Dave Solberg

How to Buy a Pop-Up Camper: 5 Things to Think About

Dave Solberg
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Duration:   6  mins

Pop-up campers are becoming more popular by the day, especially among new RVers who want to dip their toes into new adventures by going for a more manageable vehicle. These rigs are great for those who don’t need the frills and don’t want to break the bank. It’s important to know what you’re looking at when you go to buy a pop-up camper. In this video lesson, RV expert Dave Solberg walks you through a quick pop-up camper buyer’s guide.

What you should take into consideration before you buy a pop-up camper

At his lectures, Dave has been asked many times for his opinion on pop-up campers, and so he’s gotten pretty used to giving advice on how to buy a pop-up camper that’s best suited for your needs, your travel capabilities, and your budget. Here are the five things Dave always recommends to people who wonder about pop-ups:

1. Weight or towing capacity: Be sure to check how much weight your towing vehicle can handle. If you have a big truck or SUV that can handle any weight, then you should be all set, but if you plan to tow with a smaller vehicle, ensure that it has the towing capacity necessary for the pop-up camper you plan to buy.

2. Floor plan: Be realistic about the space and amenities you need in your pop-up camper. No matter how big an RV you get, you’re never going to have the same amenities as home. The biggest RV kitchen still doesn’t compare to the comfort of cooking at home. A shower is a shower is a shower, right? Wrong. Know what you need and what you like to have available when you camp, and be realistic about what you can do without.

3. How you camp: If you’re really getting out there and boondocking, you’ll need to understand what you should bring along to manage important aspects such as power, water, dumping, and cooking. Be aware of these things when you look to buy a pop-up camper that keeps it pretty bare bones.

4. Whether it’s right for you: Is a pop-up camper the best option for your RVing needs? Or would you be better off with a hard-sided vehicle? Of course, the pop-up is better for towing with a smaller vehicle, it’s less expensive, and it’s a leap above tent camping. But when it rains, you’ll hear it all through the canvas; if you go somewhere like Yellowstone, you can’t use a soft-sided vehicle; or maybe you get to a campsite late at night or when it’s raining and you just want to roll into bed–with a hard-sider you can, but with a pop-up you have to get it set up first. Just ask yourself, will the pop-up suit you best?

5. Setup: Reiterating that first step, do you want to have to do the necessary setup? Are you willing to do it by yourself if you don’t have a second set of hands? Is it worth your time? Or would a hard-sider be better for your needs? Dave reiterates this point so you’ll remember to take it into consideration. If you buy a pop-up camper, you want to be sure that it’s the better vehicle option that’s ideal for your wants, needs, and capabilities.

If you’re not sure whether the pop-up camper is your best bet, but you want to give it a try, you can rent pop-ups from many RV rental providers. Take one for a test run, and if you can imagine it suiting your needs, then maybe you’re a pop-up person!

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