Are pop ups a dying breed?

BillyMc

Super Active Member
Mar 25, 2018
2,482
South Carolina
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.
Don't overlook HTT campers. Really quick setup and packup.You can get in to stock, clean, and pack without setting up. Way more room per size and weight than a TT.
 

geoffm3

Active Member
Jun 21, 2010
208
I’m kinda surprised that there isn’t a diy design/plans for a pop up out there. The goshen lift system parts are readily available, seems the hardest parts to source would be all of the extrusions, and when I went looking the price of sheet metal you’d need for skinning the side walls and roof was pretty spendy.
 

geoffm3

Active Member
Jun 21, 2010
208
I’m kinda surprised that there isn’t a diy design/plans for a pop up out there. The goshen lift system parts are readily available, seems the hardest parts to source would be all of the extrusions, and when I went looking the price of sheet metal you’d need for skinning the side walls and roof was pretty spendy.
If I were designing one I think I’d try to make one using a Coleman model as a pattern but adapt it to use the goshen lift system.
 

jnbarrett

Active Member
Mar 30, 2022
114
Winnipeg, MB
Well, I can tell you that the campground I was at this past weekend would be incredibly difficult for a TT to get into most of the sites, either because of trees or too tight a roadway to maneuver one into a site. I watched one guy with about a 16' TT model try to back into a spot. It took him nearly 30 minutes and about a 50 point turn to get it in there, and he still wasn't satisfied with the placement.

It was tight with our PUP (almost 21' popped up and with the slide on the side) as it was, and I'm an excellent driver backing in trailers. There was another section near the entrance for larger TT but there were no trees and no privacy. Didn't seem like a very nice camping trip to me having to pull into one of those spots. I like the trees, rocks, and a little privacy. The photo doesn't do it much justice, but it was tighter than it looks - this was our campsite. (For the record, the tarp helps keep the trailer incredibly cool during the day with the windows open and a small fan blowing).

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jnbarrett

Active Member
Mar 30, 2022
114
Winnipeg, MB
I’m kinda surprised that there isn’t a diy design/plans for a pop up out there. The goshen lift system parts are readily available, seems the hardest parts to source would be all of the extrusions, and when I went looking the price of sheet metal you’d need for skinning the side walls and roof was pretty spendy.

I wouldn't use sheet metal for the skins. I'd opt for an outdoor vinyl. It's more durable (less prone to dents), cheaper, easier to work with, and low maintenance.
 

geoffm3

Active Member
Jun 21, 2010
208
I wouldn't use sheet metal for the skins. I'd opt for an outdoor vinyl. It's more durable (less prone to dents), cheaper, easier to work with, and low maintenance.
Yeah, for a new build I don't know that I would necessarily use it for a new build either. I was thinking back to our renovation. Getting enough stucco embossed coil that was long enough to just reskin the body of our trailer was going to cost around $1300 from a distributor!
 

jnbarrett

Active Member
Mar 30, 2022
114
Winnipeg, MB
Yeah, for a new build I don't know that I would necessarily use it for a new build either. I was thinking back to our renovation. Getting enough stucco embossed coil that was long enough to just reskin the body of our trailer was going to cost around $1300 from a distributor!

I can get steel coil for relatively "decent" price compared to the public, but it's still too much IMHO compared to alternative materials, and just doesn't have the resiliency of other materials unless you get it in a heavier gauge - but then you're adding more weight.
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,843
Albuquerque, NM
I’m kinda surprised that there isn’t a diy design/plans for a pop up out there. The goshen lift system parts are readily available, seems the hardest parts to source would be all of the extrusions, and when I went looking the price of sheet metal you’d need for skinning the side walls and roof was pretty spendy.
There have been DIY cmapers of all sorts for many years. Whether or not there are current plans is another thing. Back in the 40s-70s, magazines such as popular Mechanics probably had a few. People are making their own tear drops, and so on. With popups, what I see mentioned more is taking one and making it into a teardrop or TT.
30+ years ago, when I first moved to NM, one of the women in a group that met at the sewing machine shop was making furnishings for the travel trailer her husband was building. I still wonder how that went.
A few years back. I encountered a popup camper camper made in the 1940s, by the current owner's father. She was delighted to still be using it.
 

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geoffm3

Active Member
Jun 21, 2010
208
I can get steel coil for relatively "decent" price compared to the public, but it's still too much IMHO compared to alternative materials, and just doesn't have the resiliency of other materials unless you get it in a heavier gauge - but then you're adding more weight.
It's probably a lot harder to work with unless you happen to have a sheet metal brake and shears as well, something a DIYer is unlikely to have.
 

geoffm3

Active Member
Jun 21, 2010
208
Don't overlook HTT campers. Really quick setup and packup.You can get in to stock, clean, and pack without setting up. Way more room per size and weight than a TT.
IMO, having come from a hybrid... one advantage a pop up has over the hybrid is that you can leave the beds made up to a higher degree than the HTT... all the bedding gets all miscombobulated when you fold the beds up in them. I remember bed setup being somewhat of a PITA.
 

campfire Joe

Active Member
Jan 27, 2015
387
peru new york
IMO, having come from a hybrid... one advantage a pop up has over the hybrid is that you can leave the beds made up to a higher degree than the HTT... all the bedding gets all miscombobulated when you fold the beds up in them. I remember bed setup being somewhat of a PITA.
Well that's something i didn't know. By miscombobulated what do you mean? don't they just slide back in?
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,843
Albuquerque, NM
Well that's something i didn't know. By miscombobulated what do you mean? don't they just slide back in?
The HTTs I looked at had beds that folded up, not slid in, although I have seem a couple that had at lesat one sliding bed since. They had straps for the bedding, but I'm not sure it would have stayed in place for many road miles. That's one reason people can use the YTTs in "turtle" mode, since the beds aren't taking up floor space.
When it became clear that I could no longer reliably handle our 8' Coleman Cobalt solo, I did look at a couple of HTTs (it was fall, and the pickings were slim). For me, the beds were too high to easily put in place, I would have been back to using a step stool to set up, as I had with our first popup.
 

geoffm3

Active Member
Jun 21, 2010
208
Well that's something i didn't know. By miscombobulated what do you mean? don't they just slide back in?
The bed platform folds into the wall, but all the HTT I know of the bed folds longitudinally between the bed platform when against the sidewall and a set of straps, so the bed sheets and whatnot end up getting all messed up anyway, so you end up remaking the bed each time you unfold it to varying degrees. They can be a little fiddly with just one person putting away, better if you have one person holding the bed together while the bed platform is latched up on the outside.

EDIT: Oh, and as kitphantom pointed out, sometimes you have to use a step stool/ladder to be able to reach the latches. I know the front bunk on ours was sometimes a bit out of reach depending on the slope of the site.
 
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BillyMc

Super Active Member
Mar 25, 2018
2,482
South Carolina
IMO, having come from a hybrid... one advantage a pop up has over the hybrid is that you can leave the beds made up to a higher degree than the HTT... all the bedding gets all miscombobulated when you fold the beds up in them. I remember bed setup being somewhat of a PITA.
I installed straps on mine to tie them to the platform during travel. Even without the straps setup including putting the bed back in order is night and day faster than setting up a PUP. The only real downside is the reduction in fuel economy from pulling the PUP.
 

Ladiesman

Super Active Member
Feb 6, 2018
840
Well, I can tell you that the campground I was at this past weekend would be incredibly difficult for a TT to get into most of the sites, either because of trees or too tight a roadway to maneuver one into a site. I watched one guy with about a 16' TT model try to back into a spot. It took him nearly 30 minutes and about a 50 point turn to get it in there, and he still wasn't satisfied with the placement.

It was tight with our PUP (almost 21' popped up and with the slide on the side) as it was, and I'm an excellent driver backing in trailers. There was another section near the entrance for larger TT but there were no trees and no privacy. Didn't seem like a very nice camping trip to me having to pull into one of those spots. I like the trees, rocks, and a little privacy. The photo doesn't do it much justice, but it was tighter than it looks - this was our campsite. (For the record, the tarp helps keep the trailer incredibly cool during the day with the windows open and a small fan blowing).

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I would put my 23 foot TT in that spot no problem. We used to drop 53 foot trailers off in an alley dock in the city. Now that was hard. After that I can pretty much put a trailer anywhere.
 

geoffm3

Active Member
Jun 21, 2010
208
I installed straps on mine to tie them to the platform during travel. Even without the straps setup including putting the bed back in order is night and day faster than setting up a PUP. The only real downside is the reduction in fuel economy from pulling the PUP.
Yeah, we did that too, but with a topper on, and tearing down and making the bed it's still a PITA in my opinion.
 

jltait

Member
Aug 15, 2013
10
I've got to admit, I'm done with popup camping. I loved our little trailer but I've had too many vacations that ended with packing in torrential rains, leaving us soaked on the drive and with a muddy, wet mess to clean up at home. I'm also sick of parking in a canyon of giant RVs with sound systems and full exterior lighting, and the people who don't care if you came for the quiet. And so many private campparks are not much more than parking lots. I love our provincial parks but we've had some bad experiences with noise in those too. For now, we're doing long weekends in hotels (or with friends) in areas we like, with our bikes and kayaks. We'll look for a super light TT that doesn't require a biga$$ TV. I work at home and spouse drives a lot, so a gas guzzler is not in the budget.
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
I've got to admit, I'm done with popup camping. I loved our little trailer but I've had too many vacations that ended with packing in torrential rains, leaving us soaked on the drive and with a muddy, wet mess to clean up at home. I'm also sick of parking in a canyon of giant RVs with sound systems and full exterior lighting, and the people who don't care if you came for the quiet. And so many private campparks are not much more than parking lots. I love our provincial parks but we've had some bad experiences with noise in those too. For now, we're doing long weekends in hotels (or with friends) in areas we like, with our bikes and kayaks. We'll look for a super light TT that doesn't require a biga$$ TV. I work at home and spouse drives a lot, so a gas guzzler is not in the budget.

Seems like you're just camping in the wrong places. Look for smaller public campgrounds that were built up decades ago when not everyone camped with a mobile home trailer lol.

In recent years it's been more common for us to be shocked how dead the campground is at 9pm at night, and worry that WE are being the loud ones because we are night owls.
 

firepit

Super Active Member
Feb 26, 2020
2,767
Seems like you're just camping in the wrong places. Look for smaller public campgrounds that were built up decades ago when not everyone camped with a mobile home trailer lol.

In recent years it's been more common for us to be shocked how dead the campground is at 9pm at night, and worry that WE are being the loud ones because we are night owls.
Yes...At the campgrounds i go to by 10 pm seems everyone is inside their camper or have gone to bed.
 

jnbarrett

Active Member
Mar 30, 2022
114
Winnipeg, MB
And so many private campparks are not much more than parking lots. I love our provincial parks but we've had some bad experiences with noise in those too.

I agree, a lot of private campgrounds have little to no cover ... just giant parking lots. We were at Rushing River Provincial Park this past weekend, the sites there were private, and well treed .... except for the site for the large RVs, no trees ... just a big open area for all the RVs, then surrounded by trees lol. It was odd to see.

That said, everyone was very quiet and respectful in the evening and during the day. Our group of friends at different sites were probably the loudest, so we hung out at one of the sites without neighbours to be safe and respectful.
 




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