I am new to the forum, and RVing, but not new to camping, boating, hiking, biking, and running..
Over the last few years my wife and I have been thinking about getting some sort of camper to get us and the kids out of tents. We generally camp with the 2 of us, a miniature dachshund, a black lab (who is still a pup), 12 yr old and 8yr old daughters, and 6yr old son. We've been using 2 tents and have soooo much stuff to load and unload. We also boat, and pull our glastron behind our truck usually.
We initially started looking at popup campers as there are lots around and for sale every year. I see tons on craigslist. But sleeping with all of us and our dogs would be very tight. We don't need tons of space inside as we dont go camping to sit indoors. Most time is on the water or hiking. We want to have decent sleeping, and room to play games on rainy days. A TV is a plus, but not a must have. A month or two ago my wife and I were on a weekend getaway kayak trip and saw several folks in Class C's. She fell in love with the idea of being able to make the kids food while we are going down the highway, and them being able to take naps, etc. Plus we could pull the boat behind it. But once at camp you are stuck with boat in/out of water unless you pull up camp to set/pull the boat, get ice, etc.. Still we wanted one. New ones are way outside of my current budget so we started looking at 88-92 range, and found an '89 model at a dealer in Mo. (We live in Ks.) We went to look and got it last week, then camped over the weekend.. The thing was a disaster.. it leaked, it had a long list of issues. I called back to the dealer and they are standing behind their good name and allowing me to return with full refund!
So, I've been looking at other things they sell, as they are doing their best to provide me service and a vehicle that meets my needs and wants. I recognize I cannot afford a class C like we want so we decided to look at TTs. We can pull our boat with our blazer. I'd really like a 5er, but don't think I have the truck for that right now. I'd prefer new, so I feel confident that it's not someone elses basket case. I'm going to look at a 2011 Salem Cruise Lite 26BHXL this weekend, and cannot find lots of info online. Have found some have had major issues with Salem, while others stand by and love theirs. I know the Cruise Lite is an "entry level" camper, and I have not been in one yet, but photos online look decent, and it has a floor plan that works for my family and is within our current budget. Of course I would love a bigger unit with slides, likely a 5er, but that is a few years down the road yet. I think this may be the ticket to get us out of tents and a bit more comfy for 3-4 yrs until I buy a bigger truck.
Currently have an '05 Ram 1500 5.7L Hemi.
Does anyone here have any experience with this model or a similar Salem model? How is resale on Salem? I don't find a lot of info online. Are they newer, or do people tend to stay away from them? Any and all info will be appreciated. We made one mistake, and luckily have an exit! I just don't want to make another uninformed decision that ends up being a poor one. I am not looking for the Taj Mahal, but want things to work as expected, and to be able to use for 3-4 yrs then resale/trade in. I do not mind doing general maintenance as I do that to all my other toys (boat, motorcycle, truck, road bike.. none go to a dealer for work. I do everything myself.) but dont want the thing to fall apart in 2 yrs.
Thanks for any info or input!