Camping, Equipment

9 Coolest Things about Pop-Up Campers

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.



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?

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?

Hey, these things are pretty cool, no doubt about it. We like that they fall between using a tent and an RV. Well, okay, a few notches about tenting and a whole lot more notches below RVing.

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.

Whether or not you’ll stay at that level is entirely up to you.

One thing is for sure, you’ll learn in a hurry whether or not you can stand being cramped tightly with others at night or not.




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Pop-up campers: Everything you need to know from Cnet RoadShow

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