Once my son and I began searching for a camper we quickly realized how overwhelming it would be.
Storage and camper quality ranked high on our list of needs, but it took a lot of research to get to that point! See my post on beginning the search.
Once the style of camper is chosen, and the budget price is known, then comes the hardest part. Finding that perfect layout for your needs!
Which Extras Can We Afford?
Besides the layout, think about what type of extras you will want, and which you can afford. This will vary according to the needs of the buyer. Until you begin looking around, you may not even know about some of these things! Like us. And you may not know what you really need until you actually begin camping.
Some camping families can overlook many things and settle for a comfy bed. After all, camping means being outside! But families with kids and / or pets will need extra space and storage.
Things to consider:
- Storage – Is there enough for your family?
- Active Lifestyle – Toy hauler?
- Windows – Views and fresh air while inside.
- Slides – Do you want them? How many? I view slides as problems waiting to happen!
- Dual wheels – these were something my son insisted on.
Less Important Extras, Maybe?
How do you plan to camp? Will you do any boondocking (camping without hookups)? What are your needs to make the camping experience more fun?
- Ladder – Some have one attached to the back to access the roof easily.
- Solar Panels – on the roof for boondocking and saving energy.
- Doors – Some campers have two, and we wanted two because of the cats.
- Awning – many campers have an outdoor awning for shade.
- Outdoor Kitchen – or will you bring your own grill?
- Back Up Camera ready.
Choosing a Brand
Once the layout style is chosen then comes time to choose the brand or maker. Many of the same general layouts can be found on many different makes. For instance if you need a bunk house layout, you will find them within many camper brands.
Also, see which local dealerships carry the brand, or brands that interest you. Smaller dealerships may be very limited and you might have to travel.
It is tough to figure out which brands are better quality than others. Truthfully, I still don’t know except that Airstream is near the top! We ended up with a Grand Design which gets very good ratings.
Visit Forums and Groups
Another way to decide on a brand is to narrow it down and find a forum or FaceBook group of people who own that particular camper. Join the group and see what they have to say – good and bad. The best advice will come from owners. Salesmen will be selling, and they may not be completely honest… really!
Visit a Dealership to See Campers First Hand
Things are really crazy these days, so maybe call before you travel to a dealership to make sure they have what you want to see.
For instance, when we were looking for a toy hauler, we wanted a walk through bathroom to close off the garage from the main trailer area. That narrowed the search considerably and the salesman choose campers with that exact layout. We later changed our minds! It happens.
Take Your Time and Be Ready to Wait!
We began our search in 2019. Of course we had no idea what was coming, and we stopped camper shopping once Covid hit and people were staying home. Also, here in Florida I refuse to do camper shopping in the hot months, and we have a lot of hot months. Walking a lot in 100 degree heat and stepping in and out of non-air-conditioned campers does not sound like fun.
Truthfully, I kept going back and forth and just couldn’t decide on the right set up for us at the price we could afford. Finally we made our decision. There was one Grand Design Imagine model on the lot and unbeknownst to our salesman it had just sold the previous day. Therefore, we had to order ours, but at the same price. We just had to wait, which turned out good for us because we were busy with home improvements to fit the trailer in the yard.
Don’t be in a rush. Take your time and make sure the trailer you choose is right for you. Of course, you can always trade it in down the road, but starting off right is best. Good luck!
(Photo credits: Pixabay)
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