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Our two-year journey choosing a pop-up camper

My wife Sue and I have spent the past two years visiting many types of camper facilities in our quest to find the perfect camper for our needs. We’ve toured the factories at Sportsmobile, Four Wheel Camper, XP Camper, EarthRoamer, Hallmark, Outfitter, and Phoenix, and we visited the Overland Expo last year.

In the process, we’ve documented and written up each of those experiences in separate posts to provide you with an insider’s guide to purchasing a camper. Our goal was to do the hard legwork ourselves so you wouldn’t have to, and to document what we saw with honesty and transparency. In this post, I’m summarizing what we’ve learned in this two year journey. Hopefully, you’ll find this guide a useful tool in your decision making process.

First, a bit about us and our priorities:

We have been looking for a camper we can live in for an extended period of time (6+ months) while also having a vehicle we can still use as a daily driver. We’re looking for a camper that we can easily take on weekend or week-long trips, as well as a vehicle that we can take offroad on medium-difficulty trails (like that hard-to-reach deserted beach).

Fun In The Woods With The XP Camper V2 Prototype

I've long been a fan of the XP Camper.  My wife and I spent two years researching pop-up campers, and the XP was by far and away our favorite.  I visited Marc, the owner of XP Camper late last year and did a full writeup.

When I read on the XP XP Camper forums forums that Marc was creating a V2 prototype based on the Tacoma truck (instead of a full-size one ton truck), my wife and I decided to visit Marc again to check it out.  We liked the idea that we could get a camper on a smaller, Japanese truck like the Tacoma.  When we arrived at his shop in Grass Valley, CA, about 4 hours north of San Francisco, we found that he's now in a place 5 times bigger than the last time we visited!

Marc graciously let us take the V2 prototype out for a weekend on the condition that we give him a bunch of feedback in exchange, something that we happily agreed to do.  

I'm not going to reveal the details of my opinion of the V2 prototype just yet, because I don't want to influence anyone else's opinion before it goes into production.  In summary, though, I'd say that if you're interested in a hard shell pop-up camper based on a Tacoma truck, you absolutely have to put this truck on your shopping list.  And now is a great time to let Marc know if you're interested, since he's trying to decide what kind of production volumes to ramp up.

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