Buying a Used Motorcycle Camper -- Part 1: Where to Look

I get a lot of requests from folks looking for a used motorcycle camper. It’s not uncommon to receive a dozen or more inquiries a week during the peak riding season. If I could only manufacture a used camper, I could sell every single one!

Of course, I realize the reason demand is so high is because folks are looking to save a few dollars. If you are considering that, this article series offers a few tips to help you make an informed decision. (This is especially true when you’re looking at motorcycle campers as they have soft parts that are exposed to the elements.) Dollars are precious, and you want to make sure you really are getting a good deal, not someone else’s basket of problems!

The first rule is -- don’t be in a hurry. This is the hardest piece of advice to take, but it’s also the most important. A lot of folks get the idea to purchase a motorcycle camper a couple of weeks before their trip. A good used motorcycle camper can take months to locate. If you’re in a hurry, trying to find a camper to make a specific trip, your haste increases the chances that you’ll take whatever you can find. Buy something sight unseen. Take a chance you would otherwise avoid. RUSH is a four-letter word for TROUBLE!

Next, when you've decided to take your time and do this thing right, look in the right places. If you have a friend who tows a motorcycle camper and you know it’s been well cared for, get on their wait list. (This is the main reason why there aren’t that many used campers on the market. Friends often buy from friends.)

If you don’t have a friend with a camper, turn to sources online where riders who tow motorcycle campers tend to hang out. I frequently send people to the For Sale section of, a very active Gold Wing forum, and to, a site of special interest if you are into motorcycle camping. Of course you should carefully vet any offers posted here just as you would elsewhere, but I generally find the quality of campers offered here to be better than your average Craigslist or eBay listing.

Finally, watch out for the too-good-to-be-true deal. If you’ve been scouring the Internet, you may have come across what looks like a super deal. A brand new camper for almost half the price of other similarly styled campers. Sound too good to be true? I think so. Chances are good that what you’re looking at is an imported knock-off of the Time Out camper that I sell. Materials and construction of this particular unit are sub-par and if you look a little further you’ll find a long history of “F” ratings from the BBB, frequent company name changes, and a lot of customer complaints on the same forums mentioned above. Hey, you’re free to spend your money as you like, but why patronize a business that steals American designs and jobs to deliver a crappy product that they don’t support? Enough said.

In the second installment, I’ll cover the questions you should ask and things you should look at when you do identify a potential deal. On the other hand, if you decide you’d like to consider a new Mini Mate or Time Out motorcycle camper, please contact me. If you do find a good deal and just need a motorcycle hitch or motorcycle trailer wiring, I can help with that, too.