Are pop ups a dying breed?

Claymore417

Member
Jun 5, 2021
21
So I’m sitting here at my site watching the weekend people pulling into the campground where I’m currently camping. I haven’t seen a single tent trailer come in; just big, bigger, and mammoth sized travel trailers. And when walking around the campground I only counted one other tent trailer and two hybrids.

What’s the point of camping if you bring you whole house with you and sequester yourself in a giant sound proofed box away from nature?!?
 

Dingit

Super Active Member
Mar 8, 2017
2,143
Where I camp, you'll see few trailers, but half of those you do see are popups. The big guys can't get too far into the boonies, fortunately.

Maybe with the end of the internal combustion engine (or at least high fuel prices) they'll make a comeback. They did first take off during the '70s gas crunch, after all.
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,933
Albuquerque, NM
What is actually camping, or not, is a never-ending discussion, and really personal preference and current life circumstances. (Don't forget, some of those folks in RVs are actually living in them.)
The number of popups and hybrids seems to vary a bit by location. Here in the 4 Corners States, we still see plenty of tents, popups of all sorts, as well as more rooftop tents over the last couple of years.

Full disclosure - this is our 33rd season of camping. We camped in ground tents for years, my husband still backpacks. We moved on to two popups, but when my cranky joints got to the point I could not reliably or enjoyably handle the popup solo, we moved to a small TT. (It's actually smaller than some popups are when open.) We're still camping, in some places using the same sites in dry campgrounds that we've used since tent camping days. We can spend as much time outside as we wish, but having spent snowstorms in tents, popups, and the travel trailer, I'll take the travel trailer in iffy weather. Our camping season is also now longer than it was with either tents or popups, so there's that. It's all good, just decide whatyou and your family need this year - it may be different next year, or in 5 or 10 years.
 

Oldspurs

Active Member
Jan 2, 2022
277
Central Texas
We are the only popup in some of the camps. We find it amusing just how many owners stop by and ask questions, or comment on our rig. Our HW 296 is really quit large, we get stories of a lot who have graduated up from a PUP, or have fond memories of camping with thier parents in a PUP when children. We also relate that we have owned all sizes of rigs, however as we are Geriatric Juviniles we enjoy our commune with nature much more than the creature comforts. Yes, from time to time we get the rare snob, you know the type, they look at your rig and seem to believe that you are obviously destitute. We always smile, because at our age we know that most things in life are fleeting at best. We sit back in our chairs, drinking a good cup of coffee, or glass of ice tea, waiting for the night sounds to begin. Watch the stars, once it is night, smile to your self and do not worry. Just rest!! See you on the trail.
 

Claymore417

Member
Jun 5, 2021
21
What is actually camping, or not, is a never-ending discussion, and really personal preference and current life circumstances. (Don't forget, some of those folks in RVs are actually living in them.)
The number of popups and hybrids seems to vary a bit by location. Here in the 4 Corners States, we still see plenty of tents, popups of all sorts, as well as more rooftop tents over the last couple of years.

Full disclosure - this is our 33rd season of camping. We camped in ground tents for years, my husband still backpacks. We moved on to two popups, but when my cranky joints got to the point I could not reliably or enjoyably handle the popup solo, we moved to a small TT. (It's actually smaller than some popups are when open.) We're still camping, in some places using the same sites in dry campgrounds that we've used since tent camping days. We can spend as much time outside as we wish, but having spent snowstorms in tents, popups, and the travel trailer, I'll take the travel trailer in iffy weather. Our camping season is also now longer than it was with either tents or popups, so there's that. It's all good, just decide whatyou and your family need this year - it may be different next year, or in 5 or 10 years

I totally understand changes over our lives, and I see the benefits to a TT. But most of those I’m seeing are family’s pr youngish couples, who quite literally hide in the trailer all weekend. One of my kids friends will go camping with his family and play video games in their trailer and never go outside.
 

Orchid

Sharp Shootin' Grandma
May 8, 2011
5,832
Florida by way of WV and MD
We always saw lots of pups. State parks in Florida are full of them.

Typically, there would be two or three others on our loop, and at least a couple of tents. The only "resort" camping I've ever done is at Disney, and there are always plenty of pups on the tent loops there as well.

I'm going to guess that if you frequent RV parks, you'll see far fewer.
 

Claymore417

Member
Jun 5, 2021
21
We always saw lots of pups. State parks in Florida are full of them.

Typically, there would be two or three others on our loop, and at least a couple of tents. The only "resort" camping I've ever done is at Disney, and there are always plenty of pups on the tent loops there as well.

I'm going to guess that if you frequent RV parks, you'll see far fewer.

I never go to RV parks, just the provincial parks in Ontario Canada. I used to see tons of pups, but over the last few years I’m seeing fewer and fewer.
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,869
Northern Virginia
Part of the problem is rv places are encouraging people to buy these monsters for the commission they make by selling them. It’s all amount money. Manufacturers are responding by making more monsters and not making the smaller campers and now Very very very few rv places even sell popups there is no money in them. Went to one rv place they didn’t have any camper under 25’ if you wanted a smaller one you had to special order it which would take months and months before you even get to see it. Most people want to start camping right away not wait the entire camping season. thankfully I camp a lot at national or state parks so usually non electric and no water with smaller sites so I see more tenters and casita type campers myself. I personally won’t need a large camper, im not inside much at all unless the weather chases me in. A lot of the newer camping people were only looking for a safer alternative to hotels during COVID so they want all those fancy amenities where as myself am just as happy for A nice woody site no amenities. To each their own just so long as they don’t attempt to ruin my peace and quiet by them running a generator.
 

Orchid

Sharp Shootin' Grandma
May 8, 2011
5,832
Florida by way of WV and MD
I never go to RV parks, just the provincial parks in Ontario Canada. I used to see tons of pups, but over the last few years I’m seeing fewer and fewer.

I know they are hard to come by anymore. For a couple years here, pop ups have been selling for more than travel trailers. I'm not sure if that's starting to level off or not, as I haven't looked at the ads in awhile.

RV dealers don't seem to want anything to do with them nowadays. :( I sold ours for twice what we paid, in a spur of the moment decision, born of disgust. By mid 2020, every single campsite, at every Florida state park was booked out nearly a year in advance. We had existing reservations right about the time the parks opened back up after covid closures. It was the second worst camping trip of my lifetime, with the entire place full of "covid campers," as I call them. No manners, non existent etiquette, and no apparent desire to even use common sense or try follow the rules.

It was a super stressful time for everyone, and I couldn't see things ever changing. I hope by now, lots of those folks have gone back to whatever they were doing prior to covid, but I don't know for sure. All I could see was the end of an era. Of course I regret selling now.

If I buy a camper again, I'd like to get a brand new pup, if I could find a place even willing to sell me one.
 

Claymore417

Member
Jun 5, 2021
21
I know they are hard to come by anymore. For a couple years here, pop ups have been selling for more than travel trailers. I'm not sure if that's starting to level off or not, as I haven't looked at the ads in awhile.

RV dealers don't seem to want anything to do with them nowadays. :( I sold ours for twice what we paid, in a spur of the moment decision, born of disgust. By mid 2020, every single campsite, at every Florida state park was booked out nearly a year in advance. We had existing reservations right about the time the parks opened back up after covid closures. It was the second worst camping trip of my lifetime, with the entire place full of "covid campers," as I call them. No manners, non existent etiquette, and no apparent desire to even use common sense or try follow the rules.

It was a super stressful time for everyone, and I couldn't see things ever changing. I hope by now, lots of those folks have gone back to whatever they were doing prior to covid, but I don't know for sure. All I could see was the end of an era. Of course I regret selling now.

If I buy a camper again, I'd like to get a brand new pup, if I could find a place even willing to sell me one.
I’m finding reservations are a bit easier to get this year. I hope that trend continues. In the closer to southern Ontario campgrounds they were over run with COVID campers, I just went further north. It was actually a bit of a blessing, I got to explore new campgrounds and find some wonderful gems. Now I’m working my way around northern Ontario getting to really experience all that this province has to offer.
 

neighbormike

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 6, 2012
4,092
WI
I camp mostly at a nearby State Park… have been going there all my life, so I know it well. Most sites are “primitive” sites and on the “tighter” side… this is why I picked a TT I knew would fit on the sites I liked. More and more (in the last couple seasons) I see people cramming giant trailers & fifth wheels onto the small sites. I just think so many people got into the “new camping frenzy” they don’t know what they bought or what type of sites a large trailer would require.
 

Dave Brick

El Cheapo Family Camper
Nov 29, 2010
233
I was the only pup last weekend. All the kids at the campground gravitated towards my site. My son was happy to give tours. Lol!
WE camped 2 weeks ago next to a family we are acquainted with. Not close friends at the outset of the trip. My wife and I have 3 kids, plus we brought along an additional kid. 2 kids slept in a tent, 2 in the PUP. Anyway, the other family also had 3 kids. They were in a giant class A with 3 TV sets and a loud generator. I use 2 solar panels, one to charge the house battery, one to charge the solar "generator" for phones and computer. Nice and quiet.

ALL 7 kids spent most of the time in our little popup, playing UNO, or talking, or making up new rules for different games. My wife and I and our kids never got a tour of the behemoth next door.

I'm happy with the state of my families' camping. I honestly don't care what other people are doing.
 

Tonya Harding

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 15, 2018
1,914
Virginia
Yepper, seen some freakin' whoppers bulldoze their way into the state park we frequent, whistling & hissing, blocking the sun as they pass by; worst of all, they take away my view of the 60+ age wimmins I'm checking out w/ my binos as the wife naps [8D] (JK)...still see pop ups from time to time, a lot of mid size TTs, but more of the bigger ones are showing up. Pal runs the park we frequent, they're taking a whole section that was formerly tent/tiny trailer sites & converting it to electric, that should help because the entrance/roads & sites are MUCH smaller/tighter w/ more shade trees, giving the common folk a shot at convenience & views. Great thing about our GO camper is it'll fit anywhere...
 

Ladiesman

Super Active Member
Feb 6, 2018
840
Camped at Indiana dunes two weeks back with our TT saw at least 20 pups a bunch of TT and Motor homes and also quite a few fifth wheels also a lot of tents. Before judging people for a big TT or Motorhome remember the hard core tent campers are probably saying the same thing about you and your PUP. People get to a place in life where situations may need to change for them to be able to still enjoy camping. I am 59 been a diesel mechanic for 40 years 12 surgeries and a host of replacement and repaired parts I love camping but I had to give up the pups and get what works for me at this stage of life.
 

kudzu

Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 20, 2014
638
Knee deep in kudzu
We just got back from camping at a local state park. Yes, there were a lot of large trailers and motorhomes. However, there were also a good amount of tent campers. In the stretch of lakeside sites we were on there were several pups each day. If one pulled out, another moved in. Pups are definately fewer in the past decade, no doubt, but we still have them. I find myself wanting to smile when I see families set up in tents or pups. The site next to us started out with a couple in a large trailer, but soon two more vehicles pulled into their site and a pile of kids started exiting. Grandkids came to go camping. Suddenly that trailer didn't look so big! [LOL] Couple days later they pulled and a tent camping family moved in. Next to them was a pup, then more tents, then a TT with a big tent on same site, then a pup.

We are in the crowd that went to the dark side with a smallish trailer, 20 feet overall. Well, I consider it the dim side since we have a screen wall when we lower the ramp. Though it was so freakin' hot on this trip that the ramp stayed shut the whole time. Still we were out all morning and off doing other things most of the afternoon. If I want to just stay indoors, I might as well stay home. At our state parks, most of the non-canvas campers seem to agree with us. Most sites have people outside, even if they are just in a chair or hammock melting from the heat.
 




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