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question about tent/pop-up campers

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We have a Toyota Sienna that can only tow up to 3500lbs, so a regular camper is out of the question. The only alternative is a pop-up camper (dh doesn't like camping in a tent).


What are the pros and cons of pop-ups? We would really prefer a regular camper, but don't have the towing capacity and, it's not practical for us to switch to an SUV (cost-wise).



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Finally, something I can answer with confidence!


We've had our pop-up for 9 years. We bought it used out of a newspaper ad. Go to a showroom if you can and look at both used and new. We knew after one trip our kids would have it looking used anyhow. It is like our home away from home. Some pros:


affordable- we paid $3000 for ours and its still worth that today- so our use has essentially been free.


comfortable- We have heat and a/c. The beds are cozy and for the grownups its a million times better than sleeping on the ground.


easy towing- We have a conversion van and we don't even feel it when we are towing. You can see over it through the rear view mirror.


easy set up- When we got ours the kids were 9,7,5,2- they could do a lot of the set up. And now they do all the setup. The biggest thing to get right is getting it level. THe water and stove will not work if the camper isn't level. Plus you'll get a doozy of a backache sleeping like that.




Popping up and down in the rain- that stinks because you'll be soaked and so will the bunk ends that you are pushing in. When you get home you'll have to pop it up again and leave it for a few days until everything is completely dry.


In the older models that counter tips over during fold down and that can be a pain. Everything in the cabinets basically gets shaken up and sometimes it spills out.


If it is raining you'll have to cook inside and it can get a little tight for space. try to get a screen room attachment. Then if the rain isn't blowing at least some people can sit outside.


We've done cross country trips and some campgrounds won't accept you as they are reserved for hard sided campers only- Yellowstone has quite a few, but thats for safety not appearances!


Can't think of anything else. Let me know if you have any questions. You can also go to: www.popupexplorer.com and ask questions on their message board.



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We bought a pop-up a year ago, and it was the best thing we could have done!


We love it!!! There is plenty of storage and places to add storage on the ceiling. Ours came with a grill for outdoor grilling, and it fits on a rack that was provided. All furniture turns into a bed, so it can sleep 10-12 which is much more than many larger campers (my parents have a hard sided one that is much longer but only sleeps 7 comfortably) Ours has a potty and a shower, so we don't have to use public facilities, and it was MUCH cheaper than hard sided ones. It is a huge step up from a tent, and it is easy to pull and store! The biggest problem is taking down and putting it up, but after a few times you get the hang of it and it get quicker.


We also have a van to pull ours, and I will say check to see how well it attaches, because we had to get an extension thingy to put in our trailer hitch so that the camper would ride even (so as not to put added pressure on the van and to give better control). We also had a break controller put in our van to help stop the camper, and that is a must if you plan to go more than 20-30 miles or if you plan to take it on the highway.


Have fun!!

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DH's big thing is leaving our stuff in there while site seeing. We were thinking Disney actually. How safe is your stuff. I mean it's basically canvas and anyone can break in, right?


We have never had any trouble with people stealing stuff, however we don't leave cameras and such in there. The computer stays locked in the van when we are not in the camper, but then we don't leave those things in hotels either since they can be stolen there too.

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We had a pop-up camper for seven years and loved every trip in it! I would advise you to research the weight of the pop-up you are interested and look up gross vehicle weight and other vehicle weights and terms (I can't remember all of them right now!) The van saying tows up to 3500 includes the weight of the van and the weight of the camper...plus the weight of the stuff inside the camper. RV dealerships are not always straight forward with you (at least from our experience!) We had a top of the line Coleman camper (bought used) and it was very heavy. We towed it several times with our Honda Odyssey before we bought a Suburban to tow it. When towing with the Honda, it would sway more and wasn't properly balanced. I would highly recommend researching it before you buy. Many people do tow things beyond what their cars can handle, but if you were ever in an accident, I don't think the insurance would cover it....plus it is a lot scarier to drive when towing something you shouldn't!


As far as the pop up goes...ours was great! We had an inside shower and potty...never used the shower and only used the potty for middle of the night trips...no number 2's! We loved the air conditioning and heater. It was a lot of fun!


Happy researching!

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DH's big thing is leaving our stuff in there while site seeing. We were thinking Disney actually. How safe is your stuff. I mean it's basically canvas and anyone can break in, right?


The Disney campground is one of the best places we've ever camped. We usually leave cameras and computers locked in the van, but we've never had a problem with theft at any campground. I think its against the "campers code"

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