A pop-up or pop-top camper van is a type of RV that has a roof that can be raised or “popped” up to provide additional headroom, making a more comfortable living space, and in many cases, extra sleeping space.
When the pop-top is down, the van is more compact, which makes it easier to drive and more fuel-efficient than a full-size RV with a fixed high roof.
The pop-top can be manually lifted or may have a mechanical or hydraulic system to raise it.
Here are some key features of pop-top camper vans:
- Compact Size: When the top is down, the van maintains a low profile, making it easier to handle and park, especially in urban environments or areas with low clearance.
- Versatility: Smaller models of these vans can be used as daily drivers due to their smaller size compared to traditional RVs.
- Sleeping Space: The pop-top often houses a bed platform, effectively creating a second-story sleeping area. This allows the van to sleep more people than its footprint would suggest.
- Standing Room: With the top popped, low profile vans can have enough vertical space for adults to stand up straight, making activities like cooking and changing clothes more comfortable.
- Customization: Many pop-top camper vans are customized or converted from standard vans. Companies and DIY enthusiasts install pop-tops on a variety of van models.
- Aerodynamics and Economy: With the top down, the van has better aerodynamics than a high-top van, which can lead to improved fuel economy and easier driving in windy conditions.
The Top 10 Pop-Top Camper Vans
The Winnebago Solis stands out with its enclosed wet room, complete with a shower and toilet, and a sleeping capacity for four. Its 220-Watt solar panel and insulation are designed for all-season travel, while the manual pop-top provides additional sleeping space. However, its higher price point reflects its comprehensive features.
HYMER Aktiv 2.0
The HYMER Aktiv 2.0 is tailored for families, seating and sleeping five with a pop-top, fold-down sofa, and additional mattress. It comes with the comforts of home, including a toilet and hot shower, and is designed with German efficiency, though its closet space is limited and the price is on the higher end.
Mercedes Metris Getaway
The Mercedes Metris Getaway serves as a versatile vehicle that can transition from daily family use to a mobile sleeping space, thanks to its foldable seats and extendable roof. This minivan camper, equipped with the pop-top feature, is suitable for short trips, though those planning to live on the road might seek alternatives with more amenities.
Sportsmobile Classic 4×4
Sportsmobile Classic 4×4 has a long history of creating pop-top vans with off-road capabilities. It combines ruggedness with comfort, offering storage, cooking facilities, and entertainment options, but it doesn’t include a shower or toilet.
Pleasure-Way Tofino offers a more affordable pop-top camper van option, with a standard model featuring a single burner stove and climate control, accommodating four sleepers. It’s a basic package, but upgrades can enhance comfort and convenience.
Recon Campers ENVY
Recon Campers ENVY is a dual-purpose vehicle that combines everyday utility with camping functionality, sleeping four with the option of a pop-top. Unique features like an awning that doubles as a movie screen set it apart, though it lacks a toilet.
Roadtrek Zion Slumber
The Roadtrek Zion Slumber is designed for those needing more space, with ample storage and a wet bath. It’s equipped with a range of amenities, including a dual burner stove and full-size fridge, though it lacks a shower.
HYMER Fiat Camper
The HYMER Fiat Camper is spacious with a four-person sleeping area and comes in different layouts. It includes a full bathroom, ample storage, and a kitchen, with the convenience of touch controls and a comfortable, temperature-controlled interior.
Thor Tellaro, despite a smaller sleeping capacity, is packed with features like a shower, air conditioning, and a solar panel. Its powerful engine and comprehensive amenities make it a comfortable choice for travelers.
VW California has evolved significantly, offering a variety of customizable models. Known for its fitted kitchens and advanced technology, the California range is a premium choice in the pop-top camper van market.
The Doubleback Van, modeled after the VW Transporter, is a surprisingly spacious RV. It’s equipped with VW’s 2.0 TDI engine and boasts an innovative electric slide-out rear pod that extends the vehicle’s length by nearly six feet when parked. The van also features a pop-up roof, providing ample headroom in the living and kitchen spaces. Versatile in design, it can be used as a regular van for more practical needs.
Bürstner Lyseo Gallery
The Bürstner Lyseo Gallery offers a novel take on popup campers with its inflatable alcove. Available in two compact layouts, it features an insulated floor, ensuring constant comfort. The exterior boasts modern design touches, while the interior comes with diamond-quilted upholstery and a stylish, cohesive kitchen.
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