Pop Up Campers have been around for decades. They have hit the top of the list in popularity in 2019, with small travel trailers coming in a close second. If you are looking for the coolest pop up campers on the market, then you have come to the right place.
I get so many questions about pop up campers. Should I buy one? Which one should I buy? What are the pros and cons to pop up campers? What should I look for in a pop up camper?
Ask and you shall receive. I have compiled some of the best pop up campers and the reasons why I chose them. I specifically point out what features are extremely important, and what I really appreciate about the features of each one of the pop up campers on my list. If you read this entire post (you can also pin it for later reference!), you should feel confident when you walk into that RV dealership. You will know exactly what you are looking for, and exactly what you are NOT looking for.
Now for the fun stuff!
1. Trail Manor Pop Up Campers
Check out this bad boy! The hard-sided pop up campers by Trail Manor pack an enormous amount of space into an, easy to tow, compact design. The Trail Manor pop up camper is just too cool not to include on my list!
This video features the 2922. This is an older model, but I wanted you to see how these pop up. Look how easy it is! Get. Out. Of. Here. (mind blown!)
This video shows how the interior is put together. It shows the exterior being popped up again, so you can skip to 00:30 to skip the initial pop up. I wanted you to see the first video, because this one doesn’t really show the actual amount of effort and strength it takes (or lack thereof!). This video also shows a little more detail on how the exterior setup is completed as well.
I really like how you could actually leave the bathroom walls folded down when you’re not using it for a more open feel inside. It literally takes 10 seconds to pop it back up. I really am in awe of this design!
Trail Manor offers three different lengths. The 2720, 2922 and the 3124, with each model having three different floor plan configurations to choose from.. The floor plans below are the options of the 2720. The seating area, and second bed configuration are the main differences in the floor plans for each model.
The Trail Manor weighs in at just a tad over 3,000 lbs for the 2720, and just under 3,500 for the largest model, the 3124. You can tow this baby with an equipped mini van, SUV, or crossover.
Look at this massive storage space! You don’t get that in your every day pop up camper.
The Trail Manor is a little larger than most pop up campers, but the fact that it pops out into a full size travel trailer is insane!
You can see the brochure with the specs for each of the three models here.
It really is hard to believe that little box transforms into this much space!
What I appreciate
- Innovative design
- Tubular Steel Chassis
- Light weight for it’s actual size when opened
- Constructed of aluminum
- 3″ floor & aluminum-skinned underbelly
- Configuration & length options
- Optional Solar
- Full, hard-walled bathroom with bathtub
- King sized bed
- Can be stored in most garages w/ option swing hitch
I want to really put some emphasis on the construction of this pop up camper. There are a couple of key things that are so important to look for when buying a pop up camper, or any camper for that matter.
The walls in this camper are made of foam, sandwiched between aluminum. Not wood! That is so important on so many levels. Why you ask? For one, aluminum is much lighter than wood. Two, aluminum does not rot like wood and will not support the growth of mold like wood. And three, the insulation value on construction like this, is far superior than the average R-value found in most RVs and campers. It doesn’t even compare to a traditional pop up camper.
But I want to elaborate a little further, so bear with me. Coming from someone who has dealt with more leaks and damaged, rotting wood situations (that’s me, hi), this type of construction is huge. HUGE.
If water gets in, and eventually it will make it’s way in somewhere, somehow, your camper will rot. There’s a well known fact among RVers, it’s not a matter of “if” it will leak, it’s a matter of “when” it will leak. The damage it will do before the leak is noticed and stopped, all depends on how you maintain your camper, and also, what it is constructed of.
Here’s a little example of what happens, if you’re still not overly joyous about these insanely important features.
Seams(all campers have them)=water penetration. Wood penetrated by water=mold & rot. Rot=total annihilation!
Still not convinced?
This is what damage (aka rotten wood) from a leak looks like when your walls are made of wood. These pictures are of my Fifth Wheel. I took the whole back corner apart, after I realized it was leaking. This is just one example (I have many!) of why I know so much about this and know firsthand how important these things are, and WILL BE for you too down the road.
Moral of the Story? This would have been a different outcome had my walls been constructed with aluminum instead of wood like the Trail Manor.
So another feature that is so important is an enclosed underbelly. Not only is does the Trail Manor have an enclosed underbelly, but it is enclosed with a sheet of aluminum vs a cheap piece of plastic or canvas that most RV manufacturers use (ahem…mine). A lot of campers don’t even have anything anything enclosing the underbelly at all, so definitely look for this feature when looking at pop up campers..
This coupled with the fact that the floor is constructed of the same foam/aluminum “sandwich” as the walls, but it is 3″ thick, makes this pop up camper extremely well insulated. That will make a huge difference if you like to camp in extreme weather, hot or cold.
Now I know, since obviously you are reading this because you are looking for at pop up campers, that the insulation value has probably not been a high priority for you. It may not have even crossed your mind, since pop up campers really don’t have much insulation value at all. But, if you can actually find a pop up camper that is, not only insulated, but is insulated better than most $50,000 and up campers and RVs, then that is something to be super excited about!
I also love that you are getting a full, hard-walled bathroom, and not just a stand up shower, a bathtub! (you may not care about the bathtub, but that is literally the ONE thing I miss about my house!)
Also, Trail Manor says that towing their pop up camper only adds about one gallon of gas for every 100 miles. That is awesome! The Trail Manor really is like a cross between a pop up camper and a travel trailer, giving you the best of both worlds, all in one really cool camper. You should definitely consider Trail Manor as an option for your new pop up camper. Can you tell I like this thing?!
The base price starts at $24,999
You can head on over to TrailManor.com to see all of the available options
2. Somerset Evolution, by Columbia Northwest Pop Up Camper
If you’re looking for the traditional pop up camper, the Somerset Evolution, by Columbia Northwest, is a great option.
Somerset pop up campers are made extremely well, which is why I chose this particular pop up camper. This video does a great job at showing you all of the high quality construction and materials that go into making their pop up campers. You can’t go wrong with the Somerset Evolution.
Note: This video is of the E2 model and doesn’t have the dinette/bed slide that the newer Utah and E3 models have.
The Somerset Evolution Series is made by Aliner. If you are looking for a rugged, off road pop up camper that will last you for years to come, this is perfect for you.
Here is a super short two minute video to show you the Somerset Evolution E3 Deck and what the newer E3 model floor plan with the slide looks like. I love the E3 Deck, because it’s a pop up camper and a toy hauler in one.
Even if you don’t have any “toys” to haul, this would be amazing for hauling your extra camping gear, portable solar panels, extra batteries, firewood, you name it.
- 6″ Tubular Steel Frame
- Optional Off Road w/ the Evolution Series
- Walls & Roof are made of aluminum, no wood
- Air Conditioning Prep
- Dinette/Bed Slide
- Toilet and Optional Shower
- Optional Deck (E3 Deck) or Enclosed Storage (E3 Box)
- Breathable Sunbrella Fabric
- One Piece Seamless Aluminum Skinned Roof
As previously mentioned, one of the key things I looked for when I purchased my camper, was a heated and enclosed underbelly. If your plumbing is not enclosed and heated by your furnace, you cannot camp in temperatures below freezing and still use your plumbing system (unless you wrap your plumbing with heat tape or do some serious mods). Why buy something that you can only use for half of the year if there are other options available right?
The one-piece seamless aluminum roof is also extremely important. “Seamless” and “aluminum” are the two words I like to hear. You already know by now why aluminum is important. Couple that with it being seamless, and that virtually eliminates any chance of a roof leak. That is something to take note of!
There are 4 different models in the Somerset Series. The Utah, E3, E3 Box and the E3 Deck. The lightest weight option the E3 weighing in at 2,650 lbs, 17′ total length when towing. Inside length is 12′ on all models.
The main difference in the 4 different models, is going to be the off road package (Evolution or “E” series), and the optional storage. The interior floor plan is the exact same floor plan for all 4 options. The Utah is not part of the Evolution or “E” series, therefore it does not have the off road package. The E3 is off road without the storage box or toy hauling deck. The E3 Box is off road and comes with the double-walled, enclosed storage box. The E3 Deck is off road and has a 55″ x 85″ front deck for hauling camping gear or for toy hauling.
Another difference worth noting is that the Utah, since it is not off road, has 14″ tires vs 15″ like the E Series, and it only has a 20 gal freshwater tank vs the 35 gal tank on the E series models. 20 gal isn’t a whole lot if you are going to be doing a lot of boondocking. However, you could always haul an extra portable freshwater tank like this in your tow vehicle, if you have the space, but that is a pain.
Keep those kinds of things in mind when selecting your pop up camper. How are you going to be using it the majority of the time? At an RV park or campground that has hookups, or will you be boondocking, where things like your freshwater tank will be super important, along with your battery/batteries and solar?
The average price of the Somerset pop up camper is going to be around $18,000. However, you can cut that nearly in half with a great used Somerset. That goes for most of the pop up campers I am mentioning today as well.
If you want the traditional style pop up camper that we all think about when we hear the words “pop up camper,” this is a great option.
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3. X1-H Pop Up Campers By Patriot Campers
Patriot Campers is a company out of Australia. The X1-H is a rugged, off road beast! I’m really not going to make you read a ton on this one, because this video really says it all. It thoroughly points out why I am in awe of this thing.
I think “WOW” about sums it up! Australians really know their stuff when it comes to rugged, off-the-beaten-path camping and what you need to do it with! Patriot Campers actually won “Camper Trailer of the Year” in 2018.
What I appreciate
- Aluminum Frame
- 360 Articulating Hitch
- Independent Suspension System
- 270° Awning
- Tropical Fly
- 20″ Ground Clearing
- Changing Room & Add-On Kids Tent
- Tent Heater/Water Heater Combo
- LED lighting
- Built In Table
- Dual AGM batteries w/ Lithium Upgrade Option
- 40 gal Freshwater Tank
- Remote Control Setup
- Solar Option
There are two different packages you can add to the base model depending on how you’ll be using the X1-H.
The Tech Pack Includes ($2,790)
- Redarc RedVision TVMS Upgrade
- X-Cruise 1.60T Air Bag Suspension & On-board Air Compressor
- Cotek 1000W Pure Sinewave Inverter
The Lifestyle Pack Includes ($2,490)
- Additional Gas Bottle Holder 10 lbs
- Tent Awning Sail kit (Set of 2)
- Utility Shelf Front Box
- Kids Room 7.2 ft Wide, 5.3 ft Long, 7.2 ft High, Grey
You get what you pay for, and you definitely get a lot with this one, but you are going to pay more for it. The X1-H’s base price is $46,990. They do have the X1 and the X2, which are a little lower in price.
Exploration Outfitters is the only dealer in the US so far. You can see the full X1-H price list and other available options here. If you would like to check out all of their different models, you can go to Exploration Outfitters website here.
4. Truck Pop Up Campers By Four Wheel Campers
I had to include a truck pop up camper on the list. This is one of the most versatile types of camping. With the pop up feature, this is just like driving your truck with nothing on it. You can drive in windy conditions (ie The Tetons) and not be thrown around by the top-heavy design of most truck campers. Check out the video below on this cool design.
What I appreciate
- Low profile design
- Customization options are endless
- Thermal Pack option for all weather camping
- Welded aluminum frame
- Aluminum exterior
- Off road cable with the hidden tie-down system
I really am in love with this pop up camper. There are so many features and options to customize this to exactly how you want it and what you intend to use it for.
Four Wheel Camper offers a solar package option, 2 or 3 way refrigerator, optional toilet, outdoor shower, awning, and multiple floor plans. They offer multiple designs to fit short, long bed and even flatbed trucks from just about every major truck manufacturer.
This is what Four Wheel Camper had to say about the Thermal Pack Insulating System.
The “Thermal Pack” insulating system option provides an extra layer of fabric that velcro in place along on the soft pop-up portion of the camper. This is constructed of a polypropylene non-woven fabric (olefin fiber) and helps to create a dead air space to keep outside elements from transferring to the inside of the camper. The pop up portion will function normally with the added fabric, and can be left all year long to keep the heat out in the summer and the cold out in the winter.
You can also purchase just the shell if you would like to outfit it yourself. Another great feature is the off road capability due to the hidden proprietary tie-down system. This consists of four, zinc-coated eye bolts reinforced with steel backing and mounted to the bed of the truck. This also provides for a clean look on the outside of the camper.
This is a great interior/exterior tour.
One drawback is that they do use wood for the floor. Yes I know what you are thinking! Why am I even considering this one? Their application process is why I considered it as an option. (I have contacted Four Wheel Camper regarding this and will update you with their response).
This is what Four Wheel Camper’s website states about the construction of their pop up truck campers.
Four Wheel Pop-up Campers are built to last. The camper frame and roof are aluminum construction (welded). The camper base is constructed with a high grade plywood that has an applied weather resistant, textured, laminate coating on both sides. This new plywood is excellent quality and the outer laminate layers give the wood maximum protection (compared to a coat of paint). This plywood is sometimes referred to as Skid-Guard material, and is used in the construction of boat docks at lakes, rivers, and in marine environments.
The interior cabinets are now built from a high quality plywood with the exterior finish having a “painted” on wood grain look coating. The new cabinetry we are currently using are more durable, harder, and have less of a tendency to scratch. The camper walls and roof are insulated with rigid foam insulation.
All appointments inside the camper, from items like the cushion foam, fabrics, appliances, electrical, plumbing, flooring, are of the best quality. We try and avoid using any of the typical inexpensive “RV” parts & pieces whenever & wherever possible. We always prefer to use upgraded parts & pieces in the construction of your new camper. We pride ourselves in building the lightest weight, lowest profile & most durable pop-up truck campers on the market today. Our customers appreciate our attention to detail too!
I really am impressed, overall, with their design and product. Their attention to detail truly does shine through.
Pricing varies so much based on your particular truck and the crazy amount of customizing/options they offer (customization is a good thing). It might be easy to get carried away though. (I probably would!)
Base Model pricing start at $18,995
Shell Only pricing starts at $10,995
For more information visit their website fourwh.com
5. Alto Pop Up Camper by Safari Condo
Just look at those amazing windows. Mind. Blown. Again.
What I appreciate
- Huge panoramic windows
- Toilet and shower
- Two seating areas, 5-seat & 2-seat
- King & single bed
- King bed without losing all seating areas
- Light weight
- Towable by most compact cars & SUVs
- Aluminum roof, frame & floor
- Cabinet & Upholstery Options
- Aerodynamic design
- 2 year warranty
The Alto weighs in at just 1,858 lbs.
Exterior Closed Height: 6’10” Exterior Open Height: 8′ 5″ Exterior Length: 17′ 3″ Exterior Width: 6′ 9″ Interior Height Open: 6’10” Interior Height Closed: 5′ 4″
There are so many things I love about this little guy. By now you probably know what my favorite part about this camper must be (aside from the ginormous windows). You guessed it. It is aluminum! Yes! The roof, the walls and the floor!
The Alto has a low center of gravity and has a 75% lower drag ratio compared to a 16′ standard height travel trailer. You can tow this with a compact car, and it will fit in most standard sized garages. That is a huge plus in my book.
It has all three holding tanks, black (12 gal), grey (15 gal), and freshwater (15 gal). Not huge tanks, but that is to be expected in a small pop up camper of this size. Safari Condo also offers a remote controlled trailer mover option. You can move this thing around with a remote control…that is pretty cool!
Other available options include 1-2 100 watt solar panels, air conditioning, bike rack, removable awning, 19″ TV/DVD Combo, TV antenna, 4.3 ft³ 12V compressor fridge upgrade (comes standard with a 3.1 ft³, 2-way LPG/120V), 2000 watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter with a 55 amp charge controller, built in microwave/oven and many other available options as well.
The Alto by Safari Condo starts at $29, 624.
For more info, visit their website SafariCondo.com/en/
6. Air Opus Pop Up Campers by Purple Line
I have to admit I was pretty skeptical of this pop up camper when I first saw it, but I quickly changed my mind after doing a little research. Check this out.
Air Opus won a design award for their innovative, cutting edge design. The Air Opus pop up camper uses air lateral/medial air tubes/air beams that act as struts to hold up the tent instead of the normal tent poles. Insane right?
The air beams are made of heavy duty plastic bladders surrounded by two protective layers of canvas. If you’re anything like me, the first thing that comes to mind is a bad air mattress…es no bueno!
However, the Air Opus was designed to combat an accidental puncture, should it ever occur. The air chambers are connected but, should one start leaking, you can shut the valve on that particular beam, to prevent the rest of the air tubes from deflating. They make replacement tubes for this situation as well.
There is an optional screened-in tent addition available. It adds a massive amount of living space, and if you go with the “off road,” this will close in the outdoor kitchen during inclement weather. You could also sleep an army in that thing
What I appreciate
- Cutting Edge Air Pole Technology
- Optional Screened-In Room Addition
- Three different versions to suit every camper
- Luxurious Interior Feel
- Off Road Capabilities
- Available packages & options
- Strength and durability
- Massive skylights vs traditional hard top
- Interior LED Lighting
- Bike Rack
- Included 12V refrigerator
Air Opus actually offers the option of the traditional tent pole system as well if you prefer that to the air pole technology. They have an “On Road” option and an “Off Road” option. The main difference is the “Off Road” has an upgraded, all terrain chassis with off road ready tires and independent coil suspension. It also has the stainless steel pull-out kitchen on the exterior of the camper instead of the kitchen being inside the camper like it is in the “On Road” camper.
Another difference between the two options is that the Off Road Air Opus weighs more than the On Road. The off road weighs in at 2,870 lbs, while the on road only weighs 1,577 lbs.
|Trailer & Tub information||OPUS On Road Model||OPUS Off-Road Model|
|Colors Available||Orange, Blue||Orange, Blue, Metallic Gray, Matte Black|
|Dimension (Lid Closed)||14′ 3”||18′ 4” (including spare wheel) x 6′ 10 ” x 4′ 9”|
|Dimension (Lid Open)||20′||21′ 4” x 6′ 10” x 11′ 6”|
|Ride Height||3.8′||5′ 11”|
|Bed Size||6’1” x 4′||6’1” x 4′|
|Trailer Dry Weight||1,577 lbs (1,550 lbs with AIR OPUS)||2,870 lbs|
|Tongue Weight||100 lbs||220 lbs|
|GVWR||3,500 lbs||3,970 lbs|
|Load Capacity||1,900 lbs||1,100 lbs|
Here are some side-by-side photos of the “On Road” and the “Off Road.” You can see the difference just in the appearance alone, and why the off road weighs so much more.
Air Opus offers different upgrade packages as well. They even have an option for a Cinema Screen and movie projector…it’s pretty cool!
I really did do a 180° on this one. The more I learned about the Air Opus, the more and more impressed I became. Still not sure about the strength and durability of the air poles? Check this out!
Impressive huh? The Air Opus is definitely worth considering as an option on your list of favorite pop up campers.
On Road base price starts at $24,999
Off Road base price starts at $26,999
You can go to their website for more inf and specs.
Well that wraps up my list. Thank you for sticking with me…I know this was a ton of information to take in all at once! I like to give you as much information as possible though, so you can make the best “educated” decision when it comes to investing your hard-earned money. I hope you enjoyed it. I would love to hear which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments what you think!
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See you again soon!
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