Pop Up Camper Rental Explained

If you’re new to RVs (or just new to the little guys), then you might want to consider pop up camper rental before dropping a bunch of money on a new pop up camper. Even though pop ups are cheaper than many other types of RVs (especially if you buy a used pop up camper that’s still in good shape), buying one still represents a major expenditure for most people. In addition to finding out whether a pop up camper is really for you, renting can also help you choose between tent trailers, a-frames, pop up truck campers, and all of the other options that are out there.

In general, there are three vital factors to consider before you rent a pop up camper:

  1. How many people need to sleep in it?
  2. What will the weather be like?
  3. What’s the towing capacity of your car?

Matching a Pop Up Camper Rental to Your Car

pop up camper rental

Renting a pop up camper is a great way to test the waters.

The most important factor to check into before you enter into a pop up camper rental agreement is how much your vehicle can tow. If you have a big truck, then you probably won’t have to worry about this. However, it may be an issue if you drive a minivan or a passenger car. Just because your car has a hitch doesn’t mean you can hook anything you like up to it and hit the freeway. On the contrary, towing too much weight can overtax the engine and transmission, which can result in serious mechanical issues.

When considering how big a pop up camper you can rent, make sure to take note of:

  • Your vehicle’s hitch class
  • Your vehicle’s towing capacity
  • The “dry weight” of the pop ups that you’re interested in

While none of these factors are necessarily more important than the others, hitch class is the easiest thing to check out. For instance, if your car has a class I hitch, then you can immediately rule out any pop up camper rental units that weigh more than 2,000 lbs. or have tongue weights of more than 200 lbs. In that case, you might want to check out the small and lightweight pop up camper options out there.

How Big is Big Enough?

After you’ve determined how much weight your vehicle can tow, you’ll be able to narrow down your pop up camper rental options. In order to rapidly narrow the field, the first thing you’ll want to consider is how many people will be sleeping in the camper. Some pop up campers only sleep two people comfortably, and others can sleep up to six — although the quarters may end up being a little cramped. If you have two adults and two small children, then virtually any pop up tent trailer that has two bunks will do just fine. If you have older teens, or more than four people, consider going with a camper that has two queen-sized bunks, an additional dinette sleeping area, or even a small slide-out section.

Rough Weather Pop Up Camper Rental

If you’re transitioning from tent camping to renting a pop up camper, then you’re probably well aware of exactly how comfortable (or uncomfortable) a tent can get when the temperature drops and the rain or snow starts coming down. So while having enough beds for everyone might not be a huge issue during the summer months — any extra campers can just pitch a tent, right? — that’s a less desirable option during the colder months.

Of course, if you’re planning on hitting the road during the colder months, you might want to consider renting an a-frame pop up camper. A-frames have a strikingly different appearance from tent trailers, but they’re also functionally different as well. Since they have hard sides, they retain heat better. There’s also no chance of moisture transferring through canvas when it rains, which means you’ll stay bone dry all night long.

In the end, selecting a pop up camper rental unit that has enough beds for everyone who is coming along with you will ensure that nobody ends up sleeping under the stars, and choosing a weather-appropriate unit will help prevent you from getting too wet or cold.

Other Deciding Factors in Pop Up Camper Rental

Aside from those basic concerns, you can also check into features like the size of the holding tanks, what specific appliances the rental pop up campers come with, and other less vital options. Holding tanks are especially important if you rent a pop up camper with a bathroom, and you have a lot of people along for the trip. If you end up filling the holding tank prematurely, it can be a real hassle. The RV Rental Association says that pop up campers are a great choice if you don’t mind using campground bathroom facilities, but that doesn’t mean that it’s unheard of to find a rental unit that has a shower and toilet.

Additionally, if you’re planning on renting a pop up truck camper, you’ll need to know:

  • the dimensions of your truck bed
  • how much weight your truck is rated to handle

If you rent a pop up truck camper that’s too big for your bed, it will put a serious damper on your camping trip. And in that same grain, overloading your truck can bring your trip to a screeching halt. The brakes, suspension, and other systems in your truck are designed to handle a certain amount of weight, so exceeding it can have dire consequences.

Outfitting Your Pop Up Camper Rental Unit

When you reserve your rental pop up camper, make sure to ask what is included with the unit. Some rental companies provide items like silverware, dishes, and cooking utensils, but you may have to bring your own. Other items that you’ll want to pack when trying out different pop up campers include:

  • toiletries
  • sleeping bags
  • weather-appropriate clothes
  • insect repellent
  • folding chairs and table
  • tarp or folding canopy

Most of the camping supplies that you’ll need when renting pop up campers are the same for other camping trips, but it’s important to remember that you’ll probably be spending a lot of time out of doors. Unlike larger RVs, even the longest pop up camper rental units don’t offer a whole lot of interior living space. That’s why weather-appropriate clothes (including rain gear and umbrellas if you expect to get wet), mosquito repellent, and some type of tarp or other covering are so important. These and other similar items can really improve your overall experience when renting a pop up camper.

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