If you are looking for a steal of a deal on a pop-up camper that’s less than $5,000, your only option currently is to purchase one used. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find an excellent camper and get out on the open road for a bargain!
While of course the used inventory of pop-up campers is always changing, we’ll highlight a few options in this article that are available at the time of writing just to give you an idea of what you might find.
Here’s our top 7 list of best pop-up campers under $5,000:
1. 1998 Jayco Heritage
Current RVtrader.com asking price: $3,995
If you can get past the late 90s styling of this one, it looks like a pretty good deal. It has two fold-out sleeping spaces, a sink, bench seating with some “classic” upholstery, a dinette space that appears to convert to another sleeping area, a small fridge, and storage space. Giant mesh windows provide a killer view and excellent airflow inside.
You would get a lot of bang for your buck with this camper in terms of sleeping space and overall interior space, although the styling leaves something to be desired and amenities are minimal. But, it’s nothing some reupholstery couldn’t remedy.
More info: cunninghamcampers.com
2. 2001 Jayco Eagle 12MK
Asking price: $4,680
This pop-up camper ups the ante with a slide-out! It can sleep up to six people between the two fold-out beds and the dinette that converts to a third bed. It has a sink and fridge, as well as some counter space and storage space. From looking at the pictures, it appears that this model might have a swivel-out kitchen with a built-in stovetop.
That’s the thing about shopping used – owners don’t always give you a full accounting of the features and amenities in the listing. You can always reach out to them directly for more information.
More info: jayco.com
3. 2002 Coleman Westlake
Current RVtrader.com asking price: $4,999
This pop-up camper actually has quite a few amenities, including sleeping space for seven (two king beds, a dinette that turns into a bed, and a sofa bed), a swing galley with a 3-burner stove, a microwave, a sink, and a fridge, a wet bath, storage throughout, and an outdoor awning.
These double-fold-out designs almost have the feel of the tent from Harry Potter – they look tiny when they are packed away but are actually massive inside and can accommodate a large family.
4. 2006 Fleetwood RV Santa Fe
Current RVtrader.com asking price: $4,980
This pop-up camper features a 3-burner stove, a sink, a small fridge, bench seating with plenty of storage, three beds (two fold-outs and a convertible dinette), and plenty of large airy windows.
This camper does not appear to have any toilet or shower amenities, although the owner has indicated that it’s self-contained so there may be a portable toilet stashed away somewhere.
More info: rvtrader.com
5. 2004 Forest River Rockwood 1610
Current RVtrader.com asking price: $4,900
This listing has only exterior photos and essentially no details regarding the interior or the included amenities. But, it can sleep up to four people and it’s less than $5k!
More info: forestriverinc.com
6. 2007 Forest River RV Flagstaff 206LTD
Current RVtrader.com asking price: $4,995
This camper can sleep up to six people and has a two-burner cooktop that can be moved outside, a booth-style dinette, a sink, a fridge, a heater, a fold-out queen bed at the front and a fold-out full bed at the back, and additional sleeping space when you convert the dinette to a bed. There is also storage throughout.
Again, we’ve got some outdated upholstery, but that can easily be updated to give the camper a whole new feel.
More info: forestriverinc.com
7. 2006 Jayco Jay Series 1206
Current RVtrader.com asking price: $4,995
This is another pop-up camper with a slide-out for the dinette, providing more interior floor space. It’s got kitchen amenities including a two-burner stove, a sink, and a small fridge, two large fold-out beds, and a couch that looks like it might fold out for additional sleeping space.
More info: jayco.com
How To Choose a Pop-Up Camper Under $5,000
Choosing a pop-up camper can be difficult due to the vast amount of available options, but you can narrow it down by asking yourself the following questions:
What Kind of Shape Is It In?
This is obviously a question that applies specifically to shopping for used pop-up campers, but it’s an important one. If you only have $5,000 to spend on a used RV, you definitely want to be sure that you are getting your money’s worth and that you won’t immediately be saddled with expensive repair bills.
So, it’s crucial to inspect any used pop-up camper before you purchase it. Ask the seller to fully open it up so you can inspect the entire thing, and check for cracks, potential leaks, wear and tear, any obviously missing components, and so forth. If possible, hook up the camper to power and propane and test elements like the lights, the fridge, the stove, the running water, etc.
Keep in mind that repairs can get very expensive very fast, so if it seems like the camper will need a lot of work, you may want to pass on it.
What’s Your Vehicle’s Towing Capacity?
Obviously, you’ll need to be able to tow the trailer, so before you begin shopping, consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual to find out how much weight your vehicle can safely tow. Remember to account for the added weight of water, propane, gear, food, and other supplies when you are calculating the total weight of a pop-up camper – weights displayed on the for sale pages are generally empty weights.
And, it’s a good idea to stay under the maximum towing capacity if possible. Your vehicle will handle more easily and it will brake and accelerate more quickly if you don’t overload it.
How Many People Will Be Sleeping in the Camper?
Ideally, you’ll find a used camper available that has enough sleeping space for your whole family or camping party. But, if you find a screamin’ deal on a camper that doesn’t quite fit everyone, you can always bring along an extra ground tent and let the kiddos sleep outside if necessary.
Most pop-up campers have plenty of storage space where you can stash the tent, air mattresses, and bedding to make this happen.
Do You Need a Bathroom?
Whether you need a bathroom in your camper largely depends on where you’ll be camping. If you are only heading to organized campgrounds with bathroom facilities, it’s not worth the extra cost and sacrificed space to have a bathroom in your camper.
But, if you are going to be boondocking, having at least a toilet can make your life much easier. Even then, however, it’s not totally necessary to have a built-in bathroom – you can purchase a cheap porta potty and a privacy tent stall and set up an outdoor bathroom.
Do You Need Off-Road Capability?
If you need off-road capability, well, I’ll be honest – none of these used options are likely to cut the mustard. You’ll need something with a beefy chassis, an actual suspension system, and reinforced construction that can stand up to trail abuse. Unfortunately, this is likely to cost much more than $5,000, although you never know, you might luck out and find a used off-road trailer for sale.
Do You Need Heat?
For three-season camping, you likely will be fine without a heat source. Heating takes a lot of energy, whether that’s propane or solar power or plugging in to hookups. But, if you want to camp in the winter or you really hate being cold, a heater can make your camping experience much more comfortable.
What’s the lightest pop-up camper on the market?
The lightest camper that’s currently being manufactured is the Sylvan Sport Go, which weighs only 840 pounds. Sadly, it retails for almost $10,000, but you may get super lucky and find a used one within the $5,000 budget.
Do pop-up campers have full bathrooms?
Some do, but not all. Many mid-size or large pop-up campers have at least a toilet, sometimes that stows away in a cabinet or sometimes in its own space, and some have a wet bath that combines the toilet and shower space. Some campers also have outdoor shower options. It really just depends on the model.
How much weight can a pop-up camper bed hold?
Fold-out pop-up camper beds can usually hold 1,000-1,200 pounds. Some people worry that they won’t be sturdy enough, but it’s highly unlikely that you will exceed the weight limit of a fold-out bed.
If you are just planning a one-time road trip or if you only camp infrequently, buying a used pop-up camper is much more economical than purchasing a new one and paying the “brand new” tax.
Many people who sell their campers have only used it lightly, which means that you can land a nearly-new camper for an absolute steal. Keep your eye on sites like RVtrader, Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, and even eBay for good deals on used pop-up campers.
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Cat is originally from Seattle, WA but has traveled around the US and Canada full-time in a self-converted school bus with her boyfriend Aaron since April of 2018. She enjoys rock climbing, paddleboarding, hiking, and generally being outdoors!