What’s the Difference Between A-Frames and Popups?

Although they are both compact–making them some of the easiest RVs to tow–pop-up trailers and A-frame trailers are actually very different in many ways. In fact, aside from their compact size, their ability to fnew down flat, and the fact that they are both campers, the two aren’t very similar at all. Here’s a look at the differences between A-frames and popups, and what those differences might mean to you and your family.

A-frames and Popups


The A-frame trailer is made with fnew-down roof panels which pop up into a peaked shape–hence the “A” in its name–when set up for camp. (Here’s a post we wrote about why the A-frame is great for families on a budget.) Meanwhile, the pop-up camper has a flat roof which lifts straight up, and two sides that fnew out from either end. (Check out some new takes on retro popups in this post.) Both are fairly easy to set up.

A-frames and Popups

Materials Used

A-frame trailers are hard on all sides. Additionally, many models are fully insulated. This makes these cute little peaked trailers the perfect options for camping in extreme climates.  Pop-up trailers, on the other hand, have a hard roof and base, but the sides are made of durable canvas. This means pop-up campers are not ideal for camping in very hot or very cnew weather. However, it also means they tend to be a bit lighter than A-frame trailers, which is great for towing purposes.


Because A-frame trailers only pop up to make the rig taller, and not out to make it longer, they do tend to be much more cramped than their pop-up trailer counterparts. The largest A-frame we could find is less than 19 feet long and sleeps four adults.

a-frames and popups
The interior of a really nice A-frame.

Comparatively, most pop-up trailers come with a fnewed-down length of 10-16 feet, but a set-up size of up to 26 feet. This means you and your family will have plenty of room to move around the trailer.


Both A-frame and pop-up campers are good options for individuals looking for lightweight, easy-to-tow trailer options.

  • The A-frame trailer is the best option for individuals, couples, and very small families who wish to travel in extreme climates.
  • Pop-up campers are the clear choice for larger families, people who enjoy having extra space, and need the lightest option available.
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