Jen Young
by Jen Young
Posted May 26, 2022

Most of us yearn to experience the RV lifestyle with our friends or family. But not everyone is ready to invest in a large, bulky motorhome. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, consider the small and compact pop-up campers.

Pop-up campers are essentially tents on wheels. Because of the canvas framework, they’re incredibly lightweight and easy to tow.

This article lists the ten best small pop-up campers you should consider for your next glamping/camping trip. Irrespective of whether you’re a seasoned camper or a first-timer, these pop-up campers will surely suit your lifestyle.

If you’d like to get the full small pop-up camper experience before buying one, check our rental inventory.

Types of Pop-up Campers

Before proceeding, you should understand that there are three different types of pop-up campers. 

  • Tent trailers – These are the classic pop-up campers that resemble a big tent with collapsible canvas walls. They’re very lightweight and offer a large amount of interior space when set up.
  • High wall campers – The high wall campers are an improved version of tent trailers with solid walls. Only the top portion of the camper is made from canvas, which offers more headroom and storage space when expanded.
  • A-frame campers – These campers also have rigid walls and expand to form an ‘A-shaped’ roof similar to a traditional house. 

How Much is a Little Pop-up Camper?

The cost of a small pop-up camper depends on the type, model, and brand. Tent trailers tend to be the cheapest, while A-frame campers are the most expensive ones.

That being said, you can expect the pop-up campers to cost somewhere between $9,000 to $40,000. 

If that’s your budget for a pop-up camper, why not look at a few options? Below is a list of 10 pop-up campers that are in high demand and are rated highly by campers.

  • SylvanSport GO
  • Length – 11.11 feet
  • Width – 6.3 feet
  • Weight – 840 lbs
  • Best for – Two to three adults
  • Price – $9,000

The SylvanSport GO is the smallest pop-up camper of 2022. Not only is it small, but it’s also super lightweight, easy to set up, and easy to pack.

The camper trailer is more than just a tent trailer. It can haul your toys, including mountain bikes and kayaks, to the camping spot. At around 800 pounds, even a regular four-cylinder can pull it with ease.

Furthermore, it’s very easy to assemble. You just need to crank up the top and then connect the tent to the trailer. Even a rookie can set it up within 10 to 15 minutes. Inside, there are only two adjacent bench beds with space in between.

As this pop-up camper is 100% waterproof, thanks to the nylon tent, you don’t have to worry about middle-of-the-night rains. Also, there’s a weather-tight gearbox to keep your belongings safe.

If you’re just getting started with pop-up camping and need some reliability and functionality, this is the pop-up camper for you. The company promises that the trailer will last longer than expected because of the reinforced aluminum deck.

  • Taxa Outdoor TigerMoth
  • Length – 12.5 feet
  • Width – 6.7 feet
  • Weight – 1,300 lbs
  • Best for – Three adults
  • Price – $15,000

The Outdoor TigerMoth will easily top the list in most cases. It has all the modern amenities to make your stay comfortable and is lightweight enough to be towed by most vehicles. 

It’s a follow-up model to the Taxa Cricket (which also features on this list). The designers have reduced both weight and length, thus making the TigerMoth more compact.

The cabin is compact and has space for two adults. But you can set up a tent over the camper to make room for a third person.

You’ll find a slide-out kitchen equipped with a two-burner stove and a portable sink to cook your favorite meals. Although it may not appear so, there’s a good amount of storage space under the bed. 

The large side hatch allows access to the entire cabin, thus making it easier to load and unload stuff. Along with that, you can enjoy an unhindered view of the camping spot.

The pop-up camper is designed to stay off the grid for up to seven days. It’s equipped with batteries, solar panels, and a 5-gallon fresh water tank. You can include 5,000 BTU air conditioning, which is optional.

The TigerMoth is undoubtedly one of the best pop-up campers ideal for boondocking and dry camping.

  • Turtleback Trailers Getaway
  • Length – 11.6 feet
  • Width – 6.3 feet
  • Weight – 1,160 lbs
  • Best for – Two to three adults
  • Price – $18,999

The Getaway is among the smallest pop-up campers. But it’s more characterized by its rugged looks.

This is a pure off-road trailer with a 2X3 galvanized tube steel chassis. It is further coated with zinc to stave off rust. Even though it weighs only 1,160 lbs, the strong body allows it to carry almost 840 lbs of payload.

The Getaway comes with a small kitchen area that’s hidden under the swing-out tailgate at the rear end. It consists of a two-burner stove, an extra deep sink, a propane tank, and compartments for storage. 

You’ll also find a system control panel, a water tank with 21-gallon capacity, an on-demand water pump, and an external water port, among other things.

You’re also going to find an ample amount of storage space. A nose box is provided at the front to accommodate all your electronics and similar items. It’s water- and dust-proof.

At $18,995, it’s definitely not among the cheapest. Furthermore, there are add-ons that can raise the cost to $40,000. So choose your options carefully.

  • Aliner Scout Lite
  • Length – 13 feet
  • Width – 6.6 feet
  • Weight – 1,180 lbs
  • Best for – Two adults
  • Price – $9,950

The Scout Lite features solid walls and is an alternative to the canvas walls of traditional pop-up campers. It’s compact enough at the same time, so you can tow it anywhere you want.

The interior is quite spacious, with a 10-feet living space. There’s a dinette that converts into a 40″ X 76″ bed. At the opposite end, you’ve got a bunk measuring 30″ X 76″. Together, these can accommodate two to three adults comfortably. The fiberglass walls and the diamond plate stone guard provide the desired insulation.

The Scout Lite facilitates stargazing with two skylights at either end. You can leave them open for ventilation or close them for privacy.

Besides that, the camper enables you to cook delicious meals on the countertop with a sink by the side. Underneath the cooking area are racks and drawers for storage.

All in all, it’s a pretty spacious trailer, and it’s commendable how the engineers were able to fit all the amenities within such a small space.

Setting up the camper is as easy as raising the ceiling and walls and locking them in their respective places. It shouldn’t take you more than five minutes. At under $10,000, it’s also pretty affordable.

  • Air Opus 4 Camper 
  • Length – 17 feet
  • Width – 8 feet
  • Weight – 3,000 lbs
  • Best for – Six adults
  • Price – $34,000

Air Opus is the nonconformist on this list. Instead of using the traditional cranking system and metal poles, it utilizes its own air inflation technology, adopted from the US military. Instead of you putting in the manual effort, the canopy and annexe inflate with the touch of a button. 

Inflation technology is not the only military influence. The Air Opus is designed to traverse any terrain. The full galvanized steel chassis and articulating hitch make the camper towable to any remote location on any surface.

Opus is equipped with off-road suspension and RR15 mud tires to absorb the pressure. Electric brakes are in place for control. Ground clearance is epic and rivals even the top-rated 4WDs.

Once you’re at the secluded spot, stay off the grid longer with the availability of lithium-ion batteries, a DC charger, a 40-gallon water tank, a 20 lb propane tank holder, and 140 WT solar panels. A refrigerator and deep sink are included as standard. And so is the OPUS Cinema system for entertainment.

Inside the camper, you find two double beds, each with dimensions of 50″ X 68″. Furthermore, you can transform the U-shaped dinette and benches into a king-size bed. 

All in all, it is a complete package for a group of six to seven members.

  • Coachmen Clipper LS 806XLS
  • Length – 12.11 feet
  • Width – 7 feet
  • Weight – 1,642 lbs
  • Best for – Six adults
  • Price – $17,000

The Clipper 806XLS is the smallest and lightest pop-up camper from Coachmen. And despite being the smallest, it’s big enough to accommodate six people.

The interior is pretty roomy. There are two 60-inch Gaucho beds that double up as couches when needed. Also, there are two 54-inch insulated beds on both ends. A 20,000 BTU furnace is included as a standard to keep you warm at night.

The company has also added criss-cross cables for the unit. It not only gives durability to the structure but also provides stability in windy conditions. 

The exterior has patio LED lights and an electric grill to prepare meals. But you’ll find a kitchenette inside the camper, too, along with a deep bowl acrylic sink. 

The Goshen lift system quickly sets up the pop-up camper. Optional features you can include with the 806XLS are a three-way refrigerator, 13,000 BTU air conditioner, solar panels, under-bunk storage units, and a screen room.

Coachmen is one of the top RV brands. So when you’re buying the Clipper LS 806XLS, you have the assurance of product quality, durability, and prompt customer service.

  • Aliner Family Expedition
  • Length – 18 feet
  • Width – 7 feet
  • Weight – 1,850 lbs
  • Best for – Four adults
  • Price – $27,000

This is a hard-side pop-up camper that’s intended for family camping. 

It’s an all-around camper and includes features like an indoor cassette toilet and a slide-out kitchen. 

Most pop-up campers are missing a bathroom. With the Aliner Family Expedition, you can have much-needed privacy. There’s an outdoor shower as well to meet your sanitary needs. A water heater is in place for those looking forward to a hot shower.

The kitchenette is just as impressive and complete. It includes a dual stove, microwave, refrigerator, and sink. An 11-gallon fresh tank will supply water for an extended period.

For sleeping arrangements, you’ve got a sofa that can convert into a king-size bed. Along with that, there’s a 44″ X 72″ bed that can be mounted to the wall when not in use. A bunk bed is included in case you need more space. The corner windows offer an excellent panoramic view from the moment you wake up.

The interior can get hot and humid. Therefore, the camper comes with a Command A/C Heat Pump for temperature control.

It weighs less than 2,000 lbs, so you can tow it with any standard SUV. The extreme 15-inch tires mean the camper can traverse rough, uneven surfaces with ease.

  • Forest River Flagstaff 176LTD
  • Length – 12.4 feet
  • Width – 7 feet
  • Weight – 1,465 lbs
  • Best for – Six adults
  • Price – $10,000

The Flagstaff 176LTD is another classic pop-up camper that’s very popular among campers, thanks to the well-laid-out floor plan and lightweight construction. 

Standing at 12.4 feet, you can extend it to 17 feet at the site. That’s when you get access to two beds, one measuring 42″ X 74″ and the other 54″ X 78″. The cabin consists of a dinette, which you can readily convert to a third bed.

Next to the dinette is a 12-V three-way fridge and a kitchen cabinet. So there’s a proper arrangement for cooking and storing food. The interior is quite cozy, with an autumn wood wall covering and wood lock flooring. There’s a 20,000 BTU furnace in case the night gets cold.

Other amenities included as standard features are a quilted top bed mattress, an electric water pump, a roof vent, privacy curtains, an awning, and LED lights.

12-inches Radial tires and Leaf Spring axles ensure a smooth and safe ride.

Part of the popularity of this pop-up camper is affordability. At approximately $10,000, this is among the cheapest campers you can find.

  • Taxa Outdoors Cricket
  • Length – 15 feet
  • Width – 6.7 feet
  • Weight – 1,800 lbs
  • Best for – Two adults, two children
  • Price – $32,500

The Cricket is designed for optimal mobility. You can tow it with any SUV or 4-cylinder engine vehicle and park in the tightest of spaces.

The camper makes excellent use of the 63 sq. ft. of available space inside the cabin. You’re going to find a redesigned kitchen equipped with a two-stove burner, a sink, and a storage compartment.

There’s a bed for two adults. But you can add the berths to create additional space for two kids. There is more than enough space to store your luggage in the three milk crates under the bed. 

Cricket is also designed for proper ventilation. It has five swing windows that let the air in. Furthermore, you can extend the upper tent and open the five mesh windows, which divert the fresh breeze to the inside of the camper. So you may not need the air conditioner, an add-on product.

There’s no in-built bathroom, but you do get a portable toilet with 16 gallons of gray tank capacity. Along with that, an outdoor shower is offered as optional.

  • Jayco Jay Sports
  • Length – 11.7 feet
  • Width – 7.1 feet
  • Weight – 1,570 lbs
  • Best for – Six adults
  • Price – $10,000

The Jay Sports is an impressive pop-up camper that almost doubles in length from 11.7 feet to 21.6 feet when inflated.

The extra feet make room for two slide-out beds, one of which is a full bed and the other a twin bed. The cabin consists of a dinette and a kitchenette. Pora-Potti storage cabinets are provided on each corner of the right-hand side wall. Even after that, you have plenty of space to move around.

There isn’t a built-in bathroom, but there’s an exterior shower to compensate for that.

Speaking of exterior features, you get a carryout stove as standard to cook your meals outside. Along with that, there’s a double steel lifter system which makes it easy to set up the camper. 

The tent is super durable and made from DuraTek water-repellent material. This also makes the tent mold-resistant. 

At the glamping spot, the camper offers an excellent view of the spot. The tinted vinyl windows with fine mesh screening maximize visibility. You can further use the curtains for better privacy.

Last but not least, 28 gallons of water tank and 20 lb of propane gas bottle are sufficient to keep you off-grid for long.

Conclusion

After returning from the trip, a pop-up camper will easily fit into any garage space. It’s not hard to clean or maintain either. So there’s very little reason not to invest in these small-yet-large campers.

But, understandably, not everyone has the financial means nor the interest to buy a pop-up camper. So why not rent one instead? With Outdoorsy, you can rent a pop-up camper for under $2,000.

Jen Young

 

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