The traditional pop-top is a familiar sight, with its galvanised body, kitchen galley, dinette and lounge, elevating roof and two pop-out double beds at the front and rear. It’s a classic design.
On a recent long weekend away at a popular coastal caravan park, we’d passed more than 50 of these rigs between our group’s site and the recreational facilities. But one van in particular caught our eye: it was a pop-top which had two extendable side panels jutting out from the side-walls. Intrigued, we spoke to the owners, David and Denise Linden, to find out more.
We had stumbled upon a Puma PT-12SP pop-top camper. Based on the New South Wales South Coast, Puma creates everything from pop-tops, slide-ons to fifth wheelers. Inside, the purpose of the side extensions was evident. One supported a bay window that slid out the cooktop for extra wriggle room.
The other created a slide-out booth dinette that could convert into another double bed in addition to the front and rear king and queen slide-out rooms, providing room for the entire family. Nice.
David and Denise said the Puma was one of two campers they owned – the other was a Jayco Eagle. While enjoying both campers, what the couple like most about the Puma is the extra sleeping space and the fact that the Puma is fitted with a 12V electric roof lift, rather than relying on a manual handle.
Both David and Denise agreed the main attraction with camper trailers is the opportunity they provide to get away easily from their busy lives – “the freedom to do what we like”. As David said, “the Puma is easy to tow, quick to set-up in under 10 minutes and it’s really roomy”. David and Denise particularly liked the air-conditioning, TV, microwave, queen and king beds, shower and toilet. As people who primarily free-camp, the self-sufficiency offered by these features is a real draw-card for the couple. “There’s nothing we don’t like about it,” said Denise.
With a granddaughter to share their trips away now and again, we reckon a new generation of the Linden family will be converts to the camper-trailer lifestyle in no time.
In fact, we think she will probably inherit the Jayco Eagle when she gets her licence!
NICE TO MEET YOU
Name: David and Denise Linden
Home: Port Macquarie, NSW
Home on the road: Puma PT-12SP
Camper Mods: None, except for the optional extras available at point of purchase. Available options included the 12V electric roof, TV and DVD, surround sound, microwave, LPG barbecue, 12V 100Ah deep-cycle RV battery, Dometic side awning, installed LPG bottle, outside work bench, water filter and alloy wheels.
“We’re looking forward to buying walls for the awning,” Denise told us.
Tow Vehicle: Foton Tunland
Vehicle Mods: Electric brake controller and dual battery charger to feed the camper.
Lessons Learnt: David and Denise know that it’s important that they both "pull their weight" around the campsite. As David told us, “the good thing is that Denise can put up the camper if I can’t help because of my knees”.
We reckon this is the sort of plan--ahead thinking that keeps couples on the road longer.