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On Point Becker Autos & Trailers

staff - April 22, 2016 10:42 am

Becker Auto

1.2.3…. Camper Time!

Have you ever seen all the campers coming down the highway before a weekend, and wish you could pack up all your stuff and head out?

Do you enjoy going to the lake on these Kansas weekends, but wish you had somewhere nicer to hang out while you’re waiting for the rain to pass?

How about wanting a place to stay with the whole family without being too crowded on a long road trip or vacation and not have to hassle with or spend the money on a hotel room for everyone to squeeze into?

These would be just a few scenarios that would get me in the mood to start camper shopping!

Hi, I’m Lydia Housh with Becker Autos & Trailers of Beloit.  I am here to help you know what you’re looking at and what to look for when you are thinking about that next home away from home!  Below I will touch on just a few things you might hear about or want to know when you are camper shopping!  If you have any more questions or want a more detailed explanation, please feel free to call/text me at 785-534-1227 or shoot me an email at beckerautos@nckcn.com.

The first thing when looking into camper shopping is deciding what your vehicle can pull (if you’re not in the market to get a different one!)

They make campers in all shapes and sizes now!  Even your car or SUV has options to tow! Check out the GVWR of your vehicle and make sure the camper you want is even an option with your vehicle before buying!

Here are the 2 main variations on pull type campers you should know:

Bumper Pull Travel Trailers –  

Pros:

  • You can pull it with anything
  • It doesn’t take up your bed
  • More for the money!
  • No step up to the bedroom

Cons:

  • When get long or heavy they tend to sway more
  • All the weight on the bumper of vehicle

 

Along with making sure your vehicle has the proper tow & receiver hitch to handle the camper, other things you might want to consider when getting a bumper pull camper are an equalizer hitch and sway bars.

  • Equalizer Hitch – helps to even out the weight distribution of the camper and takes more off the back end of your vehicle, which in turn decreases the “squat” in your back end.
  • Sway bar– Especially when pulling a longer camper and long distances this would be the 3rd bar to add on with your equalizer hitch. This helps to minimize the sway in your bumper pull camper.

Fifth Wheel Campers –

Pros:

  • Smoother pull, Weight over rear axle
  • Can pull a boat or small trailer behind the camper
  • Easier to maneuver in a tight situation

Cons:

  • Taller camper
  • Must have pickup with fifth wheel in it to pull (or adapter with gooseneck ball)
  • Stairs up to the bedroom

After you’ve picked out a fifth wheel or bumper pull… Here are a couple main makeups you’ll look at:

Pop out! – Most are aluminum construction, very light – This would be a great option to pull with a small SUV and in if you are a mild climate camper!

Pros:

  • Camper is already popped up, but the beds will extend out for sleeping! Saves on weight!
  • Not your old style pop up, but still a taste of the outdoors with the amenities of a full camper!

Cons:

  • When set up, heavy wind will still affect this camper as the sides still pop out with a pole construction.
  • Not a four season option

 

Stick & Tin – This is usually the most affordable and popular option in camper buying. These are the campers you see with the ridged sides and wood wall construction, more like a house. Can be light enough to pull with an SUV or heavy enough several use to live in depending upon size!

Pros:

  • You get more for the money!
  • Heavier construction

Cons:

  • This camper can get hail damage ( Make sure you know if shopping for a used camper that if it does have hail damage, it affects the value greatly… but that being said if it hails on you with full coverage… you will still have a nice even more affordable camper!)
  • Not as sleek exterior look
  • To get lighter weight, have to get smaller size

 

 Smooth Side – You usually see this option in lightweight and more upper end travel trailers and very popular in most new fifth wheels.  Many times this is accompanied with aluminum frame construction which keeps this model lightweight even in a larger camper

Pros:

  • doesn’t have a problem with hail damage(unless under extreme conditions)
  • Sleek looking exterior design
  • Holds value well

Cons:

  • More pricey option upfront

After you’ve decided on what you need along the above lines… you can now look into the specifics of what you want in your camper!

Bunkhouse – this type is great for kids!  It will either house corner bunks or a separate room with bunks for sleeping area for several.

Toy Hauler – this type is great for hauling ATV’s, motorcycles, golf carts and all sorts of toys. Most times the garage area will convert to a sleeping area, some even offer outdoor porch kits!

Couples Coach (Snow Bird)- A basic couples coach will often be set up for one couple, but allows for sleeping of others, just not in the bunk form.  These are often more comfortable for entertaining and living but extra sleeping outside of the main bedroom is usually in the living room or kitchen.

 

After selecting the best options to fit you, it’s time to look at your budget and finishing touches.

There are hundreds of camper brands and thousands of options, so there should be something out there for everyone.

Budget:
Good Credit –
several banks are making it easy to add on the camper for an affordable payment. Depending upon how much you spend 80 months to 180 month loans are prevalent. If you do get an extended period loan, make sure and look into the GAP insurance and extended warranty options to protect your asset when you have a high amount borrowed against it.

                Bad credit –  there are still some options, but the time periods and interest rates aren’t as appealing so I would try to get a bigger down payment saved up to effectively budget for it along with other payments such as house or mortgage.  If everything else is paid off and it’s your only loan, you know what you can afford and what you need the camper for and that will help you decide if the payment is worth it! 

There are several things that play into the value of a camper.  Make sure you are purchasing the camper at a good value to start off on the right foot.

Tips:

Value – lookup yourself or ask the dealer the retail value or MSRP of the camper you are looking at to make sure your purchase price is under that amount! (You can get the used values at NADA.com)

Four Season – look at the underbelly or ask if the camper you are looking at is year round and sealed.  This will make a difference in value and when/where you can use your camper.

Damage – If you are going used make sure and look for damage on the camper, especially hail.  Hail damage will make a HUGE difference in the value of a camper.

Camper shopping can be fun!  There are many more pieces that play in… but hopefully I’ve helped with a few of the main things you should know when getting into a camper!  Any other specific questions or anything else I can help with, feel free to give me a call or text me at 785-534-1227!  Also you can email me at beckerautos@nckcn.com.

Don’t forget here at Becker Autos & Trailers we have over 35 campers on the lot and we’re here to help you pick out what fits you best!  You can check out our website at beckerautos.com!

Thanks for reading!

Lydia Housh

“Always makin’ deals on things with wheels”

Becker Autos & Trailers in Beloit

City of Salina