02 Nov

RVFTA #166: The $1,000 Used Pop Up Camper

On this episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we are telling the story behind our recent purchase of a $1,000 used pop up camper.

No, we didn’t get rid of the 2017 Jayco Octane 272. We just became a two-RV family.

Why on earth did we do that? We’ll go through the whole process from deciding to get a second RV to tracking down the perfect unit to negotiating a fair price to all of our plans for the remodel.

Segment One: The Used Pop Up Camper Hunt

There are many reasons why a used pop up camper was on our radar even though we just bought a brand spankin’ new toy hauler last winter.

The Octane toy hauler makes a ton of sense for us as a family, especially considering how much time we spend in our RV and how much gear we bring on our longer trips. However, the decision to go bigger came with some tradeoffs.

Heads up: everything comes with trade offs…

We now have to store our Octane away from our house, and quick weekend trips are more of a challenge. Plus, there are many rustic public campgrounds that are simply off limits to a rig that is over 30 feet.

I (Stephanie) also have the opportunity to attend lots of girl camper events. There is no way I would tow the enormous family camper to one of those weekend campouts. That would be ridiculous for too many reasons to list.


We decided to put our money where our mouth is. We made a big mistake 8 years ago when we spend too much money on a new pop up camper and then took a financial hit when upgrading to a travel two years later. We highly recommend that listeners think about a used pop up as an affordable and fun way to enter into the RV lifestyle.

Think of this pop up camper as a living example of us practicing what we preach: cheap, used pop up campers are awesome.

In this first segment of the podcast, we also discuss all the budget and spec parameters we placed on our hunt, including a very strict dollar limit and a total ban on Craigslist.

The search took about two months, and plenty of our lowball offers were rejected. But ultimately, we came home with a used pop up camper that hit all the checkmarks on our list. You can listen to the episode to hear all the details.

Segment Two: Penny the $1000 Used Pop Up Camper

Penny the Pop Up is a 1996 Jayco Eagle Series 8 pop up camper. You can click here to see the entire PDF brochure from Jayco for this series of pop up campers.

We were looking for something small, simple, and in fabulous condition, and Penny hit the mark in all these categories.

A little safety maintenance work was in order immediately. We brought the pop up directly to a local trailer supply shop to have her axle inspected and lubed, plus we had safety chains welded on.

Some of our plans for Penny’s refresh include:

  • Reupholstering the cushions
  • Slip covers for the beds
  • Replacing curtains
  • Laying new flooring
  • Installing a Porti Potti closet
  • Cleaning the exterior and refreshing the decals

Stay tuned for updates on all these projects. We’ll definitely be keeping our winterization blues in check by having fun with our inexpensive used pop up camper!

We also chat about how Penny got her name…and how the Octane Toy Hauler was finally named as a direct result.

Additional Information: RV News Minute and RVFTA News Roundup

Other information and links mentioned in this episode include…

Other RVFTA Pop Up Camper Episodes include…

Tips for Buying A Used Pop Up Camper with the Pop Up Princess

RV Makeover 101 with the Pop Up Princess

An Ode to the Pop Up Camper

And our second podcast episode EVER: Pros and Cons of a Pop Up Camper

See you at the campground!

Stephanie + Jeremy

A great, big thanks to our sponsors who support weekly content for all our RV fools…

27 Sep

Pros and Cons of a Pop Up Camper

So many folks enter the world of RVing by purchasing a pop up camper.


Well, mostly because of the price. Pop up campers are simply more affordable than many other RV options.

But people are also attracted to the ‘camping’ feeling of a pop up camper. When all the canvas is unzipped, you almost feel like you are in a tent…without the whole sleeping on the ground nonsense.

There are many other reasons that pop up campers are attractive to the first-time RV buyer, and we explore all those pros in one of our earliest episodes of RV Family Travel Atlas. Personally, we think pop ups are just awesome (which is why we recently bought a cheapo used one to replace the one we sold about six years ago!).

Nevertheless, the truth is that most people buy a pop up camper and end up trading it in for a travel trailer within a very short period of time. And many of those people lose money in the process. A pop up camper might be the perfect option for your family, but we highly recommend taking a listen to all our podcast episode content on pop ups before buying one yourself.


Here are some of our other resources to dive into before making that pop up camper purchase…

  1. Read some of Jeremy’s thoughts about buying a pop up camper, and why we consider it the best and worst purchase we ever made.
  2. Listen to our “Ode to a Pop Up Camper” episode, which we produced after a listener said we were being to hard on the pop up camper.
  3. Join our private RVFTA Facebook Group and search for some pop up camper posts to see what our listeners think about pop up campers. You can also post any questions you have there and folds will give you friendly and helpful answers…we promise!
  4. Listen to our episode on buying a USED pop up camper with guest Larissa Richardson from the Pop Up Princess. She is simply the expert in the world of pop up campers and has a great checklist to download (you can find it in the post linked above!).
  5. Make sure you seriously consider hybrid travel trailers as well. Check out RVFTA episode #77: Pros and Cons of a Hybrid Travel Trailer. 

Lastly, seriously reconsider your assumptions about the price and size of travel trailers. We personally believe there is no better buy out there in the world of entry-level RVs than the the Jayco Jay Flight SLX 174BH, which we know can be purchased for around 10K, and towed by a well-equipped SUV (GVWR, 3750).

Pop up campers are awesome for a lot of different reasons. But is it the right RV for you? Take a listen to this episode, talk to people who have owned a pop up, and seriously consider the alternatives before making a decision!

See you at the campground…

Stephanie + Jeremy