used a towel to stuff into the gap. We all slept just fine for the rest of the week!!
2015 Jay Flight 19RD
2007 Chrysler Aspen 5.7L Hemi V8
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Old 06-16-2016, 05:59 PM   #18
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Beaverton, Oregon
Posts: 65
Ditto on this. It was one of the first things I bought and was incredibly easy to level the trailer. Also, plastic storage bins that fit the floor space and could be set on the counter top as drawers when camping.
2016 Jayco Whitehawk 27DSRL
2010 Ford F-150 XLT Supercrew with Max Tow
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Old 09-25-2016, 10:07 PM   #19
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Portland
Posts: 11
A regular hose and a potable water hose are two different things.
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Old 09-26-2016, 01:39 AM   #20
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Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: SW Washington
Posts: 600
When we purchased our first popup I never considered the fact that when we got home from a wet trip I was going to have to set it up and hope for a dry day so I could put it back down and store it or it was going to mildew.

We get a lot of rain where we live and it really hampered our enthusiasm to just go camping and by the second year I was sick of dealing with it I traded it in and bought a real camper.

Our screen room never got used either.

2009 F350 CC LB 4WD
2017 Jayco 355MBQS
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