10 Best Pop-Up Camper Brands

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Despite their size, some of the best pop-up camper brands will get you out to enjoy nature in a big way. Sure, everyone would like a camper trailer with all the fixin’s, but many underestimate the advantages of pop-up campers.

If I hear anything from all those vloggers and bloggers, they share the same mantra; just get out there and start camping. The best pop-up camper brands are a great way to do that. Whether you are an experienced RVer or a novice, many of the best pop-up camper brands are high quality, affordable, and minivan or SUV-friendly.

In this article, we will review the 10 best pop-up camper brands that are great at utilizing a small space, some that are really unique, and others that allow large families have a great time outdoors. There are even air conditioners for pop-up campers. Let’s take a look at the 10 best pop-up camper brands.

  1. Flagstaff
  2. Rockwood
  3. TM Industries
  4. Aliner
  5. Black Series
  6. Coachmen
  7. Viking
  8. Time Out Trailers
  9. Opus Campers
  10. Jayco

The Best Pop-Up Camper Brands

1. Flagstaff

Flagstaff T21DMHW Exterior - one of the best pop-up camper brands
Flagstaff T21DMHW Interior

Flagstaff has been a trusted name in campers since 1997. Flagstaff pop-up campers are made by Forest River in Elkhart, Ind. This convenient pop-up camper brand has a simple floor plan but still has a bathroom and shower with a 20-gallon freshwater tank, water heater, and filter.

It features hard-sided walls, rather than canvas, and has a fully-enclosed living area with linoleum and maple interior. Add stainless-steel appliances in the kitchen and modern features such as USB charging ports, a Wi-Fi booster, and a Wi-Fi ranger. A satellite hookup and TV outlet can make give you a great weekend getaway in a small package both inside and out.

  • Open Length:  21 feet
  • Closed Length: 21 feet
  • UVW: 2,700 pounds
  • GVWR: 3,706
  • Cargo Weight: 653 pounds
  • Hitch Weight: 353
  • Sleeps: 2-4

Get upfront price offers on local inventory.

2. Rockwood: Freedom Series 1940LTD

Rockwood Freedom Series 1940LTD Exterior - one of the best pop-up camper brands
Rockwood Freedom Series 1940LTD Interior

This Rockwood Freedom series model has plenty of room for the family in a small package. With a queen bed on one end and standard size on the other, it will sleep at least four. The convertible dinette has additional sleeping space if needed. You have the option of either cooking indoors or out since you can use the range from the kitchen outside.

You’ll find that this pop-up tent camper brand also features upgraded quilt topped mattresses, residential-style cabinet doors, wood drawers, and faux leather seating. If you need to camp in the fall, the 20,000 BTU furnace and a 13,500 BTU air conditioner will keep you comfortable during the changing temperatures.

  • Open length:  20 feet
  • Closed Length: 14 ft, 5 inches
  • UVW: 1,608 pounds
  • GVWR: 2,486
  • Cargo Weight: 683 pounds
  • Hitch Weight: 195 pounds
  • Sleeps: 4-6

Get upfront price offers on local inventory.

3. Trail Manor Industries 2518 series

Trail Manor Industries 2518 Series Exterior - one of the best pop-up camper brands
TM Industries 2518 Series Interior

Is this a pop-up or a travel trailer? This TM Industries (formally TrailManor) 2518 series has a unique pop-up design. It expands like a pop-up trailer, but it is a fully-enclosed, hard-sided structure. These are relatively light and can be towed with a minivan, crossover, or SUV. They also fit in a standard size garage and can be set up in a very short time.

Heavy components, like the roof, are separated into two sections and are counterweighted. Once the top is deployed, the beds slide out and lock into place. The bathroom needs to be assembled and the vanity must be moved into place. The sections are then sealed and you are ready to enjoy your living space.

This pop-up camper brand comes in three different model layouts; two beds, a bed and a large dinette, or a bed and a large sofa. It also has a shower, stove, three-way refrigerator, and a bathtub in some models.

  • Open length:  21 feet 6 inches
  • Closed Length: 18-20 feet
  • UVW: 2,580 pounds
  • GVWR: 3,595
  • Cargo Weight: 720 pounds
  • Hitch Weight: 295 pounds
  • Sleeps: 4-6

Get upfront price offers on local inventory.

4. Aliner Expedition

4. Aliner Expedition Exterior one of the best and most popular pop-up camper brands
4. Aliner Expedition Interior

The Aliner Expedition is a lightweight, easy-to-tow model with four available floor plans. This is the most spacious of the Aliner pop-ups with about 30 percent more storage than the other models. It has taller countertops and taller beds than other pop-up camper brands. The Expedition has hard sides and amenities include a three-cubic foot refrigerator, a two-burner stove, and a portable cassette toilet.

As a hard-sided pop-up, the Expedition is touted as an easy setup pop-up camper. It has Lexan windows, that have insulating properties. The air conditioner is a standard wall-mounted unit placed efficiently and fits well within the cabinetry. Storage of this small pop-up is also a breeze. It can be stored in a standard garage, in the yard with a tarp, or off-site in a small storage facility.

  • Open length:  18 feet
  • Closed Length: 18 feet
  • UVW: 1,850 pounds
  • GVWR: 3,500
  • Cargo Weight: 1,410 pounds
  • Hitch Weight: 240 pounds
  • Sleeps: 2-4

Get upfront price offers on local inventory.

5. Black Series Dominator

Black Series Dominator Exterior - could be the best pop-up camper brands
Black Series Dominator Interior

Black Series Campers are produced by an Australia-based company, but there are dealerships in the US and China. The company has been around for more than 10 years. The Dominator model is the ultimate off-roading pop-up camper brand.

It comes with heavy-duty canvas, gas struts, and a mechanical winch for setting up assistance. The interior comes with a modern wood finish and lots of storage. It even has the option for an annex room. The Dominator has a 35-gallon freshwater tank that comes with a portable toilet and shower.

This pop-up camper model can carry the largest of 12v refrigerators and generators. The slide-out kitchen will be enjoyable for the pickiest of chefs.

  • Open length:  14.7 feet
  • Closed Length: 17.3 feet
  • UVW: 2,740 pounds
  • GVWR: 4,400
  • Cargo Weight: 1,220 pounds
  • Hitch Weight: 440 pounds
  • Sleeps: 2-4

Get upfront price offers on local inventory.

6. Coachmen Clipper: 108ST

Coachmen Clipper 108ST Exterior
Coachmen Clipper 108ST Interior

Coachmen is a well-known name in the RV industry producing all of the popular RV categories. The Coachmen Clipper has an easy setup, easy-to-use, and easy store pop-up camper brand. In addition, the Clipper boasts a new, patent-pending, glide-n-lock bed system, which supports the beds by cables rather than support poles under the bed.

With a four-layer insulated roof, plus a 20,000 BTU furnace and space for an A/C, you will have no problem camping in comfort in this model. It also boasts a 23-gallon water tank, cassette toilet, 6-gallon water heater, refrigerator, and more. This one also has a queen and a king bed for plenty of sleeping space.

  • Open length:  23.5 feet
  • Closed Length: 19 feet
  • UVW: 2,840 pounds
  • GVWR: 3,296
  • Cargo Weight:  456 pounds
  • Hitch Weight: 296 pounds
  • Sleeps: 4-8

Get upfront price offers on local new and used inventory.

7. Viking: 2308LS

7. Viking 2308LS Exterior
7. Viking 2308LS Interior

Coachmen’s Viking pop-up camper brand has a twin-like relationship similar to Flagstaff and Rockwood. Viking’s 2308LS may not be the largest in their lineup, but it still has plenty of room for a small family. The Viking pop-up camper brand features a 23-gallon freshwater tank, a 35 amp converter, the glide-n-lock cable-supported queen beds.

The 12v refrigerator, 20,000 BTU furnace, and optional A/C are those creature comfort features that make this little giant worthy of your shortlist. This Viking also has an optional off-road package with a lifted axle and off-road tires. Using this American pop-up camper brand off-road can make your long boondock RV adventure great with the 1/2 ton cargo weight capacity.

  • Open length:  23.5 feet
  • Closed Length: 17.9 feet
  • UVW: 2,221 pounds
  • GVWR: 3,223 pounds
  • Cargo Weight:  1,002 pounds
  • Hitch Weight: 223 pounds
  • Sleeps: 4-6

Get upfront price offers on local new and used inventory.

8. Time Out Trailers: Deluxe

Time Out Trailers Deluxe Exterior - one of the best pop-up camper brands
Time Out Trailers Deluxe Interior

Time out trailers are designed to be pulled by a motorcycle with ease but can also be towed by a small truck or SUV. The Time Out Deluxe model features a queen-size air mattress, sunscreen tinted windows and a pedestal table with the American map. In addition, the designers added a zipper, making it easy to access an indoor cooler from outside. You can also add a portable A/C unit without a problem.

This small pop-up camper brand gives you a sleeping space off the ground when traveling. When the weather’s too bad, the pop-up camper provides covered space under the trailer for storage and a dry place for you to hunker down.

Setup for this small pop-up camper takes about three minutes for one person. The Deluxe has about 16 cubic feet of storage space when the tent is collapsed. That translates to three carry-on size luggage bags or two large luggage bags.

We recommend using an air mattress, small folding chairs, and the provided table to maximize the storage space. In addition, the 20-pound tongue weight makes it light enough to move by hand.

  • Open length:  104 inches
  • Closed Length: 65 inches
  • UVW: 345 pounds
  • Hitch Weight: 20 pounds
  • Sleeps: 2

Get upfront price offers on local new and used inventory.

9. Opus – Australia & U.S.

OPUS Camper Exterior
OPUS Camper Interior - one ofthe best pop-up camper brands

The Opus pop-up camper brand has many models to choose from and all are off-road capable with a unique design. All models feature an off-road suspension that travels anywhere your 4WD vehicle can go. An articulating hitch and a galvanized steel chassis allow you to tackle the toughest roads. Twin shock absorbers and trailing arm independent suspension for each wheel make this a versatile trailer.

All off-road models come with a slide-out stainless steel kitchen. A large external 12v refrigerator, four-burner stove, stainless steel chopping board, wind guards, sink, pantry, and cutlery drawer are all standard.

Opus pop-up camper brand models feature an “air tent” that gives you an 8-foot ceiling and large windows for optimal ventilation. The air tent inflates in less than two minutes. The air inflation system runs off a 12v electric air compressor installed in the trailer.

This Australian pop-up camper brand hit the American RV market with its OP4. This model is great a great pop-up camper for large families. The two double beds on each end sleep 4, and the main floor couch converts into another double sleeper.

  • Open length: 20 feet
  • Closed Length: 17 feet
  • UVW: 3,100 pounds
  • GVWR: 4,200 pounds
  • Cargo Weight: 1,100 pounds
  • Hitch Weight: 400 pounds
  • Sleeps: 4-6

Get upfront price offers on local new and used inventory.

10. Jayco Jay Sport Camper

2019 Jayco Jay Sport Camper 12SC Exterior
2019 Jayco Jay Sport Camper 12SC Interior

Jayco is a common name in the RV industry with quality travel trailers, toy haulers, fifth wheels, Class C, and A motorhomes. Although this company left the camper category in 2020, they were an excellent pop-up camper brand in their day. The small, but mighty Jay Sport pop-up camper 12SC would be a perfect option for a first family camper.

The Jay Sport 12SC is built for the long haul and is touted to withstand wear and tear from regular use. It has a corrosion-resistant frame and scratch-resistant exterior finish. The tent is water-repellent. It comes with an acrylic sink and faucet and a porta-potty storage cabinet.

There are interior hookups for a freestanding TV and an auxiliary 12v jack for all your entertainment needs. Appliances are plumbed for propane, and it boasts a 28-gallon water tank.

  • Open length:  20 feet
  • Closed Length: 13.6 feet
  • UVW: 1,835 pounds
  • GVWR: 2,700 pounds
  • Cargo Weight: 865 pounds
  • Hitch Weight: 140 pounds
  • Sleeps: 4-6

Get upfront price offers on local new and used inventory.

Are Pop-Up Campers Good?

Pop-up campers are an excellent option for families. My husband and I had a large pop-up that we stepped up to after many tent camping fails. We loved tent camping but it seemed like it always rained. Then we adopted three kids and knew they needed to have fun tent camping experiences.

So, along with our oldest biological child and a dog or two, we took off into the wilds. And, of course, it rained. Now we had four sweaty kids (ages 7-10), stinky socks, wet dogs, and a lot of complaining, as well as dad yelling, “don’t touch the sides of the tent” every five minutes. It was no longer fun.

So, we upgraded to a used pop-up camper. I don’t remember the pop-up camper brand or model, but it had a king bed on one end and a queen on the other. The camper’s canvas was replaced, so we were in heaven. We pulled it with our Ford Explorer, and it was a breeze to set up. The camper was easy to store on our own property, so we could fill it up with our gear for a trip and empty it out pretty quickly.

I would definitely recommend a pop-up for a family. Among the many pop-up camper brands, there is a model that is easy to tow with your car, minivan, or fuel-efficient SUV. Don’t forget, you can always try one out with a peer-to-peer RV rental company like Outdoorsy, RVshare, or RVezy.

What is the Easiest Pop-Up Camper to Set Up?

Pop-up campers are generally easy to set up. However, both hard-sided and soft-sided (canvas sides) have their advantages and disadvantages.

Hard-sided campers are generally more noise resistant and are better insulated from outdoor temperatures. Hard-sided pop-up campers will also offer more privacy, security, and noise reduction. In addition, the spring mechanism or power lift system makes setup or takedown a breeze.

Soft-sided pop-up campers are generally less expensive. Small basic models are ultra-lite, making some a camper trailer under 3,000 pounds. They are also safer to tow because of their low profile. With a soft-sided camper, you can also feel like you are roughing it. You can get the feeling of being in a tent while sleeping on a comfortable mattress.

You can also save money by storing your camper in your garage. These are a bit more complicated to set up but it is a skill that can be quickly learned. Once you set up a few times you will be an expert. You must make sure your tent canvas is completely dry before putting it away.

How Long do Pop-Up Campers Last?

Pop-up campers will require more maintenance, particularly the canvas needs to be well maintained. It can rip and become a good environment for mold growth. Mold, mildew, and other growths are avoidable by letting the modern triple-layer nylon completely dry before you pack up.

The mechanisms that raise and lower the pop-up also need regular maintenance to keep working properly. Stored inside and well-maintained, a pop-up camper can last decades. You’ll also find a second stem on your wheels. Adding grease annually through it keeps the ball bearings lubricated.

Your brand new pop-up camper could be made of vinyl, nylon, or other materials that last better than canvas. If you do have a canvas top you can also waterproof the material for longer wear. If you purchase a used pop-up camper and need to replace the canvas it is between $900-$1,500.

Is a Pop-Up Camper Better Than a Tent?

A pop-up camper can be better than a tent depending on how you liked to camp. For those that want to stay at campgrounds most of the time, there are many pop-up camper brands that I recommend. Some hard-sided pop-up camper brand models are great for short boondocking experiences. You can stay warm and dry in a pop-up camper. Also, you will have a much more comfortable bed.

Conclusion

Pop-up campers are a great way to get out into nature with a measure of comfort. They can fit into most budgets and can be pulled by almost any size vehicle. Pop-up campers are an excellent entry-level category to find out if RV camping is for you and if you might want to someday get a larger unit.

Current pop-up camper brands allow you to go off-road and boondock if you want to try other RV lifestyles besides campgrounds. They may require a little more maintenance, but many families have decided to continue the pop-up camper RV lifestyle as weekenders or part-timers.

A pop-up camper was a great way for my relatively large family to experience the great outdoors. As I wrote this story, I was again intrigued by the small but well-apportioned newer pop-campers. Someday I may find myself back to the basics and a little closer to nature as I continue my RV journey.


Related Reading:

7 Best Off Road Pop Up Campers

5 Best Pop Up Campers with a Toy Hauler

Everything You Need to Know About Popup Camper Rentals ~ PLUS Discount Code!

How Much Does a Pop-Up Camper Weigh?

RV Gear, Accessories and Supplies


About the Author

Terri Nighswonger and her husband Todd are full-time RVers and work campers. They have been living full-time in their RV for nearly three years with their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Newton, and their Minnie Australian Shepherd, Remi.

They originate from the Midwest but plan to enjoy the west for a few years, wintering in Arizona and summering wherever the road may lead. Writing is Terri’s passion, but she also loves hiking, kayaking, walking her dogs, and anything she can do outdoors.

Full Time RVer Terri Nighswonger

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