am excited to announce the arrival of our new family member……a 1996 Skamper Chateau 21 DL! Our new to us pop up camper was like finding a diamond in the rough.
We started looking at purchasing a pop up camper (PUP’s), last July 2017; after our only (tent camping) trip last summer. Hubby & I were both ready for this change. We (primarily me), searched Craigslist, RV dealers, and FB marketplace for a PUP. At the end of last summer, before our last baby girl was born (late August); we came very close to being under contract with a 2018 Rockwood Freedom….with all the bells & whistles! Thankfully, listening to my gut, I asked for our deposit back (refundable).
The good thing about that experience, we now knew what we wanted (and did not want) in a camper……a 2 year payment was something we didn’t want. After our baby girl was born, I watched FB marketplace for end of the season PUP’s….so I could compare prices & condition of the PUP’s to those who post for sale in the spring (after they have purchased something bigger).
Jump forward to this spring, I watched the ads for PUP’s and found people were buying new campers or upgrading their Pup in May and June. In the area we live, the weather did not get warmuntil the first week of May. I found, that I had the best luck on FB marketplace. I ran into a lot of spam ads on Craigslist. Prices were similar to the fall, some had more urgency as they now had 2 camper payments, and could only afford one.
I set our budget at $1500, then started looking at Pup’s only at the $1000 & under range; “just to see if there was anything out there.” I was listening to RVFTA, on Podcast; and their experience with buying a shiny new Pup, only to loose money on it when they upgraded to a bigger RV 2 to 3 years down the road. On RVFTA, their next Pup they bought was a $1000 pup (1996 jayco eagle 10). They made a few minor upgrades and now camp in it. I thought, well I’m a crafty person, I could do that. I started looking for the $1000 and under Pup’s and make the upgrades to suit my family.
I had seen about 5 Pup’s in person, until one afternoon a few weeks ago I happened to check FB marketplace and came across a recently posted (within the hour); Pup located about 25 minutes from my house. I messaged the person, to see if I could take a look at it that day. I had a pit of my stomach feeling about this one. I drove to their house with 2 of my 3 kids, and we looked at the Pup. I knew immediately this was going to be our new to us Pup. The Pup was in excellent condition, it had 2 owners, and both owners winterized and garaged it during the winter. The canvas was original 1996, no mildew, stains, rips, tears, holes, of any kind. It was in very good condition. The floor was solid, no water damage or soft spots. The pop out beds were in good condition, no water stains or damage (one full and one king sized). The interior had a small kitchen area with pump sink, three way icebox, and propane stove (that was removable to use outdoors). Each end had a U shaped couch, no tables. Each couch had been modified to fold out into a full sized bed. There was a propane heater, and theromstat. There was also one indoor outlet, and one outlet on the outdoors. The owner was selling the Pup with a screen room attachment and outdoors table that also attached to the outside of the camper. The only “issue” was the roof vent leaked, and there was some minor sagging in the ceiling from the leaky vent.
I asked the owner if he would be willing to hold the camper until the next evening, so my hubby could come see it and approve of the purchase. He was willing to hold it for me. (I’m a believer in, if it was meant to be it will happen in your favor. So if he had not been willing to hold the camper for my hubby to see, then the sale was not meant to be.) After I left I did some research on NADA Guides, to see what the fair market value was on the Pup. With the amenities and condition of the Pup; I found out it could have sold for $1400- $1600! The owner was only asking $1000. This also gave me a chance to sleep on the decision, which I needed to do.
The next evening the whole family stopped in, hubby and all 3 kids. Hubby loved it, and we bought it that night (the owner was willing to give us a night to sleep on it, but we didn’t need it,as we knew it was meant to be. Our Chateau came home later that week. Last Friday (after going to the Dmv 3 times), I finally got her registered. Tomorrow my car gets fitted with a hitch for towing (Subaru Outback). Then she will be inspected, and ready for use!
We plan to take apart the ceiling to the roof and repair the leaky vent and water damage. I’ve been doing a lot of research on You-tube about Pup ceiling repair. I’m on several facebook groups (pop up campers, RVFTA the group, & pop up camper modifications), as well as frequently reading on Popupportal.com, and popuprepairs.com. I will be making a blog post of the ceiling repair and any additional upgrades we make before our maiden voyage this August.
They family and I could not be more excited about the new addition to our family. Stay tuned for out Pup renovation adventures. Please enjoy some pictures of our newest family member.