While tent camping surely has its place, many frequent campers are attracted to the idea of a more comfortable option. There are so many choices when you venture down the rabbit hole of RV options, but smack in between the luxury of a Class A Motorhome and the hard, cold ground you’ll find small pop-up campers: a more affordable and lightweight solution.
Pop-ups feature lots of perks, like covered kitchen space, more comfortable sleeping areas, and sometimes even small bathrooms. Plus, pop-ups offer better shelter from the elements given their burlier construction and the fact that they’re lifted off the ground. If you’ve considered upgrading your camping setup but would like to do it without spending tens of thousands on a motorhome, then maybe it’s time to consider a pop-up camper.
Camp Easier with These 7 Pop-Up Campers
With dozens of options to choose from, it can be hard to know what to look for in a pop-up camper. Here are some of our favorite pop-up campers on the market:
1. Best Budget Pop-Up Camper for Families: Jayco Jay Sport 12UD
The Jay Sport 12UD pop-up camper, made by Jayco, is a sizable tow-behind camper that’s perfect for families. With a dry weight of 1,895 pounds, it’s not the lightest you’ll find, but that’s not the point. This camper sleeps 7-8 people with a queen bed on one pop-out end, a full-size on the other, and seating in the middle that converts to additional sleeping space. You’ll have a stove and sink in the spacious kitchen area with two separate seating or dining areas, so the whole family will fit comfortably come dinner time. There’s no bathroom or shower inside, but you save space and weight without it.
The 2019 Jay Sport 12UD offers all these amenities and space for the family at a reasonable price for a new camper. It runs from about $10,000-$12,000 new, depending on the pricing at your dealership. Scan rvtrader.com to find dealerships near you that carry this model.
2. Best Lightweight Pop-Up Camper for Small Vehicles: Sylvansport GO Camper
Sylvansport’s GO Camper brings a unique design to the world of pop-up campers. Small pop-outs on either side allow for two single beds with a small living space in between. An awning that sets up toward the front adds additional space for hanging at camp while staying protected from the elements. The GO’s dry weight is just 840 pounds, making it the perfect option to tow with your small SUV or crossover. Bonus: You can transform the base of the camper into a trailer for hauling gear when you’re not using the pop-up tent.
The GO costs around $10,000 new, and you can buy it directly from Sylvansport.
3. The Best Pop-Up Camper for Living Large at Camp: Forest River Flagstaff High Wall
Higher walls, a large dinette area, a sofa, a camper toilet, and a shower all inside one camper that sleeps up to 6 people: What more can you ask for when it comes to amenities in a pop-up camper? You’ll also find spacious living areas along with the convenience of an indoor bathroom, so you can avoid the pit toilets altogether and shower after a long day in the woods. The Flagstaff High Wall’s dry weight is 3,721 pounds for the HW29SC floor plan, so you’ll need a bit higher towing capacity to bring it along.
Find the 2019 and 2020 Flagstaff High Wall at local dealers for around $18,000-$20,000 for the large, 29CS model.
4. Best Sturdy Pop-Up Camper: Forest River Rockwood Hard Side Pop-Up Camper
This Forest River camper design is a rare find on the market with its hard sides. Most pop-up campers utilize soft, tent-like walls in order to save weight and maintain a low-profile design. While this is a good thing, you sacrifice some durability and weather protection with those tent-like walls. With hard walls, you gain both durability and better weather protection, with some added weight. The Rockwood sets up in an A-Frame style and offers amenities like a stove, sink, spacious dinette, and sleeps up to 4 people. It has a dry weight of 2,014 pounds (for the A122 floor plan).
You can find Rockwood campers for sale at local dealers bu using the dealer locator on the Forest River website. Plan to spend around $15,000 for a new Rockwood trailer.
5. Best Pop-Up Truck Bed Camper with Hard Sides: Alaskan 6.5 Cabover
Typically pop-up campers have soft, tent-like walls—not the Alaskan 6.5 Cabover. This camper is surprisingly still a pop-up, even though it has hard sides all around; it’s best suited for full-sized trucks. You’ll have more protection from the elements and better durability with this extra-sturdy option. With finishes inside the camper like custom cushions and maple hardwood trim, The Alaskan 6.5 Cabover is a splurge, not a bargain buy. You’ll spend around $29,000 for a new one, and you’ll be hauling a dry weight of 1,390 pounds. Visit the Alaskan website for a list of dealers so you can buy your own.
6. Best Unique Pop-Up Camper Design: A-Liner Family
This A-frame style camper combines the best of both pop-up camper designs with hard, angled walls and soft-sided pop-ups to add additional space. The creative sleeping design features a queen bed on one side, a bunk bed on the other, and one more single bed in the middle area of the camper, so there’s space for parents and kids to sleep comfortably. Other amenities include a small sink, dinette, an outdoor slide-out kitchen area, and an outdoor shower. You have the option to add a small toilet area to the camper as well. Dry weight for the A-Liner Family sits at just under 2,000 pounds.
Snag an A-Liner for yourself by searching for dealers near you on the A-Liner website. New A-Liner Family campers cost around $15,000-$20,000.
7. Best Pop-Up Truck Bed Camper For Overlanding Adventures: EarthCruiser MOD
This unique pop-up truck bed camper design brings simplicity and durability to the world of pop-ups. This sleek yet rugged rig comes in two sizes: the 300 for mid-sized trucks, and the 400 for full-sized ones. Each size allows two people to sleep comfortably. With the MOD, you get to select your amenities in an al-a-cart manner. Want a toilet? Choose to add one. And if you’d rather go without the storage cabinet, skip it. The base dry weight for the camper is 700 pounds for the 300 and 800 pounds for the 400 (this does not include add-ons like a sink or seating).
Prices for the MOD start at $21,927 for the short bed 300 model. You can purchase the camper by reaching out to the EarthCruiser team via their website’s contact page.