There are two main options available to anyone who wants to tow a camping trailer with their motorcycle: ultra-light “teardrop” campers, and the motorcycle pop up camper — although most of the RVs in both of these classes are far too heavy for most motorcycles. Not all motorcycles can even tow these lightest of these light RVs (as some motorcycles aren’t technically supposed to tow anything at all), but there are a lot of different bike and trailer configurations that work out just fine. Some of the main concerns when towing motorcycle campers (and motorcycle pop up campers) include the towing capacity of the bike, sway issues, and stopping power. These are the same types of issues you run into whether you’re towing with a big truck or a small passenger car, but they’re even more important to take into account before you settle on a camper to tow with your motorcycle, which is why it’s important to know your bike’s specs before you start shopping for a motorcycle camper.
The focus of the Pop Up Campers Guide obviously isn’t teardrop campers, but it is worth mentioning that this is a viable option if you’re looking for a camper to tow with your motorcycle. The teardrop form factor is smallest hard-sided campers out there, which means a teardrop camper is probably the only hard-sided trailer that you’re going to be able to tow with your motorcycle. These campers first rose to popularity in the 1930s, and they have always been designed with lighter-duty tow vehicles in mind. Although the design fell out of favor in the mainstream for a while, it has recently seen a resurgence in popularity, and there are a number of manufacturers currently building them.
Teardrop campers typically provide basic sleeping accommodations for two people and not a whole lot else. The main benefit of a teardrop over a tent — or a motorcycle-towed pop up camper — is that these hard-sided trailers provide a warm, dry place to sleep at night. Some of them include heaters, lighting, and battery or shore power for electronics. Some teardrop campers also include basic kitchen facilities built into the back end that you can fold out when you get to your destination.
While teardrop campers are significantly lighter than even the smallest travel trailers, weight is still a factor that you need to take under consideration. Light teardrops are often in the 500 lb range — and that’s “dry weight” so you have to add all of your camping gear into the equation as well. And even if your bike is capable of towing 500+ lbs., stopping power is also a consideration. Hydraulic brakes are a good feature to look for, since they will help keep the trailer from “pushing” you down the road when you’re trying to stop.
Motorcycle Teardrop Camper Manufacturers
While teardrop campers vary greatly in size and weight characteristics from one model to another, and not all teardrop campers are suitable for towing with a motorcycle, there are a handful of different options that you can check out. Some of the manufacturers of motorcycle teardrop campers include:
- Little Guy
- Adventure Teardrops
- Various custom manufacturers
The Motorcycle Pop Up Camper: More Room in Less Space
Now that we’ve got teardrops out of the way, we can tear into the real meat of motorcycle campers, which are essentially small pop up tent trailers. This type of motorcycle pop up camper is a low-profile trailers that “pop up” once you reach your destination, which provides more sleeping and/or living space than you get out of a teardrop. The lightest pop up tent trailers are literally tent trailers — small trailers with tents either in or on them. The trailer itself is the only solid or rigid component, and it forms a platform for the tent. Other than that, the tent portion of the camper isn’t terribly different from other tents you may have used. The main difference is that it’s up off the ground, which really can be a big difference depending on the weather conditions. Other pop up tent trailers have rigid sides and roofs, and only the walls and pop-out bunks are made out of canvass or other flexible materials.
Most pop up tent trailers are too heavy for motorcycles to tow, including most rigid-roof models, but there are a lot of options out there that you can tow with the right bike. Some of these motorcycle pop up campers are actually aimed at small cars, which is where it becomes important to know exactly what your bike can handle. If your bike has a solid towing capacity, there’s no reason that it can’t handle a lot of the small car pop up campers on the market.
A lot of small pop up tent trailers and tent-on-trailer campers weigh in at significantly less than 500 lbs, and these are the models that can make for a good motorcycle pop up camper. Bunkhouse offers a 340 lb model, and Time Out Trailers has an option in the form factor of a small cargo trailer that weighs in at under 300 lbs. While there are a lot of bikes out there that will struggle under that kind of load, both of those models can work well as a motorcycle pop up camper.
Motorcycle Pop Up Camper Manufacturers
Some of the most popular small car and motorcycle pop up camper manufacturers include: