RVing

Pop Up In Paradise! 6 Amazing Benefits of Owning a Pop-Up Camper

Looking to upgrade out of your tent? But not sure you’re ready for a large RV yet? A pop-up camper might be your best bet!

Pop-ups give you a tent-like experience without the hassle of sleeping on the ground. And they’re much easier to haul and store than a traditional RV. 

In this article, we’ll go into more detail about everything there is to love about pop-up campers. Here are six amazing benefits of owning one.

1. Lightens Up Your Load

Pop-up campers are light. Why is that important? Because the lighter the load, the more flexibility you have in how you haul it. 

Almost any vehicle can haul a pop-up. In fact, small pop-ups will tow behind a regular car. So, when you make the decision to invest in a camper, you won’t have to worry about also having to upgrade your tow vehicle too.

Also, if you’ve ever towed a full-sized travel trailer before, you understand that it’s not the easiest task in the world. If it’s windy out, the trailer can shift and move on the road unless you have an expensive hitch system. Also, you’ll find that you can’t drive as fast pulling a large camper. And the added weight affects how your two vehicles handles while you’re hauling. 

A pop-up is small and light enough that many times, you don’t even realize you’re pulling anything. They’re short, so you can see over and around them when you’re in traffic. And they aren’t affected by wind turbulence nearly as much as a large travel trailer. 

2. Brings the Outdoors In… Within Reason

Most of us want our camping experience to bring us as close to nature as possible. Pop-up campers allow you more access to nature than you’d get in an RV. And they’re better at keeping the elements out than a tent. 

RVs and tents don’t open up the way a pop-up does. Pop-up campers have canvas siding all around. And each panel of the canvas has a screen and separate solid canvas flap. You can open up all the solid flaps and experience a 360-degree view of nature. 

This gives you more airflow at night for a cooler sleeping experience. And the screens keep out bugs and other pests. You can enjoy this feature during the day too. Have lunch inside your camper and still have the feel of being outdoors at your beautiful campsite. 

There’s something to be said about having a place to sleep that’s off the ground. A pop-up gives you the tent experience with a real bed. You’ll feel safer, especially when you’re camping in an area with heavy wildlife traffic. And you’ll have an excellent view of the stars!

3. Wallet-Friendly

As far as RVs go, pop-up campers are the most wallet-friendly option on the market. If you only camp a few times per year, it may not be worth it to you to spend lots of money on a full-size travel trailer. You can get a pop-up at a fraction of the cost. 

And because they cost less to start, they’re cheaper to insure. They also require a lot less space to store. Most will fit right into the stall of a garage. 

Although they might seem fragile, these campers are actually really durable. And the maintenance on a small pop-up will probably be less than the maintenance on a travel trailer. 

Since they’re lighter, you’ll have fewer problems with things like tires, axles, and hitch assemblies. They’ll also put less stress on your tow vehicle. And since many pop-ups have very little plumbing, you’ll have less chance of water-related issues inside the camper. 

But just because you can get them cheaper, doesn’t mean they don’t come with plenty of accessories. Many pop-up campers come with air conditioners, refrigerators, bench seating, plenty of storage, and even slide-outs. You can get the feel of tent camping with all the luxuries you want!

4. Go Wherever the Wind Takes You

Many campgrounds have weight or length restrictions on their sites. Larger RVs simply won’t fit in them. That’s never an issue with a pop-up camper. 

Most pop-up campers can fit into any tent site. And many campgrounds treat them like a tent so you can use a tent site if a back-in isn’t available. 

Since they can be pulled by almost any vehicle, it’s easier to take these off-road. Many pop-ups can be pulled up Jeep paths using a 4×4 Jeep or truck. Of course, it’s always best to check into these types of campsites ahead of time. But if it’s allowed, why not bring your pop-up as far into the woods as you can?

5. The More the Merrier

One big advantage that pop-ups have over traditional RVs is the sleeping arrangments. Most of the space in a pop-up is dedicated to sleep—you’ll fit a lot more people in a pop-up than you can in a regular RV. 

Pop-ups are made with two sliding beds that push out from the center of the trailer. These beds are what sticks out over the sides of the camper. And in larger pop-ups, you can sleep up to five people in these two beds alone. 

Plus, there’s often sleeping room in the interior of the trailer too. Many campers have a table or a lounge area that folds down into a bed too. If your pop-up has both, you can sleep an extra four people in these areas. For the size of the trailer, you simply can’t beat the amount of space to sleep.

6. Easy Peasy

This is the number one question that potential owners have before purchasing a pop-up camper: Is it easy to set-up? And the answer is… yes!

It’s certainly easier to set up than a tent. And unlike a tent, you can store things inside your pop-up. Leave your mattresses, bedding, and cooking gear right in the camper. So you have less to pack up and put away when it’s time to leave the site. 

Most pop-ups use a simple set-up process. First, you back into your site and level your trailer. Then unhook from the tow vehicle and lift the roof using a crank (or an automatic lift for upgraded models). Then you slide out the two side beds and tuck the canvas around them using velcro strips. Finally, you pull down the door and attach it to the bottom of the trailer. And that’s it!

With traditional RVs, you have to do the same leveling and stabilizing that you do with a pop-up. Heavier travel trailers require more complicated hitches to prevent sway on the road. This makes unhitching more difficult. And you’ll still have to unload things like chairs, tables, and firewood. 


Pop-up camping is a unique experience. Open up the flaps to experience lots of beautiful views and refreshing airflow. And you’ll love the convenience and durability of a pop-up camper. Have you ever considered getting a pop-up camper? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

6 amazing benefits of owning a pop up camper

36 comments

  1. Avatar

    For many years we owned a 1987 Starcraft popup and loved it. Our boys were small and we camped often. Due to life circumstances, we sold the camper and just recently purchased a well cared for 2001 Coleman Cheyenne popup and have already been on two weekend getaways. We are empty-nester’s now and absolutely love the freedom it gives us!! We use it now instead of staying in hotels when we go out of town to visit. Just find the closest campground and we are good to go!!

    Sure I would love a fifth-wheel, but when I think about the investment and maintenance required, I am so thrilled to have our little popup that carries no financial burden. We plan to keep our popup as long as my back will allow. Looking forward to our next getaway!!

    1. Avatar

      Thanks for sharing Robert! I have a popup as well and I love it. Have fun on your next getaway!

      1. Avatar

        How is setup for a 68yr. Old Senior with arthritis

        1. Avatar

          I am a 73 my wife is 76 we have a pop up and love it this is both of us are on our second marriage our first spouses passed away my wife is new to camping I on the other hand have camped for years in every thing from motor homes to truck campers to a 39foot trailer but my only experance with a pop up was 35 to 40 years ago with an Apache pop up we talked about purchase of a new pop up for months we both liked the freedom to when we wanted to and have our small suv with us and not blow the vacation budget on gas or hotels as is the case to travel to her east coast former homeland ( Maryland)and with th COVID 19thing to worry about we cook our own food and sleep in our own Ed

          Bill and Marie

    2. Avatar

      Can u live in a pop up, just my wife and I

  2. Avatar

    I’m living full time in a popup, working as a camp worker. Only couple things wish different. Storage for one. And is there a way to seel the canvas on the sides of the beds? When it rains, the canvas gets wet. Other than that, I love living in my little puttputt.

    1. Avatar

      Thanks so much for the comment Renee!

      If you’re having issues with water, I would apply a waterproofer to the canvas. Many of them come waterproofed but this sealer wears off over time. I used a spray sealer on mine and that did the trick. But some sealer come in bottles that you can mix with water. There are also special seam sealers to protect the seams. Just be sure to clean the canvas well before applying and follow the instructions on the product.

      Hope that helps!

      1. Avatar

        Popup gizmos are an extra layer of protection and also help tremendously in keeping out the heat. We love ours!

  3. Avatar

    I love that you emphasize that setting up a camper trailer is easier than a tent and can store everything you need! My husband and I are trying to become more adventurous and outdoorsy; we want to breath fresh air and explore this beautiful world we have been given. I am excited to start looking for an RV or trailer that will meet our needs!

    1. Avatar

      Thank you, Greta! Best of luck finding your perfect setup!

  4. Avatar

    Hi Rebecca, Great article. My wife and I just purchased a 2020 Rockwood tent trailer last week. We booked our first campsite in May on Vancouver Island. Check me out on my Facebook account. We may bump into one day. Happy traveling. 🙂

    1. Avatar

      That’s great John! Happy pop-up traveling!

  5. Avatar

    We just bought a pop up. I’m wondering if softer mattresses can be found.
    Any advice is appreciated.

    1. Wade Thiel

      Hi Glenda, You should certainly be able to find one, I’d give your local Gander a call. If they don’t have anything that suits your fancy, then it could be worth it to check with some local mattress stores. Sometimes they can be a help.

    2. Avatar

      I have camped in tent trailers since 1992, and the quickest way to add comfort to the mattress is to put a 2 inch memory foam topper on top of your existing mattress.

      Tent Trailers are the only way to camp 😁

    3. Avatar

      Hello. We owe ed and got a lot of us in our pop up as well as our 25ft. Camping g is such a joy. You may ne able to find a folding mattress that is very comfortable twin around $25. Happy camping to all.

    4. Avatar

      We bought 2″ memory foam topper for our pop up. Thick enough to dramatically increase the comfort but thin enough that we could leave it on when the too comes down.

    5. Avatar

      Hi Glenda,
      You could check Joann Fabrics to see what kind of foam they sell. A few years ago when my husband was bedridden, I purchased a foam mattress pad from Target to cover our regular mattress so that he wouldn’t get bed sores. I use it now on my pop-up mattress to make it super comfortable.

    6. Avatar

      We purchased a memory foam to put on top of existing mattress after opening trailer. Best money ever spent. Just roll and store on floor when trailer down.

    7. Avatar

      Best bet is to to determine the exact size and thickness you want. Most distributors of mattresses and camping outlets sell on line. All camper including pop makers generally go with cheaper mattresses. One of the smartest upgrades especially if you have back issues. Research and scrutinize as many reviews as u can. Some folks add toppers instead of replacement with good results but it may create issues with the fold up if too thick.

    8. Avatar

      A tip I received was that you put foam fatigue mats on the bottom of your bed. They are inexpensive and you can cut to fit the size of your beds. It will help soften the mattress so you can’t feel the wood underneath. It’s the first thing I’m doing this spring before camping season.

    9. Avatar

      Skip the sleeping bags! Use an air bed with sheets and blankets. Save yourself some aggravation before leaving home, though. Inflate the mattress on the floor at home, put on the mattress pad, bottom sheet, and top sheet. Then deflate the mattress, roll/fold the whole bit up and pack in your vehicle or camper. Upon arrival, unroll the whole bit carefully, inflate the mattress, and add any additional blankets. This eliminates having to wrestle with all of the bedding when it’s on the pull-out section of the bed. Plus, now you’ve got a comfy bed and some colorful bedding!

  6. Avatar

    We just purchased our first pop up, Poppy 😍 she’s this camper girls dream come true. We have 3 kids under the age of 8 and they are beyond excited to travel the east cost with Poppy. 🙌🏼💕

  7. Avatar

    What popup will my Prius pull SAFELY …

    THANKS

    1. Avatar

      Look into LivinLite Quicksilver 6.0, 8.0 or 10.0 models. They are no longer made, but you can find great used ones and they are typically around only 1000 lbs when empty. I know some people pull these with Priuses.

  8. Avatar

    I enjoy my pop-up, I have owned four and recommend you to have a/c. Also use a mattress topper and a air mattress on your bed, very comfortable. I wish they had a better drain system on the sink.

    1. Avatar

      Our 2005 Coachmen Clipper had a kitchen drain that took forever to empty. All it had was a garden hose hookup on the exterior of the pop-up to drain. I constructed an air vent out of 3/4″ PVC to connect to that hose fitting. Having a vent outside completely cured the slow draining. Hope this helps!

  9. Avatar

    Camped in a really nice pop up on an Elk hunt in mid October in Northern NM, temperatures were below freezing at night and somewhere between 7 and 11 degrees every morning when we woke. We used a propane heater to heat the pop up at night, which created condensation on the inside of the canvas, we slept wet as the water dripped on us all night. Never again, I have a hard side camper now for cold weather camping. Get the right tool for the job.

    1. Avatar

      Whenever you have a heater running, you need to have a window open just a bit so that the air can be refreshed. That’ll eliminate the condensation.

  10. Avatar

    Add a memory foam topper. It makes all the difference.

  11. Avatar

    I loved my pop up. Except while traveling you can’t control the weather . I’d set up in my membership resort . The clouds rolled in and I was scared . I figured at any moment the roof would cave. It did a lot of swaying. But , it made it through a rough storm. I immediately bought a travel trailer. But , if your going camping for a wk. Or so . And know the weather for your getaway. Nothing better than a pop up camper.

  12. Avatar

    Just bought my first pop up and can’t wait to start using it with my family. We got a 2021 Rockwood 2318G. I love that I can tow it and still see around it. Thanks for your blog.

  13. Avatar

    I think I’m going to get a pop up Aliner or Expedition. But I’d love to get the cloth ones (sooo much cheaper) but as a woman and being 79, I’ feel somewhat more safe in the hard exteriors. I’d like to hear someone speak to that. I’m in Florida but want to escape, so that’s one way to do it. And I also want one w a toilet and at least outside shower.

  14. Avatar

    We bought a 2014 rockwood 2318g last year for a overflow for guests at our summer home in Canada. Well with this covid 19 we can’t go to Canada so tomorrow we are going on our first trip. 😁😁😁

  15. Avatar

    My husband and I are retired and we are looking to buy used pop up camper. We live in Parker, Az. Does anyone know how to go by or where to go to buy one?

  16. Avatar

    My wife and I bought a 2005 Starcraft pop up camper. These things are the bomb compared to tent camping!
    With a fridge, a furnace and a sink its all we need for camping in provincial parks and conservation areas. We love it!
    It brings us close to the outdoors while adding security from wet weather.
    We’ve also added things like a plug in fridge/freezer, a table, an outside mat and portable barbecue. Anyone who likes to camp in the great outdoors then THIS is the way to camp. Fabulous!

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