There are many different types of RV’s to choose from, depending on your desires and requirements.
One of the most affordable and easily stored options is the Pop Up Camper.
What is a Pop Up Camper?
A Pop Up Camper, also knows as a “Folding Tent Trailer” is a type of recreational vehicle that is stored collapsed into a small, flat rectangle, and can be “popped up” with slide out beds for camping use.
They are towed behind a vehicle on a ball hitch, and are relatively light so they can be used with many common types of vehicles from vans and SUV’s to trucks and even some full sized cars.
Advantages of a Pop Up RV Camper:
1. Easily Stored and Transported
Pop up campers fold down into a small rectangle on wheels which allows for easy transport down the road, and convenient storage in a relatively small space.
2. Allows for the feeling of Camping
Many people who use this type of camper love that it gives them the feel of camping while offering some of the comforts of home.
The main benefit of using a pop up camper is that you are up off of the ground and are protected against rain and other elements in ways you aren’t in a tent on the ground. It is easier to keep dry and to stay warm in wet and cool conditions.
Because the walls of the popped up roof and the slide out beds are made of canvas, the sights and smells of nature can penetrate the camper, which furthers the “camping” feel.
3. Modern Amenities
Unlike camping in a tent, this type of RV offers many of the comforts of home. They often include kitchens with a refrigerator, sink and stove, a table and the opportunity for 8+ people to sleep on soft beds.
4. Towable with most vehicles
Pop up camper are relatively light, so they are able to be towed by a wide range of vehicles including trucks, vans, SUV’s and even full sized cars.
Be sure to check with your particular vehicle to see if it’s rated to tow the weight of the pop up camper you are considering.
Disadvantages of a Pop Up Camper:
1. Not designed for extreme weather. Cold or hot.
Because this type of camper has canvas walls, it is not rated for extreme temperatures or weather.
Some people may use a small space heater in order to continue camping in the cool spring/fall weather, but winter camping in the freezing cold is not an option in this type of camper.
Other people use portable air conditioners in their units to help combat summer heat. This helps give a little climate control to the pop up campers.
However, the nature of the canvas walls make it much like a tent in the fact that the temperatures outside greatly affect the climate inside the camper.
2. Requires setup and break down.
This type of camper is fully collapsed when it’s transported. That means that when you arrive at your destination, you are required to set it up.
The steps include leveling out the camper, raising the roof, sliding out the bed slides and then moving items inside the camper into their proper position for active camping.
While not difficult, these steps make setup and tear down take time and effort.
3. Canvas walls – sounds and smells don’t stay in or out of the camper walls.
The canvas walls of pop up campers allows sounds and smells to permeate them.
This is good if you’re looking to smell the ocean breeze or listen to the sounds of birds chirping in the mornings.
It’s not so good if you’re looking for peace and quiet and are instead parked next to a site full of rowdy night owls, or if you like to stay up late playing games and are hoping to not wake the neighbors. It’s also not a good thing if you are camping down wind from the porta potties or garbage cans.
4. No bathrooms [in almost all models]
Pop up campers are designed to be tents on wheels. Due to their collapsible nature and limited space, they very rarely have bathrooms inside of them.
Portable toilets are an option for people who don’t want to make midnight trips to the campground bathrooms.
However, most travelers using pop up campers are still among the campground guests using the communal bathrooms and showers.
Requirements for Pop Up Tent Trailers:
Pop up campers can be towed with most vehicles such as full sized cars, vans, SUV’s and trucks, as long as the vehicles have a trailer ball hitch.
Make sure to check your vehicle’s towing capacity in order to see if it’s rated to tow a pop up camper.
Styles of Pop Up Campers:
Pop Up campers are available in a range of brands, styles and levels.
Most have a very similar look to them: a rectangle with beds that slide out on the ends, and they all collapse into a long, flat rectangle for travel.
Popped Up for Camping
Collapsed for Traveling
While most pop up campers DO NOT have a bathroom, it’s worth noting that there are a very select few brands and models that do offer true luxury in a Pop Up – they offer a hard walled shower AND flushable toilet.
Pop up campers offer a less rustic alternative to tent camping, and are usually the most affordable type of RV.
They give some protection from the elements – especially rain – and offer many of the amenities of home like refrigerators, stoves and sinks with running water.
And thanks to the permeable canvas walls, they allow you to still experience many of the lovable aspects of camping like the smells and sounds of nature.