Traveling in a safe and comfortable camper is one of the hands-down best ways to see our vast and exciting country. However, unfortunately, it’s no secret that state-of-the-art RV’s and campers typically come with hefty price tags that push many families out of the camper equation.
When you also consider the towing power that’s needed to haul a large travel trailer across the country, you can be looking at a serious bill before you’ve even filled your diesel-hungry vehicle up.
So, if you’re looking to dip your toes into the exciting world of campers but don’t fancy re-mortgaging the house for your efforts, then a pop-up camper could be just the thing.
Pop-up campers are a great option for families who have grown tired of traditional camping methods with too many poles, pegs, and guylines, but still want to keep their camper experience - simple and easy.
They’re usually much lighter in weight too. This means they can be towed by just about any towing vehicle - another great non-commital reason to get one.
Pop-ups are also super easy to use and great at gaining access to campsites and national parks where weight and height restrictions are in place.
The design of pop-ups has come a long way in recent years, with even the more compact types comfortably housing a family of four, with a bathroom to boot!
In this article, we will be showcasing the top 10 best pop-up campers of 2021. This definitive list is stacked with a variety of sizes and styles from the market-leading camper brands of Forest River, Coachmen, Taxa, and Opus.
To make sure you’re confident in your decision we’ve also included an informative buyer’s guide to really put you in the know. Finishing off with a few key FAQs so that you come away with a clear idea of your favorite camper and can start planning your family’s first adventure in it.
OUR TOP PICK
Sleeping up to four adults and three children, the Coachmen Clipper Classic is the ultimate pop-up camper for when the whole family fancies camping.
It’s the biggest addition of the versatile Clipper series from Coachmen that, with an astonishing 12 different floor plans, gives you the key to design.
Not to mention the countless after-stock features that you can choose from that make this practical and well-priced camper the go-to pop-up for any family holiday.
The seven-birth Classic comes equipped with a large king-size bed to give Mom and Dad some quality sleep. A queen-size and gaucho bed is also included as well as a dinette that can be folded down for children to sleep on.
Make no mistake, this is a full-sized camper trailer that pleasantly comes as a pop-up to make towing easier with a full-access pass into height-restricted zones.
You’ll have everything that’s needed to enjoy a memorable family camping trip from the convenience of this larger pop-up.
The everyday essentials that some of the less equipped campers lack, like a shower, toiler, air conditioner, indoor kitchen facilities, and a furnace can all be found in the Classic.
Other aspects that deserve to be celebrated include its thick heated mattresses, Bluetooth stereo, and interior LED lighting.
Of course, all these creature comforts do mean that the Clipper is not exactly the lightest pop-up camper of the bunch. Weighing in at 2,850lb, it will require a dedicated towing vehicle to get the camper safely up mountain passes.
However, we’re guessing that if you’re in the market for a full-sized pop-up for the family, you’ve already got a solid towing vehicle at home.
- Different floorplan configurations - Helps you to personalize your camper experience
- Sleeps seven - Great for large families, or inviting friends and extended family on trips
- Heated mattresses - Keep the family warm on chilly nights
- Onboard shower and toiler - Ideal for traveling in a self-sufficient manner
- Weighs 2,850lb - Will require a reliable towing vehicle
The Opus OP Lite is a two-person pop-up that was built for the rugged side of camping.
Designed to handle the off-road, the OP Lite is compact, lightweight, and comes with plenty of modern advancements, including a beefed-up suspension to help you reach those far-off destinations in confidence.
Its most inspiring feature has got to be the air inflation technology that sees the entire structure inflate, ready for use, in 90 seconds flat.
Other notable aspects of the OP lite that have been fitted for tough roads and situations include the all-terrain tires, a front rock guard to minimize damage from debris, underbody armor with diamond platting, and a rear departure angle to allow more clearance.
The interior of the camper has been designed to offer a luxurious sense in the wild. With 8-foot high ceilings and large screen windows that allow you and your partner to take in the sights in comfort and style.
Sleep well in the OP Lite’s queen-size bed that features black-out technology to keep the morning sun out until you’re ready to soak it in.
The U-shaped dinette is designed to be minimal yet comfortable, having a contemporary sensibility that is rarely seen in an off-road camper.
Made of super-durable stainless steel, the outdoor slide-out kitchen stocks a 12V fridge/ freezer, four-burner stove, sink with running water and LED lights so that you can cook in low light.
Branded as being ‘Tough Luxury’, it’s very easy to see why so many adventurous couples are opting for the OP Lite.
With a considered total weight of 2,387 pounds, do yourself and your towing vehicle a favor and pick up the OP Lite today to get you and your loved one to your off-grid destination tomorrow.
- Air inflation technology - Camper can be erected in 90 seconds flat
- All-terrain tires - Goes anywhere that your 4WD can go
- 360-degree rotating hitch - tow vehicle can be angled in any direction without damage
- 8-foot high ceilings - Allows you to stand up with ease inside the camper
- Only sleeps two - Not suitable for families
- Small interior - Not great for long-stay camping
Surely one of the most functional travel campers in the business, the SylvanSport GO will fit your bikes, kayaks, and camping gear while on the road and give your family a place of refuge by night.
At just 840 pounds, it’s the lightest pop-up camper by a long shot, allowing any car with a hitch to tow it with ease.
The GO comes, as standard, with an equipment rack, tent pod, storage box, and a gear deck to secure the larger activity-based equipment when on the move. Quite miraculously the tent pod can be configured to sleep four people on one king-size plus mattress.
Or, it can be made as a three, two, or even one person set-up to offer more living and floor space.
A truly innovative design that every action-thirsty family can benefit from when the great outdoors are calling. The best thing about the SylvanSport GO is that it’s also extremely affordable when compared to more traditional pop-up campers.
It’s this affordability that remains at the very core of why this design is becoming such a popular one amongst the more minimal style of campers who prefer to bring their toys instead of the wide-screen TV.
- Super-versatile design - Great for travel and sleeping
- Low weight - Any vehicle with a hitch can tow this trailer
- Comes with tubular crossbars - Makes light work of carrying large items like bikes
- Lack of inbuilt cooking and washing facilities - Not suitable for long stay camping
- Very cozy sleeping quarters for four - Need to be comfortable with your fellow campers
As the name suggests, the Flagstaff Hard-Side by Forest River benefits from a fiberglass pop-up system.
Doing away with the more tent-influenced pop-up style of camper that most brands stock, Forest River has given their loyal customers a more secure home on wheels.
This difference in design goes a long way in noise reduction as well as weatherproofing. These are two hugely desirable traits that are normally only seen in full-size camper trailers.
The beauty of the Flagstaff is that it still holds onto the more versatile aspects of a pop-up camper trailer while also offering a more secure home to shelter from the storm.
As far as features go, you will also be gifted more of the luxuries that come with hard-side campers and RVs. Stuff like a Wi-Fi extender, USB ports, digital media receiver, indoor and outdoor speakers as well as a mount that’s ready and waiting for solar panels.
With a fully-loaded kitchen including an oven, sink, microwave, and fridge, the Flagstaff is more about living comfortably at the campsite than roughing it in the wild.
- Hard-side pop-up - Good shelter from noise and weather
- Plenty of RV style Mod-cons - Makes camping more comfortable
- Fully-equipped kitchen with oven - Keep the family well-fed
- Only weighs 2,648lb - Low weight considering hard sides
- Only sleeps three adults - Awkward for two couples
The Dominator is a super dependable pop-up camper that’s designed for the most extreme of off-road conditions.
If you’ve got a serious off-road adventure in the pipeworks and you need total faith in your trailer’s ability to see you through thick and thin, then there really is no other trailer in the game that can deliver what the Dominator can deliver.
Black Series has been endlessly working on the Dominator’s suspension to build the most hardwearing independent system available today.
They have refined, custom-designed, and engineered trailing arms that ensure each wheel can move independently from one another. This dedication to the suspension goes a long way in creating a smoother and more steady feeling on rough terrain.
The quad shocks help spread the trailer’s load across all four shocks instead of just the two, which also translates to a more reliable and smooth-sailing ride.
Sure, the Dominator has a toughened exterior that means it has longevity on its side. But when you take a step inside, you will be pleased to know that it has a soft and comfortable interior too.
Designed to sleep a family of four comfortably, this heavy-duty delight will give your family some truly memorable times in the most remote corners of America and beyond.
- High-spec suspension - Can get you out of precarious situations
- 120-watt solar panels included - Helps keep you charged off-grid
- Compartmentalized storage - The key to camping success is always organization
- Sleeps four people comfortably - Great for families
- Off-road specific features - Excessive for standard camping trips
Another pop-up camper from the RV icons that are Forest River, the Rockwood ESP is built for the active crew. Think kayaks, paddleboards, mountain bikes, surfboards, and this is the sort of equipment that the Rockwood ESP is ready to house.
It’s the little differences that set the ESP apart in the action sports market, like the outdoor shower and storage netting that’s set over the bunks.
In addition to this, the cabin features a natural aesthetic with autumn wood interiors and wood-look flooring.
It also has no troubles sleeping 4-5 people and with a single piece vacuum-sealed fiberglass roof, the camper will stand up to the challenge of wild weather too.
On the tech side of design, the camper comes equipped with a digital media receiver with Bluetooth, a TV outlet with cable and satellite hookups, USB charging ports, and LED ceiling lights.
A 3-speed ventilation fan will also ensure the family stays cool on balmy summer nights. Or, if you’re an A/C devotee, there’s also a fixed roof brace that’s dedicated to A/C installation.
- Built-in storage netting - Stores sporting equipment
- Single piece vacuum-sealed fiberglass roof - Desirable in strong wind and rain
- 3-speed ventilation fan - Keeps air moving on sticky summer nights
- Standard tires - Can’t handle off-road terrain
Considering its compact size and reduced weight, Taxa’s Cricket sure does pack a lot into its Nasa-inspired design.
At just 15 feet in length, this rugged and unique pop-up is purposed for fitting nice and snug into a standard-size garage. Weighing only 1,800lb, it also has the ability to be towed by most four-cylinder engines.
If you think this thoughtfully small sizing sounds great. But it’s also making you a little worried about the features side of things, then do not fear, as this is more than catered for too.
Once the roof is popped-up, the Cricket can sleep two adults and two kids without a qualm about it. The interior kitchen has been pleasantly finished in Baltic Birch plywood with a shabby-chic milk crate drawer.
There’s even rooftop cargo storage to keep your toys and equipment secure when on the move. It’s also worth taking note of the after-stock features that can be easily fitted, such as a 5,000 BTU air conditioner and additional ventilation windows.
With plenty of storage options under the bed, in the kitchen, and on the exterior, it is clear that the Cricket has been built by campers, for campers.
- Compact size - Fits into a standard garage
- Weighs only 1,800lb - Can be towed by four-cylinder vehicles
- Baltic Birch plywood kitchen - Natural aesthetic
- Five swing windows - Creates superior cross-ventilation
- Close living quarters - Some families may find stressful
Featuring two king-size beds at opposite ends of the camper, A-liner’s Utah is a large and luxurious pop-up option.
In addition to these super-sized twin beds, there’s another single slide-out bed that brings Utah’s capacity up to a commendable five adults.
The camper’s dinette is capable of seating six people comfortably and is positioned perfectly out of the way.
In fact, the entire camper has been built to create as much central living space as possible, making it feel like an even larger camper than it already is.
The stock Utah also features a fully-equipped kitchen and toilet, with the option of a shower and cassette toilet as an upgrade.
Other features that help tell the luxury camping story of the Utah include a stereo system that’s linked up to both indoor and outdoor speakers.
In addition to this surround sound pleasure, you’ll be gifted an outdoor shower, sectionized sunbrella, outside grill and a six-gallon water heater so that everyone gets a hot shower.
With two sets of bed privacy curtains, the Utah is a great camper for two dignified couples to travel in style, with a little slice of luxury.
- Two king-size beds - Comfort-focused camping
- Ample floor space - Feels spacious inside
- Six-gallon water heater - Ensures hot water for all
- Excessive bed size for family with kids
Ditching the need for a hitch, BunduTec’s WILD is built to be fitted straight onto the back of half-ton pick-up trucks. However, as long as your truck meets the box-length requirement and vehicle weight rating, the WILD’s size should fit your rig too.
Unlike more basic pop-up truck campers, the WILD comes equipped with a shower, toilet, water heater, sink, furnace, refrigerator, two-burner stove, seating area and bedding to sleep two adults and a child.
Framed of wood and constructed of lightweight aluminum, this truck camper is built strong but also light to ensure your pick-up is still an enjoyable ride.
Stacked with features like USB ports, LED lighting, roof fan vent, and an electric roof lift, you’ll feel right at home on top of your truck.
Other optional add-ons to the WILD that will help elevate your camping experience include improved overhead cabinets, insulated skylight, rear wall air conditioner, insulated windows, and a glass top sink.
The WILD is ideal for solo campers and couples with a small child in tow, or on the way. A truly innovative truck camper that makes wild camping easy and contained.
Ditch the hitch and experience the thrills of camping, sleeping, and driving from the one reliable vehicle.
- Fits to half-ton, or similar pick-ups - Versatile compatibility
- Shower and toilet included - Well-equipped for a truck camper
- Seating area - Chill-zone for nighttime card games
- Roof fan vent - Stops your campers from feeling stifled
- Can only be fitted to pick-up trucks - Useless for every other vehicle
The original A-frame fiberglass camper, A-liner’s Expedition has been pleasing the people for years and is showing no signs of slowing down. Just like all trailer campers, it is an aerodynamic and streamlined traveler.
However, upon arrival at your destination, the Expedition can be swiftly popped-up to offer an eight-foot-high ceiling and plenty of living space.
It can also sleep four people super comfortably with a 60” by 80” fixed bed and a dinette that moonlights as an extra double when required.
A fully-functioning kitchen, toilet, sink, refrigerator and outdoor shower make this a supremely solid option for any family camping trip. If you’d rather have more liveable space then there’s also the option to swap out the fixed bed for a sofa bed instead.
The expedition is a well-priced A-frame pop-up that’s practical in design, strong in construction, and has been tried and tested by thousands of American families.
Families who keep returning to the Expedition, time and time again, for its reliability and classic style. The kind of pop-up camper style that isn’t so much about being all modern and flashy. It’s about making memories with loved ones that’ll last a lifetime.
- Two possible configurations - Gives you a more tailored camper
- A-frame design - Holds up well in wild and nasty weather
- Fiberglass construction - Stronger than tent types
- Retro design - It may not be to every family’s taste
Best Pop Up Campers Buying Guide
There’s no denying the fact that buying a pop-up camper is one of the most exciting purchases that a family can make; period.
But with so much scope in the pop-up camper market, it can often be a tricky affair to find the perfect camper that tailors to your family’s every need.
By shedding some much-needed light on the most important factors when purchasing a pop-up, this buyer’s guide is designed to lead your family to camping glory.
When it comes to choosing the perfect pop-up camper - size matters. Firstly, you will need to consider the overall exterior size of your camper (height x length x width) against your home’s particular parking predicament.
Another big one is to make sure your camper’s clearance is low enough to fit into the parks and campsites you’ll be wanting to visit. Of course, this will be a non-issue for most pop-up campers, but for the A-frame and truck campers - it’s certainly worth a check.
With the exterior sizing accounted for, now you will need to open up the camper door and take a virtual step inside. Just as there are exterior measurements linked to campers, you should be able to find some information on the interior sizing specs too.
Things like the floor plan, beds, and kitchen size all go a long way in giving you the strongest view on whether a particular camper is right for you.
Vehicle Towing Power
One of the most overlooked but essential parts of purchasing a camper is making no mistake about your vehicle’s towing ability.
With the pop-up camper’s typical weight range being anywhere from 800lb to upwards of 3,000lb+, you need to ensure that what you’re purchasing is within your vehicle’s safe towing range.
As a general rule of thumb, most cars and small SUVs can safely tow 1,500lb. This is great news as it means that just about anyone can become a proud member of the pop-up camper owner’s club.
To pull the larger (2,000 - 3,000lb) pop-up campers along, you will at least need a mid-size SUV or light-duty pick-up truck.
Obviously, when going off-road, the stakes get raised quite dramatically, quite quickly. This translates to your vehicle needing to be 4WD (not just all-wheel drive) and having more towing power to get your trailer’s wheels over any large and wayward rocks.
Having a quick look at the towing vehicles that each manufacturer recommends for their campers, therefore, will not only give you peace of mind while driving, but it will go a long way in keeping you, your family, and other road users out of harm’s way.
Pop-up campers come in tons of shapes, sizes, and designs - this much you already know. What you may not already know is that each camper is built to suit a certain style of camping best.
For instance, there are some campers that are built with such a strong focus on the ruggedness of off-road exploration, that they tend to not suit campsite camping and highway driving as well as other campers do.
While there are also pop-up campers that benefit from a hybrid design that sees them handle fairly uneven terrain, with more creature comforts that make spending time inside of them more pleasant.
On the other end of the scale, you can find campers that pop up so large, you’d be forgiven for thinking that they are fully-fledged RV trailers.
This begs the question, where does your intended usage for your pop-up camper fit within this rugged to refined spectrum? Another big one to consider in terms of usage is how many times per year do you plan on using your camper?
There’s little point in flashing out on a state-of-the-art camper if you’re, realistically, probably only going to be able to get away once or twice a year at best. On the flip side, if you’re looking to traverse the country for months of no end.
Then you’re going to want comfort-focused living quarters so that you and your loved ones have some quiet time when required.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does A New Pop-Up Camper Cost?
Costing is always going to be the first question on everyone’s lips, and for good reason, it’s important. Just like any other style of camper, new pop-ups can be picked up for very competitive rates.
Or, they are also liable to cost quite a lot more than you were probably expecting they would.
For the most part though, new pop-up campers will cost within the $10,000 and $30,000 range, and that is before any after-stock features are added to them. However, some of the more specialist pop-ups for pick-ups and off-roading are known to be priced in the $50,000 ballpark.
Do Pop-Up Campers Have Bathrooms?
Contrary to popular opinion, yes, some pop-up campers do have bathrooms. Sure, a fully-equipped bathroom with a toilet, sink, and shower won’t come as standard in the more basic types, but if it is a bathroom you’re after, it is a bathroom that you shall find.
Camper Manufacturers know that no camper likes trudging across the campsite to the amenities block in the early hours of the night. This is why in 2021, bathrooms are becoming more of the norm among larger pop-up designs.
In the slightly less equipped mid-size pop-ups, you’re still likely to have a small cassette toilet onboard and an outside shower to freshen up in.
Let’s just hope that the weather isn’t too relentless while you’re tasked with the very real prospect of having a shower outside in the chillier months.
Pop-ups that you’ll be hard-pressed to find a toilet in, let alone a shower, are the gear-hauling types. These campers are meant to be wheeled along to the great outdoors where there’s plenty of opportunities to shower and relieve yourself in the great expanse of nature.