Small Pop Up Campers: Size Matters
Although small pop up campers have been around for decades, recent trends have led to increasingly big units. Manufacturers like Forest River and Chalet specialize entirely (or almost entirely) in big pop up campers, which were almost unheard of less than a decade ago. In fact, some modern pop up campers can’t be towed by anything less than a full sized truck or SUV, and there are even hard-sided pop up campers and hybrids that aren’t any lighter than traditional travel trailers! So while owners of smaller vehicles used to be relatively safe buying just about any pop up make or model, you have to pay a lot more attention today. Because while many of the larger units made by companies like Forest River have some good points, they sort of defeat the purpose of small pop up campers, which can be the next best thing to tent camping without all of the discomfort associated with sleeping on the ground.
The fact is that when it comes to pop up campers and trailers, size matters. Not only are small pop up campers easier to maneuver, transport, and store than any other RV you’ll ever come across, they can also save you gas and provide a true four season camping experience. Yes, it’s true, small pop ups aren’t just for the summer months. With the right preparation, winter camping in a pop up can be perfectly comfortable as well.
Of course, one of the best things about smaller pop ups is how much (or how little) they cost. In fact, you can find a lot of great pop up campers for under $6,000 in this class.
Some of the best things about small pop up campers include:
- easy storage
- towed by a wider range of vehicles
- better fuel economy
- visibility when towing
Smaller Means Easier to Get Around
While you’ll need a big truck or SUV to tow even a relatively light pop up travel trailer, small pop up campers can often be towed by station wagons and smaller vehicles. The smallest pop ups are even light enough to roll around by hand, which is why they’re much easier to maneuver and store than larger RVs. If you have space for a pop up camper next to your house, but you can’t get your car back there, you might just be able to roll one of the little guys back there by hand. Try doing that with a travel trailer, or even a big pop up camper!
Since small pop up campers have low, skinny profiles, they’re also easier to tow. Less weight and drag mean better fuel economy from your car or truck, and a lower profile means you’ll be able to see past it in your rear view mirrors.
Fewer Amenities, but Better Than Tent Camping
The smallest of the small pop up campers don’t have bathroom facilities, and many of these littlest guys don’t even feature rangetops or refrigerators, but they do offer a clean, dry place to lay your head. And while tent camping is a great way to get back to nature, you’ll be much happier waking up in a small pop up camper after a night of driving rain or a sudden cold snap. Of course, there are a ton of different add-on options for camp showers, stoves, and other accessories that can help improve your experience when camping with a little pop up camper.
The Smallest of the Small Pop Up Campers
Some of the best, smallest pop up campers aren’t made anymore, but there are still a lot of new and used options out there. The Coleman Colorado is one of the ultimate small pop up campers, weighing in at less than 600 pounds and sleeping up to four people, but Coleman has unfortunately gotten out of the pop up business. If you want one of these little guys, you’ll have to stalk the classifieds until you find a good used one for sale.
Aside from the legendary Coleman pop ups, there are a number of small pop up campers that are still in production. Livin Lite makes some ultralights that weigh in under 600 pounds, though they are still a little heavier than the old Coleman Colorados. Lifetime Trailer also makes a small pop up that weighs in at about 800 pounds, but it also doubles as a utility trailer. Other manufacturers, like Starcraft and Jayco, have built their entire reputations around RVs that tend more towards the lighter end of the scale, even if they aren’t quite as small as the old-time Colemans.
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Current manufacturers of small pop up campers include: