After a year drooling over various campers, including a trip to the RV show with friends DIYJamers and CamperKev, StevetheBikeGuy and I discovered the Runaway RangeRunner.
Affordability was the final factor in the end. After looking at teardrop campers in the 15k -50K range or higher, even the lower-end cost models would have required financing. Financing is how the money is made in campers, just like cars. Go check our ‘payment calculators’ for RVs or any campers. You pay more over the long run. To get lower monthly payments, you are in sometimes paying for the camper long as a house mortgage. That was the deal-breaker for us. One mortgage is enough.
The Runaway camper showed up on an article for ‘affordable campers‘ and fit our needs:
- Yay! Cheap!
- Yay! Air Conditioning!
- Simple and easy to repair/maintenance without a tech. Even the AC could be replaced in a snap.
- Bed on wheels – we weren’t looking to live inside in the outdoors. The bed, protected from the elements was the primary goal alone. The rest of the time, unless raining, we are outside. Rain days are lazy days for reading and playing games…or exploring the area / surrounding town.
- We did not pay for extras we didn’t want like a huge TV, fancy stereo, crappy 4 inch folding mattress, or a few storage cupboards. No kitchen was not a deal breaker. We usually cook outside. Rain and bad weather, well there are usually places around to eat.
- At about 1K dry weight, easily towable by either of our cars. We figure it is about 1300 lbs loaded with our stuff.
It was love at first sight! We’d saved up some money as a start for a down payment on a more expensive camper, so that amount actually covered the cost of the camper and add-ons. I’m not going to talk all the prices and add-ons available in this blog, so here is where we purchased it with pricing. No affiliation, just a satisfied customer.
Below is the day we picked up our little beauty. We purchased it through one of the dealers..well actually the closest one to us, which was Tulsa. People also purchase direct from the factory in FL and pick it up for a $500 discount. That wouldn’t have covered all the costs to get it back to Kansas, so we opted for this method. After ordering, it came in during the promised window of 4-6 weeks at week 5.
We actually talked through all our benefits with our salesman, Marc, who didn’t get a commission on any add-on. He has a smaller version of ours and gave us the scoop on each upgrade, which was extremely helpful. Our add-ons were: window in back, luggage rack in front for extra storage (chock blocks, extension cords, buckets, step stool, rugs, etc.) roof rack, sun setter roll-up awning, coax cable.
Pictures: Our Runaway RangeRunner in the storage area waiting to be picked up, inside, sign at the pickup location, us, hooked up and ready to go.
After hitching it up and expanding the mattress, we drove our camper about half way home to a site in Eldorado State Park. Although the campsite was a little on the disappointing side, our camper was not. 🙂 We spent the evening setting it up with curtains and our bed. I must talk a bit about our bed.
Our bed was purchase through Amazon. It is a 12 inch foam mattress identical to our mattress at home. The goal of our bed on wheels was not to stuff everything needed for camping and then have sleeping be an afterthought. We wanted a quality bed first. That mattress sleeps like a dream. People ask what will will we do when we need to replace the mattress…first of all, it will be at least 10 years or so. Second, if it is trashed, then an electric knife will do the trick.
Pictures below: Mattress in / expanded with mattress cover and fitted sheet, curtains ready to be hung, lights Steve is putting up for internal light, curtains and lights up (Cheers!), sign we found at Target, campsite.
By our second campout, we’d figured out a few things. These included how to rig the lights, what to store inside the camper to make packing easier each trip, and what really needed to be on the bed.
Our lights were hard to rig up on the SunSetter awning with S Hooks and the like. Steve saw that the awning had little Velcro connectors to the poles and there you go. Easy to hang, no fuss lights! We found the lights at Target on sale. After the 4th of July, retail starts resetting for back to school. Most of our camping items purchased then were 50-70% off.
Storage was limited to around 13-15 inches deep and 5 ft wide and about 3 foot tall at the bottom of the bed. We found some cubby units that worked great. We opted not to use the cardboard/fake fabric squares and either used them empty for items or got more sturdy storage containers. The lower cubbies were not very easily accessible, so we put items not used often for those spots. These included games on one side and additional survival items which may come in handy such as wind resistant matches, rope, etc. That is a just-in-case storage area.
In addition to the storage cubbies, we were able to store some dishes and a few other always-used items between the shelves in plastic bins which supported the two shelves. Also our camp chairs travel in the camper on the sides of the bed (out and in use in these pictures). This takes care of the core of our camping needs. Other than food and clothes, our water cooler, and the mini grill, nothing else was really needed to take off for the weekend. Less time packing and unpacking means less time dealing with that end of a camping weekend.
Our current bare bones set up is about 15 minutes. This includes power, leveling, awning, rugs/step stool and chairs.
After much consideration, most of the decorative pillows exited stage left from our bed. I added an additional pillow each with our Hogwarts houses to personalize and give extra leaning power for times spent in the camper. This was a much more comfortable set-up than messing with bascially unusable pillows floating around on top of the bed.
Our bedding is a mattress cover, fitted sheet and a queen-sized sleeping bag. Don’t pew-pew the bag. It is comfy, makes the bed easy to make, and easy to wash/maintain. We love how cozy it is.
Pictures: Light set up, storage, bed, another shot of the camper inside, and overall storage shelving and cubbies.
One other thing. We store our camper INSIDE at a storage facility. It costs us about $60 a month, so a couple of times eating out. This will preserve and keep our camper in good shape for years to come.
Let’s go outdoors,