Do people only choose Pop Ups because they have no other choice?

dcornelius

Member
Jun 25, 2012
29
Portland, OR
For me, when I think camping, I remember back to being a kid and camping in tents with family. Being outdoors is the essence, hearing the wind blow and birds sing and squirrels run around and sometimes things dropping from trees. While you get a little of that in a TT, I just feel like I'm more intimately involved with nature and more fully immersed in the camping experience if I'm in a tent. However, my knees don't like being on the ground very much and I don't like crouching over to get into a small tent where all I have room for is a bed, so I have less appetite for tenting these days.

I once borrowed a friend's large TT but always felt like I was just pulling a small house along with me--when I'm inside, it's easy to forget you're actually out in the woods. Several years go, our family rented a small pop-up for a week-long camping trip and we loved it--I was hooked. It's the closest thing to tent-camping but I don't have to be on the ground.

So all this and the fact that I could actually pay cash for it, it's easier to see around and manipulate in small areas, and I have more campsite choices, made the decision for me. I don't know that I'll ever move up to a full TT.
 

Indiobravo

Active Member
Feb 5, 2020
131
Raleigh, NC
I chose a popup as a starting point to non-tent camping. it was cheap (my first one cost 1500), easy to store on my property (without pissing off my wife), and towable with virtually any vehicle. what's not to love :)

i have since bought a travel trailer at a beach campground (stationary) and consider all my pop up learning as a real help when dealing with my travel trailer.

i am also planning a cross country trip next year in my pop up with my high school best friend to visit another high school friend in california - i am so looking forward to true boondocking on blm lands.

i can't recommend pop ups enough ;-)
 

geoffm3

Active Member
Jun 21, 2010
209
We have two campers right now, a 2020 Micro Lite 25BRDS and the pop up (see our restoration thread). For us, we bought the pop up to provide a hedge against inevitably rising gas prices and so that we go for farther, shorter trips and not spend $$$s on fuel. We don't like waste. We get 8-9 MPG towing the big camper, and 16-17mpg with the little camper. Yes, there are tradeoffs, but we can afford to keep both and use both, but we are going to unload the Micro Lite because we can spend that money elsewhere. It also opens up the possibility of trading down into a smaller tow vehicle if we so desire (although after having packed for a pop up trip a few times, I'm glad to have a 6.5' bed!).

For us, the tradeoffs for fewer creature comforts is worth it. The big camper we figured would help extend our camping season, and it has, but to be honest, when the weather is crap, we don't want to go camping anyway because we don't want to be cooped up inside. With the pop up we don't enjoy our camp trips any less and arguably enjoy them a bit more.
 

z.saw

Member
Aug 23, 2022
71
Well I am pretty fully convinced to look for a used pop up at this point, so I am glad I made the post. The biggest reasons are the cost and my tow vehicle, but there are so many other good ones that make me really look forward to finding one - especially since I want comfortable sleeping for my family of 4 as the main priority - and also that I still want to be camping in nature. I’m really excited!
 

AZcanuck

Member
Aug 13, 2017
14
We bought a larger high-wall pop up about 5 years ago because we thought it would #1 – make camping easier #2 – be cheaper than a travel trailer #3 – Tow easier and #4 – allow us to store at our home since it is not visible above our 6 foot wall (HOA). All are true except #1

Honestly after 5 years I hate the thing. It's a 2006 Starcraft Centennial and it constantly has problems. Cable broke last year and it cost $600 to fix. New tires, lift for a sagging suspension, awning bag disintegrated and fell off, replacing worn and broken parts every year – it's honestly a part time job just keeping it useable. It takes so long pack for a trip, then to set up and tear down at the campsite, it really doesn't make camping easier. We have pretty much given up weekend camping because it's not worth it unless we go for 3 or 4 days. I'm ready to go to the dark side and get a TT.
 

NewtFam

New Member
May 17, 2021
7
We chose a popup because it's easy to tow and we are only a family of 3, we don't need much space. We basically use it in place of a tent as we don't use the kitchen or bathroom in the pup. We were sick of air mattress sleeping.
 

Heartlandex

Member
Jun 21, 2022
33
Hi,

Just looking to hear if anyone chooses to use Pop Ups despite being able to get a travel trailer if they wanted. Not everyone has the money and capable tow vehicle to haul a travel trailer, but for those that could if they wanted to, why do you still choose a pop up?

I have never had a camper, either as a kid or adult, and am looking into getting something for our family of 4 and this is something I’ve been wondering.
We got a pop up simply because it was a cheap try out. Not sure if we would like the camping thing and all. Plus didn't want to upgrade the truck. In my opinion I wouldn't want a trailer or 5th wheel simy because if I wanted to stay in a motel I'd stay in a motel
 

rosieposie7

Member
Jun 11, 2020
34
Personally, I find owning a larger camper a waste of my money. Even if I could afford one, I am not using the amenities of a full size camper. I want to fit in smaller camp spots, unhook in the yard when I don't use, and spend money on exploring. Almost do tenting - if I didn't have to sleep on the floor. I don't like that.
 

Shelley Wilson

New Member
Apr 8, 2021
4
Hi,

Just looking to hear if anyone chooses to use Pop Ups despite being able to get a travel trailer if they wanted. Not everyone has the money and capable tow vehicle to haul a travel trailer, but for those that could if they wanted to, why do you still choose a pop up?

I have never had a camper, either as a kid or adult, and am looking into getting something for our family of 4 and this is something I’ve been wondering.

Most trailers are not especially well built. When I undertook a repair I sure found a lot of (water absorbing) OSB, staple joinery, and flimsy plastic components. Any trailer hurtling down the highway is torquing and twisting with every bump, mile after mile. The compact nature of a pop-up, and the lower centre of gravity improves slightly on this situation. Those joins hold up a bit better, depending of course on quality of the original materials. So there's that.

I also have really good space when opened up, and I only have to store half that space. And in good weather I can open the canvas and be entirely surrounded by open air and views - I'm not confined to the smaller windows of a TT. It really is gorgeous when all the canvas 'windows' are down!

There are downsides too. Am seriously envious of the TT owners who can keep the trailer packed and ready to go at all times.
 

Michael J

Active Member
Aug 9, 2018
201
Michigan
We like our pop-up for the traveling size :) and honestly the wife and I both work as a team putting it up or down so it doesn't take long either
 

SanGabrielAve

New Member
Oct 31, 2018
4
I was never a camper either (although my husband was), until we rented a pop up for a long weekend. It rained and hailed, but we were cozy and comfortable with a nice roof over our heads. We bought a pop up for our first anniversary and never considered anything else. I have to say that an RV or travel trailer wouldn’t have been option, even if we could afford it at the time, simply because what we really wanted was a warm place to sleep off the ground and cook our meals.
We’re in Arizona, however, so even what we consider “cold weather camping” is pretty mild (although we did have a frozen propane tank when it was about 15 degrees Fahrenheit once), so the lack of insulation is not an issue for us. In fact, given how warm it can get where we go, the canvas sides are a bonus. If we lived somewhere colder or wetter, we might consider a TT (which we could afford now), but I have to say that my experience with a pop up was the best introduction to camping ever. After 2 years HATING tents, we’ve had 7 years loving the pop up, and now we also love tents again when we go backpacking. If you want to introduce your family to camping, a pop up is a gentle way to do it that still keeps the adventure and time in nature at the forefront of the experience.
 

Tiki-Dan

Member
Jul 20, 2019
38
The only reason we have a pop-up is that it’s the only thing easy enough for our ‘02 Expedition to tow that can fit our family of 7. I really don’t care for standard pop-up’s due to the amount of rain and humidity in northwest Florida, though I do like the amount of space. First kid graduates next year so in a few years we will be down to a couple of kids. When most of the kids are gone, I will probably get rid of the pop-up for either Class-C or a ~22’ TT, or even do a bus conversion.
 

Jimbo1227

Member
Jan 5, 2022
64
Hi,

Just looking to hear if anyone chooses to use Pop Ups despite being able to get a travel trailer if they wanted. Not everyone has the money and capable tow vehicle to haul a travel trailer, but for those that could if they wanted to, why do you still choose a pop up?

I have never had a camper, either as a kid or adult, and am looking into getting something for our family of 4 and this is something I’ve been wondering.
I chose it because it’s easy to pull. Don’t take up much space and of course the price.
 

Shelley Wilson

New Member
Apr 8, 2021
4
Hi,

Just looking to hear if anyone chooses to use Pop Ups despite being able to get a travel trailer if they wanted. Not everyone has the money and capable tow vehicle to haul a travel trailer, but for those that could if they wanted to, why do you still choose a pop up?

I have never had a camper, either as a kid or adult, and am looking into getting something for our family of 4 and this is something I’ve been wondering.

Another consideration: I've read some horror stories about being camped beside a lot of the huge trailers that use noisy generators. A pop up -- at least in the publicly operated campgrounds in Canada -- and you camp with the tenters who don't generally have the noisy, smelly, ugly gear.
 

Rebecca Levings

New Member
Aug 30, 2021
2
I grew up tent camping. I hated it. Said I would never drag my kids around and make them camp. Hubby talked me into a PUP and I fell in love. I liked camping as a kid, just did not like certain aspects: moist tent walls falling in on me every morning, stupid air mattresses you'd roll off of in the middle of the night; only bed being a sleeping bag, so you were either burning up or freezing with no in-between. The PUP has all the awesomeness of tenting (nature sounds, open air w/windows down) that you cannot get in a TT. But more comfortable than a tent. I can have a place to cook dinner or hang if it's raining out, we have a couch! if we need... and a dinner table. Can't do those in a tent. And I have yet to roll off the king size bed! We have a TT also, and I much prefer the PUP. I feel isolated in the TT. I'd like to get rid of both and get a nicer, newer PUP (ours is 24 years old) with a toilet/shower and slide, but we'll be fine for now. So I think in my case, it's a matter of preference as opposed to costs.
 

rinsrig

Member
Aug 21, 2013
11
Nashville, TN
Hi,

Just looking to hear if anyone chooses to use Pop Ups despite being able to get a travel trailer if they wanted. Not everyone has the money and capable tow vehicle to haul a travel trailer, but for those that could if they wanted to, why do you still choose a pop up?

I have never had a camper, either as a kid or adult, and am looking into getting something for our family of 4 and this is something I’ve been wondering.
I grew up in a family of 10 people (including Mom and Dad) and we started off in a pop up tent. All 10 in one tent (didn't have the side slide either). I currently own two custom RV's (one ambulance and one prisoner transport bus), a roof mounted tent and a pop up with a side slide on it. I will most likely own a pop up as long as I live. Each one has their place in how I use it and what it is used for.
 

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raising4daughters

Active Member
Aug 24, 2019
144
Concur with what many have said. We've been limited, though less so now, on tow capacity and on number of days to camp.

We first towed with a minivan and the a Trailblazer. That was a 2000# PUP. Upgraded the TV to a compact truck and then "upgraded" to a bigger, still used, PUP.

I can't justify spending much more for a full size TV and TT. Our current setup is a good value for the 15-20 nights we can camp each year. That's the reason for a PUP.
 




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