Why NOT To Buy A Pop-Up Camper (15 Honest Reasons)

Although pop-up campers look fun and people mostly have words of approval for them, they may just not be suited for everyone! Here we will openly talk about the downside of pop-up campers from our experience, as well as from other camper owners also, so you don’t spend a lot of money buying one, just to realize it’s not for you! And maybe we will just reassure your decision to get one! So, let’s start!

For those who want to know more, be sure to read How Much Is A Pop Up Camper? (New, Used & Rentals).

15 Reasons Not To Buy a Pop Up Camper

1. Space Is Limited

To make it short, the living and sleeping area in a pop up-camper is very limited. For example, if you buy a pop-up camper that is suited for 6 or 7 people, you will not fix this problem. You will just have more people in the camper in that small area.

The bright side of your camper being small is that you will spend less time inside, and more time outside. A life hack for creating more space when going camping is to bring a tent. Kids find them very convenient and the parents get a bit more privacy in the camper!

2. Small Bathrooms

Probably one of the biggest cons when buying a popup camper is that only some models come with a bathroom. Even if you buy yourself a model with a bathroom, it’s poorly designed and it can hardly match up against the bathrooms you get in RVs or motorhomes. So if you aren’t going to stay in a campground where you have public bathrooms, it will not be a problem. On the other hand, having a private bathroom is a great thing!  

3. Thin Walls

Most pop-up campers are built to be as foldable and light as possible. Because of that, the walls of a pop-up camper are very poorly insulated, compared to an RV or motorhome. Even if you are planning to get a hard-wall camper, the fact is; it provides very little insulation whatsoever. If you decide to go camping during the winter, it will create a lot of problems for you, so keep that in mind.

4.  Mold Issues

Another big drawback when talking about pop-up campers is their sensitivity to mold. You should avoid packing up your camper when soft canvas sides are still wet. It can cause mold to grow on it. Mold can easily weaken your canvas.

Keep in mind that during camping, when it rains, you must wait for your canvas to dry before you start to pack it completely. Cleaning your pop-up camper canvas regularly is also important to prevent any mildew and mold from spreading.

5. Canvas Tears

There is no way to fully protect your campers canvas and it will tear and break at some point, which is nothing to worry about. Just like any other material, it’s replaceable and fixable! But keep in mind that replacing a canvas can cost you around $1,000. This is not small money for any of us, let’s not be fooled.

6. It Takes A Lot Of Time For Setup & Takedown

Although popup campers are made extremely mobile, and they are easy to move from one place to another, there is a hidden cost. Even with the simplest set up/tear-down mechanism, which is the handle crank lift system, it still takes some time to set a popup camper to work.

You need to set up the bathroom, generators, support poles, etc. After you’re finished camping, you need to take it all down. Get ready to spend about an hour setting your mobile home up, and about an hour pack it up again. Here is a quick and useful video of the whole procedure!

7. Low-Quality Materials

To achieve its mobility, the pop-up camper is usually made of lightweight materials that don’t have good quality. These materials are cheap, they come with a lighter frame and are not so well insulated. These materials are less comfortable during the winter and hot summers than RV and motorhomes.

8. They Get Hot During Summer

Some popup campers are very poorly insulated. Although many models have an air conditioner, even with their help, the thin and badly insulated walls can’t keep the cool air inside. Without air conditioning, during the hot summer, it will get so hot inside the camper that it will be hard to stay. Unlike the popup camper, the RV has much better insulation and is much fresher in it.

9. They Also Get Cold During Winter

The same problem is during the winter days. Pop-up campers are not so good in keeping room temperature inside, and it can be very difficult to warm it up. The thin walls inside a camper and poor insulation are the biggest drawbacks in this case. However, this problem occurs only when the outside temperatures are below 50 degrees F.

10. Lack Of Hot Water

Is having hot water important to you? If it is, start planning on installing a hot water heater, as the basic versions of pop-up campers usually do not come with water heaters. Keep in mind that installing a water heater will use a lot of space in your already tiny camper.

11. Low Tow Rating

Before purchasing your pop-up camper, be sure to check up on your vehicle owner’s manual for the maximum capacity it can tow. Towing more than your vehicle can handle can damage the vehicle, as well as the camper. Keep in mind that these kinds of repairs can be costly! Checking your vehicle’s maximum tow capacity can abate the list of campers you can buy!

Tip: Nothing beats math! Even if you have friends that towed larger tents than you would like to buy, with much smaller cars that you have, do not exceed the limit that is written down in the owner’s manual or on the car manufacturer’s website!

12. Limited Storage

As we already know, pop-up campers come with very small (limited) storage. So, keep in mind that you must plan ahead before you decide to buy your next camper. On the other side, there are lots of ways to make as much use of that minimal space as possible such as; vacuum packing clothes, blankets, and pillows, placing a few extra shelves around your camper, etc.

13. Bad Insulation

The walls on a pop-up camper are very thin, and the insulation is not so good. This can result in a very bad scenario, especially for those people who like to have peace. You’re probably going to hear a noise that is coming from outside, and that can be a problem. This can also ruin your night’s sleep, especially if you are camping next to another camper that loves to party all night.

14. No Privacy

If you can hear the sounds from the outside, that means the sounds you make can be heard as well. Everything you say, the smell of the food you’re eating, any noise you make. Privacy-wise, pop-up campers aren’t the best in it, and if it is important to you, maybe campers are just not for you!

But apart from the sounds, there is another drawback and that is privacy. If your light is on during the night in your camper, people that are outside can see everything that is going on inside. Therefore, think twice before you opt for buying a pop-up camper.

15. Safety Issues

Lack of privacy is very closely related to your safety concerns. Besides, that is easy to hear anything that is going on in the camper from the outside, it is also easy for intruders or some aggressive animal to come inside. Also, bad weather can easily break havoc on your popup camper as well.

Is It Worth Buying A Pop-up Camper?

Here we presented you top 15 reasons why you should avoid buying a pop-up camper. However, there are some good sides. Now we’ll talk about some positive sides of a pop-up camper and should you invest in it:

  1. The pop-up camper gives you much better experience during camping than RVs or motorhomes.
  2. It’s still way cheaper and way simpler than towing a big-pull behind camper.
  3. If you are not using your little mobile home, it does not use much space for storage.
  4. Being simple to tow/use, it is the best thing to begin with if you are a novice to camping.
  5. Being cheaper than let’s say RVs or spending money on tourist trips; the pop-ups are an economical way to make great memories with family and friends while traveling far and wide!

If you are still having your doubts about buying a pop-up camper, you always have the option to rent one out and see if it is suited for you or not! If you don’t want to buy a brand new camper, we have a guide on what to pay attention to when buying second-hand campers!

FAQ: People Also Ask

Is it worth buying a pop up camper?

While everyone has a different opinion on what’s worth it for them and what’s not, pop-up campers are much cheaper than RVs. If you are only a seasonal camper, there is really no point in spending a good amount of money on an RV or a big trailer. One more thing, pop-up campers being cheap, the insurance for a pop-up is cheap as well!

Is a pop-up camper better than a tent?

In short, pop-up campers are better than a tent. Although pop-up campers are poorly insulated and small, they are still better than any kind of traveling tent.

Final Thoughts

Do not let our big list of bad things about pop-up campers scare you! Of course, there are also positive sides to why you should buy a pop-up camper. These campers can be easily stored, and they are easy to manage. I hope that this article has helped you, and if you have any additional questions feel free to contact us.

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