Pop-Up Campers: Choose Your Type, Choose Your Adventure

Various types of Pop-Up Campers: Conventional, Motorcycle, Toy Hauler, Off-Road

Pop-up campers have been around since 1916 and that’s a long time for new features and designs to develop. Today you have loads of options to choose from. Do you want to take your motorized toys along with a toy hauler model? How about a rugged tent camper while tackling the toughest jeep trails? Or maybe you’d like a scaled down pop-up trailer you can tow behind a motorcycle? Well, now you can…

Whatever you’re driving (short of a bicycle) there’s likely a pop-up camper for you. It’s now easier than ever to get into the wonderful world of RVing.

Here’s what’s on the pop-up tour:

  • Traditional Pop-Up Campers
  • Pop-Up Toy Haulers 
  • Off-Road Camper Trailers
  • Pop-Up Truck Campers
  • Lightweight Pop-Up Campers
  • Motorcycle Campers
  • A-Frame Campers

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Traditional Pop-Up Campers

Pop-Up Camper by Jayco
Pop-up camper by Jayco

These are the pop-up campers most are familiar with. They have a hard sided base box and a hard roof which “pops up” to reveal soft vinyl or canvas walls. Sleeping areas at each end are then extended outward and supported by poles.

There are also high wall pop-up campers which have a taller base box to allow for residential height countertops. These top-of-the-line pop-up trailers may also feature:

  • Hard-wall showers
  • Slide-outs, which add more living space
  • Larger freshwater & wastewater holding tanks
  • 3-way gas/electric refrigerator
  • Oven
  • More storage space

Pop-Up Toy Haulers

Pop-Up Toy Hauler Camper by Jayco, with ATV
Pop-up toy hauler camper by Jayco

Add more adventure to your camping experience by taking along a motorcycle, ATV, golf cart, or kayak. With a pop-up toy hauler you can. These campers have an open deck area for your toys and come complete with loading ramps. You could also use this space to haul extra camping gear for those extended expeditions.

Pop-up toy haulers are great for RV boondocking as they’re built tough and made to be taken off the beaten path. Getting to those pristine backcountry campsites is pretty easy with one of these.

Other goodies found on these rugged campers can include:

  • Oversized off-road tires
  • High ground clearance
  • Heavy duty suspension
  • Mud flaps
  • Large freshwater & wastewater holding tanks
  • Double propane cylinders
Pop-Up Toy Hauler by Starcraft, with ATV loaded
Pop-up toy hauler by Starcraft

Off-Road Camper Trailers

Off-Road Camper Trailer by Jeep/Mopar
Off-road camper trailer by Jeep/Mopar

Head for the hills and mountain trails with an off-road camper trailer. These pop-up trailers are designed to be towed behind a 4×4 vehicle, across terrain you wouldn’t dream of taking any other RV. Their small size and high ground clearance allows them to go pretty much anywhere.

Off-Road Camper Trailer by Jeep/Mopar, Interior
Off-road camper trailer by Jeep/Mopar

The list of features found on off-road camper trailers can vary widely. Some models may only include a sleeping area and a place to store gear. Others can include a sofa, dining table, 12-volt battery w/inverter, propane system, freshwater system, outdoor kitchen, and even a small refrigerator.

There are even toy hauler versions which allow you to haul heavy cargo, such as an ATV or boat on top of the camper trailer.

Off-road camper trailers can feature:

  • Oversized off-road tires
  • High ground clearance
  • Heavy duty suspension
  • Underbody skid plate
  • 360-degree rotating axis hitch coupler
Off-Road Camper Trailer by Kimberley Kampers, water crossing through creek
Off-road camper trailer by Kimberley Kampers

Pop-Up Truck Campers

Pop-Up Truck Camper by Outfitter Manufacturing
Pop-up truck camper by Outfitter Manufacturing

Just as the traditional pop-up camper has a roof that “pops up”, so too does the pop-up truck camper.

Why choose a pop-up truck camper over a standard truck camper?

  • It’s more lightweight and typically doesn’t require as much “truck”.
  • The lower profile equates to better fuel economy and better off-road capability.
  • Typically handles better and with less sway.
Pop-Up Truck Camper by Hallmark RV
Pop-up truck camper by Hallmark RV

Pop-up truck campers are great for camping far off the beaten path. Most have all the features of a true RV and are completely self-contained. When matched to the right 4×4 truck, you’ll have the ultimate go anywhere RV.

Lightweight Pop-Up Campers

Lightweight Pop-Up Tent Camper by Compact Camping Concepts
Lightweight pop-up tent camper by Compact Camping Concepts

Lightweight pop-up campers typically weigh under 1500 lbs. They usually feature a tent which opens up on top of a base box. What they lack in features, they make up for by being easily towed by most any car.

Some models may include a 12-volt DC & 110 volt AC electrical system, interior lighting, freshwater system, awning, and an outdoor kitchen with sink and propane stove.

Lightweight Pop-Up Tent Camper by Compact Camping Concepts
Lightweight pop-up tent camper by Compact Camping Concepts

Lightweight pop-up campers advantages:

  • Low cost
  • Can be towed by most cars
  • Uses less fuel to tow
  • Can go practically anywhere your car can

Motorcycle Campers

Motorcycle Camper by Open Road Outfitters
Motorcycle camper by Open Road Outfitters

Yes, there is even a small RV for towing behind your motorcycle! You can sleep up off the ground, but you probably won’t be doing much else in these very compact campers.

Motorcycle campers are great for touring and provide a good amount of storage space.

Motorcycle Camper by Open Road Outfitters
Motorcycle camper by Open Road Outfitters

Some have enough room for a small dining table and chair. Motorcycle campers can also be towed by a small car.

Want to go ATV camping? Many can be towed with an ATV – perfect for those that want to camp where no camper has gone before.

A-Frame Campers

The interior of an A-frame camper reminds me of a cozy attic hideaway, due to its triangular shaped roof. Also called a hard-side pop-up camper, this type of camper has many of the advantages of a traditional pop-up – but with the added protection of hard walls.

A-Frame Camper by Aliner
A-frame camper by Aliner

Another bonus is that more features are available on these small RVs, including many of the same components found on travel trailers and fifth wheels. A-frames are also easier to setup, which Aliner and Chalet RV claim can be done in 30 seconds.

Disadvantages include less interior space, fewer sleeping areas, and higher costs compared to traditional pop-ups.

More Pop-Up Camper Articles

That concludes this tour, hope you had as much fun taking it as I did writing it! But wait, the pop-up tour doesn’t end here. There are more exciting stops ahead. Click a link below to continue the tour…

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