Haven’t gotten to the place where you can comfortably invest in an RV?
Don’t worry about it as you are far from alone and have pop-up campers as your best option.
Not only are they an affordable alternative to the house-on-wheels RV, but a pop-up camper is also a great introductory way to ease yourself into the world of camping.
Let’s face it, not everyone can handle spending their nights in the great outdoors, but at least with a pop-up camper, you are a few notches above the tent on the wet ground type of camping.
1 – Long Before You Decide To Buy, Go The Rental Direction First
As stated already, not everyone is an outdoorsy type. Even if you have had this crazy romantic dream of sleeping under the stars each night wrapped in the arms of someone you love, the reality is often a whole lot harsher than that. With anything that takes place outdoors, you have many different things to factor into your equation.
On the top of that list should be the weather. Following that will likely be insects/wildlife and storage for food and essentials. To get the routine down before you dump a bag of money into a pop-up camper, just rent one for your next couple of camping weekends.
This’ll give you a much better sense of whether or not you want to move up to becoming an actual pop-up camper owner.
2 – Be Prepared To Spend A Lot Of Time Outside Of The Camper
If you can imagine your pop-up camper as being somewhat larger than a tin can, you’ll understand where we are going with this. Yes, it will have the room you need to sleep and stash some gear. If you plan well enough, you’ll be able to make it rather functional on the inside.
However, because your pop-up camper is made of thin metal or possible wood, it is going to get pretty warm in there. Yes, an awning on the outside will give you some shade, but the interior will heat up pretty fast, and unless you like sweat pouring down your face when relaxing after a long day of hiking or whatever, you’ll want to keep this little piece of information in mind.
The ventilation of your average pop-up camper sucks, even in a windstorm.
3 – Speaking Of Weather, Rain Will Present A Whole New Challenge
Rain is cleansing, right? Well, for those who own pop-up campers, rain is the one thing that puts a kink into your outdoor adventure. It also can be the first step in a mold issue that can ultimately destroy your investment. If you have the awning out in a downpour, you will need to let in the air out and completely dry before packing up and bugging out of the campsite.
You’ll also want to air out the pop-up camper as well. You can use handy little desiccant moisture collectors to help with this process. The bottom line is that you should do whatever possible to eliminate any moisture build up in and on your pop-up camper after a rainstorm.
4 – This Is The Perfect Way To Test Drive
There is no way of knowing what your limits are until you test them. You’ve probably done this with many different aspects of your life already. If you have a few scars or are missing finger or toe, you’ve clearly passed the test and stepped outside of the boundaries more than once.
Reading about camping is a lot like learning how to swim through correspondence school. You get a general idea of the concept, but the practical experience is not there. Renting or borrowing a pop-up camper will give you the opportunity to explore whether or not this is something you really want to pursue. It may even introduce you to a method of camping you’ll adopt simply because it requires some improvisation and is so different from RVing.
I recently rented a pop-up camper for a weekend camping trip. Once I arrived at the campsite and began setting up the camper, I was impressed by how spacious and comfortable it was. The pop-up design allowed for plenty of natural light and fresh air, while still providing a cozy sleeping area and kitchenette. I was able to cook meals and relax in the camper during a sudden rainstorm, which made the trip much more enjoyable overall. I opted for a larger camper with a higher capacity as I was traveling with a group of friends and we needed ample space to store our gear. It was rated for 4 people and that was about right, I would not put any more.
5 – Think Of It As Being A Lot Like That Cheap Motel Room From Last Holiday
You remember it, right? You stayed at what was apparently a 4-star hotel, but the show you were exposed to from the rooms on either side of you made it quickly slide down to a 1-star.
The noise coming out of one of the rooms prompted you to pound on the wall that only added to the sounds of excitement wafting through the wall on the other side of your room. Well, a pop-up camper is a lot like this.
Sure, there’s nothing wrong with making out in one, but remember, if you sit the gas generator just outside of yours, it’ll sound as if it is on the floor next to you. The upside is that the generator noise will probably muffle any noise you and your partner will be making.
6 – Speaking Of Pop-Up Campers In A Windstorm, Have You Heard This One?
Hey, there are a lot of good things you can say about the lightweight construction of the average pop-up camper. They are not going to put much of a crimp in your fuel efficiency when pulled behind your pick-up truck.
A lightweight mini camper is also going to be relatively easy to maneuver into even the tightest of campsites. But there are also other things to bear in mind. The way in which a hurricane-force windstorm can convert one into a pile of rubble or flotsam is important to note.
Did we mention that they are not typically aerodynamically designed so driving down the highway with this wind blocking box attached to your vehicle is going to take some getting used to?
Oh, there’s that to factor into your fuel economy.
7 – You Already Know That Size Matters And It Does With Pop-Up Campers As Well
There are several different sizes that these little buggers are available in. If you are lucky, you may even find a model that will collapse down enough to fit into your garage. But why would you? Well, you’ll have a better time keeping it in good shape by protecting it from the elements.
The other side of the coin is that if it is small enough to sit comfortably in the corner of your garage, this doesn’t mean you’ll be able to sit comfortably in the corner of the pop-up camper when fully loaded and set up at your next campsite. Do you know what we mean?
8 – Speaking Of Size, You’ll Learn How To Be A Better Packer With One
Unless you are hauling a pop-up camper behind a converted bus or larger camper van, you are going to discover the importance of packing just what you need. For an overnight stay not too far from home, you’ll be able to improvise without much trouble.
But on those week long excursions by the lake or interstate, you’ll want to be careful with your packing list. That’s because you will only have so much storage space to work with and if you are like the campers we know, you’ll fill every available square inch with stuff.
That’s not a bad thing unless the only way to do this is to leave someone at home and pick up food once the campsite is set up.
9 – Just Because You Have A Trailer Hitch Doesn’t Mean You Can Tow Everything
So you’ve managed to pack the inside of the pop-up camper with all your gear and even added more to an outdoor storage system you’ve rigged up to the camper. Nice work, Einstein!
Did you happen to make a note of the tow rating and limit of the Toyota Camry you plan to pull this Bad Big into the wilderness with? I have used a mid sized Tacoma pickup to pull the camper and that felt balanced with enough pull and braking power.
That’s the point we are trying to make here. Not only is the ‘usually’ lightweight pop-up camper awkward enough to tow, if you stuff it full of all the things you need for an average camping trip, and things you won’t need, you stand a good chance at exceeding the tow limitations of your vehicle.
It’s not safe to even try it using the excuse that you’ve either done it before or that the tow limit is a ‘suggested’ guideline.
Still Thinking About A Pop-Up Camper?
Regardless, if the smell of the great outdoors, mosquitoes and crowded campsites are calling your name, you can easily get into the game without breaking the bank with a pop-up camper.
Pros and Cons
- Lightweight and easy to tow: Pop-up campers are typically lighter than other types of RVs, making them easier to tow with smaller vehicles like SUVs, minivans, or even some sedans. This can save you money on fuel and reduce wear and tear on your tow vehicle.
- Compact and easy to store: When collapsed, pop-up campers take up much less space than other types of RVs, making them easier to store in a garage or driveway. This can be a significant advantage if you have limited storage space or if you live in an area with strict parking regulations.
- Affordability: Pop-up campers are generally less expensive than other types of RVs, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious campers or those just starting out with RVing.
- Closer to nature: With their soft-sided tent-like walls, pop-up campers provide a more immersive outdoor experience compared to hard-sided RVs. You can enjoy the sounds and smells of nature while still having the comfort and protection of an RV.
- Versatility: Pop-up campers often feature fold-out sleeping areas, convertible dinettes, and compact kitchens, providing a comfortable living space despite their small size. Some models also include features like slide-outs, awnings, or even bathrooms, offering additional convenience and comfort.
- Easy setup and takedown: Although setting up and taking down a pop-up camper requires some effort, the process is usually straightforward and can be completed by one or two people in a relatively short amount of time.
- Limited insulation and climate control: The tent-like walls of pop-up campers provide less insulation than hard-sided RVs, making them less suitable for extreme temperatures. While some models include heating or air conditioning systems, their effectiveness may be limited.
- Less security and privacy: The soft-sided walls of pop-up campers offer less security and privacy compared to hard-sided RVs. This may be a concern in crowded campgrounds or when leaving your camper unattended.
- Setup and takedown time: Although the process is relatively simple, setting up and taking down a pop-up camper takes longer than simply parking a hard-sided RV. This may be a drawback if you plan to move frequently during your trip.
- Cost: New pop-up campers: The price of a new pop-up camper can range from around $10,000 to over $25,000. Smaller, more basic models will be on the lower end of the price range, while larger, feature-rich models will be on the higher end.
- Used pop-up campers: The price of a used pop-up camper will depend on factors such as its age, condition, and features. You can find used pop-up campers for as low as $2,000 for older models with basic amenities, while more recent, well-equipped models can still cost over $10,000.
Q: Are pop-up campers magical tents that appear out of thin air?
A: Oh, wouldn’t that be a sight to behold! While pop-up campers may not magically appear, they do have a superpower of their own—the ability to transform from a compact trailer into a cozy camping haven. It’s like witnessing a camper’s version of a superhero origin story!
Q: Can I bring a pop-up camper as my secret weapon for winning a game of hide-and-seek?
A: Absolutely! Pop-up campers are the ultimate hide-and-seek accomplice. With their collapsible design, you can fold them down and blend seamlessly into the environment. Just make sure you don’t accidentally give away your hiding spot by humming your favorite camping tune!
Q: Are pop-up campers the RV equivalent of a chameleon?
A: Spot-on observation! Pop-up campers are like the chameleons of the RV world. They can adapt to various camping environments, disappearing into the scenery or standing out in vibrant colors. It’s camping camouflage at its finest!
Q: Can I perform a magic trick and make my pop-up camper appear out of nowhere at the campsite?
A: While the magic may not be as dramatic as pulling a rabbit out of a hat, the setup of a pop-up camper can certainly leave fellow campers in awe. With a few quick maneuvers and a little bit of camping wizardry, you’ll have your camper ready to go in no time. Abracadabra, camping style!
Q: Can pop-up campers be disguised as regular tents to confuse Bigfoot?
A: Ah, the elusive Bigfoot! While pop-up campers are excellent for camping adventures, they might not be the best disguise for fooling our hairy friend. Bigfoot is known for his keen sense of observation, so he might raise an eyebrow (if he had one) at a tent that seems a little too spacious and comfortable. But hey, you never know—maybe Bigfoot enjoys a bit of luxury camping too!
Q: Can I use a pop-up camper to play hide-and-seek with the mosquitoes?
A: Oh, the eternal battle against mosquitoes! While a pop-up camper can provide some protection against these tiny bloodsuckers, it’s always a good idea to bring along some bug repellent and mosquito nets for added defense. It’s like trying to outsmart mosquitoes with your own game of hide-and-seek—just make sure you’re the one seeking the fun, not the mosquitoes seeking your blood!