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Pop Up Slide-in Campers - All Terrain, Four Wheel, etc. - Anyone have one?

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  • Pop Up Slide-in Campers - All Terrain, Four Wheel, etc. - Anyone have one?

    So, after a frustrating Eurovan experience (we sold it before ever using it given the amount of work it would need), we decided to sell our Honda Element, buy a truck and purchase an All Terrain Camper. I've posted about my simple Element conversion before, and it really served us well (it's now been passed on to another forum member), but it just wouldn't work with a family of three, given the back seats have to be removed to make it usable.

    So, the truck has been purchased and the camper has been ordered...it should be done in the first week of August! We went with a simple interior - wrap around couch on the bottom that will convert into a twin bed, queen bed over the cab, and a heater with some counter space above it. We are super stoked for it to arrive and can't wait for trips to the east side, Lassen, Shasta, the Northwest, the Southwest, etc.

    Anyone have an All Terrain Camper or Four Wheel Camper that wants to share thoughts on mods, additions, experiences, etc.

  • #2
    We had a Westfalia. Loved the interior but it didn't make it home from the east side for four months after a vacation. Fixed it and sold it.

    Bought a Element and converted the back to a bed. Worked ok for a trip to Moab and many nights at Lassen. Moved to Washington. Used the Element for trips to BC, Baker, Methow Valley. With a big dog, rain and much colder temps the Honda wasn't really cutting it.

    Bought a Four Wheel on Craigs List. Bought a new Tacoma. Love the big bed. Love the dependable truck. Love the heater. Realllly love the heater. In Manning Park and again in the Methow we have camped when temps were in the teens. It's great to do some laps, retreat to the warm camper, eat and read, then do it all over again.

    We don't use the sink. We use a ice box for fridge. Carry paddle boards on top, skis and bikes on a hitch rack.

    Go to wanderthewest.com for a great forum on all things pop-up.

    Congradulations!

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    • #3
      I've been camping out of a westy for 15 years but it isn't for everyone. The price of VWs has climbed so high that the inserts make a lot of sense. I have several friends in them. I'll ask around for any essential fixes.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Edgewood View Post
        We had a Westfalia. Loved the interior but it didn't make it home from the east side for four months after a vacation. Fixed it and sold it.

        Bought a Element and converted the back to a bed. Worked ok for a trip to Moab and many nights at Lassen. Moved to Washington. Used the Element for trips to BC, Baker, Methow Valley. With a big dog, rain and much colder temps the Honda wasn't really cutting it.

        Bought a Four Wheel on Craigs List. Bought a new Tacoma. Love the big bed. Love the dependable truck. Love the heater. Realllly love the heater. In Manning Park and again in the Methow we have camped when temps were in the teens. It's great to do some laps, retreat to the warm camper, eat and read, then do it all over again.

        We don't use the sink. We use a ice box for fridge. Carry paddle boards on top, skis and bikes on a hitch rack.

        Go to wanderthewest.com for a great forum on all things pop-up.

        Congradulations!
        yeah, we are psyched for the option to take laps, warm up, etc. think it will be great in resort lots too when we need to trade off and have a warm place for the little one to nap while one of us gets to keep skiing/touring/biking, etc. i'm also thinking that we will use a hitch rack for bikes and have racks on top for a paddle board, rocket box if we need extra space or for other large items.

        i'm on wanderthewest too and find it really helpful but wanted some thoughts from this community as well.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Matt J View Post
          I've been camping out of a westy for 15 years but it isn't for everyone. The price of VWs has climbed so high that the inserts make a lot of sense. I have several friends in them. I'll ask around for any essential fixes.
          if i could afford to miss a week of work when my westy broke down, i would have one. they are awesome and i have a good friend with one and love to road trip in it. his life is flexible enough that spending an extra week in red rocks while his van is fixed works out for him. i bought a eurovan thinking it would be more dependable, and it might have been, but by the time i got it in a dependable state it was going to be close to 30k and it just didn't seem worth it for a 1997 vehicle. both the tacoma and ATC camper hold their value and i hope to have them for a long time...

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          • #6
            It's pretty hard to lift the top with the paddle boards or full box on top.

            Camping at Lassen last year we had a big, wet snowfall. I didn't realize that it was coming down so hard. The back (door) side of the camper collapsed. If both ends had come down I'd be a goner. Next time I'll get up every couple hours to shovel the roof and I've made some prop sticks to go between the wall trim and camper top. The snow did ski nice that morning!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by shoestring View Post
              if i could afford to miss a week of work when my westy broke down, i would have one. they are awesome and i have a good friend with one and love to road trip in it. his life is flexible enough that spending an extra week in red rocks while his van is fixed works out for him. i bought a eurovan thinking it would be more dependable, and it might have been, but by the time i got it in a dependable state it was going to be close to 30k and it just didn't seem worth it for a 1997 vehicle. both the tacoma and ATC camper hold their value and i hope to have them for a long time...
              I don't know if it has to be that hard. Maybe I've gotten lucky, but I've only had one repair that kept me overnight in 15 years and 200K miles. I do think that there are some common problems and if you head them off that helps a lot. I do a lot of preventive maintenance like flushing the cooling system today. Also, being mechanically inclined and working on them yourself helps a lot. I can remember heading off a starter glitch by buying one before leaving Boise and then changing it out when it wouldn't fire in a pull out in the rain next to the N. Fork Payette. Replaced the alternator once in my sis's driveway. They're easy to work on. Only usually require metric sockets and open-end wrenches. That's enough about Westys though. Congrats on the camper! A good friend, the one who originally turned me on to Westys, has been rocking a big Ford with an insert for about 10 years now. He swears by it. I've camped with him and it's far more luxurious than my van. The only real drawback for his setup is the fuel costs, but he makes better money than me and doesn't seem to mind it too much.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Matt J View Post
                I don't know if it has to be that hard. Maybe I've gotten lucky, but I've only had one repair that kept me overnight in 15 years and 200K miles. I do think that there are some common problems and if you head them off that helps a lot. I do a lot of preventive maintenance like flushing the cooling system today. Also, being mechanically inclined and working on them yourself helps a lot. I can remember heading off a starter glitch by buying one before leaving Boise and then changing it out when it wouldn't fire in a pull out in the rain next to the N. Fork Payette. Replaced the alternator once in my sis's driveway. They're easy to work on. Only usually require metric sockets and open-end wrenches. That's enough about Westys though. Congrats on the camper! A good friend, the one who originally turned me on to Westys, has been rocking a big Ford with an insert for about 10 years now. He swears by it. I've camped with him and it's far more luxurious than my van. The only real drawback for his setup is the fuel costs, but he makes better money than me and doesn't seem to mind it too much.
                yeah, my buddy who has one works on it himself, loves doing it, and has the time. i don't have the skills, time or interest, really. in the end, i think that the camper is going to work really well for us, particularly because we will have it on a four wheel drive vehicle, which it pretty nice for mountain living, heading the east side, etc.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Edgewood View Post
                  It's pretty hard to lift the top with the paddle boards or full box on top.

                  Camping at Lassen last year we had a big, wet snowfall. I didn't realize that it was coming down so hard. The back (door) side of the camper collapsed. If both ends had come down I'd be a goner. Next time I'll get up every couple hours to shovel the roof and I've made some prop sticks to go between the wall trim and camper top. The snow did ski nice that morning!
                  interesting - i wonder if adding the struts will help with the snow load? i've heard that it doesn't make too big of a difference when lifting with stuff on top, which kinda surprised me. i imagine that we would use the rocket box for our lightest supplies, if and when necessary...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by shoestring View Post
                    interesting - i wonder if adding the struts will help with the snow load? i've heard that it doesn't make too big of a difference when lifting with stuff on top, which kinda surprised me. i imagine that we would use the rocket box for our lightest supplies, if and when necessary...
                    I usually keep wet paddling gear and paddles inside the box, but I haven't ever experienced trouble lifting the pop up unless there's a lot of weight up there, like 300+ lbs. A helper becomes necessary if the weight's too great. The frame for the VW top is sturdy tubular steel but if it weren't I'd be more concerned about the load holding than getting it up.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by matt j View Post
                      ......i'd be more concerned about the load holding than getting it up.
                      that's what she said!!!!!

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                      • #12
                        Slight thread drift. Anyone ever use a cordless drill and a Socket Genie (tm) to raise and lower their pop-up [of any kind, not just slide-ins or the two brands mentioned]? I am wondering specifically if anyone has used the cheaper drills and if they noticed a reduced lifespan? I am trying to avoid turning the thread into a which is best cordless drill thread, I am more interested in if anyone has stripped out the nylon gears on a cheaper drill using it for this purpose. We can talk brands in another thread. Oh ya, pics or it didn't happen.
                        "Nobody ever got my name right." - Me

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                        • #13
                          Makita.
                          Originally posted by riser3 View Post
                          Slight thread drift. Anyone ever use a cordless drill and a Socket Genie (tm) to raise and lower their pop-up [of any kind, not just slide-ins or the two brands mentioned]? I am wondering specifically if anyone has used the cheaper drills and if they noticed a reduced lifespan? I am trying to avoid turning the thread into a which is best cordless drill thread, I am more interested in if anyone has stripped out the nylon gears on a cheaper drill using it for this purpose. We can talk brands in another thread. Oh ya, pics or it didn't happen.
                          Lift served and proud of it.

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