Pop-ups Recommendations

My wife and I are considering getting a pop-up camper. We have looked at all the brands and have heard the sales talk on what makes them better than the others.

Can someone give personal testimony on the goods and the bads on the brands of pop-ups they own? I am looking for real world experience.

This would be a great help in my determination of what brands to narrow it down to.

Thanks in advance.

Byron Yeiser
Pop-ups Recommendations

A pop-up was our first trailer and I wouldn't buy one again. There are great for a family with more children than they know what to do with. You get a lot of beds, if it's just you and the wife don't bother. For two people, Aliner is ideal and setup is fast with no wet fabric to contend with in case of rain. Check www.aliner.com they are in the same price range as a pop-up.

Gary B

Senior Member
Pop-ups Recommendations

Hey Mike, haven't heard from you for along time, good to hear your still around, happy trails GB :)

Edited by - Gary B on Nov 25 2001 5:01:16 PM

C Nash

Senior Member
Pop-ups Recommendations

Hi Byron, We had a Starcraft pop-up and loved it. We used it for several years and still miss it at times. They do take some time to set up and take down and I would not want one to do a lot of traveling. Seems to always be raining when you gewt ready to break camp and then you have to set back up for drying when you get home. If it fits your needs go for it. Good luck

Chelse L. Nash
Pop-ups Recommendations

To:Byron Yeiser,
My wife and I started out with a ten foot Jayco pop-up, thinking later we would upgrade to a larger unit. After having our unit stolen and looking to replace it. We looked at all the good and bad things, about our previous unit. What we found is some of the same reasons, that others give-up camping shortly after buying one. People usually buy too small, without the items they really like most. Thinking if they don't like-it, they wouldn't have much invested. This is what we did, and although we had fun and got-by with what we had. We often found ourselves wondering what if. Others go the total opposet and buy too large a unit, that is hard to tow and back-up. Just like yourself, we asked others about thier likes and dislikes in pop-up campers! Boy did we get an ear full of different opinions! If you are a first time camper or pop-up owner, this is what I would say!
All campers have thier good and bad points, just like people do. If your thinking of a pop-up, try renting a unit close to what you want, or if you know someone with a unit ask to use it for a weekend. This way not only can you try different brands, but different features as well as setup types. This will truly let you know if you would like a pop-up or not, and what features you would like to have in it. Pop-ups have come along way, with glide-out units and even hot showers and flushing toilets.
Our final decision after looking at all the other brands, was to stay with Jayco and to up-grade to a 14 foot pop-up. We basicly took every feature they offered: 3-way refridgerator, ac unit, hot shower with toilet, and a screened add-a-room. The first caution I would give is what we ran into, do you have a vehicle big enough to tow it! The dealer told us yes we did and it did tow it home, but swayed all over the road when passed by trucks. Because with a ball activated surge brake, it isn't advised to use a weight distribution or sway bar kit. After finally getting the right vehicle, we have had no problems with towing. What I enjoy most is the size when going down the road, less wind drag, easy to look over, and easy to back-up.
The time it takes to set-up one, differs from unit to unit and experience. Ours on average takes 15 minutes including setting-up our screen room and getting water, note this is with both of us setting it up. And yes they are simple enough, that a lady can set one up by herself. Like others have said, one big drawback to a pop-up is rain. But just like a travel trailer, you have to open or set it up at home to remove the item you want out. If it is a sunny day, the trailer will be dry by the end of that day with the new type fabrics. The mold problem that the old units use to have, is pretty much gone with the new type fabrics also. Room seems to be the other issue, however with the new glide-out units, most have just as much room as a small trailer. A pop-up can be opened-up on all sides to let fresh air in, on cool nights without having the ac to run. Most large trailers have to use there ac units, to keep them from getting stale.
To close I feel great that we have a pop-up, but to be truthful there have been times I wanted a trailer. But then I see all the fun they have on a windy day going down the road or backing them into a site, and that all goes away! Jayco has been a great brand for us, when we had trouble they stood behind there warranties. It is a brand I recomend, but what I feel is a mistake on there part is the 14 foot pop-up isn't made anymore. Maybe someday they'll bring it back, but for now others offer the 14 foot series. I wouldn't go anything smaller then 12 foot loaded, even for two people. Like I tell others, remember you have to live in this, when it rains. Get it big enough so your not climbing over each other. Good luck with what you decide and if you would like, let us know.
Pop-ups Recommendations

Hey "byeiser"...

I am on my second pop-up now, and looking at new ones. Haven't made up my mind which way I'm going on the next unit, looking at new pop-up's, hybrid's, TT's and 5th wheels. But unless I stick with a pop-up or a very small Hybrid, I'll have to replace the tow vehicle too, something I don't think I'm financially able to do right now.

That being said, I'll probably buy another pop-up, but this one will have front storage trunk and slide-out dinette! Most of the others have made an interesting point, most of the RV'ers started out in pop-up's, and most of them enjoyed them.

BTW, there is another forum just like this at www.popuptimes.com/forum/default.asp that much busier than here, and everyone there owns pop-up's, you'll get more than enough answers to this question there!!! I'm not trying to run you off of here, just pointing you to a venue that really deals in the pop-up's... (I have about 600 post's on that forum)

Also, check out my camping site, I have a pop-up page there too!!!


Chaos reigns within. Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.


Edited by - cliff on Jan 22 2002 11:39:24 PM

Edited by - cliff on Jan 22 2002 11:40:07 PM
Re: Pop-ups Recommendations

Hi Byron
I have had two pop-ups. Both of them were Coleman's built by Fleetwood. I had no problems with either one of them. One of the big things that I was told is the crank mechanism for the roofs. Fleetwood has one of the best, more sturdy cranks than starcraft, Vikings and others brands. If I were to buy another pop-up, I would go with Fleetwood! Just my opinion.
RE: Pop-ups Recommendations

Hey Byron, We started last year with a Chalet, very similar to an A-liner. We towed with a Nissan Pathfinder, had no problems with sway, no problems on hills and got terrific gas milage, 17 mph most of the time , and I drove at 70 mph a lot of the time. We went from Florida to Wash. State , 8,900+ mi.
I could set up and she could be making coffee in 15 min. Rain was not a problem, it has hard sides, no canvas, and I did the actual set up by myself. Our only reason to trade up to a TT was we wanted more room so we could take our dogs, and we wanted our own bath facilities. With the present price of gas I rather wish we still had the Chalet. We also had to buy a Pu tow vehicle. Check out the Chalet, I believe it is chaletrv.com, . Good Luck, Jerry


Senior Member
Re: Pop-ups Recommendations

If I was going to get a pop-up, I would get something like the Chalet. All walls solid, no canvas.
Re: Pop-ups Recommendations

All pop-ups are pretty much the same as far as how well they are built. One is as good as another. Look for one with a very good lift system(most have cables. Once in a while you will find one that doesn't). Fleetwood and Coleman are suing each other over the Coleman logo so until that is straightened out I would stay away. Don't want to buy one and a year later not be able to get parts. :eek:


Senior Member
Re: Pop-ups Recommendations


We started our RV traveling with a pop-up and we liked it so much that we owned two of them. That was so long ago that the brand knowledge we had is probably out of date, but we had a Starcraft that was at the time, the largest and nicest pop-up on the market. I do suggest that you do a lot of study because I still look at them fondly and they are not all the same. There is at least one brand that is of very poor quality, as I recently parked near one and visited with the owner. He showed me several major problems and it was only three months old and he was having real problems with getting warranty work. If you PM me I'd happily tell you what it was, but I'm not starting a flame war here.

We used the pop-up for a total of 15 years between the two of them and I still believe that they are the best answer out there for a family. The cost is still reasonable, they are easy to tow and to store, and with a pop-up you still get the camping experience, which is not true of a modern, fully self contained RV. We took our pop-up into many a forest service campground where most larger RVs just won't fit. With a pop-up you still get the sense of camping "under canvas" as you would in a tent and yet you also have many of the niceities of an RV for mom. Because of the dropping roof, the sides have very large windows that let the outside in. And you still get much of the feel of tenting. Yet the modern treated sides shed water and can be stored wet. You will need to dry then when weather is good, but the won't be damaged by short term storage, wet. In our family, each family member had his own job each time we stopped. We could be set up and inside of the trailer in less than 15 minutes, even in bad weather. Our sons still remember those family trips as some of the best times of their growing up years. I would not want to full-time in one, but I will never forget the great times we had in ours!
Re: Pop-ups Recommendations

We currently have a 1998 Coleman Sun Valley and love it. It has 3-way fridge, sink, stove, two king beds, a bench that turns into a twin bed, and the kitchen table can sleep two kids.
Two things I would change: The manufacturer placed the 120v/12v switch all the way in the back behind the galley so you almost have to set the whole thing up to flip the switch if you forget. Remote the switch and put it near the door. Sheesh. (I will be making this mod shortly).
The second is having a slide out dinette, or slideout whatever. We went on a trip and we had five adults, our Rotweiler, and our Shepherd/St. Bernard cross. Of course it rained that weekend, so it was really cramped. The slide out would have made the difference.
Otherwise, it tows just excellent behind a 1992 2dr. and 2002 4dr Yukon (not XL's). I have no problems backing it where I want, but that is a little biased since I have a CDL-A. =]
Set-up is easy enough that my wife can do it in about 20 minutes, and if we both do it it is about 12 mins. Teardown is about the same, but there are just a couple of points to do to make it easier to lock the top. The design these days are just superb for setup and tear down.
I think your chioce will be: Price (duh), towing vehicle (PLEASE make sure you get extended mirrors), nothing too big or too small, and make sure it has the features you want. If you are buying used, then make the best compromises. If buying new, the compromise will be in your wallet.

Basically, if you don't think you will be happy with it, you won't. Don't buy the first one you find.
If you like it, buy it.

RE: Pop-ups Recommendations

We also started with a pop-up and I have to agree with Kirk about it being more like "camping" But.....the convience of our 5th wheel...well we love it. Our pop-up was a Viking with all but air conditioning. We never had any problems with it at all. We had 6 adults and 4 dogs in it for a weekend and had a blast. Making the beds was not fun and I sure don't remember it only taking 12 to 15 minutes to set up and break down but then again maybe it only seemed longer. Still it was a great way to start camping and now as we are a little older I like our more refined camping in the 5th wheel. :)
Re: Pop-ups Recommendations

Oh, the only thing I have to add is try to get a shower. Most truck stop showers are cleaner than the ones I have seen at campgrounds.
Re: Pop-ups Recommendations

Have you considered the hybrids? I rented one and found it not only lighter than the standard travel trailer, but convenient with all the creature comforts as well. We did not bother to drop the one side as it was not needed, but the slide added a nice addition of space. We pulled it with an Infinity QX4 and a good quality (and pricey) tow bar with anti-sway. Even a stiff cross-wind did not cause us any grief.