Choosing the right type of camper is essential to a successful camping trip. Pop-up campers have become increasingly popular among camping enthusiasts due to their compact size and convenience. However, one crucial factor that needs to be considered when purchasing is the weight of pop-up campers.
After all, there would be little more frustrating than dropping thousands of dollars on a new camper only to discover your vehicle can’t tow it. If you want to avoid that fate and instead have a fantastic camping experience keep reading for everything you need to know about pop up camper weights and safe towing.
Understanding Weight of Pop Up Campers
When it comes to pop-up campers, their weight can vary significantly depending on several factors such as size, style, and construction materials. The average weight of a small pop-up camper typically ranges from 500 lbs to 650 lbs. These campers, also known as tent trailers, are characterized by having soft sides.
In contrast, medium-sized pop-up campers weigh around 800 lbs on average. They offer slightly more spacious living quarters, perfect for a small family or a couple who wants more space to spread out while camping. Finally, large pop-up campers can weigh over 2,000 pounds, providing more amenities and a higher-quality build.
Below is a general breakdown of the pop-up camper weights:
- Weight of pop up campers considered small: 500 to 650 lbs
- Weight of pop up campers considered medium: 800 to 2,000 lbs
- Weight of pop up campers considered large: over 2,000 lbs
It’s also important to mention that the weight of pop-up campers can be influenced by the presence of built-in features such as bathrooms and kitchenettes. Campers made with higher quality materials will also weigh more compared to those built with cheaper materials.
When considering the purchase of a pop-up camper, it’s crucial to ensure that the towing vehicle can adequately handle the camper’s weight. This will ensure a safe and comfortable towing experience while on the road.
There are various types of pop-up campers to choose from, with some of the popular styles being:
- Basic tent trailer style campers (800 to 2,150 lbs)
- Hard-sided A-Frame campers (1,560 to 2,430 lbs)
- Off-grid, hybrid, or extreme sport-styled campers (can weigh up to 3,700 lbs)
Ultimately, it’s vital to have an understanding of the different pop-up camper styles, sizes, and weights to ensure that the camper aligns with individual needs and the capabilities of the towing vehicle.
Weight of Pop Up Camper Considerations
There are various considerations for weight as just the weight of pop up campers alone won’t be sufficient in making an informed purchase.
When considering the weight of a pop-up camper, it’s important to think about the towing capacity of your vehicle. Towing capacity is the maximum amount a vehicle can safely tow, including the trailer and its contents. You should consult your vehicle’s owner manual or the manufacturer’s website to find the specific towing capacity for your vehicle. Pop-up campers can range in weight from around 500 lbs to as much as 4,500 lbs, so it’s essential to make sure your vehicle can handle the camper you are interested in.
Unloaded Vehicle Weight
The Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW) refers to the weight of the camper without any personal belongings, water, or additional equipment added. Knowing the UVW of a pop-up camper helps you get a better understanding of its base weight, and how much you vehicle needs to be able to tow. However, it is critical you not forget to consider the loaded vehicle weight.
Loaded Pop Up Camper Weight
The Loaded Weight of a pop-up camper refers to the total weight of the camper, including all personal belongings, equipment, and full water tanks. To calculate it, you can add the weight of all the items you’ll be bringing to the Unloaded Vehicle Weight. This helps you ensure that I stay within your vehicle’s towing capacity and the camper’s GVWR.
Gross Vehicle Weight Ratio
The Gross Vehicle Weight Ratio (GVWR) is the maximum weight that a pop-up camper is designed to carry. This includes the weight of the camper itself, plus any cargo, water, and equipment. Make sure not to exceed the GVWR of your camper as it can cause damage to the camper and create unsafe towing conditions.
Pop Up Camper Tongue Weight
The Tongue Weight (TW) is the weight that a trailer’s hitch puts on the rear of the towing vehicle. It’s essential to consider the TW, as it affects the stability of the towing vehicle and trailer. To maintain proper weight distribution and towing stability, the ideal tongue weight should be around 10-15% of the camper’s total weight.
Pop Up Camper Weight Distribution
Proper weight distribution is essential for safe towing. You should ensure that the weight of my pop-up camper is evenly distributed across the axle, with heavier items placed near the camper’s front. Experts recommend that approximately 60% of the trailer weight be in front of the front axle. This lessens the chance of the camper swaying, reducing the risk of accidents and improving overall handling.
Factors Influencing the Weight of Pop Up Campers
Various factors influence the weight of pop up campers. Let’s dive in to what they are.
When considering the weight of a pop-up camper, one important factor is the construction material used. Pop-up campers can be made from a variety of materials such as aluminum, steel, wood, and composite materials. Aluminum is a popular choice because of its lightweight and corrosion-resistant properties.
Steel is often used for heavier campers that require more structural support. Wood and composite materials, on the other hand, can vary in weight depending on the quality and type of wood or composites used. I would advise choosing a construction material that is both lightweight and durable for the best balance of weight and performance.
Size Contributes Dramatically to the Weight of a Pop Up Camper
Another key factor that influences the weight of pop-up campers is the size of the camper. Sizes can range from small to large tent trailers, which can have a significant impact on their overall weight.
For example, smaller pop-up campers can weigh as little as 500 lbs, while larger ones can weigh up to 3,000 lbs. Keep in mind the dimensions and size of the camper when considering the weight of pop up campers. The size will not only affect towing capability but also occupancy and storage capacity.
Equipment and Features Impact Pop Up Camper Weight
Finally, the equipment and features included in a pop-up camper also contribute to its overall weight. More amenities in a camper typically mean more weight. For instance, pop-up campers with bathrooms tend to weigh more than those without. Some features that might add weight include:
- Air conditioning units
- Kitchen appliances (e.g., refrigerator, stove, etc.)
- Furniture and bedding
- Water tanks and plumbing systems. Water is HEAVY so don’t forget to account for this.
- Slide-out sections and awnings
Keep in mind that while these features can make your camping experience more comfortable, they might also increase the weight of the pop up camper, potentially affecting the towing capabilities of your vehicle. It’s essential to find a balance between the desired features and the weight you are willing to tow in a pop-up camper.
Types of Pop Up Campers and Their Weight
In this section, I will discuss the different pop-up campers and their respective weights. Let’s dive into the two main subcategories of pop-up campers: A-Frame campers and tent-style campers.
A-Frame Pop Up Campers Weight
A-Frame campers are hard-sided pop-up campers with a distinct triangular shape when set up. These campers tend to be more durable and weather-resistant than tent-style campers, and they can offer more amenities as well.
When it comes to weight, A-Frame campers are usually slightly heavier than their tent-style counterparts, generally falling between 1,560 to 2,430 lbs. It’s important to consider the weight of an A-Frame camper when towing and planning for your camping trip.
Tent-style pop-up campers, also known as tent trailers, have soft sides and a collapsible design. They typically offer a more “traditional” camping experience than A-Frames, with a lighter overall weight.
The weight of a tent-style camper varies depending on its size and features. Small tent trailers can weigh as little as 500 lbs, while medium-sized ones weigh around 800 lbs. Larger tent trailers can weigh up to 3,000 lbs. It’s essential to know the weight of a tent-style camper before you make a purchase.
In summary, pop-up campers come in two primary styles: A-Frame and tent-style campers. A-Frame campers tend to be slightly heavier, but provide more durability and amenities than tent-style campers. On the other hand, tent-style campers are often lighter and offer a more traditional camping experience. Understanding the weight of your pop-up camper is crucial for proper towing and planning a safe, enjoyable camping experience.
Benefits of Lightweight Pop Up Campers
Compared to traditional travel trailers, there are many benefits to having a pop up camper.
Fuel Efficiency is better for Lightweight Pop Up Campers
Owners of pop up campers will likely notice significantly better fuel efficiency compared to those with larger RVs and campers. Due to their compact design and lower weight, it takes less energy for your towing vehicle to pull a lightweight pop-up camper compared to larger RVs or travel trailers. This results in lower fuel consumption and overall cost savings during your camping trips.
One thing many RVers also appreciate, especially if they are newer to towing, is its maneuverability. With a smaller footprint and lower weight, it’s much easier to navigate through tight spaces, like narrow roads or crowded campsites. It’s simpler to hitch and unhitch a lightweight pop-up camper, thanks to its lower towing weight and size.
Another major benefit beyond the weight of pop up campers is their small size. They take up less space, making it practical to store them in your garage or at a storage facility during the off-season. The compact size and lower profile also make it easier to see and maneuver around obstacles. Not to mention you won’t have massive blind spots like you will with a larger camper.
More Comfort than Tent Camping
While I enjoy the tent camping experience, having a lightweight pop-up camper offers a more comfortable alternative. In a pop up camper you’ll have access to essential amenities such as:
- A cozy sleeping area with a fold-out bed. Say goodbye to sleeping on the ground and having creaky bones when you try to get up in the morning.
- A compact kitchen area for preparing meals.
- A more controlled climate, thanks to the camper’s walls and roof. This is especially true if you choose a hard sided pop up camper.
These features make camping trips more enjoyable and less stressful, especially during unpredictable weather conditions. All in all, owning a lightweight pop-up camper may improve your outdoor adventures without too much sacrifice on space, maneuverability, and fuel efficiency.
Selecting the Right Pop Up Camper
If you’re in the market to buy a pop up camper, which is probably why you’re reading this article, there are other things to consider beyond weight. Keep reading to make sure you choose the right camper for your needs.
To choose the right pop-up camper for your needs, consider several aspects. These include the desired size, layout, features, and amenities. Take a moment to think about your camping preferences, number of people that will be traveling with you, and the activities you plan to do during your trips. Most pop up campers don’t have an RV shower, but if you stay at a campground you can still take advantage of the bath house.
You’ll also need to think about the type of pop-up camper you want: tent trailer, hard-sided A-frame, or hybrid. Tent trailers are usually lighter, ranging from 800 to 2,150 lbs, while A-frames are slightly heavier, between 1,560 and 2,430 lbs. Hybrids and off-grid campers can weigh between 2,100 and 3,740 lbs. Some with just a single pop out room will weigh even more. Keep this in mind when deciding on the right type of pop-up camper for your needs.
Match Vehicle Capabilities
It’s essential to ensure that your vehicle is capable of towing the pop-up camper you want. You’ll need to check your vehicle’s towing capacity and compare it with the campers you’re considering.
Besides the weight of the camper, it’s also crucial to factor in additional weight from passengers, gear, and any additional amenities you plan to add to your vehicle or your camper. When choosing a pop-up camper, your top priority should be to ensure your towing vehicle is capable of handling it.
As many RVers have learned the hard way when purchasing an RV, you can’t always trust the dealer to be an accurate source for whether you can tow your desired camper with your current vehicle.
Remember, the key to selecting the perfect pop-up camper is carefully considering my needs and ensuring compatibility with my towing vehicle. This will ensure that I have a safe, enjoyable, and stress-free camping experience.
Safe Towing Tips for Pop Up Campers
When towing a pop-up camper, it is crucial to know its weight and your vehicle’s towing capacity (in case you hadn’t gathered that already. But really, I can’t stress this enough because too many people tow things they really shouldn’t).
One thing most experts recommend is to stay within 80% of your vehicle’s towing capacity to ensure safety on the road. Maxing out the towing capacity can put a strain on the towing vehicle and lead to dangerous situations. For example, if your vehicle has a towing capacity of 3,000 lbs, make sure that the camper and all packed items combined do not exceed 2,400 lbs.
And before you say, well my vehicle CAN pull the trailer, that doesn’t mean it is safe and it doesn’t mean you can stop safely either.
When setting up to tow a pop-up camper, selecting the proper hitch is also essential. Having an incorrect-sized hitch ball can easily cause an accident.
Proper weight distribution is another key for safe towing. This helps in maintaining vehicle stability and reducing sway while on the road. When loading your pop-up camper, make sure to distribute cargo evenly:
- Place heavy items on the floor and load approximately 60% of the weight in front of the front axle
- Secure all items within the camper to prevent shifting
- Keep the center of gravity low by not stacking heavy items at the top of cabinets
- Ensure even weight distribution from left to right
More Safe Towing Tips Regardless of Weight of Pop Up Camper
In addition to those tips, always remember to:
- Double-check tire pressure on both the tow vehicle and camper and visually inspect tires to ensure there is no visible damage. I recommend using a tire pressure monitoring system since anything can happen en route to your destination.
- Adjust mirrors for optimal visibility of the camper and surrounding traffic.
- Practice safe driving habits by accelerating and braking gently, maintaining a safe following distance, and allowing for extra stopping distance.
- Finally, regularly maintain your camper. Keep your pop-up camper in good condition by regularly maintaining it. This includes checking for water damage or leaks, ensuring the tires are properly inflated, and examining the chassis for rust or other signs of wear.
By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you are safely towing your pop-up camper for a smooth trip and enjoyable camping experience.
Packing Tips for Lightweight Pop Up Campers
As a pop-up camper owner, keeping the weight of your camper in check is important for safe and efficient towing. In this section, I will share some packing tips to maintain the lightweight nature of your pop-up camper:
- Pack only essentials: Focus on the essentials like clothing, toiletries, and necessary equipment. Aim to minimize extra items that might not be used during the trip. For consumables like food and drinks, only pack what’s needed for the planned duration of the trip or, even better yet, do your shopping after arriving at your site if it makes sense.
- Use lightweight and multifunctional items: There are many lightweight and compact versions of items, such as collapsible chairs and tables, lightweight cooking gear, and inflatable mattresses. The lighter the gear, the easier it is to stay within the camper’s weight limit. Additionally, choose items with multiple functions to reduce the number of things you’re carrying.
- Keep track of your gear’s weight: It is a good idea, especially when you first start out to get in the habit of weighing your gear before packing it. This helps you stay aware of the total weight and avoid overloading the camper. A luggage scale can be an invaluable tool for this purpose. You might also want to consider weighing your vehicle and camper on a scale before going out on your first long trip.
Pre-Departure Things to Do When Towing a Pop Up Camper
Before setting out on your camping trip with a pop-up camper in tow, there are a few essential tasks that your must check off to ensure a safe journey. These help prevent any unexpected issues or accidents on the road.
First, double-check that the safety chains are in place. This crucial step provides a backup connection between my tow vehicle and camper, in case the hitch fails. It’s essential to cross the chains under the tongue of the camper, so if something does go wrong with the hitch, the tongue will still be supported.
Next, make sure to thoroughly inspect the hitch connection. Ensure both the hitch on your tow vehicle and the coupler on the camper are properly secured. This step is significant, as a hitch failure can cause catastrophic results on the road.
Additional Pre-Departure Tips for Safe Towing
Another thing to always check is whether your pop-up camper’s brake lights and blinkers are properly working. Given that other drivers rely on these signals for communication, it’s important to have fully functional lights on both your tow vehicle and camper.
When Joel and I travel in our motorhome with a trailer behind, I always go outside the vehicle while Joel tests everything from inside. It’s much easier to check when someone is operating the controls and the other person is outside the vehicle.
Lastly, after loading up your trailer for the first time, weigh the whole setup. This step is vital to ensure your camper’s weight falls within the towing capacity limits of my tow vehicle. Knowing the correct weight also allows you to distribute cargo properly, maintain the right tire pressure, and make educated decisions on how to tow and brake safely on the road.
By diligently following these pre-departure tasks, you can tow your pop-up camper safely and focus on enjoying your adventures.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pop Up Campers
Got questions besides about the weight of pop up campers? We’ve got answers. If you’re in the market for renting or buying a pop up, keep reading to learn more.
How Much do Pop Up Campers Cost?
When it comes to the cost of pop-up campers, there’s quite a range. I’ve found that basic tent trailer-style pop-up campers can start as low as $4,000, while high-end models with numerous features can cost upwards of $20,000. Factors impacting the price include size, build materials, amenities, and brand reputation. You’ll also pay more for a new camper rather than a used one.
Can I Rent a Pop Up Camper?
Yes, you can rent a pop-up camper. Many RV rental companies and peer-to-peer platforms like Outdoorsy and RVshare offer pop-up campers for rent. Prices for renting a pop-up camper typically range from $50 to $150 per night, depending on the camper’s size, age, and features. Keep in mind the location, duration of the trip, and any additional fees that rental companies may charge.
What Vehicle Can Tow a Pop Up Camper?
Towing a pop-up camper depends on the towing capacity of your vehicle and the weight of the camper. Most small to medium-sized vehicles can tow a basic tent trailer-style pop-up camper that weighs between 500 lbs to 2150 lbs. For heavier campers, such as those over 2000 lbs, larger SUVs, trucks, or crossover vehicles may be necessary. It’s essential for you to check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the towing capacity before purchasing or renting a pop-up camper.
Do Pop Up Campers Have AC?
Some pop-up campers do come with air conditioning (AC) units. These are usually found in larger, more feature-rich pop-up campers that have ample space and power sources to support an AC system. Smaller or lower-end models might not have built-in AC, but you can always use a portable AC unit or fan to keep the interior temperature comfortable. Just remember, adding an air conditioner greatly impacts the weight of a pop up camper.
Are Pop Up Campers Warm?
Pop-up campers can provide a warm and cozy living space in colder weather if they are well-insulated and have a heating system. Many pop-up campers feature insulation with thermal liners, especially around the camper’s bed areas. Some campers come equipped with propane heaters or electric heating systems to maintain a comfortable temperature during colder months. However, not all pop-up campers are designed for extremely cold conditions, so it is essential to verify the manufacturer’s recommendations when planning for a trip in low temperatures.
Conclusion: Weight of Pop Up Campers is Just the Beginning
As you can see, when looking to purchase a camper, there is much more to it than simply the weight of the pop up camper. You also need to consider what kind of features you want and know how to properly load and tow a camper before hitting the road.
Once you have all the information, taking a pop up camper out this summer is a great way to enjoy the season. Not to mention all the amazing memories you will come away with.