Searching for a camper, first timers

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Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
1
My husband and I are looking at used campers. We are paying outright, so on a budget of 18k. We really like the fiberglass body style but seems as if the aluminum is what we can afford currently. We want something that our children and grandchildren (3, 7) can enjoy. We found a Catalina Legacy Edition 323BHDSCK and have absolutely fell in love with it. Bunkhouse in the rear for the grandkids and their parents to sleep. Couch folds out for our son and his dog or my parents, outside kitchen, two entry doors, 2 slides, power awning and jack, stabilizing bars, composite kitchen counter, nice and roomy! I've been looking at reviews and have found that every camper on the market has mixed reviews...just not sure what to believe and how to make this decision! Any suggestions??
Anxious Nana
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Messages
2,584
Location
WA, MT or somewhere else!
RV Year
2018
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Mountain Aire 4047
RV Length
40'
TOW/TOAD
2014 Honda CR-V
Welcome to RVF, @Wkline; glad to have you here.

There are hundreds--maybe thousands--of different RV brands and models and I suspect every one of them will have gotten "mixed reviews" at some point. Everyone has a different point of view and it is sometimes hard to know what motivates someone to write a review; positive or negative. If you don't feel qualified to check things out in a given RV, you might want to hire an independent inspector (not affiliated with the dealer) to go through the unit and provide you with his/her findings.

Coachman is a well-known maker of RVs, so that's a good start. I assume you are buying through a dealer rather than directly from the factory. Ask your dealer if he/she can provide a couple of customer references you can contact. If you can talk to people with the same unit you are considering, that's even better.

If you do buy the unit you are considering, insist that the dealer provide you with a comprehensive training session on its use. Ask lots of questions and take copious notes. Identify any issues that need to be corrected on the unit (and there will certainly be some). Do not take the unit off the dealer's lot until ALL issues have been corrected. Promises to fix something at a later date are easily forgotten.

Good luck in your search.

TJ
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2019
Messages
281
Location
SW Florida
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4369
RV Length
43
TOW/TOAD
Tandem Tow dolly
Fulltimer
Yes
If you are looking to buy from an RV dealer my first suggestion is that you have to treat the money part of the deal a little differently than if you were purchasing a automobile. For example, if they had a pull-behind camping trailer on their lot that listed a MSRP of $29,999.00 you could probably purchase it for around $22,000 out-the-door.

Also, many trailers and fivers do not come from the factory with the highest quality tires. In many cases by the time you load up the RV for camping the tires will no longer be rated high enough for the true weight you are carrying. This is the main reason when traveling you will often times see campers and fivers pulled over with blown tires. Check the rating for the tires your RV has, then add anywhere from 1,000 pounds to 3,000 pounds (depending on RV size and family size) to see if they will need to be upgraded.
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2019
Messages
221
Location
Where ever I park it
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Salem
RV Model
Hemisphere 346RK
RV Length
38'
Along with what was said, make sure you don't get taken in by all the 'bells and whistles'. Look for things that could possibly be a problem like water stains. other stains where they shouldn't be, tire wear that looks funny, smells, etc, etc. Take your time and you will find what you want.
edit: Something I forgot was for you to make sure you check the date code on the tires. They may 'look new', but be quite old. On the side of the tire there should be a four digit number. This site explains what it is, what it means, and where it is: What is a tire date code and where do I find it? | TireBuyer.com
 
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Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
316
Location
Cypress Inn, TN
RV Year
2011
RV Make
Thor
RV Model
Hurricane
RV Length
32ft
TOW/TOAD
2018 Nissan Rogue
I've had aluminum, fiberglass, pull behind, 5th wheels, and now a motorhome. I prefer fiberglass outside only because it is easier to clean. Aluminum is easier to fix as you can replace panels if damaged. So there are pros and cons of each. Pull behind trailer tend to be less weight for a longer trailer length and if you have a topper on your truck can be more aerodynamic. 5th wheels have a beefed up frame in the front due to angle changes and are more agile in turning allowing you go have a turn almost 90 deg. As stated above, check the tires and put max pressure the tire is rated for. I would also balance the tires which are rarely done. That vibration translates through the entire trailer and into the vehicle if bad enough. You can also have the axles aligned. I had an issue of blowing tires on a multi axle trailer and found the axles out of alignment. I had a truck service realign the axles and in my case have to heat and bend the axle straight. Also check the wheel well area for damage. If the previous owner (if buying used) had a flat it could have caused damage to the trailer.
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2020
Messages
35
You’ve been given some good advice. Reviews of trailers any brand are over the place. If buying new, check out the consistency of the reviews of the dealership on honoring and timeliness of warranty work.

Be prepared for common fixes during the first years of ownership and give it proper cleaning and maintenance. You can go a long way toward keeping your trailer leak free. Water does the most and costliest of damage.

Staying in hotels I easier that’s true, but just not nearly as fun.
Your grandkids will love it.
 
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