Pop up campers are a type of RV that folds down into a trailer, making them small and easy to tow and store.
For many decades the pop up trailer has remained a popular choice among camping enthusiasts. This is due to their unbeatable affordability and portability when compared to 5th wheel trailers and other forms of towable RV.
Although truck mounted campers had been around since around the 1910’s, it wasn’t until the 1970’s that the first pop-up camper was designed by David Rowe. An inventor who set out to design a camper that would compress down into a low profile to make it easier to transport and drive. And although improvements and innovations have been made since then, many of today’s pop-up campers still work off his original design.
What are the pros and cons of pop up tent trailers?
⊕ Great value
For the size and features, a pop-up camper is easily the best value RV you can buy. If you’re buying a second hand one in good condition, expect prices to start at around $5,000 and up. Even brand new some models start at under $9,000. There’s just no other kind of full-featured RV for these prices.
⊕ Compact size and weight
Pop-ups are typically smaller and more lightweight than other trailers. Some smaller models are not much more than 600 lbs, with mid-size trailers being around the 1,000 lbs mark.
⊕ Easy to tow
This is what makes small pop up campers such an attractive option for so many people. If you don’t already have a pickup truck or SUV then other RVs are not an option unless you buy a new vehicle too. But light and mid-size pop ups can be towed by almost any car. Just check the towing capacity of your car before shopping for an RV.
⊕ Easy to store
Many regular RV owners spend thousands of dollars every year just to keep their rig stored during the months it’s not in use. Very few neighbourhoods will allow a massive regular RV to sit on the street on even in a driveway for months at a time. But your pop-up camper will almost certainly fit in your garage, and can even sit pretty innocuously in a garden or driveway.
⊗ More set-up time than a regular RV
This is the number one issue many people have with pop-ups, the time you spend setting up and disassembling them at each camp. Even though many modern trailers have made this as painless as possible, it’s still an issue that puts some people off.
⊗ Might require extra care and maintenance
With anything, moving parts = maintenance. And thin cloth = potential for damage.
There should be a care manual that comes with your RV, make sure you read and follow it. When the tent parts get wet, you’re going to want to allow them to dry before putting away the camper to prevent mold and meldew.
⊗ Small bathrooms
This is to be expected, I mean come on, it’s a fold out tent on a trailer. Even though some of the models we present below have impressive bathroom facilities, these are still tents so the luxury and privacy isn’t up to what some campers might prefer.
⊗ Outside noise
Again, you’re in a tent, that means that you’re only separated from what’s going on outside by a piece of cloth. For me, I really enjoy this when listening to birds and rain, I find it relaxing. But what’s not so relaxing is listening to someones generator.
Top 11 Best Pop Up Campers
1. TrailManor 2720 Series
The TrailManor 2720 series by far is the most favorite camper for several reasons. First of all, you do not need a super-duty truck to tow this camper; just the average size SUV, crossover, or minivan will do. This camper has a lightweight construction that saves on fuel and makes towing easy. The TrailManor 2720 is quick and easy to set up and does not require much space for storage.
The amenities of this camper sets it apart from other models. There are numerous floorplans to choose from that come equipped with a full kitchen and a functional hardwall bathroom. This camper has the features and comforts of a travel trailer, with the convenience of a fold-down.
2. Coachmen Clipper Pop-up Camper
The Clipper Camping Pop-up comes with an aerodynamic profile that makes towing and set up easy. These campers have several different floor plans to choose from to suit your style.
Standard features include a manual crank to raise and lower the roof, as well as a dual-drive winch and drill bit to use with your cordless drill that sets up your camper in less than a minute. Use this drill bit with the four heavy-duty stabilizing jacks that come with this pop-up. Clipper’s exclusive two-piece tension rafters make set up a breeze.
What makes this camper unique is its bed system that comes with “Glide-N-Lock” cables, so there is no need for support poles under the bed. This camper features a tubular steel frame plus a Wide Trac Ultralube torsion axle for durability.
3. Forest River Flagstaff High Wall Pop-up Camper
The Flagstaff High Wall Series folding pop-up campers are for those who enjoy a little bit of luxury during their camping excursion. Standard features include a three burner glass top stove and a microwave oven. Each unit is also furnished with an AM/FM stereo with Bluetooth and a WiFi Ranger WiFi booster to meet your entertainment needs.
One exceptional feature that sets this camper apart is the thermostatically controlled heated mattress for the chillier nights. The Flagstaff High Wall design includes an outdoor grill for optional meal preparation.
This High Wall Series is constructed with tinted vinyl windows as well. The hard side exterior is composed of vacuum-bonded fiberglass over a tubular steel frame for fast and effortless setup.
4. Sylvansport Go Pop-up Campers
The SylvanSport GO is an all in one camper built for traveling, hauling gear, or using as a utility trailer. The multi-functional feature of this camper has earned the title as the “Coolest. Camper. Ever” by National Geographic.
This camper has a lightweight design built with high-quality material that requires hardly any maintenance. The low profile feature allows for easy towing for nearly any car or truck.
The SylvanSport Go is outfitted with an elevated, waterproof tent that is spacious, comfortable, and allows for various dining and sleeping layouts. This camper is the perfect choice for the outdoor enthusiast.
5. Jayco – Jay Sport Camping Trailer
The Jayco Jay Sport Camping trailer is designed with residential conveniences to offer a feeling of home while out on your adventure. This camper features an all-new interior with soft, reversible dinette cushions and a bunk area with privacy curtains. The sleeping area comes with a bunk light and fan for added convenience.
The camper comes with a choice of four different floor plans. Standard interior features include residential-style cabinetry with doors and drawers, stainless steel indoor/outdoor stove with wind deflectors, and a porta-potty storage cabinet. There are many optional features to choose from as well.
The camper base construction has a strong foundation that comes equipped with an easy to use lifter system and leveling tongue jack.
6. Forest River Rockwood Premier Camping Trailer
The Forest River Rockwood camping trailer comes with two design series to choose from, the Freedom Series and the High Wall Series.
The Freedom Series is available in a wide variety of floor plans. This series has standard features that provide the best value for your buck, yet include optional choices as well to match your camping needs.
The High Wall Series is for campers who prefer the comforts of a generous recreational unit while keeping with a more lightweight camper. With plenty of counter space and upgraded appliances, this series comes with elegant interiors. This camper is furnished with pull-up curtains to provide you with beautiful views to enjoy.
7. Quicksilver Tent Camper by Livin Lite
The Quicksilver tent camper guarantees to bring you a home feeling while being outdoors. It features a well-equipped kitchen with an LP stove and sink. The camper sleeps up to 6 people and has two fold-out beds for a comfortable night of rest. Each bunk comes with a 12 volt light and fan as well as outlets for charging your electronics.
The Quicksilver has a water tank and water pump, allowing you to carry large amounts of water for your convenience. It also comes with under-seat thermoformed compartments to store all of your gear.
The camper frame is both compact and rugged, and it’s all tubular aluminum construction makes it easy to tow and provides lasting durability.
8. Pioneer Onyx Rugged Off Road Camper Trailer
The Pioneer Onyx camper trailer has a rugged design for extreme off-road adventures. This camper comes with a large roof/floor design and is spacious enough to kick back and relax in the queen size bed after your outdoor experience.
This camper comes standard with features that include a large 650mm fridge, as well as a stainless steel swing-away kitchen with a two-burner stove and separate slide-out drawers. The Onyx camper trailer comes furnished with a 12v electronic water pump with ample water storage. Hot showers are possible with an integrated battery management system.
Set up is easy with the winch assisted opening and closing. The tent has a double size access door to give you access to enjoy the landscape.
9. Opus Pop-up Camper
The Opus Pop-up Camper trailer is perfect for rugged adventures. This trailer comes with two fixed double beds and an additional double bed in the sitting area that accommodates up to six people. The Opus is equipped with a fully functional kitchen with a two-burner gas stove, a 3-way fridge, sink, and a microwave oven, enabling you to prepare fresh meals.
This pop-up features a 12v water pump and also allows for enough water capacity to store for a 4-day trip. There is also a 12v port to power up your devices. Setting up is easy with the help of the 12v port and the inflation switch. This camper is constructed from an aluminum frame for durability.
10. Aliner Somerest Camper
The Aliner Somerset Utah camper trailer is built for easy towing for the open road. This tent-side pop-up camper is perfect for a first-time buyer because it is not too big or too small. This camper sleeps up to six people since it comes with two king-sized beds and an additional slide-out bed, so there is plenty of room even though it has a compact design.
Other features include an ample 20-gallon freshwater tank housed underneath the flooring, as well as an outdoor shower. There is a six-seater dinette, a stove, sink, and a bathroom with a marine toilet. This camper trailer is built with a tubular steel frame with a for stability.
11. Turtleback Adventure Trail Pop-up
The Turtleback Adventure Trail Pop-up is the perfect option for the outdoor enthusiast seeking rugged adventures. This alternative to a pop-up camper has up to 200 square feet of living space and a bed with a 4-inch high-density foam mattress for added comfort. For those who prefer conventional tent camping, this pop-up tent trailer is partially grounded and comes with a canopy or sunroom option for additional space if needed.
This low profile trailer features a two-burner stainless steel stove with a 20 L propane tank for your cooking needs. It also comes equipped with a 21 gallon BPA free water tank with an on-demand 12-volt water pump for your convenience.
12. Air Opus
Don’t waste hours setting up camp. Press a button and the Air OPUS will be completely set up in less than five minutes. You will be amazed by how spacious and airy this camper is. Plenty of room for the whole family.
A perfect mix of luxury and practicality, the Air OPUS can handle the toughest conditions while also catering to more discerning glampers.
Pop Up Camper Frequently Asked Questions
How much is a pop up camper trailer?
As mentioned earlier, this will vary. If you get lucky, it’s not impossible to find one in used condition for between $1,000 and $2,000, but this should not be expected. The typical going rates for used popup campers will start at around $5,000.
For a brand new camper prices start at around $9,000 and go upwards from there.
Do pop up campers have toilets?
In many cases, yes they do. Smaller campers might just have a cassette toilet, which are very basic. If you go for a more luxury model it will likely have a toilet more like what you’re used to at home. Full bathrooms in pop up campers are quite rare, some might come with a toilet and shower, but on smaller models the shower might be outside.
Do pop up campers have AC?
Most pop-up campers do not come with air conditioning or heating. So to regulate the temperature in your RV you might have to buy a heater or AC unit.
Can a car pull a pop up camper?
Yes. Of course this will depend on the weight of your camper and the pulling capacity of your car. But one of the big benefits of pop-up campers is that they’re light and can be pulled by smaller vehicles than other types of RV.
Can you use a pop up camper in the winter?
Yes you can. Just as you can pitch a tent in the winter. You will just have to be prepared with either a furnace, electric blanket, or other ways of keeping yourself warm.
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