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Pop Up Camper Buying Guide (What you Need To Know)

Published on April 21st, 2022 by Ray & Tammy Roman
This post was updated on April 24th, 2023

In this pop up camper buying guide, I am going to provide information and tips to help you select and buy a pop up camper. Let’s get started.

Pop ups also referred to as fold-up and tent camping trailers are equipped with a vast array of standard and optional items that make them ideal for taking a long vacation or just a short weekend trip with the family.

The number of people that can be accommodated will depend on the model, type, and floor plan. You can expect a range of 2- 6 people sleeping comfortably. Some folks are willing to take long trips with a tent camper whereas others use them for a weekend or short excursion.

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Due to their construction, you are more apt to feel like you are camping rather than in an RV. For some, this is the perfect camping experience.

Check This Before Buying a Pop Up Camper

Not all pop-ups look the same. For me, the typical one was the good old standard Coleman tent trailer which is no longer manufactured. These are known as:

Tent Trailers

Tent trailers are the perfect solution for those that want the tent camping experience without the issues you usually have with just a tent.

pop up camper buying guide

Tent trailers are light and easy to tow and have canvas walls that extended up and out to increase the interior space.

They are somewhat easy to set up but since you have many moving parts they are prone to failure. Many folks begin their RV experience with a tent camping trailer.

High Wall Campers

High-wall campers are pretty cool and very innovative. The Taxa Cricket below is a good example of a high-wall camper.

Taxa Cricket

The wall on these campers is solid, so they are sturdier in design and construction. The top portion of the walls is canvas and expands upward for additional headroom and space. Much easier to set up than a tent camper. Here is our Taxa Cricket review.

A-Frame Trailers

A-Frame trailers look like little A-frame homes when they are fully set up. All the walls are solid, there is no canvas. Setting up an A-frame is just a simple matter of lifting the walls and latching them in place.

Aliner Expedition

They are easy to tow and can be towed with a small SUV and in some cases a car. Interior space is limited but for the right people, A-Frame campers work really well. The Aliner Expedition is a good example.

What To Consider Before Buying?

If you are considering the purchase of a pop up camper, there are several things you should consider before making your purchase.

Should you buy new or used? Do you want tent campers or an A-Frame? The answer to these two questions is going to be based on your particular needs.

If Tammy and I were to consider one, it would be one of the larger tent trailers, simply because we had kids who would need their own sleeping space. But for you that might not be the case.

Buy a Used Popup Camper and Renovate

For those who don’t want to or can’t afford to buy a new one, buying used is a great option. If you are patient, you may find a great deal on a tent trailer.

Just make sure to inspect it thoroughly, and you don’t end up with any surprises.

If you are handy or know someone who is, you can work on renovating your camper and making it your own. Here are some excellent pop up camper renovations.


With just about any camper at some point or another, you are going to need repairs. Sometimes it’s having to repair flooring whether it be carpet, vinyl planking, or the sub-floor.

The canvas is also one component that may need repair as well. In most cases, proper maintenance may prevent issues; however, in other cases, normal wear and tear will cause an issue that will need to be addressed, so be prepared for that.

Easy Towing

One of the advantages of a pop up camper is it’s low-profile, which makes it easy for them to be towed with a small SUV or a car.

If buying a new vehicle with a greater towing capacity is not in your immediate plans and then this type of camper is a very good option for you. Learn about the average pop up camper weight.

Easy Set-up and Tear Down

Pop up camping trailers have moving parts that extend up and down or out from the main body. In spite of the moving parts, they are very easy to set up and to take down.

This ease of setup is great since you’ll spend more time enjoying your RV experience than going through the hassle of setting up something like a tent.

Easy of Storage

Because pop up folds, they are easier to store. At just several feet (about 4 feet) in height when folded, most of them will fit nicely in a residential garage. Just make sure before you store it that the canvas is dry.

Protection From The Elements

You are going to be afforded more protection than being in a tent. But keep in mind that tent trailers are made of canvas and the extended sleeping area is usually netted with a canvas cover.

A wild animal such as a bear can still get in if they are persistent. Follow proper food storage guidelines that are applicable to tent camping, and you should be fine, but remain vigilant.

Pop Up Camper Buying Guide FAQ

What is the best quality pop-up camper?

If we had to choose one it would be the Aliner Somerset. This is a well-made tent camper with plenty of quality features and amenities. It is sturdy and durable and has a great open floor plan.

is it worth buying a pop-up camper?

The answer is it depends on your budget and your RVing need. If you are on a tight budget and only go camping on weekends, then they might be worth it for you. However, if you intend to RV for extended periods and have a family of 3 or more, then buying a popup is not worth it since you’ll be uncomfortable in a small space. In addition, it won’t have the features and amenities you’ll want or need.

What is the best-used pop-up camper?

If you can find an Aliner Somerset and can afford the asking price, go for it; however, they are hard to find used. Rockwood makes excellent pop-ups that can be found on the used RV market, as well as Starcraft.

How long do pop up campers last?

They can last from 3-4 years to as long as 15 years. How long they last, like everything else, depends on how well it has been cared for.
If it has not been properly maintained, it will not last a long time. Proper maintenance on a unit that is of good quality allows you to enjoy it for a much longer period. Yes, there will be things you’ll need to replace, but in the long run, a well-maintained pop-up should last over a decade.

Can a pop up camper tip over?

They are unlikely to tip over since it is low to the ground and there is very little surface exposed, (i.e. walls). When the camper is extended, you have walls that can catch a strong wind, so there is a possibility it might tip over. It’s rare to experience a tip over, but not impossible. Should you encounter exceedingly strong winds or gusts while at your campsite, you might be better off folding your camper and seeking shelter.

Do Tent Campers leak when it rains?

Not necessarily, however, due to the many zippers and Velcro seams you find on a pop up there exists the possibility of leaks, especially in strong rains. A damaged canvas or one that is not maintained and sealed properly can also result in rain leaks.

How much do pop-up campers cost?

New ones can cost from around $10,000 to well over $30,000. On the used market you can find pop up as low as $1,500 or in some cases even less, but be prepared for major renovations in most cases. Here are examples of pop up camper prices.

Are hard-side pop-up campers any good?

For the most part, they are well-made and offer much better protection from the elements than a tent camper. At the end of the day, it comes down to the quality of the manufacturer and how well you maintain your camper.

What do I need to know before buying a pop-up camper?

The first thing you need to know is if this type of travel trailer is right for you. Will it fit your camping style (weekend or long-term camping)? Will the budget you have set allows you to buy one that meets your needs?
Are you OK with what it takes to set up and take down a tent camper? Those are just a few of the things you need to know before buying one.

How much do pop up campers weigh?

They can weigh anywhere from 800 lbs to well over 3,000 lbs. The weight is also affected by the amenities you add and the weight of the cargo you will be carrying. Here are examples of some pop up camper weights.

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