We had our entire trip planned out and then we saw this sitting at the corner near our house and thought, “Maybe it’s time for an upgrade.”
Our little pop-up has been fun. We’ve taken it to Yellowstone and Utah, as well as on our Wild Card Trip last year that covered Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, North Carolina and more. The bed was actually quite comfortable, it had a little stove, but there wasn’t a whole lot of space and with all the traveling we plan on doing up north, we might need a little heat.
So, what we got is a 1999 Mallard Fifth Wheel. The pop-up camper was a 1994. The best part is that it is very gently used for its age and it has a lot more space, air conditioning, a bigger fridge that runs on propane and we don’t have to break it down and pack everything up whenever we leave. Once we figured out how to hook up the fifth wheel hitch that is!
Speaking of fifth wheel hitches. We were originally going to install a gooseneck converter so that we could easily use the gooseneck ball in our truck. However, it was incredibly difficult to install and we had to buy nearly $200 in tools in order to install it. After only being able to drill two access holes, broken drill bits and multiple splinters from flying pieces of metal, we called around about getting it welded on, but several people said they were unsafe. So, we switched gears and I ended up ordering the Curt 16K for the Dodge Ram puck system from eTrailers.com. (It was way cheaper there and the shipping was comparable to Prime. Although Amazon does have it here.) The installation was so much easier!
But, it wasn’t without a little hiccup because things can never be simple and work the way they are supposed to the first time. We got it hooked up, but we didn’t have it set high enough and the bottom of the camper was basically resting on the bed of the truck. The humidity has been 1000% lately, so we hung it up for the evening and did a little research. There’s supposed to be about 5-6 inches of clearance between the truck and the camper, we are little less than that, but it looks like it going to be okay.
The next issue was that the handle for the locking mechanism wouldn’t automatically lock like it was supposed to. So back to Google for some research. It turns out it just needed a little more lubrication and I learned that the handle has to be up 100% or it will not automatically lock like it is supposed to. The handle was jammed so after beating around on it a bit with a rubber mallet, I was finally able to get it to turn and then it locked into position once I lowered the camper.
Despite these little setbacks, thank goodness for the puck system being installed on the truck. This sucker is heavy as heck and I may need to remove it with the tractor (it is quite heavy!) to use my gooseneck, but at least we didn’t have to have rails installed into the bed of the truck. We have a working horse farm, so it’s vital that I have access to my bed for not only the horse trailer but moving pallets of feed, etc.
Next up is packing!