Are pop ups a dying breed?

Tonya Harding

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 15, 2018
1,805
Virginia
Local state park...the entrance to the electric/water sites, known as the D section, is a sharp narrow right turn w/ 2 ditches on either side; the lower sites are somewhat shaded, smaller, & will accommodate small-med. TTs; the upper sites, 20 thru 34, also known as "Skid Row", are a tad shaded & are slanted pull in sites that'll fit the mongo TTs...thanks for your time...

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Apr 25, 2021
15
So I’m sitting here at my site watching the weekend people pulling into the campground where I’m currently camping. I haven’t seen a single tent trailer come in; just big, bigger, and mammoth sized travel trailers. And when walking around the campground I only counted one other tent trailer and two hybrids.

What’s the point of camping if you bring you whole house with you and sequester yourself in a giant sound proofed box away from nature?!?
I live on Long Island and we camp frequently in the local County Park campgrounds. Most times there are at least one or two other pups around the campground but most definitely in the minority. We're going up to the Hudson Valley in August, I won't be surprised if we are the only pup at the campground.
 

Steveo4090

Super Active Member
Jun 26, 2020
824
Lancaster PA
1st- I think it totally depends on the campground. Some we go to are mostly huge 5th wheels and diesel pusher motor homes. Some are pop ups, hybrids, and smaller TTs.

2nd - I personally know quite a few retired folks that have gone to the full time RV life. They're living in their camper/motor home and that means bringing "everything" that was in the house before it was sold.

Most people start at a tent and progress towards larger....pup, hybrid, TT, etc. Some stop at the pop up level, some keep going. To me it depends on how much time you spend actually inside the camper and how many people you have inside as well. We have 5, but don't spend a lot of time inside, so a hybrid is great. Inside is not the point of camping for us.
 

firepit

Super Active Member
Feb 26, 2020
2,696
Fuel prices arent affecting the the campground where we camp most...neither has inflation.
Its still packed full every weekend with 90% of them being 30 ish ft TT's and 5th wheelers
being pulled by diesels...Even a few airstreams are sprinkled in there.
 

firepit

Super Active Member
Feb 26, 2020
2,696
I disagree ... I've had several TT owners that I know tell me the following reasons why they're looking to sell their TT and get a PUP:

1. Availability of site for the PUP vs. TT are more plentiful.
2. PUP can more readily access remote areas / off-grid camping locations.
3. Rising cost of fuel / fuel economy (this will affect those that actually like to travel vs. find locations within an hour or so of home or park seasonally).
4. Off season storage / HOA rules.

I think you'll see a resurgence of PUPS in a few year as production catches up again and price of oil continues to sky rocket.
Camping must be different in your parts vs mine....All our state parks for the most part have asphalt or concrete pads and most if not all are big enough to hold
a large TT and TV...I post a lot of pics so you can tell how our state parks are set up.
I can only speak for my neck of the woods and what i see and hear.
 

jnbarrett

Member
Mar 30, 2022
96
Winnipeg, MB
Camping must be different in your parts vs mine....All our state parks for the most part have asphalt or concrete pads and most if not all are big enough to hold
a large TT and TV...I post a lot of pics so you can tell how our state parks are set up.
I can only speak for my neck of the woods and what i see and hear.

It could be that I live in Canuckistan, where most campground are heavily treed with tight gravel roads, and limited Shore Power.

... well, at least the worthwhile campgrounds. There's a lot of other campgrounds, but they lack a lot of trees, lake, or wilderness in general. They are more "resorts" than they are "campgrounds". Some of the best camping locations in Manitoba can be difficult for a large TT to access. Don't get me wrong, plenty of large TTs here, just more convenient to have a PUP here as it allows for more selection. Our campgrounds fill up early in the spring as soon as reservations open up, they've even staggered booking because the demand crashes their systems. In the end, you can still get sites, but most are either primitive or can only accommodate tents / PUP / small TT.
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
Camping must be different in your parts vs mine....All our state parks for the most part have asphalt or concrete pads and most if not all are big enough to hold
a large TT and TV...I post a lot of pics so you can tell how our state parks are set up.
I can only speak for my neck of the woods and what i see and hear.

That's wild. I've never camped anywhere that has had paved pads. Even the time we did the huge KOA with Class A's on both sides of us.

Most of the places we camp don't even have paved roads much less paved campsites.
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
As a "woman of a certain age", I sure appreciate Shore Power and running water at the camp site, but am happy to boondock, too- if I know it's coming ;).

We always have running water thanks to our water pump and tank. It's pretty rare we actually have water hookup. We did have it last place we camped, and I had less water pressure than we do with the water pump lol.

Shore Power is a "nice to have" but we don't depend on it at all. I have a solar setup and everything we do (charging phones, lights, water, heat, etc) can be done on 12V. The one exception is A/C and we don't have that built in, although we sometimes bring a portable unit if we know it's going to be super hot out and we have Shore Power.
 

Tonya Harding

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 15, 2018
1,805
Virginia
Never seen a paved site either; some of the state parks have platforms for tents etc...a number of years ago the state added wood site borders & small gravel for better drainage, old ones were like a mud bath lol...
 

jagwire64

New Member
Jun 29, 2013
1
I agree with Steveo...For me the "camping" is being outside. What you choose to sleep in is your own business. However, there are a lot less pups than there used to be. More people are buying full size trucks than ever before. If you already have the big truck why skimp on a small camper? The cost of new pups is very close in line with a TT. People don't seem to spend much time outside as they used to either. I suppose if you have invested a big pile of money into a trailer with 5 televisions you would want to use them. This is all compounded by fewer manufacturers of pups.

We went to the darkside 2 years ago. We were tent campers for about 20 years and still backpack. Got a Viking pup that had a king, queen, and bath. It was heavy and we never used the bath or cooked inside. The disposable grade of construction was just depressing...pressboard, staples and glue. Sold it when we moved south and bought a livin lite quicksilver tent camper. Very lite, minimal, and built to last..all aluminum welded tube construction. Just what we were looking for. The only real amenity was AC, loud but necessary in the hot and humid VA summer. Setup took some time, as we had an extensive outside kitchen. After every trip the wife said we were done. It was a lot of work. Especially for a short weekend and now that we were empty nesters the effort seemed too much for just us. We drove 13 hours to buy a Livin Lite Camplite 16' TT, still minimal and built to last. The 4 Runner pulls it fine and I don't have any trouble fitting it in anywhere. There is a lot less work now and a lot more relaxation. Having a real bed and a bathroom in the middle of the night is glorious. We camp more often now. We still setup the big outdoor kitchen for trips longer than a weekend. The only downside is there isn't much room for the kids if they come along. They must sleep in a tent. The Trail Manor hardside popups look nifty. Maybe next time.
 

Sneezer

Super Active Member
Aug 8, 2015
2,993
DFW, TX
I think society has changed. New pups are only a little cheaper than than a smaller TT it seems. Most of the traditional pup manufacturers have either gone out of business or discontinued pup manufacturing. I still seem them on the road, and a handful show up at the SPs that I camp at. I also often see tent campers interspersed with the RVs and TTs in the smaller 30 amp sites that I generally camp at. I can't speak to the KOAs or USFS stuff as I have never been to any of those in TX.

I do think some of it depends on where you are - down here in the south we don't use them as often in the summer - too damn hot and it takes extra effort to keep the interior cool even with a roof A/C. I see them a little more often in the spring/fall seasons.

I doubt they will go away, but they do ebb and flow but on a different cycle from the RV world to some degree. Most are so cheaply made that the older, more affordable ones are getting harder to find in decent condition. Many of the more recent ones were built even cheaper, so I have my doubts that there will be a robust used market like we have seen over the past 10-20 years.
 

firepit

Super Active Member
Feb 26, 2020
2,696
That's wild. I've never camped anywhere that has had paved pads. Even the time we did the huge KOA with Class A's on both sides of us.

Most of the places we camp don't even have paved roads much less paved campsites.
Heres a glimpse of what most our state parks are like...At least all the ones i have have been to.
 

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Sneezer

Super Active Member
Aug 8, 2015
2,993
DFW, TX
That's wild. I've never camped anywhere that has had paved pads. Even the time we did the huge KOA with Class A's on both sides of us.

Most of the places we camp don't even have paved roads much less paved campsites.
Depends on where you are. Down here in TX every SP has paved roads, and most of the sites have an asphalt pad for the trailer, plus a tent pad. We spend a fair amount of money annually on our state park system, and there is plenty of electric, water and full hookup sites, plus pretty decent bath houses and such. Just wish the summers were not as brutal as they have been the last 10-15 years.

I've never been to a campground in TX that was dirt the whole way (but I admit I have no interest in boondocking so I have never ventured off the road with my pup).
 

geoffm3

Active Member
Jun 21, 2010
175
Here in 'bama... loop roads are all paved with gravel pads for the sites typically. In Florida, these can range from fully paved roads and pads, down to dirt road loops.
 

BillyMc

Super Active Member
Mar 25, 2018
2,466
South Carolina
The debate of what is and is not camping never ends. Personally I miss the days when there was no hookups at the campground. It's really annoying to see a packed state park and 20-30% of the people there sit in the camper (condo on wheels) watching TV. Can't help but wonder how many people wanted to actually get out in nature, but couldn't get a site due to people sitting in the camper watching TV.
 
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BillyMc

Super Active Member
Mar 25, 2018
2,466
South Carolina
That's wild. I've never camped anywhere that has had paved pads. Even the time we did the huge KOA with Class A's on both sides of us.

Most of the places we camp don't even have paved roads much less paved campsites.
I hate that they are paving more and more sites. We have a screenroom that attaches to the awning and it needs to be staked down. I can't wrap my head around bringing the city to the woods. If you want city just stay home or go stay at a RV resort.
 

RevDocJones

Member
Jul 9, 2018
16
I'm sitting in a campground in NH right now and I have 4 pups (mine included) plus an A frame and an eaarly 1960's TT in my loop. One of the other loops has a few monster TTs on it.
 

NLB

Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Oct 10, 2021
401
West Palm Beach, Florida
Would be happy to join the build team as Plumbers Helper. (Very aware of the 3 things to know). And I always remember to first fill the gas tank because several trips to Lowes will be required.
 




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