Kelly Blue Book Camper

Find the value of the camper from the Kelly Blue Book- in other words good news, bad news, news and practical notes...

These days the information about values of new and used campers is available 24/7 on zillions of websites.

Among all pertinent resources the Kelly Blue Book gained the top position as the most trustworthy source of relevant data for any type of vehicle.

Good news

The first Kelly Blue Book was published in 1926 by Les Kelly – at the time the owner of the largest dealership business in US. The rest is the history……


Today the Kelly Blue Book covers not only cars but also RVs, camper trailers, motorcycles, trucks and some antique vehicles.

It is considered as the reference and widely used by the automotive industry, dealers, and financial institutions.

The proliferation of Internet made the pricing secrets as well as other factors determining the vehicle’s value available to everybody since the Kelly Blue Book went online in 1995.

The edition of the Kelly Blue Book for popup campers was initiated in late 60’s. Currently it is published twice a year (at $65) under the title: Kelly Blue Book – Travel Trailer Guide. It provides estimated values for camper trailers, fifth wheels and popup trailers from new models back to 9 years old ones.


Kelly Blue Book Camper - That is what you are looking for (please note that it is really blue!)

According to popular opinions the values of used popup campers provided by Kelly Blue Book do not show the same “consistency” as cars (exception are new trailers). Most likely this is due to the fact that it is not possible to apply to folding campers the same rigorous rules of scrutiny as for cars.

Compared to cars pop-up trailers have much higher “Tear & Wear” effect for their flexible parts (especially the canopy) and no odometer recording the millage (significant factors for cars).

Simply speaking, computer algorithms are not accurate enough to properly estimate the value of used popup campers. In many cases their value are strongly influenced by thousand of little details and frankly - the mood of an owner and/or a buyer.

... and the news!

Having saying so let me make it clear - there is no reason to skip the first step of buying/selling your pop-up camper. And the first step helping you to narrow expectations should be always the trustworthy source of data. Certainly the Belly Blue Book – Travel Trailer Guide is a sort of buyer’s/seller’s “Bible”.

If you do not want to lose your shirt, then please Do Not go to any dealer before you have a clear idea what is a reasonable price range for what you want to buy or trade-in. Keep in mind all these “tricks” like - only today 30% discount, you have to made your decision now etc…

They have an unlimited number of tricks in their sleeves to charm you, because remember – the good dealer is first of all a good psychologist able to read your state of mind from your body language, from your face….

While the Kelly Blue Book for campers is a good starting point, there are also other reliable sources of information like NADA Blue Book (estimated values) and Ebay listing (especially for closed deals).

But even the best “Blue Book” does not excuse you from your homework which can be summarized as follows:

Initial steps:

  1. Determine what kind of travel trailer you would like to price (KBB includes only pop-up campers, towable RVs and folding trailers). This may be the most difficult part of your homework because usually our list of wishes is very long but the pocket is never “deep enough” so you have to be able to make several compromises. The fact that you make them with yourself does not make it easier.
  2. Gather the relevant information regarding the travel trailer. That should include:
    • Size (length, width and height in closed and opened configurations). These will determine the number of people that may use the camper, the level of their comfort when vacationing, but also the towing effort and parking requirements.
    • number of axles;
    • GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating). This number combines the weight of the “dry” travel trailer and its maximum allowed load and must not exceed the towing capabilities of your car!
    • Required important features (for example the method of setting-up/down the camper, sleeping spaces, kitchen appliances, shower/toiled etc…)

Now, and only now the KKB takes over:

  1. Select the pertinent section in the book for the type of the travel trailer, manufacturer and model (sometimes you will have to use cross-reference section for a given manufacturer (for example some Coleman pop-up camper models have been sold under Fleetwood’s name….)
  2. Determine your acceptable range of age for a model of choice (KBB lists all results by the year of production);
  3. Carefully review the information including the list of basic and optional features. Check for any extra notes (for example model discontinued etc…);
  4. Check the suggested retail value (amount the dealer may ask to pay), trade-in value (amount the dealer may offer when you are trading-in your old camper for the new or newer one) and private party value (amount you should expect to get/pay in a private transaction).
Few Practical Notes:

Please note that the mentioned values are seasonal (lowest at the end of the touristic season). Also the “geographical” location of a camper may significantly affect the market value of the travel trailers.

In practice the KBB’s estimated camper value must be tested “in-field” when such factors as wear & tear will be compared to your level of acceptance. Particularly please check for any signs of mold (pop-up campers spend most of their life in the folded position so surrounding humidity or lack of care like for example closing it in wet conditions may quickly take the toll on the camper.

And please remember (this rule applies to any vehicle):

For sure as the pop-up camper owner you will be happy at least twice. First time it happens right after you bought the camper and the second time when it is sold.

But the good news is – you can always make it better and retain your happiness while using the camper trailer provided you did a good job before signing the deal. Certainly the Kelly Blue Book – Travel Trailer Guide will help you to achieve this goal.

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