As the weather begins to warm up, perhaps you’re thinking about taking your family out on an adventure, but your budget is tight so you’re looking at ways to save money. It might be time to consider some alternative options. A limited budget is no reason to abandon your adventures, you might just need to consider some not so obvious options.
Rather than seeing the budget as a restricting factor, consider it a challenge to workaround and an opportunity to get creative. An A-frame camper might just be answer you’re looking for, allowing you to get onto the road and enjoy the road trip of a lifetime.
It’s worthwhile exploring your camping options and the various models and types that are available to you, there are numerous budget options available. A budget camper doesn’t mean you need to forgo comfort and ease of use. We believe there are two excellent camper options that are worthy of consideration.
Both popup campers and A-frame campers offer excellent value for money and are easy to use and tow. Out of the two options, we believe that A-frame trailers have the edge over popup trailers, the reasons why we’ll get into shortly.
If you’re wondering what an A-Frame Camper is, it’s basically a type of trailer that lies flat when it’s being stored or when towed, it’s similar to the more common pop-up trailer. When you’ve reached your campsite, the flattened panels come together in order to create a roof shape or a-frame, hence where the name comes from.
We think a frame trailers offer a number of advantages for the budget conscious adventurer.
Lower Price Point
As a frame trailers are relatively small in size, they cost substantially less than a standard travel trailer. This reduced purchase price translates directly into a reduced rental cost. Generally, if something costs less to buy, then renting that thing will be less, allowing you to save money.
A lightweight travel trailer can save you money in a number of ways. First and foremost, the lightweight design means that the towing capacity of your vehicle can also be lower. So, if you don’t own a truck, you can probably still find an a frame camper that your car can tow. This means you don’t have to pay extra in order to rent a larger vehicle.
Fuel efficiency will also come into play with a smaller trailer. As the trailer will exert less drag and will be overall lighter, your car’s engine will not be required to work as hard in order to pull the camper. This will directly translate into saving for you and your family as you head off on your adventure.
Easier to Maneuver
Larger RVs are great, as long as you’re comfortable and experienced maneuvering them into spaces. An A-Frame camper, on the other hand, is straightforward to tow and is something you’ll get used to within a couple of hours.
Additionally, you’ll find that many national or state parks will have trouble accommodating larger rigs. Forcing them to stay in premium private parks which charge you premium prices. This is not an issue you’ll encounter with an A Frame Camper.
Without a shadow of a doubt, smaller trailers are much more wallet-friendly, even when it comes to site rentals.
Why Choose an A Frame Camper Over a Pop Up Camper
A Frame Campers offer one killer feature over pop up campers, and that is they boast hard sides all the way around. In a practical sense, this means you’re going to be far more comfortable in a range of weather conditions. Pop up campers and Hybrids are well known for offering limited insulation for adverse weather conditions. If it’s cold outside, you’re going to feel it inside, if it’s hot outside, it can become uncomfortably hot inside.
This happens because both hybrids and pop up camper feature canvas walls or popouts, which offers little in the way insulation. A frame campers, on the other hand, have solid walls and sandwiched insulation, offering much better protection from the elements.
Buying an A Frame Camper
Long before writing this article, our family spent countless hours looking every sort of camper available, including A Frame Models. As a refresher, I researched the median prices across a number of online and offline dealerships. A new hot of the production line A Frame Camper will likely range between $11,000 and $19,000. A preowned model in good condition will cost anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000.
If you head to a dealership tomorrow with cash in hand, are these prices you’ll really have to pay? As with any big purchase, it pays to shop around and do your research. If you’re willing to do a bit of bartering and pit dealerships against each other, then you can easily get yourself a bargain. I appreciate that not everyone enjoys bartering, but the amount you can save can be significant.
New or Used: Pros and Cons
There’s nothing like getting a new car, a new house or even a new trailer. But it’s worth bearing in mind that there are pros and cons of either option.
If you want to modify your new trailer, you need to be aware that doing so may invalidate your warranty.
While a used trailer is unlikely to have these concerns, and it may already be modded in some way to iron out any niggling issues.
The materials used as well as the complexity of the design will heavily influence the final price of an A-Frame camper. Campers can be made from everything from Fiberglass, all the way up to aluminum. Designs can include slide outs and dormer windows, as well as grills and racks. All of these features will impact the final price, regardless if its new or used.
In addition to the exterior finish, the interior will also impact the final price of the trailer. If the A-Frame has been finished with a linoleum floor, then it’s less costly than a similar camper that has been fitted with tile flooring. If the camper is finished with quality components and careful craftsmanship, such as hand screwed furniture, it’ll cost more than a trailer that’s been finished with a staple gun.
If branded appliances are used, then you can expect a bump in the price over generic brands.
Keep In Mind What’s Important To You
I think this rings true for any trailer type, not just A-Frames, but always consider what aspects of a travel trailer are important to you and what areas you’re not willing to compromise on. I wanted to make sure we had a comfortable nights sleep, but I know that a mattress is very easy to replace, so what came with the trailer wasn’t that important. Additionally, I knew that with 2 kids the flooring and furniture would likely take a lot of punishment. Therefore an easily cleaned robust floor with strong fittings was important to me.
It’s important to pay special attention to the framework of the trailer. You’ll only want to invest in a model that is sturdy with little wear and tear, this will ensure a trailer that’ll last many years. If you’re keen to camp somewhere beyong the beaten track, beware that rough roads can be punishing, so it pays to have a sturdy trailer with nothing loose.
I would rather pay more for something that works very well than less for something that seems to be OK most of the time.
Rent an A-Frame Camper Before You Buy
If you’re on the fence as to whether or not an A-Frame is the right choice for you, then simply rent one for a long weekend and see if it suits your family. You can easily rent an A-Frame for a few nights for only a $100. This might seem like a lot, but it’s better than buying one and finding out that it’s not for you.
If you rent first you’ll be far more knowledgable and confident in your decision-making process. You’ll know what you like about an A-Frame Camper, and what you didn’t like, which should allow you to find a trailer that more closely matches your ideal model.
Drumming Up Competition For Your Business
There’s a couple of ways of getting a good price from dealerships. One is to go back and forward between each dealership, bargaining with each one and then telling them what the other dealership has offered to see if they’ll match or beat it. It’s a method that works, but it’s time-consuming and requires a lot of effort.
Another option is to check online and print of any great deals you’ve found. You can then use these printouts to bargain a better buying price for any trailers you see in person. Again you’re going to have to do a bit of legwork to get a good deal and don’t be afraid to walk away if you can’t get the price you’re looking for.
The last way we’ve found of getting a good deal is to have in hand. Having the ability to pay the full amount immediately is a strong incentive for a seller to cut you a good deal. If they quickly shift a trailer, it means they can get new stock in and make more money. It’s a win-win situation.
Buying From a Private Seller
Buying an A-Frame Camper from a private seller offers some risks as well as some advantages. Generally speaking, private sellers can be as much as 20% cheaper than a dealership for the same trailer.
However, you’ll need to be aware that any existing warranty is unlikely to transfer across to you with the purchase, so it’s worth considering if you can purchase cover separately.
Before you visit a private seller, take a look online and see if there are any reoccurring faults with the trailer you’re considering, and learn how to spot them. When you visit the seller, take a thorough look at the trailer, and use the research you’ve carried out previously to check for any likely issues.
Make sure you look at as much of trailer as possible, both in its built and folded states. Check for any water damage, rot, rust or any telltale smells or signs of serious issues. If you’re at all uncomfortable with the state of the trailer then walk away and think about it.
If everything appears to be in a good state, then don’t hesitate to do a bit of bargaining. Private sellers are more likely to accept an offer under the asking price when compared to dealerships. You can use this to your advantage to get a bargain. Just don’t be rude or unrealistic about it.