If you’re always off-grid like we are, you’d know how hard it is picking your home for the weekend. Tents are uncomfortable. RVs are huge AND expensive.
In search of the perfect weekend home, we found our Goldilocks: small pop-up campers.
They’re collapsible and lightweight, and some even come complete with beds and kitchens.
Excited? Well, read below for the best pop-up campers for your next adventure.
The 5 Best Lightweight Pop-Up Camper Picks
Opus OP2 Off-Road Trailer: Best Overall
- Dry Weight: 2777lbs.
- Dimensions: 16’2″x 6’8″x 5’1″
- GVWR: 3970lbs.
Got a long weekend coming up? The Opus OP2 can last you 4 days off-site with ALL THE AMENITIES you need for a comfortable experience.
Whether you’re going on a trip to the national park or going off the beaten path, the Opus OP2 can make you feel at home. It comes complete with a bed, a stove, and a 20-gallon tank of water.
Campers will love its easy, 90-second set-up. Just stand back and wait for it to inflate.
Off-roading? The Opus OP2 is a beast, making it one of a few pop-ups you can tow on rocky terrain. It’s lightweight enough to be towed with a lighter vehicle, like a small SUV or jeep!
The Opus feels homey enough for a comfortable experience, while still maintaining that rustic camp-like feel. Wake up to plenty of natural lighting from its huge zippered windows.
Honestly, the only thing that the Opus OP2 lacks is a proper outdoor shower. But you can’t go wrong with a pop-up camper this complete.
If sleeping 4 people isn’t enough, try to opt-in for the Opus OP4, which can sleep 6-8 people.
Is Opus OP2 For You?
The Opus OP2 is pricey, but it’s easily one of the best pop-up campers with all the functions and amenities it offers. Towing is a breeze, and it took on bumpy trails like a charm.
- Easy, 90-second set-up
- Superior off-road handling
- Heavier than others
Coachmen Clipper Express 9.0TD: Best Value
- Dimensions: 6’5″x 56″x14’2″
- GVWR: 2,194lbs.
- Dry Weight: 761lbs.
If you want a lightweight camper with the essential amenities in it, then the Coachmen Clipper Express might be the pop-up camper for you.
It keeps its light weight body by using an aluminum steel frame, in the shape of a sleek teardrop while on transport mode. It can match your large truck with its looks!
The rear entry pops up when you’re ready to set up camp, and once you’ve done so, it’s EXTRA SPACIOUS with just about everything you need for comfortable camping.
Inside, you’ll find a bench, a sink, and a countertop. And of course, there’s the crowning glory: a HUGE, thick 54″ x 74″ foam bed with overhead storage.
We LOVE how the huge sliding windows surround the bed. If you’ve been using campers long enough, you’ll find that they’re teeny-tiny, dark spaces. No need for claustrophobia here!
If you want to keep warm at night, there’s a furnace inside that works like a charm.
And if you’re camping out in the summer, the sweltering heat is no match for the AC unit installed right below the counter space.
We’ll have to warn you that this camper is pretty bare-bones, though. It’s nice that it has a sink, a large bed, an air conditioner, and a furnace – but that’s about it as far as amenities go.
Want to cook something? You’ll have to go outside for that.
The propane camp stove mounts on the exterior of the trailer. The refrigerator is right outside, too.
But that’s up to your preference, of course. Maybe you’re into al fresco dining. No judgment here!
Is Coachmen Clipper Express 9.0TD For You?
The Coachmen Clipper Express has all the basics of a comfortable camper. You can sleep inside in warm weather or cold weather, and you’ll wake up relaxed and refreshed.
It’s pretty basic as far as campers go, but you can always opt in the Deluxe or the V-Package for even more amenities.
- Preinstalled AC unit
- Sleek, compact design
- Natural lighting inside the camper
- No indoor stove top
SylvanSport Go: Best Budget
- Dry Weight: 840lbs.
- Dimensions: 80″x116″
- Capacity: Sleeps up to 4 people
The SylvanSport Go pop-up camper is in the category of small campers that you can tow with just about any vehicle.
It’s the lightest pop-up camper on our list, weighing just an incredible 840 pounds. You don’t skimp durability for weight, though: this thing is RUGGED!
Its powder-coated aluminum frame supports the roof, and if you’re camping out in a tropical rainforest, the waterproof covering and lining’s got you covered.
And yes, even a camper this tiny can fit your whole family. Set this pop-up camper up as a dinette during the day, and beds at night. Its giant bed can fit FOUR people!
ATV off-roading? Sports? Not a problem. You can use this pop-up camper as a utility trailer for all your storage needs.
Haul mountain bikes on your SylvanSport Go. You can even take it kayaking by the lake. Its gear deck transport mode can fit your equipment – and even your motorcycles!
Of course, it’s not all good stuff. For pop-up camper this affordable, you can expect to let go of some amenities. It doesn’t have running water like some other pop-up campers in this list.
But for a petite camper with this much space? We’d have no problem keeping this one in tow.
Is SylvanSport Go For You?
If you’re used to the great outdoors, the SylvanSport Go is one step above your typical camping tent.
It’s elevated, so you don’t get dirt on your back while sleeping. Plus, you can take plenty of stuff with you!
Sure, it doesn’t have running water. But that’s what the great outdoors is for, right?
- Hard roof
- Spacious gear rack
- Can be towed with small vehicles
- Lacks amenities like a kitchenette
TurtleBack Trailer Getaway Series
- Dry Weight: 1,160lbs.
- Dimensions: 6.9’x13.5’x8.5′
There are some trailers you can take to free campsites, and they’re good enough for the job. But there are other campers you can really go on adventures with.
The TurtleBack Trailer? It’s the latter. Built for off-roading, this trailer is durable, lightweight, and can go on difficult terrain. Its galvanized tube steel chassis can withstand bumpy roads.
Setting it up is easy. NO COMPLICATED automated devices here! Just peg the camper on the ground and that’s it, you’re done!
Inside, you’ll find a double bed with a foam mattress that can comfortably sleep 2 people! If you’re taking your whole family on adventures, it can fit 4 people just fine.
The TurtleBack is an offroad camper, so it doesn’t have amenities you’ll expect from something like an RV. It’s really more like a tent.
But with a 21-gallon water tank, an on-demand water pump, and an 11lb pancake propane tank, you can cook food and wash your hands and dishes on this trailer.
Is TurtleBack Trailer Getaway Series For You?
The TurtleBack Trailer is the perfect pop-up tow trailer for off-road adventures. It’s lightweight enough for use with smaller SUVs or an all-terrain vehicle, but complete enough for campers.
- All-terrain wheels and tires
- Higher clearance than other campers
- Lots of storage (50.25 cubic feet)
- No air conditioning
Aliner Ranger 12
- Weight: 840 lbs.
- Dimensions: 15′ x 78″
- GVWR: 3,000 lbs
- Capacity: Sleeps up to 4 people
The Aliner Ranger 12 is a sturdy, lightweight pop-up camper with amenities to make camping feel like home.
Its solid, A-frame roof gives you an at-home feel from the sturdy fiberglass exteriors alone. Lightweight and compact, the diamond plate stone guard keeps you protected against the elements.
Make great coffee or soup with the 2-burner indoor stovetop. And if you’re done eating, wash the dishes on the sink right beside it.
You can keep up to 11 gallons of fresh water inside, which will run through the camper with a water pump. If you’re camping in the mountains, use the water heater so your hands WON’T FREEZE.
Now, we have to admit: since this lightweight camper has near-complete amenities, you’ll have to deal with a cramped space.
It’s not spacious for playing around inside, but that’s what you sacrifice for comfort. And for a lightweight pop up camper you can tow with a compact car, it’s as complete as they come.
Is Aliner Ranger 12 For You?
The Aliner Ranger 12 is great if you want an experience closer to a traditional RV than a tent. But if you need a gear hauler or more storage inside, you’re better off with the other options.
- Complete amenities
- Deep sink
- Running water
- Lacks storage space
Why You’ll Want A Pop-Up Camper
Cheaper Than an RV
RVs are huge, expensive, and difficult to maintain. An RV can cost you as much as up to $300,000! Meanwhile, a new pop-up trailer will cost you much less.
Plus, it’s hard to fit an RV in your garage, especially if you own other vehicles for everyday use.
A camping trailer is more versatile than an RV. You can use your everyday SUV on weekdays, and use it as a tow vehicle on weekends.
Pop-up campers give you the flexibility to set up camp as much as you want, and as often as you want.
More Comfortable Than a tent
If you’ve gone camping before, you’ll know it’s hard to sleep comfortably in tents. Little pebbles can find their way onto your floors, and can even sneak into your sleeping bags.
That’s not to mention how hard they are to set up!
How many times have you had your tents collapse on you? We couldn’t even count!
You won’t have that problem with pop-up campers. Some literally just pop up with the push of a button. You’ll need to peg others to the ground.
One thing’s for sure: no need for fiddly poles and bits with a pop-up camper!
Easy to Maneuver
If you’re the type to go camping on rocky mountains or steep inclines, you’ll find that pop-ups are easier to maneuver than your typical travel trailer. Perfect for off-roading!
Since they’re lightweight, small pop-up campers are more aerodynamic and can withstand a beating.
Small rocks and boulders on the road? With the higher clearance of a camper, your wheels won’t take any damage.
Fits Most Vehicles
If you’ve shopped around for a trailer, you’d know you’ll need to pair most of them with a large truck for towing.
That’s definitely not the case for a pop-up camper trailer. Since a pop-up camper has a lighter dry weight than other tow trailers, you can use even your daily SUV for towing.
Things to Watch Out for When Buying a Pop-Up Camper
When buying a camper, always look for the gross weight vehicle rating (GVWR) which tells you the maximum weight of the camper when you’ve filled it up with everything, including water weight.
You can even exceed your GVWR without hauling a trailer just yet. And add-ons to your trailer like cargo, equipment, water, and propane can add on to the GVWR.
Don’t exceed the GVWR of the camper, because that’s a hazard for you and your family.
Car Type and Hitch Classes
Your pop-up campers need to suit your car type, and the easiest way to match them is to compare the hitch class with the towing weight of your vehicle.
Your car’s manual usually states the maximum capacity of your vehicle, but here’s a general guideline that can help you out while shopping:
- Class 1: Cars and Crossovers. GTW up to 2,000 lbs.
- Class 2: Cars, crossovers, and minivans. GTW up to 3,500 lbs.
- Class 3: Crossovers, vans, SUVs, and trucks. GTW up to 8,000 lbs.
- Class 4: Trucks and SUVs. GTW up to 10,000 lbs.
- Class 5: Trucks and SUVs. 16,000 to 17,000 lbs.
Most consumer vehicles are in Classes 1 to 3, and most pop-up campers fit in those categories.
You won’t find an outdoor shower in pop-up campers, but it’s got plenty of other amenities for a comfortable resting place.
After all, that’s really all you’ll need from a pop-up camper!
There are some pop-up campers that are more similar to tents, and there are those which are decked up with amenities to make these trailers feel like an RV.
It’s a matter of preference, but here are some basic amenities for most pop-up campers.
A pop-up camper without a bed isn’t really a camper. You’d be better off just getting yourself a few tents (but of course, we already told you how hard that would be on your back!).
The bed is the heart and soul of your pop-up camper. Without it, you’d have a hard time sleeping when going off-grid.
So when you choose a pop-up camper, try going for one that can give you enough sleeping space for your family. Usually, that means getting a pop-up camper that can sleep four people.
Kitchenette or Stoves
Here’s the bad news: most pop-up campers don’t come with kitchenettes. At most, you’ll find propane stoves pre-installed in a few pop-up trailers.
Chances are, you might even have to mount your own in compartment slide-outs on the street-facing end of your travel trailer.
But that’s changing, though. Plenty of pop-up campers now have outdoor stoves attached to a propane tank so you can cook your food in comfort out in the wild.
Hot Water Heater
If you’re going to camp out in the mountains, a hot water heater is essential. Icy hands are hard to work with, especially if you’re going to do a lot of sporting or hunting in the woods.
Most pop-up trailers come with water heaters pre-installed, if they already have running water storage in them. Opt for those when you’re going mountain camping.
Furnace and Air Conditioner
It’s hard to control the temperature in the great outdoors. Too hot or too cold and you’ll have a hard time sleeping through the night.
A standard pop-up trailer usually has a furnace pre-installed. There are fewer that come with ACs. But if you’re a desert camper, consider choosing a pop-up camper equipped with an AC.
If you’re going on a new adventure, try using a pop-up camper. Sleep in comfort and wake up to the great outdoors with these versatile trailers.
Rent one out and see if it’s for you!