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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my good friend told me his father will sell me his pop up camper cheap. I don’t know anything about it except it has AC. I am thinking about getting it and modifying it to handle light trails. My ideas is I can drop the trailer in semi remote area, in hook it and go hit the tough trails.
What I am thinking about doing.
1. Moving the leaf springs on top of the axel to give me a few inch body lift.
2. Increase wheel/tire size to increase ground clearance, I Would love matching my rig but unlikely it would fit
3. Light duty skid plates in a few key areas.
4. Do you have any ideas?
Plus and minuses- please add to this list

Plus
1. I can leave a lot of gear in the camper and lighten my load when off roading.
2. Way more comfortable than a tent. A/C , fridge, bed, heat, AC/DC power.
3. It’s cheap
4. Lengthen my camping season (AC/Heat)
Minus
1. End up sleeping in populated camp sites majority of the time (huge minus)
2. Limit off road use of truck when hooked up to camper
3. Leave me Less $ for gear for non camper “longer overland” trips.
4. Possible delays in travel due to broken parts on the camper

You have been there and done that so read the rest and leave me you comments please.

I just got my rig and plan on doing to some traveling to local and/or populated areas for a year or so until I test out and have confidence in my rig as well The confidence I have gained enough knowledge and gear for longer trips. I am thinking the camper would be a perfect place to start. I hate sleeping on the ground and the camper with planned mods is going to be less than1/3 the cost of a roof top tent. Any comments , knowledge, ideas???? Yes, No?? Stupid idea ? Brilliant idea?
 

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We use to do pack back camping. Now camping is in our pop up with AC, fridge, stove, heat, screen room, potty and hot shower. The pop up is on the heavy side but the X handles it well especially with added rear air springs for the 400+ lb tongue weight. Enjoy!
 

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Well I have owned a Coleman pop-up tent trailer for 20+ years now and have towed across rough ground I wished I hadn't, but for the most part it's been good and enjoyable.
Here's my two-cents....pop up trailers are built very poorly with minimal structure and the wood that is in them is held together with just staples usually. They are not very well built for off road (even light). They are also not very warm in cold temperatures. They are great improvement over tents for rainy weather as they are off the ground. If you like tenting you will like a pop up. Good room, excellent sleeping area and easy to tow.
I still enjoy my pop up tent trailer for some camping with my family but if I am doing real rugged country camping and/or in cold weather I prefer my wall tent with wood stove that gets loaded in a decent utility trailer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have been reading forums and waterproofing and insulating the floor is a must for trails. Everyone starts these threads about converting pops for off road and then .... crickets. Wondering why there is no follow up. Maybe I will be the first to report a success or disaster.
 

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The framing on pop up and actually most campers are really sad , you can do a lot to reinforce it by simply tearing out all the cabinets and and bed supports rebuilding it with real lumber, good glue and screws . Be gentle with it Offroad and it will last a lot longer .
 

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Had a Sunhaven DD by Coachmen a long time ago. The floor was OSB, the frame was either 2 1/2 or 3" C channel. I considered flipping the axle only to learn that part of the suspension set-up is in the axle itself. It is arched just a bit so putting the springs ontop means welding new perches ontop the axle. One of the best things I did was to have a skid plate made, just a piece of steel about 4 inches wide, and clamped to the axle at an angle so the axle wouldn't get hung up on rocks. In looking at the underside of a popup you'll notice that the gas line is exposed or barely protected and the wiring is is exposed also, especially if you have electric brakes like mine did.

You mentioned A/C and fridge. Unless you have a generator you aren't going to use the A/C in the boonies, and the fridge will nibble away at your propane. Be prepared to spend money for a second battery and solar if you boondock. Also your water supply will be limited.

I hauled mine through some rough places that in reality I shouldn't have but it survived. In the end we started staying in campgrounds where there was water and electric hook ups, and the kid could play in the pool. If I had to do it again, I'd get a little trailer like a Casita or Scamp that is fully contained and use that as a base, not dragging it way back in the boonies, but just the ability to dry camp someplace for a couple of days until I hit a regular campground.
 

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Ive camped in a pop-up a fair amount and assisted in rebuilding one to use as a hunting camper.

I will second the fact these things are put together very cheaply.
Light weight materials , glue and staples abound.

Imo...the typical popup is best used in being towed to a flat secure area and parked.
I wouldnt try what I consider light trail riding with any of the popups ive used.

I would rather tow a 5x8 utility trailer off trail than I would a popup
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well maybe I should weld some sections of Diamond plate over the plywood floor. That would look cool and should make it tough. Yes, No, Maybe?
 

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Anything you can do to shore it up will help. The pop up mechanisms in these things are also notorious for crapping out so reinforcing and making them more accessible for repairs would be a good idea if you're going off road with it.

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
 

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Well maybe I should weld some sections of Diamond plate over the plywood floor. That would look cool and should make it tough. Yes, No, Maybe?
Whatcha going to weld it to? It's still a plywood floor underneath. And if you actually have a plywood floor your ahead of many as lots of the trailers have particle board(mdf) or osb board. Save your money and weight for other camping accessories
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I was hoping there would be metal frame around the outside of the plywood. Maybe it will be a street only camper. Bummer. If I do mod and try on light trails you will get pics mid summer.
 

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I was hoping there would be metal frame around the outside of the plywood. Maybe it will be a street only camper. Bummer. If I do mod and try on light trails you will get pics mid summer.
I highly doubt that there is a metal frame around the wood.
 

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Ps Typical popup has 4 extendable legs which stabilizes it when not attached to your vehicle.

Swapping your axle to gain more clearance for off roading may limit the ability of your legs to perform their jobs.
 
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man, from the way people talk about them its amazing these things even make it to the campsite!

sounds like it would be ok but only for VERY LIGHT applications off pavement.

how old is this thing? relatively new? idk if thats good or bad, but i feel like an older one would be ripe with issues.
 

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I had an issue one night with my popup being rocked and coming off of two blocks which the front legs were resting on.

This is a story for another time, but let's simply say it ruined the mood.
 
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