We have lately been browsing the internet as well as local campgrounds and neighbors' driveways, thinking about getting some kind of smallish camping vehicle or slide-in or pickup topper. We are old enough to not want to sleep on the ground any more. I am crabby enough to not want to have to pack up a whole kitchen every morning (and unpack it at night).
Any things we should consider, stay away from, or run toward? If you've bought a used camper (of any sort), what were the key things you looked for in terms of condition? What are features that you particularly value, or (on the other hand) have found to be not so useful? We have been surfing websites, talking to friends, visiting craigslist, etc. Is there a better time of year, or "best location" to look? It just occurred to me that the wisdom of the Bogle-verse might be useful here.
Here are our parameters/situation:
-- we need to be able to sleep at least three. Right now our kid is smallish, but that will not always be true. We also need a back seat that has "real" seatbelts with shoulder harness that can hook into a booster seat.
-- we do not need t.v., microwave, bathroom, etc. We would like a stove, fridge or cooler capacity, water supply, and maybe a heater.
-- we want a vehicle with airbags (this tells you what our standards are; we're willing to look at an older vehicle, but not that old!)
-- we have some money to spend, but not a lot. We'd rather stay under $20K for the total package, whether a van or a camper/truck combo. We could do all new, but that is not in our nature.
-- we want to be able to drive down forest roads-- not serious four-wheeling, but we want to stay away from anything too big, low or unwieldy. We don't want to tow anything for the same reasons.
-- gas mileage, of course, is always a factor. Hence, we are obsessed with pop-tops.
We have been looking at pop-up camper vans (some friends have a nice Roadtrek, another has an old Vanagon), pop-up slide-ins (which would require the purchase of an adequate pickup to carry us and it), and even a flip-pac topper (no kitchen, but we'd be way off the ground for sure).
Thanks in advance for your input.