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Outfitter Pop Up review: Good designs, poor quality control

My wife Sue and I recently decided to take a trip to Colorado to visit the pop-up manufacturers out here: Outfitter, Hallmark and Phoenix (we also ended up taking a look at EarthRoamer). We had previously seen all of these manufacturers at the 2012 Overland Expo, but it was hard at the expo to understand what differentiated the manufacturers. What a difference a visit to the factories makes.

Outfitter was the first pop-up camper that got me really excited about the category, and without doubt, they have some very satisfied customers. The owner, Bob, was very nice to give us a tour of his facility, and I’ve been impressed with the thought that’s gone into Outfitter designs, like the use of a “Basement” that keeps water tanks from freezing. The Juno model especially is quite innovative, with a side entrance and a pop-out tent.

However, the models we saw had quality control issues, and the facility itself was disappointing. It was very messy, which doesn’t mean anything per-se except that it doesn’t inspire confidence in the build quality level.

If you’re going to spend $20k on a pop-up camper, I’d recommend you consider a Hallmark model instead. If you’re really set on an Outfitter and remain unconvinced, I’d encourage you to spend a few days visiting all of the facilities like we did before making a purchase decision. If you want to bump up to the next level (sub $100k) then I’d highly recommend an XP Camper, which I consider to be the best pop-up camper design and quality (and the only true expedition-ready pop-up camper under $100k). If you want to research your options a bit more, read this full write-up titled “Our two-year journey choosing a pop-up camper.”

Why a Rialta? - Moving from an Excessive Lifestyle to One of a Minimalist

On On the Road to Find Out

That was me circa 1990 right after I graduated from the University of Colorado. My focus was to get "On the Road to Find Out" and decide if not what I wanted to do with my life when I grow up, where I wanted to settle down at least. Purchased a 1976 VW Westfalia pop-up with the idea that the window in my life I was currently in was a fleeting one and if I was ever to go on this wild adventure this was my one opportunity to do so. I had no immediate need to work, a few thousand in savings, two empty credit cards to get in serious financial trouble with, and plenty of time yet until I entered "the real world"... saddled by the monthly mortgage payment, meager paychecks that would leave me with more month than money, and all that comes along with a wife, children and raising a family.

My original plan was to leave Boulder and take a figure eight journey around the country, traveling as far North as Quebec, the French Gaspé, Turtle Island and Vancouver, and as far South as Key West, Pony Island and Baja California. I planned on following every inch of the US coastlines that I could, seeking out as many new adventures and experiences as possible. The estimated time table the trip would require was approximately 2 months to complete from start to finish, with many different family members and friends to stop in and visit along the way.

As one of my favorite quotes from John Lennon goes - "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

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