Pop-up Tent Trailers

Sylvansport GO trailer

Sylvansport GO trailer

Last November I wrote about the SylvanSport GO Multipurpose Trailer, that is easily converted from a pop-up tent trailer to a utility trailer. Now there are some new products on the market that challenge the unique market position of the GO, promising portability and flexibility.

Coleman® Switchback™

Coleman Switchback trailer

Coleman Switchback trailer

Coleman takes a direct shot at the GO with their new Switchback multipurpose trailer that combines similar pop-up tent and utility capabilities. The Switchback is built on a traditional steel frame, using a leaf-spring suspension system for the axle. It has a similar unloaded weight as the GO (850lbs vs. 800lbs), that uses an aluminum frame and a torsion suspension. The weight of all that steel is evident in the Switchback’s 500-pound cargo capacity, though, which is 300lbs less than the GO.

Two platform beds provide plenty of interior space

Two platform beds provide plenty of interior space

Interior wise, the Switchback features two fold-out 78″ x 51″ beds, with a 51″ wide floor in between. In contrast, the GO has two 78″ x 35″ beds, with a 48″ floor, but the interior of the GO can also be configured as one large 78″ x 118″ bed – an attractive option for families.

RTV Camper

Instead of popping up, the RTV Camper pops out

Instead of popping up, the RTV Camper pops out

Another newcomer, the RTV Camper looks similar to Switchback and the GO, but offers many additional amenities like a stove, refrigerator and yes, even a kitchen sink.

Those extras add-up, though, both in weight (2,600lbs) and cost (the base configuration starts at $26,488). Don’t confuse the RTV Camper with other pop-ups, though. It’s made to go wherever you can take it, with a 4-inch steel frame, 18-inches of ground clearance, and big tires for plenty of offroad flotation.

The kitchen inside the RTV Camper

The kitchen inside the RTV Camper

The RTV Camper’s offroad roots also carry through to the tent, which is a real-deal, military DRASH (Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter) shelter – the same kind used by our forces all over the world. This is a serous double-wall tent that is all one-piece construction, so there are no seems to leak, and it’s fully tested at temperatures ranging from -50ºF to 131ºF. You can even operate a heater or air conditioner with the available 3.6KW generator.

This new generation of tent-based campers is the hottest trend going in RV’s right now. In fact, it might be the only shining light in an industry beleaguered by the one-two punch of the recent high fuel prices and the current economic downturn. People are no longer eager to purchase specialty vehicles just for camping use. These new campers are towable by most regular vehicles and they are small enough to fit inside your garage. At least after a yard sale, or two.

See also…

44 thoughts on “Pop-up Tent Trailers

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  2. I have been thinking about getting a pop up trailer for a while but always worried about durability. Do you think the tents will hold up any better than your typical tent? It seems like the tent would have issues before the trailer. Could you buy a replacement tent for these types of models?

    I can see all of the great advantages for my family on having something so compact. We could take it into our remote camping spots without too much worry.

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  8. I started a new forum recently called Tventuring that folks might be interested in.

    Tventuring is a place where people interested in compact camping trailer can come to discuss building, modifying, outfitting and using the trailers that support their “away from home” adventures. Tventuring is short for Trailer Support Adventuring.

    Folks interest in Tventuring share a couple of traits. First, they enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle where “basic”camping is the form of lodging. Some go exploring deep into the back country requiring 4WD. Others are getting them and their gear to that perfect spot for a weekend of fun. Second is the DIY gene. They get enjoyment and satisfaction from doing things with their own two hands. Some do ground-up builds while others modify or tweak an existing trailer to their needs.

    Check it out and join in at http://www.tventuring.com/trailerforum/

  9. The completely folding away pop up trailers—I guess they still qualify sure create a lot of extra room. That Coleman looks like a great way to haul my bikes.

    Rick

  10. There are soooo many tent campers out there. My jaw dropped open when I saw the price of the RTV Camper. $26,000?! One thing I would consider if I were in the market to buy my first camper (my wife and I own over 20 that we rent to the public in Colorado), would be this:

    Consider your needs. Do you have an infant or children? If so, a more conventional camper with a simple 12,000 BTU automatic ignition furnace is the way to go. Also, if you have children, do you really want a thin, fine tent material that can be easily damaged?

    Do you want a walk in bathroom, or would you prefer to go without a bathroom?

    When I consider the uber lightweight pop-up campers out there, I truly do not see much gain in comfort and amenities compared to a nice tent set up. Then again, SylvanSport’s GO trailer is the smallest toy hauler I’ve ever seen… impressive design. You can get much more space and comfort out of a Palomino Banshee, but you couldn’t tow one with a little Subaru. Again, it all comes down to your needs, towing ability, desired comfort level, etc.

    Lon Black
    Colorado Camper Rental

  11. The Lifetime Tent Trailers aren’t bad. One key detail to be aware of, the tents are made from coated nylon not canvas, so they don’t breathe. It’s their Jumping Jack trailers that uses canvas fabric.

  12. Hey check out life time tent trailers they sell a 800lb costco version that uses the best quality level canvas and the trailers are built very well. I think the price is around $3700

    $6000 for the sylvan is way over the top for the light weight tent material they use and the bolted together tube structure they use.

  13. Is anyone aware of camping tents that will fit into a 4′ x 8′ utility trailer? I already own the utility trailer and would like to convert it into a tent trailer. It would be especially useful if I could put the tent into the trailer when I want to camp and simply remove it when I want to haul things around with my utility trailer. If you know of such a tent can you refer me to a manufacturer or retailer.
    Thank you.

    • Cabellas has a tent that fits into the bed of a standard truck bed I have one that I will sell only used three nights. Works great

  14. HAS ANYONE CHECKED OUT THE WACKY SHACK,LOOKS GOOD LOVE THE ROOM AND THE PRICE IS GREAT FOR THAT TYPE OF POP UP OR TENT, WHATEVER YOU CALL THESE THINGS LET ME KNOW. THANKS

      • THE TENT TRAILER FROM CRUISERLIFT IS CALLED THE WACKY SHACK,IT IS REALLY NEAT ,YOU ARE ABLE TO SLEEP UP TO 12, IT’S CANVAS AND YOUR OFF THE GROUND,BUT ONE THING I DO LIKE IS THAT IT’S PRICE IS LOWER THAN EVERYONE ELE’S ,IF YOU GET A CHANCE I WOULD RECOMEND TAKING A LOOK

        • These are an interesting camper. A few details, it only has an off the ground sleeping area for two, the other ten people must sleep on the ground or cots. For sleeping that many people a quality canvas ground or cabin tent from someone like Springbar would be more cost effective and free up your trailer for gear hauling.

          • WELL SCOTT ,
            I DON’T THINK ANYONE IS GOING TO SLEEP 12 BUT THE ROOM IS THERE IF YOU NEED IT .FROM WHAT I CAN TELL IS THAT THIS IS FOR FAMILIES OF FOUR OR MORE BUT IT LETS FAMILLIES LIKE MINE WHO ARE POOR AND CAN’T GET A POP UP OR A TRAILER ,AND LIKE THE OTHER PRODUCTS YOU HAVE ON HERE THEY ARE TO EXSPENSIVE AND THEY DON’T HAVE A LOT OF ROOM FOR ANYONE I’M A BIG GUY I NEED ROOM AND WITH THREE OTHER PEOPLE I NEED ROOM.WHAT I DO LIKE ABOUT THE WACKY SHACK IS IT CAN BE FOLDED UP I CAN PULL IT IN MY GARAGE LEAN OR HANG ON MY WALL. I WOULD HAVE PLENTY OF ROOM, IT IS MADE OUT OF CANVAS SO WOULDN’T BE WORRIED ABOUT LEAKING LIKE SOME OF THE PRODUCTS YOU HAVE ON HERE THAT DON’T USE CANVAS , I CAN USE A AC WITH IT OR A HEATER .TTO ME THIS IS THE ANSWER FOR PEOPLE THAT DON’T WANT TO TENT CAMP AND DON’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO BUY SOMETHING EXSPENSIVE THAT THEY WOULD ONLY USE ON THE WEEKEND OR MAYBE ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR.PLUS IT CAN’T JACKKNIFE LIKE A TRAILER IT HAS A NEAT SUSPENSION ALSO YOUR KIDS COULD CAMP OUT IN THE BACK YARD HAD FUN DOING THAT AS A KIDAND ON TOP OF THAT I CAN USE THE TRAILER FOR OTHER PURPOSES BESIDES THE WACKY SHACK BUT THAT IS MY OPINION
            THANKS, I REALLY THINK YOU SHOULD GIVE IT A CHANCE WHO KNOWS MAYBE IT COULD BE A ANSWER FOR A LOT OF THE READERS

          • Edward,
            I do agree that the Wacky Stack looks like a nice camper.

            IMHO, they look to have notable setup required. This is why a nice ground tent setup looks to be a much more cost effective solution.

  15. The Go & Switchback are some nice compact tent trailers. The RTV seems to be in a completely different class at over 3X the weight and cost.

    Another way to go is building your own. Check out Compact Camping Concepts who is driving a rebirth in DIY Tent Trailer plans and parts, http://www.compactcampingconcepts.com

  16. Pingback: Pop-up Tent Trailers < It’s all about the trends

  17. These Pop Up Tents trailers are cool. The SylvanSport GO looks great. We’re heading to Italy in May on a driving holiday and as yet haven’t booked anywhere to stay. Purchasing one of these is definatly going to by high up on the agender. Does anyone know about hiring them?

  18. Heather – it probably won’t tip over, but I guarantee you that every time you roll around or move, it will shake the whole thing.

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