Is a Pop-Up Camper Right For You?

Learning about the pros and cons will help you decide

If you are an avid camper, but maybe you’re getting tired of sleeping in confining tents, it could be time to think about a different option.

Even if you are not quite ready to go all in with an RV, there’s a middle ground that could be your best bet: a pop-up camper.

What exactly is a pop-up camper?

Also called a tent camper, a pop-up is a towable camping trailer. Because they are partially comprised of canvas, the top section gets folded down when not in use and popped up when needed.

Pop-up camper pros

Cost

If you’ve done any sort of research into RVs, you know that they can be pricey, and this is one big reason why people choose pop-up campers.

While they can also be expensive, you can probably find a good one for a few thousand dollars. They’re even cheaper if you decide to go with a used one.

Flexibility

One of the best aspects of pop-campers is that they can go almost anywhere. Sometimes people driving big RVs run into problems with narrow campgrounds – especially in national parks – but because pop-ups aren’t huge, this is rarely an issue.

Convenience

A pop-up camper is kind of like a luxury tent. You basically get most of the amenities of an RV – albeit on a smaller scale – but in a setting that lets you be more connected with nature. While you can go bare-bones, there are some models that do come with a toilet and shower.

Light weight and compact

Pop-ups can be towed easily; as long as you have an SUV or minivan, you should be good to go. Plus, because they are lighter than something like a travel trailer, you won’t have to worry too much about your gas mileage suffering. And because of their compactness, pop-ups can easily fit in your garage or won’t take up too much space in your driveway.

Pop-up camper cons

They can take a while to set up and break down

If you’re the kind of person who wants to get to a campground and immediately sit back and relax, a pop-up camper may not be for you.

While not very complicated, there is some work involved for both setting it up and breaking it down.

Poor climate control

Remember how a pop-up camper helps you be more attuned with nature? While a good thing, this can also be a negative, as you’ll pretty much be at the mercy of the weather.

This is because pop-ups don’t generally have air conditioning or heating systems. You can certainly bring along a portable AC or heater, but that hot or cool air won’t remain inside very long.

Things can get damp

Speaking of weather, pop-ups aren’t great in wet weather. They do keep the rain out, but they are prone to dampness and condensation. If things remain wet for long periods, this can lead to mold and mildew. To avoid this, it’s important to air out the trailer after every rainstorm.

Close quarters

Some pop-ups are sizable inside, but even the bigger ones don’t have very large interiors. If it’s just you and perhaps one other person, space may not be an issue.

However, for a family, you’ll quickly discover the real meaning of closeness. There’s also not a ton of storage room, which means you may have to pack a little lighter.

A great way to decide whether a pop-up camper is right for you is to rent one. This will let you test it out without having to make a financial commitment. Get in touch with RV Advisor to get more information on all sorts of campers, trailers, and pop-ups.