10 Great Features of Pop-up Tent Trailers

pop-up-tent-trailerThere are a lot of great ways to go camping, from tents to motorhomes and everything in between. If you have a spouse that is not sold on the idea of roughing it in a tent, though, a pop-up tent trailer is a great alternative to traditional tent camping. Here are ten great reasons to consider a pop-up tent trailer for your family camping solution.

Sleeping capacity

Pop-Up Tent Trailer Interior

Pop-up tent trailers have large, foldout beds and usually a dinette that can also convert to a small bed and can comfortably sleep five or six in a pinch. This is a real advantage for family camping, because a pop-up tent trailer offers plenty of sleeping space for family and friends.

Sleeping comfort

Pop-Up Tent Trailer MattressTheir mattresses won’t win any awards for comfort, but compared to the cold hard ground in a traditional tent, the relatively thin and hard mattresses in a pop-up tent trailer are a much more attractive alternative for many non-outdoorsy spouses.

Because the bed platforms on a pop-up tent trailer are open to the air underneath, they can get cold in the winter. Some people close-off the open air space by wrapping a tarp around the outside of the bed platforms. Another alternative is to lay a space blanket underneath each mattress.


Pop-Up Tent Trailer Airflow

Pop-up tent trailers have very large mesh panels, surrounding the foldout bunks, that provide much better airflow than many cabin-style family tents. These large mesh panels eliminate the closed-in, dark and stuffy feeling that turns some off to tent camping.

Amenities: rustic to extravagant

Pop-Up Tent Trailer KitchenA basic pop-up tent trailer may have just a sink and a two-burner stove, but higher-end models can have refrigerators, toilets, showers, and even air conditioning.

This flexibility allows you to tailor your camping experience to meet your family’s needs and maybe the needs of your non-outdoorsy spouse, without completely giving up on the outdoor experience that tent camping provides.

Cargo capacity

Pop-Up Tent Trailer Storage Capacity

Pop-up tent trailers are more than just rolling tents. They also provide storage space inside for your gear and many make this space externally accessible even in their folded configuration, through a cargo hatch. Some pop-up tent trailers also offer external storage trunks in the front, or back of the trailer. These are important features if your family vehicle is too small for all of your family camping gear.

Toy hauling

Pop-Up Tent Trailer Toy Hauler

Pop-up tent trailers have hardtops that support racks for bicycles, surfboards, canoes and kayaks. This allows you to not only take all of your family’s camping gear, but also the outdoor toys that make every family camping trip a memorable experience.

Towing weight

Pop-Up Tent Trailer TowingMany cars, minivans, and small SUVs are rated to tow 3,500 pounds, which is well-suited for the majority of pop-up tent trailers, most of which are in the 2,800 pound (or less) range.

Easy to tow

The low profile of a pop-up tent trailer makes them much less susceptible to buffeting and sway from wind and passing trucks. They are also much more economical to tow and can be towed by lower-power vehicles, due to their low wind resistance.

Lowest cost RV

Pop-up tent trailers are about half the price of a hard-sided camping trailer. In addition, their relatively small size allows them to fit in a driveway or even a garage, which can save hundreds of dollars every month in RV storage fees, over a camping trailer or motorhome.

Extensive online support community

If you are looking for advice from other pop-up tent trailer owners, look no further than PopUpPortal.com, where you will find a wealth of information from pop-up owners – including tips, tricks, and technical support. If you are looking for more information on pop-up tent trailers, be sure to checkout their forum.

See also…

138 thoughts on “10 Great Features of Pop-up Tent Trailers

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  20. We are having a hard time deciding with models of used pop up tent trailers. I prefer not to purchase Coleman due to the difficulty finding parts. I also am concerned with dual axle or single axle. I want to keep the towing weight still low to save on gas. Does anyone have any ideas?

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  21. wow! Now you can make your tent anywhere. We found a great used tent trailer off Craigslist. We have only used it once and are awaiting are next Spring camping trip. We now realize how nice it would be to have a screen house to put the picnic table in. Thanks

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  23. Does anyone know where I can get a replacement mattress cover for a coleman pop up tent trailer Niagra. Both Mattresses are king size 69×76. The foam is ok, I just need the covers. We just bought the trailer used and it is in great shape other than the Mattress covers are stained and ripped.


  24. I so excited! We found a great used tent trailer off Craigslist. We have only used it once and are awaiting are next Spring camping trip. We now realize how nice it would be to have a screen house to put the picnic table in. Do you recommend any particular types or brands? There are so many to choose from. Thanks for all your info on your site. We are looking forward to many happy years of camping!

    • Congrats, Leslie! I do not know anyone with a screen room, so hopefully you can find some reviews. I know A&E Systems is very popular (the “Trim Line” for pop-ups), so that is probably where I would start.

      • We had a small Coleman pop-up camper for years that had a screen room that attached to the awning. It was a wonderful addition for space when we were staying in one place for a few days. We and our two children used it for at least a month each summer for about 10 years. The room gave us a place to have coffee in the morning without waking the kids, and a great place to sit in the evenings without bugs. Our children are grown and gone now and we are looking to buy another one and will definitely get an attached room again!

    • Right – in fact, I just heard from a friend of mine yesterday and they bought a pop-up so that her husband can camp with her and the kids. He has sleep apnea and has to use a CPAP machine, so the pop-up lets them do that.

      • We used to have a Starcraft years ago and we just bought a Jayco 1990 Pop up. We were wondering what the weight capacity is on the Designer Series Jaco as we have larger friends and want to invite them to camp with us.
        Thanks for any answers. Going out to flush the water tank and check it out. Just got it Sat.

        • Sue, I’m not sure what the actual cargo carrying capacity is, but hopefully someone at popupportal.com can help you out. It’s always a good idea to weigh your RV yourself, because the manufacturer’s specs are notoriously inaccurate. One thing that is important on older RVs is to check the date on the tires. They can look brand new, but if they are 5 years old it is time for a new set – the sun weakens the rubber over time and you sure don’t want a blowout on one of these (knock on wood!).

          Good luck and congrats!

          • Thanks Roy and Mealnie. I love the sight. Have a great camping year. Sue and Tom

    • It depends on the particular campsite, Jackie, but usually yes. If you are using Reserve America or Recreation.gov it will show an “Equipment Length / Driveway” field. For many tent sites this is usually 15+ feet, which allows you to get your pop-up in there. You might have to park your car somewhere else, but there is usually enough room to park the car, too. For tent sites that show a 0 for the “Equipment Length / Driveway” field, there is no place for a pop-up. These are walk-up sites, only.

      You can also always call the ranger station and ask, too. We usually find that there are a mixture of tent sites that will accommodate pop-ups (and even hard-side trailers and RVs) and walk-up / walk-in sites without driveways.

  25. Pingback: Family Travel Link Roundup, 8/10/09 | Travels with Children by minnemom

  26. in-a-tent – I love the Sylvan Sport, it’s a very innovative trailer that can be used for several different purposes.

  27. We used to have (what we called) a trailer tent when I was a kid. Not quite like the pop up camper you describe, no hard top for example, but a similar idea.
    It had beds that folded out from the central trailer section pulling the roof up as they went, so it ended up like a giant mushroom. We went to Wales mostly (I’m in the UK) and the sheep on the campsite used to sleep under the folded out beds. When they got up in the morning they used to bump their heads on the underside of the bed – a very bizarre alarm call.
    Recently I came across the Sylvan Sport IT which is a similar idea and looks like a really clever solution.

  28. John – I have my heart set on a 4×4 Sportsmobile someday (post kids, of course) http://www.sportsmobile.com/

    Craig – we love camping at Morro Bay SP. There’s a great beach at Morro Strand, across town, and a great park downtown for the kids. I thought about bringing the golf clubs, but I’m not sure that would fly with my wife Lisa :)

    Melanie – that’s great! We have some friends that just bought one, too, and are really happy with it.

  29. We bought our pop up in March, and just love it! We joined Pop Up Portal a couple days after gettin the camper, and it has become a valued source of information.

  30. Another benefit since moving to a tent trailer last year is the ability to extend my camping season to the winter months. If I can find a site with electrical hook-ups, I can run a small ceramic heater and keep the tent trailer nice and cozy. We camped last January at Morro Bay State Park and the temperature dropped to 36 degrees one night, yet we were snug and warm in the trailer. I would like to recommend Pop Up Times forum as another resource for tent trailer owners.

    Craig Travis’s last blog post..California Camping Online Upcoming Trips

  31. Pingback: 10 Great Features of Pop-up Tent Trailers | Camping Tents Reviews

  32. Good points in support of tent trailers. I lived in a semi-converted Ford Econoline van for two six-month periods about a decade ago.

    I sometimes miss that ability to go anywhere I want in the outdoors and still have a comfortable place to sleep and a lot of my books and toys, so I’m evaluating options like another van or a tent trailer.

    John Soares’s last blog post..Castle Lake Clean-Up This Saturday, July 25

  33. Pingback: 10 Great Features of Pop-up Tent Trailers

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