Moving up to Pop-Up Tent Trailers by tent campers are done so for
various reasons. Of these, being better protected against the elements
and nature's creatures top the list. As well as having some of the
comforts of home.
This style pop-up camper is also referred to as a tent trailer, folding
camping trailer and about a dozen other names. With a low profile, Vans, Trucks and SUV's can easily tow to any destination with no need for special side mirrors.
The functional description of Pop-Up Tent Trailers is simply that they are a towable trailer that is made of a durable hard shell, compact in design and has a method of raising the upper half and slide out extensions for sleeping. These style campers usually will have soft canvas sides or other flexible material that connects the bottom and upper halves of the camper shell.
The top of the line for pop-up tent trailers will also include a slide out dining area, water heater, toilet, air conditioner (heater is standard), and hydraulic system for setting up and leveling. In order to pick the right trailer combination, we have listed everything you need to know.
First, make sure that your vehicle you plan to tow your trailer is up to the job before purchasing or renting your trailer. Although the smaller 8 foot Pop-Up Tent Trailers may weigh as little as 1400 lbs., a car's transmission is not designed to handle that much load over long distances or up and down through the mountains.
Check your owner's manual to determine the maximum load and towing capacity and then plan on trailers of that size or less. A light truck or an SUV will be able to handle trailers up to around 1800 lbs (about 12 feet long). Anything larger than that and a full size pickup truck would be recommended. These trailers can get up to 24 feet long and if it has all of the options described above, only the power of a full size truck will do.
With the towing capacity of the vehicle known, it's time to select the trailer. To do this, you need to answer the following 4 questions:
A typical Pop-Up Tent Trailer will sleep 4 adults in the two slide out berths on either end of the trailer. In almost every case, the dining area can sleep one more, maybe two. If your regular number of people camping with you is any more than 4 or 5, you need to consider the next size up. If you are confined by the towing capacity of your vehicle, then a viable option is to bring along an add on room. These are relatively inexpensive and can be set up just outside the front door.
This question is important as it pertains to the road worthiness of the Pop-up trailer you have in mind. For most small Pop Up Tent Trailers (up to 10 feet), a single axle would suffice for most of the trips. However, when towing a larger trailer or towing cross-country on a family vacation, a minimum of two axles are required. This adds to the towing weight considerably and a lot will now depend on your vehicle's towing capacity. Electric brakes are always a good option to have regardless of the trailer size. This holds especially true if your trip includes running through mountainous regions of any size.
An alternative to driving to your destination with a Pop-up trailer in tow, is to look at local camper trailer rentals near your final destination. It is easy to find outlets by searching on the internet for a camper rental at or near your destination. Rental fees are also very reasonable and combining with the price of gas today, may be a more valuable option.
This question goes right along with how many of the four seasons will you be camping. Typically, the camping season starts in early Spring into late Fall.
Almost all pop-up campers will have a heater as a standard part of their design. This may not be the case if you purchase or rent your trailer from Florida or along the Gulf Coast.
It is the other extreme temperature that should be considered and that is the hot days of Summer. Air conditioners are almost always an option since they add considerable cost to Pop-Up Tent Trailers. In addition, an air conditioning unit may add additional camping fees since most campgrounds will charge a higher fee for electricity if an air conditioner is present.
If you are going to be camping out in the open with little or no shade, an air conditioner is almost a requirement. That is why you should think about whether your campsite(s) will be shaded or not as this can reduce the noon day Sun by 10 to 15 degrees.
Not all air conditioning units are run off of electricity, but this is the most common type.
The length of your camping trips play a factor in the amount and type of amenities that are in the Pop-up trailer's design. If weekends are the only time you plan on camping, then the basic package which may or may not include a refrigerator, air conditioner, water heater or dual propane tanks may be enough.
When camping for a week or longer, the above-mentioned items almost become a necessity. A refrigerator run off of either gas or electric helps with keeping the perishable foods better than constantly buying ice for the cooler. A kitchen sink with at least a 5 gallon water supply also makes more sense than trying to do without. Certainly other items like a portable toilet along with some way to take a hot shower would be on your camper checklist as well.
For many items that require energy of some type, having multiple propane tanks should be considered. Not only can the refrigerator run off of propane, but the cooking, water heater, heater, and air conditioner can usually be configured for this fuel. The reason this option is looked at is because you may be camping in an area that has no electric hookup at all.
This style camping is so popular, that there are many outlets either offering rentals of all sizes of trailers or even for lease if you are planning on an extended vacation. The other alternative is to check your local papers or the internet for used Pop-up camping trailers for sale. If this is the route you want to go, there is a few things needing to be done other than just kicking the tires.
Make sure the owner gives you the instructions while you set the camper up and take down. Look for any sticking portions of the sliding members including the door and frame. Pop-Up Tent Trailers frames can warp if not set up properly.
For Foldout or Pop-up Tent trailers, note any mildew or worn areas of the fabric as replacing this can be expensive. For other models, be sure to check windows and any other area that uses gaskets for insulation.
Check all utility connections and appliances to verify they are working. Inspect the interior floors and inside all cabinets for any water damage.
Insist on hooking up the trailer and at least take it around the
block or a couple of miles. Get to a reasonable speed, make a few turns
and stops. This will bring out any structural problems before you
commit to the sale.
If you have additional questions regarding Pop-Up Tent Trailers, send us an email using the Contact Us button on this page.