.

Buyer's Guide

Help Choosing The Right Camper For You

Have you ever looked for a product you might not know much about and thought, "Where do I start?" Whether it's campers, cars, canoes, TVs, telephones, or toasters--figuring out the various brands and models can be a daunting task. This guide helps you sort through the various models and features on the way towards finding your ideal camper.

(This article assumes you are looking for a fold-down camping trailer. If you are not sure that's the best choice for you or you'd like to know what other kind of campers are out there, please check out Help Choosing the Right Type of Camping Trailer)

Where to start?

Flagstaff builds over thirty different models. If five other manufacturers build even half that number you could have over 100 models to sort through when looking for a pop-up camper! The best way to start narrowing down that massive field is to answer these questions:

Weight:

This is a great place to start because if you don't want to pull a trailer that weighs over, say, 2000 lbs. you've already eliminated over half the camping trailers out there. For more detail regarding weight please check out: Weighting Is The Hardest Part. If weight isn't an issue the next best way to narrow things down involves one major feature: a shower.

Interior Shower:

Believe it or not this is one of the most polarizing issues when it comes to camping. Many people won't go camping without a shower (and usually a toilet) inside the camper, ready at a moment's notice. For others the idea of a toilet inside what is essentially your bedroom, kitchen, and recreation room is not desirable and either an exterior shower and Porta-Pottie or the campsite's bathroom/shower facilities work just fine. So deciding whether or not you want a shower/toilet inside helps eliminate a large number of trailer models right away.

Seating/Sleeping Space:

One dinette, two dinettes, two large beds, four small beds, four large beds--camping trailers have a very wide range of bed and seating configurations. Figure out how many beds you'll need and if the beds are big enough for your comfort. (Please see Not All Dinettes Are Created Equal to see how important this is.) You will be able to eliminate some campers because they simply don't have enough room for your group while others may have too much seating or sleeping room when counter space or storage space may be more useful.

Storage:

Does the inside of the camper have enough storage space for your gear? Do you need a toy hauler? Will you bring a generator with you? Is there a long storage space for fishing poles? Where you are going to put your camping gear and how much of it you're able to store in or around the camper will help narrow the field.

Amenities:

Camping trailers have to range from just a few steps above a tent to just a few steps below a travel trailer. That results in a wide range of features and a wide variety of models or camper lines (different series). To help focus on which features will be beneficial to you and therefore which series or model will be best, here are some things to contemplate:

Beds:

Some campers have foam mattresses, others have spring mattresses. How comfortable a bed is may vary depending on if you sleep on your back or your side. For some a foam mattress is great, for others a spring mattress is better. For some a foam mattress is okay but they supplement the mattress with a memory foam pad (from a local store) on top of the mattress or egg-crate foam under the mattress.

Bed size:

Equally important is bed size. The end beds change in size from between different camper sizes but the widest variety of bed size comes from the dinette beds. Not All Dinettes Are Created Equal explains this variety.

Slide-out Dinette:

These dinettes slide out the side of the camper and create a spacious interior. But they also add weight to the camper as well as several extra steps to the set-up or tear-down process.

Storage trunk:

Extra storage is nice, but the trunk itself adds extra weight and length to the camper. There may also be a temptation to bring more gear than you actually need just because you have the space for it. Then again, if you need and use the space then it is a great feature to have.

Keep in mind that a 10' camper with a storage trunk is roughly the same size as a 12' camper without a storage trunk. If you don't need the long bulk space a storage trunk provides then the extra two feet of interior space on the 12' camper can be used for storage. The benefit of using the extra two feet as interior space instead of trunk space is that a 12' camper comes with longer beds and a bigger awning. Then again sometimes people want to store things in the storage trunk they'd rather not have inside the camper (like a generator, extra propane tank, or firewood).

Storage deck:

This is covered in our article: To BR or Not To BR.

Stereo/TV:

We love music. TV can be fun, too. But where you camp and what activities you want to enjoy affect whether or not these are useful features to have in a camper. For example, at a reservoir with boats and jet skis running, a stereo would probably only add to the experience. In a mountain valley at a small campground with ten campsites, though, a stereo or tv may cause some friction with your neighbors.

Also, remember that there are alternatives to factory-installed features. For example, if a particular model is perfect for your needs except it's missing a stereo, we can install a camper stereo system at our store. Modifying the camper to suit your specific needs is part of the fun of pop-up trailers. For more information please check out this article: Customize It!

Check your work:

Hopefully you're narrowing down some of the options or models available and are getting a clearer picture of which floorplan or series will work best for you. To make sure, think about these questions and see how well the campers you are looking at match up:

To help narrow down the choices even more, think about:

Renting First:

Another option is to rent a camper. By the end of a camping trip in a pop-up you will definitely know what parts of the floorplan you like or dislike. Is an 80" long end dinette better or do you prefer a side-dinette that allows a walkway to the end beds? Is there enough storage space? Do you need a shower inside after all? Many of our customers started out renting and then decided to buy a camper a few years down the road. Our rental information is here: Rentals

Last But Not Least:

Someone once asked, "Since you work with campers all the time you must have a favorite, right?" For what it's worth, yes we do, and if our thoughts help give you insight into which camper might work best for you, here they are: Our Thoughts.

Also, sometimes knowing what other people like may help in certain decisions. If you care to know which campers have been the most popular through the years, here's our Best Sellers.

Finally, we are here to help! Please call us at 303-922-6221 or stop by our store at 741 S. Federal in southwest Denver. We want to help if we can and you can be sure to get an honest answer from us on any question, big or small.

Back to Articles & Tutorials

Top of Page