The Unrivaled Guide to Pop-up Campers

Whether you’re looking for something that makes you comfortable while on the road or you need to spend the weekend in the woods, you can find an RV to meet your needs.

Recreational vehicles come in different styles to cater to various types of adventurers.

Although you may be familiar with 5th wheelers or travel trailers, you may be surprised to learn that there’s a more affordable option. 

Pop-up campers have become increasingly popular in recent years. In this guide, we look at what pop-up campers are, and what makes them different.

What are Pop-up Campers?

Pop-up campers have a partial canvas construction that makes them collapse down into a portable, smaller package. They are also known as tent trailers or foldout campers. These campers have a large mattress, mess area, and a functional bathroom.

Instead of hauling a heavy trailer, you get a camper that folds up nicely, something that allows you to tow and maneuver with ease. You can pull a pop-up camper behind a small vehicle, as they are light.

Types of Pop-up Campers

There are various types of pop­up campers mainly:


The A-frame type of camper is small, which makes it simple to fit your car. What’s more, beginners will find this type of pop-up camera easy to set up. You get more room to move around as the camper has a high center peak.

High wall camper

A high wall camper has a traditional style than your regular campers. It’s ideal for families as it provides ample room for storage and sleeping arrangements.  These campers also have a functional kitchen.

Flip Out

The flip-out camper has a tent-style roof rather than a solid roof. You’ll find this camper suitable for a group of three as it has enough sleeping space and an extra bunk style bed.

Toy Hauler

If you’re more into an off-road adventure, you’ll want to get the toy hauler type of camper. That’s because it has an additional cargo deck to store your dirt bikes, motorcycles, and ATVs.

How to Get AC for Pop-up Campers

Most campers do not have Air conditioning, which means you may have to install one.  There are three types of ACs for pop-up trailers, mainly the window units, portable AC units, and the rooftop units.

It’s essential to understand the number of units your AC should have before buying an air conditioner. You can do this by multiplying the square foot area of your camper by forty.

Note that the higher the BTU number, the more costly the AC will be.   The cost of portable air conditioner units ranges from $200-$600.  Some rooftop RV air conditioners go for up to $700.

While having an AC is essential, you need to maximize it by parking the trailer in the shade. You may need to insulate the inside and add a fan to keep air moving.  Always clean, the air conditioner filter to ensure it operates at peak performance.

Things to Consider in a Pop-up Camper

Pop-up campers are a favorite with most campers due to their lightweight design and modern features that offer more comfort.  However, before you rush to buy a camper, you should consider some factors like:

How You Plan to use the Camper

Before you set out to look for the best pop-up camper, you need to decide how you plan to use it.  Decide if you plan to stay on the blacktop or you’ll need it for off the road.

Decide on the Must-Have Features

Your camper should have convenient features to make your work easier. Check if it’s simple to set up and if it can fit into your garage. Do not forget to check if your car has enough power to tow the camper.

Some campers work will a manual lift-system, while others require an automatic one.  You should note that the more features your camper have, the more expensive and larger it will become.

While at it, try everything to ensure it works.  Try the faucets, stove, bathroom, and any other amenity to make sure they are in perfect condition.

The Interior Amenities

It’s crucial to check out the amenities your camper has if you plan to use it often.  Although a unique kitchen setup may sound enticing, it won’t do you any good if you grill outside on your camping trips. Find a camper that has amenities you need and a few extras.

Modern campers will have an AC unit, bathroom, cable TV hook-up, water heater, microwave, heated mattress, lights, and a furnace. Others may come with extras like a bike rack, a microwave, and a screen room.

The Floor Plan

A camper’s floor plan is something you shouldn’t overlook. The right size depends on how many people will use the camper, sleeping capacity, and the sitting area. Browse through some models online and visit the showroom in person to determine if the floorplan will work for you.

If you plan to have four people in the camper, bring them along and have a feel of the space and layout. That will help you settle for the right camper.

Noise Levels

Although pop-up trailers have thin walls that won’t insulate against external noises, you should look for one with quiet generators.  Sometimes the constant hum of a generator may be irritating; some models are built to be silent.

The Price of the Camper

Pop-up campers are economical compared to other RV options.  Nonetheless, you need to check if the cost of the trailer matches with the amenities, you need.  Check different sites for new RV prices. Modern campers are expensive but have features like heated mattresses and air conditioning units.

However, if you’re looking for a budget trailer, you may consider a used pop-up camper.  These trailers are affordable, though they might lack some amenities.

Alternatively, you may want to consider renting a camper before purchasing one.  You may only spend $50 a night to see if the trailer is worth the investment.

Cost of Pop-up Campers

Travel trailer prices may be high, but a new pop-up camper will cost you around $5,000.You can find some that retail for up to $20,000. The price difference includes amenities like a hydraulic lift system, an AC, and upgraded features.  New pop-up floor plans have an entertainment center or a heated mattress.

You can opt for a used camper for as little as $600, although it may lack some amenities like a new one.

Pros and Cons of Pop-up Campers

Pop-up campers have advantages like:


Pop-up campers are inexpensive as compared to other types of RVs for sale.  That’s why they are popular with first-time camper buyers and families looking for a budget-friendly way to camp outdoors.

Portable and Lightweight

These campers have canvas sides, something that makes them lighter than other campers. You can tow the camper using a small vehicle.  Most vans ad SUVs can tow a pop-up camper to any destination.

Easy Storage

You’ll find storing this type of camper easier as it’s foldable. Moreover, the camper is not too tall to fit into your garage.

Low Towing Profile

Pop-up cameras have a small towing profile that makes them effortless to tow. The best part is that you won’t be distracted while driving as the camper doesn’t obstruct your view like other campers.

Sleep Comfort

Tent camping can sometimes be distracting. However, pop-up cameras protect different external and weather elements.  Moreover, they are waterproof and hard proof to offer total protection, while ensuring you get enough fresh air.

Some of the disadvantages of pop-up campers include:

Requires Manual Setup

You’ll require more time to set up a pop-up camper than other RV types. You’ll need to unfold, slide, and crank the camper up the sides.  What’s more, you need to perform the unfold manually with a crank.

Reduced Amenities

Pop-up campers have limited amenities compared to other RVs. However, this is understandable due to its reasonable price.  Some previous users also found the sleeping amenities not as comfortable.

Not Suitable for Severe Weather

These campers lack structure support, something that may make them unstable during storms or heavy rains.

Lack of Privacy

Pop-up campers do not offer much-needed privacy. Some campers have a bathroom that has a thin wall or curtain.

Comes With Extra Weight

Campers with plenty of features and amenities will add to the overall weight you’ll be towing. You need to ensure that your vehicle can carry it all to avoid disappointments.

Requires Regular Maintenance

Owning a camper isn’t the only thing; you need to maintain it as well. Take precautions to prevent mildew and look out for tears in the canvas. Ensure that you dry it out before collapsing it again when you get home. Do not forget to invest in the best pop-up cover to store your camper.

Limited Customization Options

Pop-up campers aren’t as customizable as other RV options like travel trailers or 5th wheelers.  That leaves you with little to no room to add functionality in the trailer.

Pop-up campers are economical, portable, and have a low towing profile. Do your research before purchasing one, to ensure you get one that fits your needs and budget!