PSA: popupportal is for pop up campers

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A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
I must have missed all the places where the "graduated to a real TT" people were talking smack about us lowly pup owners lol. I can only think of a single recent thread which cast some major shade on pups, and that was by a new member who didn't even own a camper yet. And I'm pretty sure that wasn't their intent either.

Now there are plenty comments, especially in the "Dark side" subforum where people express that they're glad they've moved on to the massive expensive rigs they now own lol. And that's fine. It would be kind of sad if someone spent a lot of money and then were unhappy with their decision.

But I'm going to camp in whatever I'm going to camp in. I've never cared too much about what people think of me, or putting on airs, etc. In fact I feel kind of sad for people when they post their problems finding a campground because they "have to have Shore Power, water, and sewer", or post the "campsites" which amount to a flat treeless lot with a 20' wide space between two camping busses. To each their own though.

I've never been "cool" and at 52 I'm probably not going to start anytime soon. But I've managed to have a good life, have a great family, and will continue to camp as I please.


A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
I'm going to keep ruminating because I'm waiting for a meeting at work lol:

The more contingencies you put on your campsites, the more you're restricting where you can camp. A backpacker can camp just about anywhere they can lay down a mat (and deal with the legalities). The more you stray from that, the more you're restricting yourself.

In my previous post I mentioned that a lot of people, even with pop-ups, seem to think they require Shore Power, water, and sewer hookups to camp. At least around here, you're not going to find that in almost any public (e.g. State Park) campground. So that restricts you to private CGs, which tend to be cramped, flat fields. Not my favorite style of camping.

My favorite part about a popup is how it expands to 2x its size. This is why I don't understand at all why people regularly decide they want to "hard side" their popup. That defeats the point. I have a 10' box pup, which expands to 20'. That's a reasonably sized camper that can accommodate 4+ people sleeping, games around the table on a rainy day, even cooking/eating inside if necessary. But make it 10', and now it's a tiny space barely suitable for sleeping, and at best you're going to be "transformering" your space all the time from bed to couch or what not. Again, not something I'd be happy with.

So then you're looking at a larger TT. You have to start at 20' just to "break even". The larger your rig, the more campgrounds you're not going to be able to camp out, because you simply cannot maneuver them in. The last time we camped, there's absolutely no way we could have gotten a larger trailer in our space, but it was a wonderful pop-up site.

Also when your camper contains every modern amenity (microwave, convection oven, televisions, etc) you're going to want to use these features, which again ties you to hookups. Our last campsite had no hookups at all. We filled up the water tank on the way in, and used solar for running water, lights, all the phone/watch charging we needed (at least 10 devices), etc. We're far from "backpacking" but we have plenty of conveniences.

Again, camp as you wish, but I'm happy with my 'level' and you'll have a hard time convincing me it's not a good thing.


2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
Northern Virginia
To each their own is what I always say. We all have our likes and dislikes. What works for me will not always work for someone else. I came from being a tent camper and a few times back packer. I only upgraded to a popup because the opportunity came about and I was tired of sleeping in a wet sleeping bag yet again. I eventually may switch to a TT or a hybrid if everything lines up right. However I recognize that there are pros and cons to every style of camping. I will never look down on someone because they camp differently than I do. Heck I still occasionally pull my tent out to camp as I miss the freedom I felt with it. Just not so much the rain. If I was to switch I honestly don't see myself going big because I love the privacy I can find in the smaller sites. If only there was a way I could afford to own and store multiple camping units so I can take advantage of their pros as the weather and trip calls. There are times I absolutely love my popup and times the popup just would not be ideal thanks to weather.


Active Member
May 19, 2016
The comments about the size and maneuverability of the PUP resonated with me, especially after our most recent long trip.

We spent 16 nights in 4 different campgrounds. The first two were, shall we say, photographed very generously for reservation purposes. Especially in the first, McKay Crossing near LaPine, Oregon, we literally had a "if it fits, we sits" situation. A little touch and go, but fortunately we were able to fit our 12' box and truck- just barely. Once we opened it, we had our 24'. Same thing with our second campground near Zion NP. Without the ability for the bunks to "hang over" boulders, or the end of the pad, we would have been SOL with anything bigger than our 12' box.

Our last stop was Ken's Lake in Moab, UT. There we had a 50'-ish driveway, so obviously no issues. Though, in regard to "how others camp", we were next to a site with folks who had one of the biggest 5th wheels I've ever seen in the wild. Over the course of our 6 days there, we saw them outside once, to hook up the trailer to take it out for fuel/dumping/whatever. Honestly, I have to say that the thought did cross my mind about folks being in Moab and staying in a trailer the whole time. But, that thought was fleeting, especially when I heard their generator spark up the first time. A whoosh of the propane, and that was all we heard. I mentally thanked them for their courtesy, and moved on with all of the fun we were having. Because, after all, why should I care how people choose to spend their vacation time, especially when they are doing absolutely nothing to impede on mine?

I can't tell you all how thoroughly we enjoy being able to camp in our PUP. As cheesy as it may sound, I do hope that others, no matter how they camp get the same type of enjoyment from it.


Super Active Member
Jul 30, 2008
I bought my TT with retirement in mind. I bought it 3 years before retiring. I ordered a new TV a month after retiring. The next year we did travel more and probably "camped" less. It was fantastic....The next year the pandemic followed by politics screwed all that up.


Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
Albuquerque, NM
I've seen very few really look down their nose at popups, I'm always a little puzzled why they're here. I figure, as long as you're enjoying camping in whatever form you are currently doing, it's all good. I enjoyed tenting, including backpacking. It was nice to get off the ground for wetter trips when we got our first popup. Moving to a TT didn't mean we hated our popup, just that my cranky joints didn't work well with it well anymore, just as I could no longer put up most tents by myself. (I can just manage our shade structure, but would prefer not to have to do it solo.)
I will fully admit this week that I have been extremely thankful that we now have a 17' TT (yes, it's actually small than some popups are when they're opened). With a "20" gallon fresh tank (useful capacity is 16 or so gallons), and the ability to tote some extra water jugs, we're pretty good. Turned out the campground water was on at North Rim of Grand Canyon (showers/laundry shut), however, I got a notice yesterday that the water is off in Mather CG at South Rim, where we'll be for a few days next week. Remains to be seen, I got the same notice for North Rim during the trip, but they had it on. All depends on the pipeline breaks. (There's a good reason they're replacing it beginning next year or so, although that will be interesting.) If the water is truly off, in tent or popup days, we'd have had to get creative with hauling water, which we did a few times over the years.
The weather was rainy, apparently the remnants of a tropical storm went through. If I'd been in a tent or tent popup, I'd probably have had to pack up, because sopping wet and 48-51* is no longer something I can cope with well. I spent the better part of 2-1/2 days mostly inside, every time it seemed to clear off, the skies opened again. I hate wet packing, no matter what type of camping we're doing, so I was glad yesterday finally cleared off, not just for packing but so I could actually sight-see. (I opted not to hike, figuring it might be a mud slog.)
Works for me, I still enjoy talking to people who do all forms of camping, so I'm still here. Truthfully, our TT isn't all that different than many popups, we've used what we learned renovating our first one on both the second and the TT, as well as learning a whole lot more.


Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
I think the funny part is the op is just talking about there pop up. When I had mine , at 3200 lbs it wasnt able to be spun around to any spot on the campsite. Nor could it be garaged. It has everything appliance wise that a TT would have. In fact opened it took up more real estate then my current TT. ( by a foot but it was still bigger) Its great to be inclusive, but when that inclusiveness excludes half of what you think is is inclusive, it kinda defeats the point. Not everyone has your pop up. Others have stuff that is bigger. The op is speaking on there exclusive experiences, and that appears to be limited exposure. Others experiences will very. And yes, that was ment to be harsh. But its true. Not everthing is painted with a broad brush, and not everyone has the same experiences.


Jul 17, 2022
I've done it all and now want a simpler style. There are just two of us and many times I camp alone. After much thought, I ended up the an Aliner Ranger 12. Fits my style. I honestly did not want a big rig again. We all change and the needs of life change too. When I had my kids growing up, I wanted a bigger rig to carry all of us and the stuff too. Now, I want a hotel room on wheels, that I can fit into almost anyplace. I also love boon docking and with solar, this fits that bill too. I appreciate those that want/need a big unit, but having been there and done that, I came back to a pup. No, money was not a factor.

Patrick w

Super Active Member
Aug 13, 2021
I'm still glad we can all be neighbors. If it gets everyone out there, I'm happy you are here. And I will take having a 5th wheel camped next to me vs someone smoking weed and playing trash music.

In which case please do it in your 5th wheel.


Super Active Member
Jul 19, 2007
I think the funny part is the op is just talking about there pop up. When I had mine , at 3200 lbs it wasnt able to be spun around to any spot on the campsite.
Mine had a GVWR of 3600 lbs. So needed a truck to tow it to begin with, and no way you were going to move it around by hand. It was longer closed up then most small cars, 12 ft box, plus 2ft front storage compartment plus a 3ft tongue . In total it was just 3ft shorter then the box on my current TT.


Active Member
May 29, 2016
Mt. Wachusett area, MA
What is a "pop-up"? Specifically, what features define a pop-up?
Is it the ability to raise a roof from a travel position to a habitable position? Then 'hybrids' are not pop-up because nothing actually moves 'up'.
Is it the fabric folding sides? This would include the 'hybrids' but would exclude the Apache type of hard walled folding campers. This would also exclude the A frames unless they had fabric dormers.
It is apparent that each of us has a different shade of grey, or litmus test threshold, before some pop-up isn't a pop-up in our book.
It is unimportant where along an opinion bell curve your personal cross-over from 'is' to 'isn't' is located. If you say it's a pop-up, it is to you. If you say it isn't, then it's not... to you.

Who am I to judge if our Casita might want, at some time, to self-identify as a pop-up?

Mike M.

Nov 23, 2017
This is a mini-PSA... I've seen a lot of posts in here (and a few elsewhere) talking about how pop up campers suck, I hate them, they are such a hassle, I upgraded to a hard sided camper because I hated pop up camping, etc.

Honest question: if you don't like pop up campers, why are you here? News flash: people pick pop-up campers for a variety of reasons, budget is not the only one. Lots of folks are here because they chose a popup over other RV options. There's plenty of reasons to pick them over other RV types, money is but one facet.

I don't begrudge anyone showing how they moved from pop up to something else. No problem with that. But, please don't look at your choice as an aspirational goal for everyone. Some folks don't care or want to "upgrade." They have made a conscious choice to own and use a pop up camper. It's a bit like going into a vegan forum and saying that you are a meat eater now and how it's so much better. :)

Here's just a short list of reasons that you might pick a pop up camper that have absolutely nothing to do with money (at least not directly):

1. A pop up camper can be kept garaged at your house. Important if you have restrictive covenants in your neighborhood and want to be able to keep the camper on your property.
2. A pop up camper is much easier for a person of modest mechanical skills to maintain.
3. A pop up camper requires a much smaller tow vehicle than a hard sided camper.
4. A pop up camper has a much smaller carbon footprint than a hard sided camper.
5. A pop up camper can fit in more places in more campgrounds than a hard sided camper. If a camper won't fit lengthwise, a smaller camper can be maneuvered more perpendicular in a site to fit and still not break the rules of fitting on the pad.
6. You are closer to nature in a pop up camper than a hard sided camper
7. The best travel trailer windows cannot compete with a pop up camper with the windows unzipped.
8. Much lower tow profile means that a pop up camper is much much easier to tow, definitely in a head wind, especially in a cross wind.
9. If it matters to you, your bed is up off the ground, meaning that you can sit into the bed.
10. Pop ups are fun to DIY

These are just some of the reasons off the top of my head. There are surely more and I'll edit them as I think of them or people respond. I encourage you to add your own list of reasons why you would choose a pop up that have nothing to do with money. Perhaps someone considering a pop up camper over "superior" options might find it useful.
LOVE this. For me the asterisks are on #s 6, 7 and 8
Thank you for this post.
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