As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?