For many open road enthusiasts, trailers or campers are preferable over RVs because they’re easier to transport and they’re often less expensive. You’re considering a pop-up camper, but before you commit, you need to know if the camper would be towable by your truck or SUV. How much does a pop-up camper weigh?
The average weight of a pop-up camper is around 2,000 pounds. Many SUVs and trucks can tow this amount of weight, even smaller SUVs (and cars!). On the lower end, a pop-up might weigh 650 pounds, and at most, around 4,500 pounds.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about pop-up campers, including how much they weigh. We’ll even provide real examples of pop-up camper weights so you can get a better idea of which is the best pick for you.
Let’s get started.
What Is a Pop-up Camper or Tent Trailer?
First, you need to be clear on what a pop-up camper is.
Pop-up campers are named that due to their retractable side compartments that pop open, expanding the amount of space available in the trailer. Another name for them are tent trailers. These walls or compartments are usually vinyl, so they easily collapse and fold down flat when not in use. Other materials for the retractable walls are canvas.
Although the retractable walls aren’t a perfect match looks-wise to the hard trailer walls of a pop-up, they do include windows so you can gaze out onto a beautiful day from the comfort of your camper.
Inside one of these campers, you’ll find room for plenty of amenities. While the features vary by model and floorplan, the standard amenities are an awning, a storage trunk, up to two propane tanks, a roof vent or skylight, an electric water pump, a water heater, a roof air conditioner, a stove, an electric or gas fridge, and a bunk bed or two.
Some pop-up campers even have bathrooms that may include a toilet, a shower, or even both. These larger campers should have the space for an oven or microwave as well.
You can select from several types of pop-up campers, so let’s discuss those now.
Related Reading: Pop-Up Trailer Buyer’s Guide: Know Before You Buy!
Inflatable Pop-up Campers
Instead of vinyl or canvas, the expandable walls of the camper are inflatable. The roof might be as well. By sending compressed air into the inflatable components, your camper becomes much bigger in a matter of minutes.
Flip-out Pop-up Campers
If you need more sleeping quarters, then you might be interested in a flip-out pop-up camper. The roof can flip up and out, giving you the space for another bunk bed.
How does the roof move like that, you’re asking? It’s soft vinyl or canvas.
This has its own advantages and disadvantages. You’ll have to take good care of the vinyl or canvas to ensure it stays weatherproof. When it rains, you’ll clearly be able to hear the pitter-patter of the raindrops on your canvas roof. If it gets windy, you might have to stop your camping adventures to protect the roof.
A-Frame Pop-up Campers
An A-frame is a very triangular structure. The two points of the roof meet at a steep angle, forming the shape of an A. These are rather unique campers with hard roofs. If you’re a tall person or any of your friends or family are, one of these campers is very useful.
Off-Road Pop-up Campers
The advanced suspension system and tougher construction of an off-road pop-up camper mean that soft walls are very few and far between. For those who like to go off the beaten path, one of these trailers is the right pick.
Toy Hauler Pop-up Campers
Combining two types of trailers, the toy hauler pop-up camper is like a toy hauler in that it has cargo space akin to a garage. Yet the walls or roof of this camper would be able to pop open to hold even more cargo or equipment.
Motorcycle Pop-up Campers
As we mentioned in the intro, some pop-up campers are very lightweight. The ones that are under 500 pounds are towable by motorcycles!
High-Wall Pop-up Campers
The last type of pop-up camper is one with high walls. These trailers open vertically to create almost a second story. The additional storage space is great, plus tall people will appreciate how roomy it is in the camper.
What Is the Average Weight of a Pop-up Camper?
Now that you’re clearer on the types of pop-ups, you can see how the weight of one of these trailers varies. The lightest pop-ups are around 450 pounds. These would qualify as motorcycle pop-up campers.
Most pop-ups will clock in at the 2,000-pound mark. Others are about twice that weight, somewhere in the ballpark of 4,000 to 4,500 pounds.
19 Real Examples of Pop-up Camper Weight
We’re sure it would help to see how much some real pop-up camper models weigh. Worry not, as we have lots of great examples for you here.
|YEAR||MAKE/MODEL||CCC (lbs.)||UVW (lbs.)|
|2024||Flagstaff Hard Side Pop-Up T12RST||1164||2120|
|2024||Flagstaff Hard Side Pop-Up T21TBHW||702||2670|
|2024||Flagstaff Hard Side High Wall T21DMHW||653||2700|
|2024||Flagstaff Sports Enthusiast 206STSE||705||2199|
|2024||Flagstaff Sports Enthusiast 23SCSE||842||2952|
|2023||Coachman Clipper LS 806XLS||1255||1642|
|2023||Coachman Clipper Epic||824||1863|
|2024||Aliner Ranger 12||—||1450|
|2019||Jayco Sport 10SD||680||1,720|
|2019||Jayco Sport 12UD||855||1,895|
|2019||Jayco Sport 8SD||680||1,570|
What Influences the Trailer’s Weight of a Pop-up Camper?
The above pop-up campers fall squarely into the 2,000-pound category, give or take, which is the average for a reason. If you’re wondering how some trailers are well under 1,500 pounds and others are closer to 4,000 pounds, here are some factors that can pack on a pop-up’s pounds.
The larger the trailer, the more heft it will have. The reason the Turtleback Getaway is so super-lightweight is due to its size. This is a teeny-tiny trailer!
Now let’s look at the specs for the 2020 Opus Off-Road, an off-road pop-up that sleeps six. When open, this trailer is 20 inches by 7 feet, 2 inches. Its dimensions when closed are 17 inches by 7 feet, 2 inches. It’s sizable, especially by pop-up camper standards. That explains why it’s so much heavier.
Hard vs. Soft Walls
Hard side pop-up walls will weigh more than soft vinyl or canvas walls. If yours is a hard-walled camper like those by Forest River, such as the Rockwood Hard Side High Wall Series or the Rockwood Hard Side Series, then these trailers will carry more heft.
The shape of the pop-up can also influence its weight. If your pop-up is more teardrop-shaped, then it might weigh less than an A-line camper, which always has hard walls. The shape, when in conjunction with size especially, has a more defining role on the weight of a pop-up camper.
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Which Vehicles Can Tow Pop-up Campers?
Unlike RVs and heavier travel trailers, in which your towing vehicle choices are limited, you can tow a pop-up with a motorcycle, a car, an SUV, or a truck. Let’s take a closer look at your options now.
Related Reading: What Camper Can My Vehicle Tow Safely?
If yours is a bonafide motorcycle pop-up camper, then it’s safe to tow one of these trailers with a motorcycle. That said, for any other trailer type, we’d advise you to refrain for your own safety. You’re a lot more exposed when riding a motorcycle compared to driving a car or a truck. One towing mishap could lead to a serious accident.
It’s for that reason that you’ll have to get used to going slower than usual on your motorcycle, as you’ll have several hundred pounds of pop-up camper behind you. If you feel unsteady with your new rig, we recommend practicing in an empty parking lot.
You don’t necessarily have to visit the car lot to buy one of the newest models if you’re hoping to tow your pop-up camper in a car. If you own one of these vehicles with great towing capacities, you should be able to pull your pop-up camper to and fro:
- Cadillac CTS (discontinued in 2019)
- Chevrolet Camaro
- Dodge Challenger
- Ford Mustang
- Dodge Dart (discontinued in 2016)
- Chevrolet Impala
- Buick Verano
- Ford Fusion (discontinued after 2020)
- Volvo S60
- Subaru Outback
SUVs are utter powerhouses, so their towing capacity is enough that if you wanted to tow an RV safely, you could. Just about any SUV you look at can tow a pop-up camper like it’s nothing. Here are some SUV models we think would be good for the job:
- 2021 Ford Explorer – 5,600-pound towing capacity
- 2020 Nissan Pathfinder – 6,000-pound towing capacity
- 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee – 7,200-pound towing capacity
- 2024 Audi Q7 – 7,500-pound towing capacity
- 2023 Acura MDX – 5,000-pound towing capacity
Also boasting amazing towing capacities are 2020 and 2021 truck models. Like modern SUVs, trucks can easily surpass the towing weight that you need for a pop-up camper, especially considering that Chevy Silverados and Ford F-150s can tow vehicles that are more than 10,000 pounds.
For your purposes, the 2021 Jeep Renegade makes sense, as this vehicle’s towing capacity is 2,000 pounds. The latest Chrysler Pacifica can tow 3,600 pounds while the Hyundai Santa Fe has a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds.
RV Weight Terms to Know
All these these terms and weight limits can be found in the vehicle’s owner’s manual.
What is Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, GVWR?
GVWR stands for Gross Vehicle Weight Rating and refers to how much weight allowed of both your RV and cargo. Cargo needs to include the weight of your belonging, camping gear, passengers, and anything in your tanks (fresh water tank, grey tank, black tank). I always recommend traveling with near empty, if not empty, tanks. The GVWR is determined by the manufacturer.
What is Unloaded Vehicle Weight, or UVW?
Dry weight is also referred to as UVW, which refers to the weight of the trailer or RV alone. This does not include cargo, propane tanks, or another upgraded accessories.
What it Cargo Carrying Capacity? (CCC)
Cargo Carrying Capacity refers to the most weight that you can pack into your RV. This includes all your personal items and any water in your tanks. The CCC is determined by subtracting the UVW from the GVWR.
What is Tongue Weight? (TW)
Tongue weight or TW is the amount of weight an RV puts on the towing vehicles’s trailer ball. It is calculated by subtracting the weight of the towing vehicle from the weight of your vehicle and the trailer combined.
Related Reading: Choosing the Proper Weight Distribution Hitch for Your RV
What is GAWR?
GAWR stands for Gross axle weight rating. It is determined by the manufacturer as the load-carrying capacity of a single axle system.
Pros and Cons of a Pop-Up Camper
Pop up campers or tent trailers are great little RVs that fit some families perfectly. Their size, low weight, and cost are some of the reasons why they are such a hit with some. But with this comes some cons. Let’s quickly look at some of the praises and complaints of owners of these small trailers.
Advantages of Pop-up Campers:
- Affordability: Pop-up campers are generally more budget-friendly compared to other types of RVs such as fifth wheels, motorhomes, and travel trailers. Thus, making them an excellent entry point for new campers.
- Lightweight: As we discussed throughout this post, they are lightweight and easy to tow, making them suitable for a wider range of vehicles, including some smaller cars and SUVs.
- Compact Size: When folded down for travel, pop-up campers have a low profile, reducing wind resistance and improving fuel efficiency.
- Easy Storage: Pop-ups are relatively compact, making them easier to store when not in use. They often fit in a standard garage, which will save on fees associated with storage facilities.
- Amenities: Despite their small size, pop-up campers often come equipped with basic amenities like sleeping areas, dinettes, and kitchenettes.
- Outdoor Experience: With mesh or clear vinyl windows, pop-ups provide a close-to-nature camping experience while still offering protection from bugs and the elements.
- Versatility: Pop-up campers are suitable for both rustic camping and RV park stays, offering flexibility in camping styles.
Disadvantages of Pop-up Campers:
- Limited Space: The compact size means limited living and storage space compared to larger RVs, which can be challenging for larger families or extended trips.
- Setup Time: Setting up a pop-up camper can take more time and effort compared to other RV types, especially if you’re dealing with multiple slide-outs.
- Weather Sensitivity: Pop-ups are less insulated than hard-sided RVs, making them less suitable for extreme weather conditions, such as very cold or very hot weather.
- Less Privacy: The canvas walls of pop-ups provide less privacy compared to solid walls in traditional RVs.
- Maintenance: Pop-up campers may require more maintenance, including regular canvas cleaning, to prevent mold and mildew.
- Resale Value: While they are more affordable upfront, pop-up campers often have lower resale values compared to larger, hard-sided RVs.
- Limited Amenities: Pop-ups may not come with all the amenities and conveniences of larger RVs, such as bathrooms or extensive kitchen facilities. Again, each model is different and going to offer differing amenities.
- Bedding Setup: Setting up and taking down bedding in a pop-up can be a daily chore, as sleeping areas often convert from dining areas.
Related Questions on Pop-Up Campers
- Do pop-up trailers have bathrooms? – Pop-up trailers often lack full bathrooms due to limited space. Some larger models might include waterproof toilets. However, most have ‘wet bathrooms,’ where the toilet is inside the shower stall, requiring post-shower cleanup. Newer pop-ups often feature small water heaters, crucial if you plan to shower inside. When buying used, inquire about this feature. Keep toiletries outside the bathroom to prevent them from getting wet.
- Do Tent Trailers have Air Conditioning/Heating? – Pop-up trailers with heating and cooling systems offer comfort in various weather. Heaters keep you warm on chilly nights, while cooling systems are perfect for scorching summer days. This control enhances camping experiences in challenging conditions. Pop-up trailers also provide a cozy sitting area for late-night family storytelling, promoting quality time during your getaway.
Pop-up campers are lightweight trailers with retractable walls and roofs made of vinyl or canvas. They weigh 2,000 pounds on average, but larger models can clock in at around 4,500 pounds, sometimes a smidge over.
Due to the generally lower weight of pop-ups, you can tow them with a motorcycle or car, something that you couldn’t dream of doing with most travel trailers!