Fleetwood Neon

#1
We've been looking for a more comfortable way to camp for a while now. We wanted to be off the ground, we wanted a heater so we could expand our camping season, and wanted a comfortable place for our dogs. We considered an FWC, but decided it would not work easily with my truck. We thought about an AT with a RTT, but decided the height of the tent would be a problem (did not want to haul the dogs up and down).

A couple weeks ago we pulled the trigger on a Fleetwood Neon pop-up. It's not built for off road, but it did meet all of other criteria. Small, easy to tow, has a heater, has room for the dogs, and is off the ground.

We took it up to a local state park after work last night for our first night out in it. We've had a lot of rain in the last few weeks, the high yesterday was in the 40's and the low was somewhere around freezing...pretty good conditions to test! First impressions are overall pretty good. I did forget to bring pillows, but that's not the trailers fault. As I said before, it is not designed for off high travel, but I think we make some changes so that it will handle some rough roads decently enough.

The biggest problem we had last night was the heater did not adequately heat the sleeping area. I think this problem is three fold. Once, there is no insulation in the sleeping area. Two, the thermostat is flat junk. Third, the heater is on the far end of the camper from the sleeping area. I think we can fix this problem as well.

Set up is a little more involved then I would have expected, but once you get the idiosynchrocies, it's not bad at all. Not as quick and easy as say a RTT or a FWC, but it's tolerable. There's also a little more movement then I'd like when shifting in the bed.

Things we LOVED, standing up to change clothes in a heated room. Most of our gear can be stored in the trailer so that it's nearly a hitch and go process. Sitting on the small couch in a heated room this morning watching the birds while we lazily got up and moving on a cold morning.

Changes so far:
-Added Reflectix insulation under the mattress
-Added accessory fuse box
-Added small inverter
-Replaced mechanical thermostat with a digital

Planned changes:
-Suspension
-Larger wheels and tires
-Reflectix cut outs for the windows and main room ceiling
-Add stability to front when unhitched
-Add 12v outlets
-Add tongue storage box
-Larger battery(s)
-On board battery charger
-Interior battery monitor
-Lock n' Roll hitch
-Change interior incandescent lights to
-Add reverse lamps

I didn't get any pics last night since I was busy fiddling with the new camper and tending to the camp fire (wet wood and a muddy fire ring is a lot of fun!). So all you get are back yard pictures.

We're going to make some changes and give it another go this weekend, can't wait!





 
#2
Very nice find. I think that you are well on your way to having a great little camp trailer.

You mentioned that you didn't like the lack of stability that yoiu experienced. Might I suggest that you look into replacing your stabilizer jacks with ones of a scissor jack design. I have had both types, and for myself I won't build another camp trailer (teardrop) with out using the scissor jack style.

I've successfully used two jacks for the rear and the tongue jack to stabilize my teardrop and it makes things pretty easy to level out as well.

Keep posting updates as you make improvements and get the opportunity to test them out.

Mike
 
#5
We considered something out of the Evolution line, but we didn't want the additional size, weight, systems, or cost. Interestingly enough, the Cobalt that is now in the Evolution line was originally in the Element line, which is the same line the Neon was in while it was being produced. The dealer I got my Neon from had a Cobalt in the Evolution trim and it just looked huge to me...not something that I would want to tow with my Frontier.

GeoTracker90 said:
You mentioned that you didn't like the lack of stability that yoiu experienced. Might I suggest that you look into replacing your stabilizer jacks with ones of a scissor jack design. I have had both types, and for myself I won't build another camp trailer (teardrop) with out using the scissor jack style.
I think the lack of stability is coming from some play in the tongue jack itself. It is the kind that is held on with a big snap ring, so there is quite a bit of wiggle between the jack and mounting plate. I do see myself replacing the existing stabilizer jacks since they seem like they'll probably rust up fairly quickly.

RunninRubicon said:
I looked at one of these but just couldn't see this thing following me over hill and dale. Good attempt though
I know what you're saying. I don't expect this trailer to survive many (any) technical type trails or even any extended washboard sections, straight out of the box. The majority of our trips locally do not typically take us over those kinds of trails or roads for any extended amount of time, but it will come into play when we venture west.
 
Last edited:
#6
The Neon would be better off being little wider to cover up those wide wheel wells (or nearly covering them) and having taller skinnier tires. The interior room would be another 16-20" and that would be about perfect for a side sitting table/bed. One could sit on the bed and the other on the bench at the back of the camper at the table. The wheel well would be part of the bed support and would be a little in the way of the feet when table is up. A full length cabinet on the other side wall would be great. It would provide access from outside to inside, would entomb the wheel well, and would hold a lot more orgainized stuff. Overall, size would still be smaller than a 'regular' popup, still be light in comparison, better choices for layout, bedding, and storage.

I also looked into the Neon when they first came out and I was caught by the MSRP. For the size and design of simplicity, their price was up there.

With your plans, I'd also look at lowering the awning someway. You really don't need it up that high when you are sitting next to the camper. Maybe fix a couple of rods that attach to the raising top channels and would hold the awning. The rods could be secured on the side of the camper shell sort of like a surf fisherman rod holder. Not sure how the top channels would react. The channel is a tall channel due to the 'short' box height.
Cool deal you enjoy yours.
 

Dave

Explorer
#7
I like the idea of the having the wheels outboard of the box. My thought was that it will make adding larger wheels and tires easier. I don't think I'll have to do a SOA just to add larger tires. For our use, there's plenty of space inside. We really don't plan on hanging out inside unless we're caught in a rain storm. I also would think it's easier to see tire placement with the wheels/tires outboard the box.

Extra storage would always be nice, but so far we've been able to fit most everything we would want to store in the trailer without a problem. Bedding, camp chairs, cooking stove, plates, utensils, etc. It all fits with room to spare...so far.

The awning is something I haven't even messed with yet. It was a freebie, otherwise I wouldn't have it. Since we normally camp in wooded areas, we rarely use an awning or canopy for shade. We'll probably only be fold out the awning to get out of the rain. I may look into turning it into a shower/toliet room.
 

kcowyo

ExPo Original
#8
Hey, congratulations Dave. That's really cool. :clapsmile

Seems to me the possibilities are wide open. Rock it stock, or doll up the tires and suspension a little. Either way it's a great solution for your growing family.

Given your location and interests, I think this is an ideal way to go. You'll love the "animal-blindness" of the camper. And when the rains come you've got the perfect spot to get everyone out of the elements. The ability to leave it as a homebase at camp and go roaming in your new truck is very appealing. Good call on the Neon.

I know you've been in the hunt for awhile. I think you made a great choice. I'd be interested in hearing more about the Reflectix; your impressions, worth the cost, etc.

Congrats on the new purchase. I look forward to seeing and hearing more about it.

:beer:
 

Dave

Explorer
#9
Thanks KC! In between down pours this evening, I managed to get it loaded up and ready for a weekend outing. I did remember the pillows this time...

Regarding the Reflectix, the pop-up message boarders rave about the stuff. I bought a 4' x 25' roll for about $40 from Home Depot. If it works, it'll be a helluva deal. I'm taking the roll with me to cut out the window pieces.
 

Maximus Ram

Expedition Leader
#10
Nice little neon. The reflectix will help keep in the warmth on the bunk and the windows. You may also want to look into the popup gizmo...it goes over the slide out top. Helps to keep it warm or cool , depending on the situation. You can actually make your own out of a sportsmans emergency blanket. Not one of the thin foil ones, but the thick sportsmans one.
Plus if you have the ability to use land power you can use a ceramic heater to take the chill off.
We're still waiting to take our new to us 91 rockwood hard side out.
 
#12
Maximus Ram said:
Nice little neon. The reflectix will help keep in the warmth on the bunk and the windows. You may also want to look into the popup gizmo...it goes over the slide out top. Helps to keep it warm or cool , depending on the situation. You can actually make your own out of a sportsmans emergency blanket. Not one of the thin foil ones, but the thick sportsmans one.
Plus if you have the ability to use land power you can use a ceramic heater to take the chill off.
We're still waiting to take our new to us 91 rockwood hard side out.
You've been peeking into my Cabela's bag! I picked up a sportsman's blanket this week and plan on giving it a try on the roof of the bunk.
 
#13
Nice trailer! I've been looking at these,, out here they sell in the mid 3k range, but the heater is extra. The salesperson I talked to suggested along with the heater was getting a heated bed from I think it was rockwood popup? their beds have an electric blanket built in..
Good luck and take more pics!
Steve
 

Maximus Ram

Expedition Leader
#14
highlander, let me see if I can find some.(I have some , but they do not want to upload. Do know why)suggestions?

Dave, that's what happens when ou leave it laying around and open:p :D