camper buying tips

camper buying tips

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We did it! We bought our very first camper!! We had to jump through a few hoops to get it, but we have a nice shiny camper sitting on our driveway now. I want to tell you all about the hoops that we had to jump through and the things our salesman didn’t tell us so that you are prepared if you decide to buy a camper. I am by no means an expert on this (in fact I would say that I am a noob). I’m very thankful we have a helpful service technician who walked us through our complications.

  1. You need a good tow hitch with sway control.

    When we looked into buying our camper we had neither of these things. We knew we would at the very least need to buy a tow hitch. Our sales guy advised us to get a sway control, but he told us that if we couldn’t afford one we could get by without it for a while.

    We had a long conversation with my father-in-law, a seasoned camper. He told us that he wouldn’t tow a camper without sway control. Safety first is his motto. He doesn’t like spending money so when he tells us to spend the extra money on the sway control we listen.
  2. You need a camper cover and wheel covers.

    I specifically asked our sales guy, “Ok, so what are all of the extra things we will need to buy for our camper?” His response was, “You’ll probably spend around $150 on hoses, level blocks, and a hitch. Water hoses and sewage hoses.” He never once mentioned buying a cover and wheel covers.

    Our service technician who did our walkthrough (he was VERY thorough) told us we needed to at a minimum get tire cover to keep our tires from rotting. He strongly urged us to get a camper cover to prevent water build-up and damage.
  3. Don’t buy supplies from the same place you buy your camper.

    You might be given a “discount card” when you purchase your camper and be told you are going to save all kinds of money. You’ll save a little money, but you can save even more if you hold off and go to Walmart or order the supplies online.
  4. You will need a brake controller for the camper.

    Unless you have a massive truck that comes with a factory installed brake controller, you will need to either install one or have one installed. You can get the brake controllers locally at O’Reilley’s and you’ll need the adaptor cord that you might have to order online. These parts will probably range from around $75-$200.

    I’ll give you a hint on my next tip. It has to do with installation.
  5. Save yourself some major moolah, by installing the brake controller yourself.

    Camping World was going to charge us $1,000 to install our brake controller. We were almost at our breaking point with spending money on this thing and we were ready to walk away and tent camp another year. My genius husband did some research and decided to give the installation a shot himself. We paid a total of $100 for the brake controller and adapter and he installed and mounted it himself. That saved us $900.

    When we picked up the camper the service technician helped us calibrate the brake controller and verified that it was working (and it was!) and sent us on our way. My husband scored major points on that one!

These are just the top 5 things that I can think of that we experienced when we bought our camper. Buying a camper is definitely not a plug and play process. There is a lot to learn (we are still learning). Research, research, research.

I want to hear from other seasoned campers. What is your camper buying tips?


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  1. Camping is so much fun! Thanks for the info. We are always thinking of new ideas for family trips and getting a trailer has definitely come up.

  2. I would love to have a camper, can’t get my hubby on board

  3. Wow..congratulations on your first camper. I’m so jealous right now, I would love to have one too. Hehe anyway, enjoy and happy camping 😊

  4. Super great tips!! My husband wants to buy a camper so I’ll have to remember these tips!

  5. Great tips. My husband has been looking into a camper and I’ll have to share. Love the tip about installing the brake controller yourself.

  6. Congratulation on your camper, I think it’s an amazing way to explore the world.

  7. Absolutely loved this ! I think every family ends up buying a camper but we never think about the stuff that we need to add! thanks for sharing this post, very useful!
    The Handy Journal-

  8. I have never had a camper or even stayed in one so I would have no idea what to look for or expect. This is really helpful.

  9. Congratulations!!! You are going to love it! We camp on average 55-60 days/year! Love all your tips and am impressed you even know what half of that is. My husband does it all and I do all the packing of the stuff. Ha! And with us living in AZ, we really need a camper cover because the sun can really do some damage. And yes, try to do as much of the maintenance/fixes as you can. Praise God, for YouTube right? Camper repair places are soo expensive so we are super thankful my husband is very mechanically inclined. Have fun!

  10. Will keep it in mind! Those are very goods tips.

  11. I agree with you. Buying it doesn’t mean the end of the line. It would be great to continue on researching. With this you can maximize the experience. It would surely be fun!

    Cha at Little MisadvenCHA

  12. Congrats on your first Camper! It’s lovely! We have yet to buy one yet, we haven’t even bought a tent! But living on the West Coast, it’s imperative that we get on that right away. Thanks for the tips, it will def save us a lot of headache. I too, am a noob, much more than you!

  13. This is quite informative and I can see how this would be useful. I know absolutely nothing about camping so I’d definitely check back in here to get some pointers 🙂

  14. I would love to get a camper because I really love the idea of camping, just not in a tent, lol! These look like suggestions to remember if we do end up getting one someday!

  15. This is great we have been wanting to buy a camper.

  16. We have talked about getting a camper for years. It sounds like a fun way to go camping! I wouldn’t know where to begin when it comes to buying one – thanks for the tips!

  17. I have heard that cambers can be tricky because of the way they attach to the car. If I was to ever buy one, I would chose a motorhome that doesn’t need towing.

  18. My family and I want to get an RV so bad. We’ll definitely put these tips to use when looking.

  19. I used to enjoy camping back in grade school, and as I grow up, I enjoyed other travel lifestyle. This camper gives safety and convenience too.

  20. Sorry to say , never been camping at all. This is such a comprehensive list that I’m sure will be useful for when we do go. Saving it for reference.

  21. O wow this was very interesting and informative! Cramping sounds like a awesome experience!

  22. We used to own an rv park. Great tips here. They are so cheap here becauae of the oilfield.

  23. I would love to buy a camper and go travelling around Europe. It is on my bucket list of things to do! Thanks for sharing this.

  24. How exciting, congrats! These are such great tips. I would love to get one in the future!

  25. Wow that’s going to be a fun fir sure. Looking forward for more upcoming camper related posts related to buying renting fixing anything. That’s a great info. Thanks fir sharing.

  26. I’ve never been camping but, I’ve always wanted to go. These are great tips I’ll definitely be sharing.

  27. Gotta show this to my mother in law! She’s obsessed with getting a camper!

  28. I want a camper so bad! Thanks for the tips!

  29. We have never used a camper, but we go camping a lot and we have thought a lot about how a camper would make life easier. Good tips if we ever decide to go with a camper!

  30. Great tips. Never been on a camper but we were suppose to go this summer up north in an RV with friends. Dont think that is going to happen anymore.

  31. Great tips,! Congratulations on your camper

  32. I’ve thought about getting a camper so many times. I’ll remember this post if we do!

  33. Great tips for camping with a camper. I have never done camping yet. This post makes me want to do camping

  34. we do plan to rent one someday and go on a long road trip so these tips will definitely be useful there too

  35. What a fun way to explore as a family!

  36. This post contains very good information about camping tips. Everyone should know those tips before going to any campaign. I’ll highly recommend this source to my friends.

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