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So you’re ready to hit the road for an outdoor adventure, but you’re not ready for the hassle of tent camping? We get it, and we know that Pop-Up Camper Rentals are a fantastic and affordable option for you to consider in this situation for your escape into nature.
Julie and I both grew up going tent camping with our families pretty regularly and we have some fantastic memories.
But when it came to our own kids? Well, we became weenies as parents to be honest. We did not take them tent camping at all, and we are ashamed (sort of). Of course, I think we kind of made up for it with spending almost 1.5 years traveling full-time in our travel trailer with them. But you be the judge.
However you feel about that, you have to admit that tent camping can be challenging. That’s especially true if the weather does not cooperate and you get rained out.
So considering the option of renting a pop-up camper makes plenty of sense. This option still keeps costs manageable, gives you that outdoor experience you crave, makes a 1-2 week trip feasible but also keeps you dry if things turn ugly.
Let’s take a closer look at the ins and outs of renting a pop-up camper so you can have the best rental experience possible.
Pop-Up Camper Rentals for Your Outdoor Adventure
Before we jump straight into specific options you can choose from if a pop-up camper rental is on your agenda, let’s talk through some of the advantages that you can look forward to enjoying with this simplified version of RV travel.
Advantages of Choosing to Rent A Pop-Up Camper
1 – Easy to Tow (Lightweight)
Ah, towing. So much to know, so much to misunderstand, so much to (dangerously) assume.
Towing can be an overwhelming topic if you find yourself concerned about whether or not you can safely tow a trailer or RV of some kind. Lots of numbers and acronyms involved, which is always daunting. (Go take a quick look at my post about the 2020 towing guide if you want to get yourself up to speed on the necessities. And if you want to check out the approximate towing capacity for your vehicle, be sure to find Trailer Life’s Towing Guide for your vehicle year.)
Yes, the truth is you have to do your research to ensure that you can have a safe towing (and camping) experience and not damage your vehicle’s engine, transmission or suspension when towing a pop-up camper. Those are some very expensive fixes that you do not want to deal with!
The Good News
But the good news is that the majority of pop-up campers are very lightweight units that can be safely towed by a wide range of vehicles, including many SUVs and crossovers. (But be aware that weights can range from as little as 600 pounds all the way up to 4,500 pounds. Small vehicles definitely will not be capable of safely towing that much weight.)
Don’t take my word for it, like I said. Check out the numbers and be sure your vehicle is equipped to tow the pop-up camper you are interested in renting. (Hint: If you do not see the actual empty weight, pin weight (amount of weight on the hitch of your vehicle) and gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR, which is the most that the vehicle will weigh if it is holding its maximum cargo weight), be sure to reach out to the owner of that unit and ask for the details.
Trust the Sticker
Often there will be a sticker located somewhere on the pop-up camper that shows these specifications. You can ask them to take a picture of that sticker and send to you.
I know, I know, this all sounds very overwhelming. But trust me when I say that the last thing you want is a damaged vehicle or a situation where you show up to tow the pop-up camper to your destination only to realize that it weighs more than you are capable of towing! Avoid that mess and deal with the “headaches” of figuring this out up front.
Ok, that was a lot to cover…but I promise the rest of these will go much faster.
2 – Low Clearance
Towing a travel trailer or fifth wheel with heights between 10 and 14 feet, can become an added stress. This is especially true if you are not used to towing at all.
The low clearance you will always find in pop-up campers (4-6 feet) is idea for a safe and easy trip to your adventure destination. Combined with their lightweight design, this gives you ultimate simplicity and towability so you can breathe easy!
3 – Affordability
You can easily take a look at the pop-up campers for rent in your area through Outdoorsy (the RV rental platform we use) to see how affordable they are. In our area (Austin, TX), every single option is under $100 per night with most of them in the $50-$80 range. You can’t beat that for a “comfortable” escape into nature!
4 – Air Conditioning!
As I mentioned, we are in central Texas. So you can imagine that air conditioning is more than welcome whenever and wherever you can find it. For me, one of the biggest drawbacks to tent camping is dealing with the heat…which usually means a very bad night of sleep.
Thankfully, quite a few pop-up camper rental options have AC units included! This will help everyone avoid the “sleep deprivation grouchies” that can come along with tent camping many times.
5 – Ample Living Space
Thanks to the pop-up feature, towing can be easy even though you have plenty of living space hiding in there. With the sleep areas normally located in the extended pop outs of these units, it allows plenty of space in the middle for cooking, dining and lounging around. Again, it’s a win-win as far as I’m concerned.
6 – Good Sleep
I mentioned the AC component of good sleep up above, but don’t underestimate the benefit of also sleeping on a more comfortable surface! Sure, the mattresses in a pop-up camper won’t feel like home, but they will absolutely beat the option of sleeping on a pad or air mattress in a tent. One more way you can keep everyone happy and civil for an enjoyable experience.
7 – Cook and Eat Indoors
Hey, we all love to cook over the fire and eat outdoors sometimes, no doubt about it. But it’s fantastic to at least have the option of moving your cooking and dining experience indoors if the weather turns bad or you are battling really pesky flying insects of various kinds. Since almost every pop-up camper unit has a small kitchen included, you will be all set!
8 – Toilet and Shower Included?
Now, let me be clear: Not every pop-up camper is going to have a toilet and shower included. The smaller and lighter weight units normally will not, but the larger units built for a family getaway normally will have one or both of these features available for your convenience. Those conveniences are very nice to have…especially the toilet when nature calls in the middle of the night. So be sure and watch those details before you book a rental!
Choosing Pop-Up Campers that Work for You
Let’s jump in and take a peek at several pop-up camper rentals similar to what you can expect to find in your area. We’ll keep our eye on the features and benefits of each type.
2007 Rockwood 2270 Pop-Up Camper Rental
Remember I mentioned above that you could find a pop-up camper for $50 per night? Well, here she is. Now, she’s got a few years and a few miles on her, but she provides everything you need for a great camping getaway that will still keep you dry, cool and comfortable:
- Air conditioner and heater
- King bed and queen bed plus additional convertible spaces (sleeps up to 8)
- 20 feet in length when fully extended (under 12 feet for towing)
- Weighs only 1,800 lbs empty
- Kitchen with stove top and sink
- Does not include toilet/shower
She’s lightweight, she will keep you cool in the summer and she will keep away the grumpies by allowing you to sleep well at night. For $50 you really can’t ask for much more!
2017 Rockwood A192 High Wall Pop-Up Camper Rental
Yup, it’s a Rockwood also. Nope, it definitely doesn’t look the same! This hard-sided option is a pop-up camper of a very different variety. And while it is not going to sleep a family of 6+ like our last option, it still has a lot going for it:
- Air conditioner and heater
- Hard sides for added noise and temperature control plus weather protection
- One dedicated bed and one convertible bed (sleeps up to 4)
- Kitchen with stove top, sink and microwave (plus outdoor grill!)
- Weighs only 2,312 lbs empty and stands 65″ tall for towing
- Includes outdoor toilet/shower
So you’ll get some hard sides with this beauty, plus all the kitchen conveniences you could want, for only $84 per night (3 night minimum, which is fairly common).
2016 Somerset Off Road Pop-Up Camper Rental
Interested in really getting your group out into some wild places and soaking up some nature? This off road pop-up camper will definitely get the job done…and in style!
This rugged little wonder will provide you with the following features for your outing:
- Air conditioner and heater
- 2 king beds and 1 double bed (sleeps up to 6)
- Weighs 2,505 lbs empty (owner recommends 3,000 lbs towing capacity for vehicle)
- Approximately 12 feet long when stowed for towing
- 35 gallon fresh water tank and 40 gallon propane tanks
- Inside toilet, outside shower (?)
That brown curtain you see on the right in the image above is the privacy enclosure for the toilet, just FYI. You may not want to be doing all of your business in there, folks. And here is that handy toilet…
2007 Rockwood Roo Hybrid Camper
Okay, so four our last one we are fudging just a little bit. This one isn’t exactly your typical pop-up camper; it’s actually a hybrid camper (read our post about hybrid campers here) that brings together great features from standard travel trailers and from pop-up campers.
As you can see, it travels at its full height instead of collapsing down. But the little surprise hidden inside is the pop-out bed at the front that allows for far more sleeping area without having to make the trailer much larger. I think it’s pretty genius, honestly, and would love to try one out one of these days.
Besides that nice little nugget, this camper also features:
- Air conditioner and heater
- 1 king bed, 2 smaller convertible beds (sleeps 6-8)
- Weights approx. 3,500 lbs empty
- 31 gal fresh water, 25 gal grey water, 25 gal black water
- Proper (private, with door) toilet and shower!
- TV with DVD player for added entertainment options
And did I mention it’s only $100 per night? Not bad. With that full couch area you see above plus the dinette area, this unit has the most comfortable seating by far of any of the options we have looked at. Yes, this one is a little bit dated with its colors and patterns, but I’m guessing you could find something near you that is a little newer near the same price point.
Did These Pop-Up Camper Rentals Get You Excited?
Alright, so now that you have a pretty solid understanding of the advantages of going with a pop-up camper rental (or even a hybrid camper), it’s time to decide and get that beauty booked…before it’s too late.
Don’t wait to get out there and explore all that our world has to offer. Leave the electronics behind, disconnect completely, and find yourself lost in the peace that only nature can provide. I dare you!
Todd Bonner is the slightly quieter half of the dynamic TREKKN duo. He spends most of his time sharing information about RV travel and safety, RV accessories and tips, and the National Parks he has visited and still desperately craves. When he’s not busy working on TREKKN, you will often find him staring at breathtaking pictures of Glacier National Park, probably his favorite spot on earth.