Are pop ups a dying breed?

squirrelbox

Member
May 15, 2009
81
This is my opinion. I will try to keep it short. I am now 66 yrs old. How this happened I do not know. It really pisses me off. I was a boy scout. Learned to camp , dig for food , one match to light a fire, all the man stuff a kid could dream of. I got married to a really young beautiful girl who loved camping. We were the same age. We camped a lot.I was a boy scout snob. Open fire cooking, pee in the woods ,tent for shelter, great to be young. Only wienies camp in a popup. Travel trailer ? are you serious. Fast forward to four kids and years of boy scout camping I was informed that if this camping life style was to continue an off ground, keep dry in rain, not cramped in a small tent with six people and a river in the middle of the tent ,sleep in wet bags, get up early with 4 crabby kids and a spouse you love who now you do not (temporary situation ) breakfast in the rain or cold, wet wood, and the most drastic alternative... a trip to wal-mart. Got a popup , I was all in. Ok, boy scout snob no more. Now I was a popup snob. How could you camp in a tt , are you serious. Still have my popup, Love my popup , can not imagine anything else. Did you know a popup can have every amenity a tt can? I am a hop skip and a jump from a tt. I have been informed this is next. I am glad of it. Want to enjoy my next adventure which is my grand kids. Like has been said , camping is what you make it. I will no longer judge others. Still dont understand the big rig plug in mentality unless you are old. God bless you. ( ok I judge ) Not against the rigs. I will be in one eventually. Had several trips ruined by generators and boom boom at night from neighbors watching movies. I have learned, Bottom line, If I dont like it I do not go to that place. To each his own. I have friends who love that stuff, I do not. I love the big rigs in fall because they are all on the electric side of the state park I go to. I have the whole half of the campground to myself.
 

MaestroMarine

New Member
May 2, 2020
8
Right after reading this thread, I got an email from Camping World alerting me to their “pre-owned” sale..

TONS of pups available!


Maybe some of you will find a dream pup here!
 

Kip Horn

New Member
Nov 23, 2018
2
My wife and I are thinking of moving to a small TT. Our youngest son will be off to college and it will just be the 2 of us. Not that it can't be done but breaking down camp and putting away the pop up with no help takes some time. So we're looking at small TT. We went to a local RV dealer and they have no new pups. He said it had to do with what people want but I'm sure commission structures have something to do with it too.
 

Tonya Harding

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 15, 2018
1,851
Virginia
My wife and I are thinking of moving to a small TT
Same here to a degree, key word is SMALL; I'll keep the tents & all the accompanying gear & maybe the GO camper if the son wants it, but I'd like to find a hard shell like a decent used 16' Casita, or maybe a NuCamp TAB, but stuff is so high now I can wait & see wazz up...
 
Jun 8, 2022
18
Arizona
We were out last weekend for a few days. Our inaugural trip in our new to us Rockwood 232ESP. We generally boondock pretty far off the beaten path while tent camping, so the pup we bought is intended to maintain that ability. That being said, we went to a campground to outfit it and cross over from our life of tent camping, to tent-camping with extra steps hahaha.

The campground was full Friday, we were the second smallest rig in the place, the smallest being a nice little van-life/micro-teardrop rig. The largest were several class 3 bus sized rigs, and one 5th wheel that I swear must have been two stories inside. Even with all of those homes on wheels in the camp, we had several people comment on how they'd like to be able to camp off road again.

A rooftop tent camper guy stopped to talk, said his wife hates the roof tent, especially the ladder. Seems she won't camp in it. He loved my rig and really surprised me by saying he thought it was the nicest rig in the camp.

PUP's aren't dead, they are a victim of internet trends. People new to camping have a hard time determining what type of camping will actually be FUN for them. YouTube can make any camping trend seem the very pinnical of camping, just gloss over the downsides. All camping lifestyles have downsides, and having the most fun camping is achieved by mitigating those for you, personally. It's difficult for most people to see that the most money spent doesn't always mean the most fun had.

To each his own, but always remember the wise words:

"Comparison is the thief of joy" T. Roosevelt
 

dbhost

Super Active Member
Sep 19, 2018
1,279
League City, Texas USA.
It does seem the MFGs are not making as many, I just don't see them in new inventory, All I see are motorhomes and large TTs and Fifth wheels. There is a serious lack of pop ups, as well as truck campers that used to be the mainstay of off the beaten path camping that I prefer. Having said that travel down the beach on Padre Island to the remote sites and you will see pop ups pulled by 4x4s to get there, while smaller TTs can make it, it is more of a struggle....

My main issue with a PUC is that due to the nature of my work, I can work camp, as well as my wife, and PUs are not typically big enough to have 2 people set up laptops to work and be comfortable... Not saying it is impossible, Just needs to be the right floor plan camper.

On the plus side, the new job will also allow me to finally finish repowering the truck and getting going again. So our days of tent camping are numbered...
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,630
Northern Virginia
victim of internet trends
You have a point there. I can't believe how many class B's I'm seeing on the roads here. More people are following "the van life" trend I guess. I saw one couple who may by probably second guessing their van dream as they had a bit of an accident with it in the mountains. If it was big enough damage a person could be out of a van and out of a camper on a camping trip, that's a pretty big con in my book. Grant you it could happen to any of us, but we are slightly less likely to lose both at once.
 

dbhost

Super Active Member
Sep 19, 2018
1,279
League City, Texas USA.
You have a point there. I can't believe how many class B's I'm seeing on the roads here. More people are following "the van life" trend I guess. I saw one couple who may by probably second guessing their van dream as they had a bit of an accident with it in the mountains. If it was big enough damage a person could be out of a van and out of a camper on a camping trip, that's a pretty big con in my book. Grant you it could happen to any of us, but we are slightly less likely to lose both at once.

LOL. The "Van Life" trend as of late is absolutely NOTHING new. In the late 80s when I was in a shared house / roomate situation I couldn't stand my roomates, constant property damage / theft situation, and I decided to literally move into / camp out of my van until I could find an affordable apartment. I would literally go what they call moochdocking for better part of 6 months during an Oregon winter as it were, living in a van down by the river. In this case a '62 VW microbus... And yes I could have lost my vehicle and home at the same time, but I also had fallback options for both. I could have swallowed my pride and gone back to my parents place, I could have done a lot of things. I ended up moving out of state with my girlfriend when she went to college out of state and I went to trade school...

At this point in my life, I would LOVE to be able to spend more time on the road, but there is no way I would full time it... But have a house sitter take care of the place and head out for say a month at a time, come back do my stuff, go back out sort of thing...
 

Chaaalie

Member
Mar 16, 2016
59
I enjoyed this thread… And having what is now a 20 year old PUP — and some challenges our last time out — I started just looking at the used camper market (all types, just to understand the market).

What I found was a little surprising, at least in Central Florida, where I don’t feel like I see a ton of pop-ups when we camp, the market for used units seems to be on fire. I see units five and 10 years older than mine, in rougher shape, selling for 2 to 3 times what I paid six years ago. Closer comps are even more surprising. … and none of them seem to be listed for more than a matter of days. (Looks like demand is stronger than supply.)

I would imagine that if this is happening elsewhere, manufacturers will move in to capture some of that market.
 

dbhost

Super Active Member
Sep 19, 2018
1,279
League City, Texas USA.
I enjoyed this thread… And having what is now a 20 year old PUP — and some challenges our last time out — I started just looking at the used camper market (all types, just to understand the market).

What I found was a little surprising, at least in Central Florida, where I don’t feel like I see a ton of pop-ups when we camp, the market for used units seems to be on fire. I see units five and 10 years older than mine, in rougher shape, selling for 2 to 3 times what I paid six years ago. Closer comps are even more surprising. … and none of them seem to be listed for more than a matter of days. (Looks like demand is stronger than supply.)

I would imagine that if this is happening elsewhere, manufacturers will move in to capture some of that market.

I would imagine that you in Fl are similar in climate to us here in TX, which means that unless you are using some sort of radiant barrier on the bunk ends / canvas and running the snot out of your AC, a pop up, well honestly any sort of camper, this time of year is an excersize in heat stroke. I think in the south, many folks see pop ups as being harder to keep cool, and up north many folks see pop ups as being too hard to keep warm and free of bears...

HOWEVER, I have not looked to buy a pop up in a while, however I do see them come across my FB marketplace feed quite often here...

Usually in too rough of a shape for too much money these days.
 

Chaaalie

Member
Mar 16, 2016
59
I would imagine that you in Fl are similar in climate to us here in TX, which means that unless you are using some sort of radiant barrier on the bunk ends / canvas and running the snot out of your AC, a pop up, well honestly any sort of camper, this time of year is an excersize in heat stroke. I think in the south, many folks see pop ups as being harder to keep cool, and up north many folks see pop ups as being too hard to keep warm and free of bears...

HOWEVER, I have not looked to buy a pop up in a while, however I do see them come across my FB marketplace feed quite often here...

Usually in too rough of a shape for too much money these days.
We do tend to use ours more regularly in the fall through mid spring, but also most of our regular campgrounds are relatively shaded. Our venture earlier this month to Bahia Honda SP Was probably the most direct sunlight our PUP has seen, but being beachfront on one of the keys I don’t believe the temperature ever got above the mid-80s… And I may just be lucky, but our 20-year-old AC is like a friggin snowblower.
 

dbhost

Super Active Member
Sep 19, 2018
1,279
League City, Texas USA.
We do tend to use ours more regularly in the fall through mid spring, but also most of our regular campgrounds are relatively shaded. Our venture earlier this month to Bahia Honda SP Was probably the most direct sunlight our PUP has seen, but being beachfront on one of the keys I don’t believe the temperature ever got above the mid-80s… And I may just be lucky, but our 20-year-old AC is like a friggin snowblower.

Typically we like beach camping along the TX coast, Daytime highs at Padre Island National Seashore this week have been in the mid to upper 90s. So yeah AC is an absolute requirement.

If we go inland to say Lake Livingston State Park, we are in the upper 80s, and humid. AC is still a must have, although the solar heat gain of the day is considerably less in a wooded park...

Oddly enough, depending on the loop it always seems to me that Livingston has either a fairly constant prvailing breeze, or just dead air. That matters. We won't go if there isn't a site with good breezes during hot months...

Whether the PUC or the instant set tent, we always use AC in the summer months. The PUC AC is super cold, I have rigged something similar to PUGS using surplus Attic Foil radiant barrier material. Like I said above wife and I both remote work, so as long as we, or the laptops aren't too hot, we tend to go during the week so we can get sites when everyone else is stuck in the office...
 
Jun 8, 2022
18
Arizona
I would imagine that you in Fl are similar in climate to us here in TX, which means that unless you are using some sort of radiant barrier on the bunk ends / canvas and running the snot out of your AC, a pop up, well honestly any sort of camper, this time of year is an excersize in heat stroke. I think in the south, many folks see pop ups as being harder to keep cool, and up north many folks see pop ups as being too hard to keep warm and free of bears...

HOWEVER, I have not looked to buy a pop up in a while, however I do see them come across my FB marketplace feed quite often here...

Usually in too rough of a shape for too much money these days.
Location is certainly a factor. Living in Arizona, I don't need an A/C unit. I know it sounds nuts, but they wouldn't keep up in the summer in the lowlands, and camping there would be less fun (with exceptions). So it's north to above 5000 feet to camp. In the winter, having a furnace will open up the deep desert areas I haven't camped in a long time. Freezing at night, but PERFECT days for poking about the desert. I did the Army for 12 years, a part time professional camper if you will, a big takeaway from that is that the high temp of the day is the hardest thing to do anything about, cold is easier to mitigate, especially at night. Arizona just happens to be split in half by a huge ridge that sets the north half as high or higher than Denver. There is always somewhere to camp here, year around, where the weather will be perfect. Most of the state is Forrest under various agencies, or BLM, not privately owned like many places. Find a beautiful spot and odds on you can stop and spend a few days enjoying it, free of charge most places.
 

dbhost

Super Active Member
Sep 19, 2018
1,279
League City, Texas USA.
Location is certainly a factor. Living in Arizona, I don't need an A/C unit. I know it sounds nuts, but they wouldn't keep up in the summer in the lowlands, and camping there would be less fun (with exceptions). So it's north to above 5000 feet to camp. In the winter, having a furnace will open up the deep desert areas I haven't camped in a long time. Freezing at night, but PERFECT days for poking about the desert. I did the Army for 12 years, a part time professional camper if you will, a big takeaway from that is that the high temp of the day is the hardest thing to do anything about, cold is easier to mitigate, especially at night. Arizona just happens to be split in half by a huge ridge that sets the north half as high or higher than Denver. There is always somewhere to camp here, year around, where the weather will be perfect. Most of the state is Forrest under various agencies, or BLM, not privately owned like many places. Find a beautiful spot and odds on you can stop and spend a few days enjoying it, free of charge most places.

I lived in Tucson in the early 90s and spent many a college years summer mid week since I worked on the weekends, and General Hitchcock campground, if I recall right there were other camp sites where I could set up camp as well closer to Summerhaven. I had a 65 VW Westfalia camper then, I guess it counts as a pop up...
 

Mark60

Active Member
Aug 23, 2020
155
TN
I noticed on Memorial Day weekend at the state park I was camped at I saw 2- pop ups beside mine, I watched the younger crowd maybe in there early 30’s pulling in with there new suburban’s pulling new 20 to 23’ jayco jay flights and you could still smell the new on them. I could tell by looking at those woman a pop up wouldn’t work lol. But hell 2- of the woman was driving and pulling the trailers with there men riding shotgun. I admired the rigs and settled in my easy chair outside my $2,000.00 dollar 20 year old pop up watching a TV I had set up on a table and thinking life is good. But darn they got packed up and gone on departure day and I’m like really I got to fight this pop up lol. For the most part the pop up is dead around here. I remember buying 2- pop ups back in the mid 70’s and got to use 1 one time. That’s when there was a gas shortage and people driving by stopped and bought them. Back then they were cheap on the used market.
 

Tonya Harding

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 15, 2018
1,851
Virginia
Flipping thru Farce Book Marketplace & found this bout an hour or so away, looks nice, converted to all electric from propane; wife would be on my azz like a duck on a June bug if I went to look at it lol

 




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