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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.”

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