Have 2010 Northstar 850 SC Pop-up. weigh 2149 lbs. ref. shower, cassette toilet, stove, no air. travel from NC out west three times, with this camper, for at least a month each time, plus all the shorter trips east of Miss. since owed it and see no problems with the raising up and down of roof. 90% of time stay in Natural parks or state parks or boon dock, but very seldom camp any place over one day. over years had class c, class a, fifth wheel and this pop up is best thing we have ever owed for the way we travel. when traveling in Colorado about 30 days total of all trips camped at a lot of places a hard side would not go. basically never in it except at night if not by camp fire. Have no problem getting in it to eat lunch without raising top BUT if want to use cassette toilet, can do BUT not to comfortable. traveling down road, have 2500 gas chev and can't tell it's even on back. Unless in hurry travel speed limit or lower. If in Hurry to get back home in emergency which we had this year travel 8 over speed limit in each state which meant some states running with cruise on 83 drove find, of course was not windy.
Just some insight for you and really it all depends on what you want and how you want to camp. I had the nice Class A with slide and all the trimings and traveling 14000 miles on a trip and doing same on pop up going to Alaska I love my truck camper. Gas mileage driving 60 around 12-13 overall gas mileage last trip 6200miles 11.3.
hope this has been helpful.
I think our camping style is similar to Wjkdan's (although I think if I were on the east coast I'd have to have AC ). We camp in state and federal parks. We do gentle boondocking. Definite dry camping. No hookups. No generator. We are outside pretty much unless we are sleeping and sometimes cooking. What time we spend inside (our current trailer) will lessen as our kids get older and require less supervision.
We are not completely sold on a TC. But we are getting a pickup truck for various non-camping reasons so it seems like a great opportunity to lose the trailer. It's bigger than we need. And of course a class B won't do truck jobs. Also we aren't old enough. (ducking and running for cover ) We really don't want a dedicated camping vehicle. Something more competent off road is also desirable
Incidentally, use of the toilet on the road would primarily be by people who would not have to duck in an unpopped camper. They could probably use a portapotty in the back of a pickup with a simple shell, too. So I guess that's the backup plan if we don't find a suitable TC.
(I know all the Outfitters aren't huge, but that Juno model...wowsers. Big!)
MKish, in reading your posts, it appears to me you came into this wanting a pop-up TC. As with the hard sides, many to choose from, in weight, height, amenities and all else. I think biggest single difference in comparing pop-ups to hard side TCs is the amount of drama required to use the TC while on the road or camping, especially true with kids. Slides and pop-ups can block the pooper unless opened up. To simply stop your RV, open the door and use the pooper (especially with kids) make a lot of sense to me, over raising the top or opening a slide.
I have owned several TCs through the years, buy never a pop-up. I now have a 11.5 foot hard TC without slides. I drive as fast as I want, depending on the road conditions and speed limit. I have been getting 12 to 14 MPG for over six years. Your driving skills, comfort level, and how your truck is setup will make all the difference in white knuckles. I suggest you keep these three things in mind, they can make your TC experience great or a nightmare.
I want to use my TC, and work on it when I want to, not because I have to. I will not argue with someone that is of the belief the maintenance is just as great with a hard side that has no slide TC, or a pop-up. The less openings (and seams) and moving parts, less maintenance.
I think you are doing yourself and your family a great service be asking for others experiences and with what kind of TC setup. You will eventually make your decision (pop-up, hard side or neither) an informed one to suit your preferences and needs.
Never had a hardside so have nothing to compare it too. What I do know is that my DW & I drove our Outfitter across the country and back last summer in all kinds of weather. Never had any problems with fighting high winds. Is that because it's a little lighter with a slightly lower vertical COG than a lot of hardsides? I don't know, have nothing to compare it with.
I also know that we ate and used the bathroom with the top down. No extra work involved there.
The drama involved with raising the roof involves pushing a button and a 60 seconds later the top is up. Drama is over.
I agree with Wayne in that you need to find out for yourself based on your needs and preferences. I also agree with Wayne that moving parts eventually will have maintenance needs. I haven't heard any horror stories regarding the lift system for the roof but last time I checked, Murphy's Law is always lying in wait. If you find yourself in the Las Vegas area, I'll be happy to show you our TC.
I've never seen the Juno model either and I've been to the Outfitter factory several times!
* This post was
edited 12/09/11 03:15pm by dadwolf2 *
I don't know how many people the OP is going to have, but for hitting the highway at 65+, I'd consider a class C built on a 4x4 pickup truck chassis. It isn't a TC, but it might be an acceptable alternative, and it likely can go 75-80 safely, although MPG will suffer, of course.
Thanks for the offer, Dadwolf. The Outfitters are certainly nicely uhh outfitted. They are quite a bit nicer than what we'd initially planned--not that there's anything wrong with that! We were first inspired to research truck campers by a little FWC on a half ton truck. We aren't looking for sophisticated amenities.
We had initially planned on a popup when we started researching and it can sort of balloon when you look at everything that's out there. But when we think about how much time we plan on spending IN a TC instead of driving it around, we think smaller would be more to our liking.
Narrower is definitely a requirement for storage as well as city driving. Better for backroads too. Guess I just need to decide how tall.
A class C or B (yes, I had to look those up!) won't do because we need a pickup that can be a pickup when it's not being a campingmobile.
I am going to go to a pop-up in a few years (Hallmark Cuchara XL) - just waiting for my kids to graduate from University to free up some money. I want a lower profile to get into the back country and reduce wind resistance on the highway. My Adventurer has a huge overhang. I find my fuel economy is worse in the prairies then in the mountains due to head wind. I try not to go over 60 mph and when given the opportunity I will use back roads where I can travel at 50 - 55 mph. The truck and camper is stable at 75 mph, but the fuel economy is 11.5 mpg. I went down to Hallmark this last summer and had the tour and found the camper met my needs. You can have lunch in it without lifting the roof, but you would need to raise the roof to use the washroom. Raising the roof was quick and easy as it was electric. The camper is a better design for four season camping then my current one.
I had a pop up. loved it as I was an avid off-roader and I could tow my 4x4. One year on a month long trip, packing up one morning the kids (3-6 at the time) disturbed my routine. I did not get the two front latches done up. End result was loosing the roof completely on the hwyay. Thank god I did not kill anyone and for the makers of duct tape. I was able to gt the roof off the hyway, hoist it back on and duct tape it in place. We bought a tent at the next city and got into a routine of pulling the mattress out of the camper nightly and putting them in the tent. We could still use the fridge stove and dinette. Put one of those check list things like a pilot on the steering wheel.
We have two other camping buddies that we travel with. I have a K2500 Duramax and tow a 21T Komfort trailer with no slides. Joe has a nice Alpenlite Fifthwheel he tows behind a Powerstroke. Chris has an Alpenlite Camper he carries on his 4 door Powerstroke.
I can go faster , easier because:
My truck weighs 7900# hooked up and I have 4900# on my trailer axles. I have about 900 # tongue weight.
Joe's fifth wheel weighs a lot more and would handle the higher speed if his rig had more power to pull the additional 3000# his combined weight is. We have raced uphill on the 3 lane I5 hills from Redding CA to Weed CA and my lighter weight wins repeatedly even though his newer Ford has more Torque.
Chris' camper will definitely turn around better when we boondock. He loves to lead us into dead ends in the Ochoco, Willamette, and Fremont National Forest. I have ridden in and driven Chris pickup and the additional top heaviness makes for less safe handling at speed.
I believe there is no substitute for a heavier tow rig than your trailer.
My solution has worked well. Non-slide Travel Trailer can go faster than a Camper under most conditions. And I have more room.