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  1. #1

    Default Pop Up Camper vs Travel Trailer

    We just went tent camping for the first time as a family of five ... and I've come to realize that it's probably time to move past tent-only camping (especially in the south ... and especially with three kiddos) and get either a Pop-Up Camper Trailer or a full shell Travel Trailer.

    So, let's get a list of pros and cons for these two similiar but different types of if we can. Who's got each, and why do you have a prefenence for either one?

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  2. #2


    Hi Steve I've owned both. When the kids were youg and cas was tighter we had a tent trailer (2000 Viking 2469) 2 kids loved it. Up here no air con was required. Yup was warm and sticky some nights but lot's of ventilation and the 4 bikes fit on the roof. This one has a toilet that barely lasted the long weekend but easily dumped every morning with a removable tank. here is a link... THIS IS NOT THE ONE I OWNED! THIS IS DIRTY!
    Now I have a 31 foot travel for wife me and Jake! Air conditioned and wouldn't have it any other way. I have a keystone outback 260FL Great for the 3 of us.
    Go to Keystone Outback website and look at the bunk house units. It will fit the 5 of you very nice. here...
    They have a forum as well.

    Look at the Hybrids as well, travel trailers with the bunk ends...
    The kids will enjoy the time. I know ares did. So did we!
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  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by Steve View Post
    We just went tent camping for the first time as a family of five ... and I've come to realize that it's probably time to move past tent-only camping (especially in the south ... and especially with three kiddos) and get either a Pop-Up Camper Trailer or a full shell Travel Trailer.

    So, let's get a list of pros and cons for these two similiar but different types of if we can. Who's got each, and why do you have a prefenence for either one?
    If you get a new camper take time to let air it out real good before staying in it, bad smell and fumes from construction glue and materials used

  4. #4

    Enkeiavalanche's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Piermont,NY, back in Northern NJ now, But may be in IL soon....


    Had a Pop-up first then a Hybrid (hard camper with slide out beds) Loved that had everything you needed and was light weight. Then I got married and after 5 years we sold it SO..... I am back to the Old Tent and this.... Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	36406 Hey it works and I have a 8-10 foot bed now....
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  5. #5


    When I was shopping for our trailer (4 kids 2 adults, so wanted beds for at least 6), here's what I found. Tent trailers it seems have more beds/sleeping capacity per foot/pound/dollar than full shell travel trailers. We decided for us that we wanted the most sleeping capacity in a relatively small trailer, so we opted for a tent trailer.
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  6. #6


    I got a "pull it out of the yard and you can have it" '68 Starcraft pop-up from a friend of a friend. Our family of seven used it for years. Like MrShorty said, beds are the key; or so we thought. It'll sleep ten, but one complete day of driving rain, no a/c, no bathroom, and no - wait for it - tv, with seven people turtled up inside, makes for a very long day. We still have it, but I think a cousin is going to claim it for a hunting cabin.

    We moved into an 8 bed Jayco travel trailer, and it's an easy haul with either 2500 Burb. The kids do love the bunks. My wife has been eyeing a newer Jayco G2 trailer that sleeps ten, has a kids suite (you can close their door ), an outside kitchen, and a bathroom with an exterior door (no sand in the common area). We've got a few more pop cans to turn in before we can get serious about that one.

    A lot of it depends on how you "camp". If you're out and about and only need a place to sleep, than a pop-up (with a bathroom) works well. If you go places where the kids are going to run you all day, and a couch, a brew, and a ballgame on the tube sounds like the way to end the day, then maybe the TT is a better gig. I've started to learn that campers are like trucks - the kids are only going to get bigger, so you probably ought plan for space to keep the peace.

    Good luck,

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  7. #7
    Sr. Apprentice
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    East Greenville Pa


    Hi Steve. Me and my wife have had both. My pop up was a palimino yearling. It was a nice big pop up with a heater in it. We went camping in a state park in northern pa a week before halloween. It still got cold in the pop up. If you are looking for something easy i would recomend a travel trailer and here are the reasons why. With a pop up you either have to open it up before you go to load in it what you can then close it up again and open it up when you get to where you are going. With a travel trailer you can load it up with just about everything before you leave your house then when you get to your camp site you just set it up and you are ready to go. When i had my pop up which i got brand new and only kept it for 2 years i loaded every thing in my truck before leaving my house and when i got to the camp grounds had to set up the camper unload every thing and then put it in the pop up. The refer in a pop is alot smaller and it seemed to take almost a day for it to get nice and cold. Long story short the dealer i got my pop up from said that most people end up tradeing them in after a few years and get a travel trailer. We swore up and down we would not do that but we did. Also i know someone who works for the Irs and he said that you can claim a travel trailer on your taxes as a second dwelling as long as it has a bathroom and a kitchen. Hopes this helps and good luck. Oh by the way my travel trailer is a keystone cougar and we love it.

  8. #8


    Oh, yea, I forgot about the tax exemption - great point!

    Steve, the camper shows have already started around here, so that's a great way to get out and see what's available. You can get into each unit and give them a once-over. Take the kids along, too, and get a read for what they like.

    Good luck,

  9. #9


    A few years back, when I thought I'd have time away from work, my wife and I decided to buy a camping trailer.
    We were lucky enought to be able to rent both types, pop-up and hard sided trailer, for one year we took turns renting each one and taking them to various places we like to get away at during different months of the year.
    In the end due to set-up and comfort reasons we decided on a Hybrid.
    Some of the desireable features were already mentioned, pop-outs for more sleeping room and to make a larger living space in case my daughters family came along (3 of them 2 of us), central HVAC system for temp control (the desert can vary as much as 60deg between night and day), TV and stereo systems if we get bored, full bathroom with shower/bath combo, sink, and toilet, self contained with water and power (I normally bring along a generator for desolate areas), full kitchen with oven, stove, and microwave. Basically it was like being at home with a better view out the window.
    We chose a Wanderer 23' sleeps an advertised 8, it had the ability to open up to 35', front master bedroom with center kitchen/bathroom and rear livingroom/diningroom.
    The rear had a drop down 7' deck that included weather curtains so it could be used as a patio or enclosed to be a sleeping area with cots, if you moved all the livingroom furniture aside you could haul ATV's or bikes.
    There was a 5' pop out bed that could be made up to extend the front bedroom if you needed the extra sleeping area.
    We used our camper in temps from 29deg upto 102 and stayed relatively comfortable, I wont say it was perfect but you wernt freezing or frying.
    The differences between the Hybrid and pop-up are really comfort based, a pop-up is normally 1 large room with no privacy. With the materials used now both trailers can be used comfortably in a wide variety of weather conditions but the hybrid will be more comfortable because of space availability.
    Somethings you might want to give thought to before choosing either are Storage, not in the trailor but where are you going to store the trailer when not in use, most people try to store them in their back yard but many neighborhood covenances have issues with this and wont allow taller trailers that can be seen over the fence.
    Power and water connections available where it's stored, you'll need to do maintenance and winterization on a trailer.
    Any tax write offs available for size or amenities?
    What are you using to pull the trailer? How much weight are you gonna have fully loaded with kids, pets, and all your supplies?

  10. #10


    Well it sounds like it really boils down to where and when you'll be using this rig. I'm actually in the market for a pop up trailer for a few reasons:
    Easier to store when not in use. The houses out here don't have as much room as other places, so the trailer has to go in the garage.
    We're looking at only needing room for 4 (have the truck tent, and everybody else better bring their own set up!).
    I like a more spartan approach, as we're out hiking, cookin, and enjoying the quiet more. I like "camping", not "homing".

    For me, this is more what I'm lookin for: (the 1019 model)
    Or this, as a unique approach:

    Good luck with your search, and let us know what you finally decided upon!

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