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Tips For Buying A Used Pop-Up Camper

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A used pop-up camper is a great investment. Enjoy all the features you want as well as a drastically lowered asking price. However, not all models are a steal of a deal. Some are full of hidden issues that will later result in expensive repair fees.

We’ve created the following buyer’s guide to help you find a high-quality used model worth purchasing. If you have any questions or want to explore used pop-up campers for sale, visit Lone Star RV. Our dealership is based in Houston, Texas, and we also proudly serve those in Katy.

Understand The Reality Of Used Pop-Up Camper Repairs

Some used pop-up campers will need minor repairs. These can be simple, quick, and cheap—and certainly not a reason to pass on an otherwise perfect model. In many cases, the previous owner simply ran out of time to get those small fixes handled before selling the rig.

But other used pop-up campers contain serious issues. These repairs will cost a significant amount of money and time. It’s important to be aware of these repairs because they can often be deal breakers.

Be concerned about red flags, such as:

  • A damaged canvas
  • A leaking roof
  • A damaged lift system
  • A bent frame
  • Spots of fresh paint, which may be covering up damage or rust
  • Items or parts that need to be replaced within a year, which needs to be factored into the budget


Think about how much you can realistically dedicate to repairs, which can help you eliminate models that are outside your time or budget constraints at the start of your search.

Inspection Packing List

There are a few key items that will make inspecting the used pop-up camper easier.

  • A flashlight: Use this to look into various nooks and crannies, which helps uncover hidden issues. A handheld flashlight will produce a brighter beam, but a cell phone flashlight can do in a pinch.
  • A way to take notes: Write down any issues you spot, parts you would need to replace, and repairs you would need to make. It helps to have a written record of all the factors to consider, especially if you are checking out more than one used pop-up camper. Either keep track of notes in your phone or in a notebook.
  • A recording device: If the seller is comfortable with it, use a recording device to shoot a walkthrough of the used pop-up camper for you to review at a later date. This is especially beneficial if you are comparing a few different models. You can also record the seller walking you through the various set-up and tear-down steps, which is helpful when you later learn to use the model.
Inspection Checklist

Always thoroughly inspect any used pop-up campers that you are considering.

We recommend running through the following checklist:

  • Roof:
    • Check for leaks and other possible damage.
    • See if the seller will run a hose along the roof, which will test whether it’s truly water tight.
  • Electrical system:
    • Test all the lights to ensure everything is working.
    • If possible, connect the used pop-up camper to your tow vehicle and test the turn signal and brake lights.
  • Tires:
    • Check the tires’ age. Camper trailer tires usually last about three to five years.
    • If the tires are due for replacement, factor that cost into your budget.
  • Floor:
    • Walk around and make sure there are no soft or low spots, which suggest a rotted subfloor.
  • Bunks and any slide-out:
    • Test to ensure they glide smoothly.
  • Lift system:
    • Test the system to ensure it’s running properly.
    • Inspect the frame and lift cables to ensure they are in good condition.
  • Stabilizer jacks:
    • Test to ensure they work without issue.
  • Doors:
    • Level the camper and test the doors. They should close, open, and lock without issue.
  • Tanks, such as the water pump, fresh water tank, and hot water heater
    • Inspect for damage.
    • Test the water pump and water heater to ensure they run well and are free of leaks.
  • Appliances
    • Run the stove and furnace to ensure they function properly.
    • See if the seller is willing to turn on the refrigerator in advance. RV refrigerators can take some time to fully start up. Check the fridge at the end of the inspection to ensure it gets cold enough.
  • The Canvas
    • Look for damage, such as tears or mildew.
    • Test the zippers around the windows.
Ask The Seller Questions

Finally, ask questions to learn as much as you can about the used pop-up camper, such as:

  • Why did the previous owner decide to sell?
  • Where did the pop-up camper travel?
  • How often was the RV used?
  • How was the camper stored?
  • How well was the RV maintained?
  • When were the wheel bearings last repacked (which should happen each year)?

If the used pop-up camper is within your budget, passes inspection, and meets your needs, then you found your perfect fit!

Ready to shop used pop-up campers for sale? Check out the selection at Lone Star RV. Our friendly staff is always happy to answer questions and help you find the best match. Our RV dealership is located in Houston, Texas, and we proudly serve those in Katy as well.

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