Are pop-up truck campers any good? (the best 7+)

In today’s blog post, we will answer the following question: Are pop-up truck campers any good? We will discuss the pros and cons of pop-up truck campers and review several models. 

Are pop-up truck campers any good?

Pop-up truck campers are a good option for many travellers, and they include all the fittings and equipment necessary to make your pick-up habitable

The pop-up truck camper is part of the large family of reactionary vehicles, although it is only additional equipment and not a vehicle in its own right. In short, it is an independent camper that is grafted to the back of a pick-up. With its air of an autonomous house placed on the back of a truck, the pop-up truck camper is especially in vogue in the US. 

The main reason why pop-up truck campers are so popular is that the camper part is removable, which is very practical when it comes to recovering “pick-up” use of your vehicle. At a campsite, for example, you remove the camper and can use the pick-up for short travellers. 

The pros and cons of a pop-up truck camper

Here are several advantages of a pop-up truck camper:

  • It adapts to a variety of pick-ups;
  • It can be removed when not in use. Your pickup then becomes an automobile (or utility vehicle, depending on how you use it);
  • It embeds a real arrangement including beds, kitchen, and sometimes a real bathroom with a shower;
  • It is much more comfortable and better insulated than a tent trailer.

The inconveniences of pop-up truck campers are:

  • The cramped space: Larger campers can have a double bed, a table with two benches (convertible into a bed), as well as a kitchen unit and an all-in-one bathroom. That’s already a lot in the back of a pickup, but it’s still a small motorhome arrangement. 

The most compact campers, on the other hand, are limited to a table and two benches, which will be converted into sleeping arrangements.

  • The obligation to go through the exterior: the door can be located at the back or on the side. In any case, no access is possible directly from the cabin.
  • Overall height: The classic detachable pop-up truck camper converts your pickup into a sort of motorhome, with a large cap upfront. The height is therefore greater than that of a van or a streamlined motorhome. Certain models thus flirt with the three meters high (which obviously has consequences on consumption). 


Note: some pop-up truck campers protrude only a few tens of centimeters from the roof of the pick-up. They are then deprived of a permanent bed.

  • The price: the most frequent prices range between $ 20,000 and $ 35,000. This amount does not include the price of the pickup, nor the options.

Pop-up truck campers: the best models

Here are our top choices for pop-up truck campers:

  1. Touareg pop-up truck campers: tailor-made and removable. 

South of Valence, in the heart of the Ardèche, the Loisirs K-oncept family SARL designs, manufactures and installs two types of pop-up truck campers for 4 × 4 pick-ups. Enough to go on an adventure in good conditions of comfort while being able, outside of vacation periods, to enjoy your 4 × 4 normally since the cell can be removed and put back easily. 

These pop-up truck campers benefit from good insulation (20 mm polyurethane) and can be fitted out according to the expectations and needs of the customer (materials, layout, etc.).

  1. Clémenson: the taste for adventure

Clémenson Aménagement, located in Macau, in the heart of the Médoc, specializes in the design of fixed or pop-up truck campers for many vehicles: pick-ups, trucks up to 26 tonnes, etc. Clémenson Aménagement has extensive know-how. It has been in existence since 1963. 

Custom-made pop-up truck campers allow you to make the most of the available space. Note, this year, the launch of a new “Easy-Lift” electric removal system for the pop-up truck campers of the Explo range.

  1. Globe Camper: first and foremost pickup camper

Globe Camper pop-up truck campers are designed and manufactured to be able to face the most difficult terrain and the most distant places. Most models are very compact and some even use aluminum components in order to limit their weight and not hamper the off-road performance of the carrier vehicle. They use the lifting roof to provide maximum living space and comfort in minimum space.

  1. Tipi 4 × 4: all-terrain mission

The creator of Tipi 4 × 4 has traveled far from the beaten track for many years. He wanted to share this experience with others by offering pop-up truck campers for pick-ups. Tipi 4 × 4 offers several types of pop-up truck campers made of poplar plywood, insulated, and covered with a reinforced glass fabric and a gel-coat finish. 

This design allows them to display a limited weight, which does not interfere with the ability to pass the pickup. In addition, this limited weight allows for easy installation and dismantling.

  1. Tischer: a renowned specialist in pop-up truck campers

This German brand has been a benchmark in pop-up truck camper for over 40 years. The two Trail and Box ranges surprise with their spaciousness and level of comfort, especially as the rolling assembly can stay relatively short (around 6 meters). 

Tischer pop-up truck campers adapt to most pick-ups on the market, making it possible to design a backpacking motorhome to suit your needs and your budget. We also like to find the original vehicle (and its utility dimension), between two outings.

  1. Unica by Müller: another successful pop-up truck camper

Unica is a new brand of pop-up truck camper, launched by the Müller Concession (importer of Tischer pop-up truck campers). Produced in Italy, Unica pop-up truck campers are distinguished by their unibody design. 

Lightweight, aerodynamic and well insulated, the two models on the market, Unica MC and Unica MX, are suitable for double cab and deep cab pick-ups. They are both sold at a price of 36,000 $, cell-only but with solar panels, among other standard equipment.

  1. A&A Explorers: the canvas camper

Lightweight, economical and yet robust. The A&A Explorers cell comes from the USA. It is just starting to be imported in Europe. Its principle is original: a hard-top at the rear of the pick-up is raised using jacks. Between this roof and the vehicle body, canvas walls ensure your privacy.

  1. Mitsubishi and Gentle Tent inflatable camper

This is an option offered on the L200 pickup and is only available in Germany. Still: this invention is worth a look. The principle is that of roof tents: a box is placed on the cabin of the pick-up. Inside is a tent, the uprights of which are inflatable. 

An extension comparable to an awning extends this roof chamber to the rear of the pick-up, to provide a day area to be fitted out.

Conclusions

The pop-up truck camper is a good investment for many, but you shouldn’t rush in getting it. The reason is simple: the use of a pick-up and the relative freedom left to the customer in the choice of the carrier makes it possible to opt for all-terrain vehicles. Another reason: the comfort onboard is relative. 

While some pop-up truck campers are as well furnished and equipped as a motorhome, space is inevitably reduced. As for the retractable pop-up truck campers (which will be perfectly comfortable on the slopes and rocky paths), they are more of an intermediary between the tent and the van.

But there are also exceptions: there have been large-format pop-up truck campers for utility vehicles, closer to the high-end motorhome than to the 4 × 4.

What do you think? Are pop-up truck campers worth it? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments!

FAQ on Are pop-up truck campers any good?

How long do truck campers last?

Truck campers last approximately 155,ooo miles (about 250,000 kilometres), which corresponds to approximately 25 years. Factors such as how often your camper is used, the quality of maintenance and cleaning all have an impact on the life of the vehicle in one way or another.

What is the best truck for a camper?

The best trucks for a camper are, in our opinion, the following models:

  1. Ford F-150 – up to 13,200 lbs towing capacity
  2. Chevrolet Silverado – 14,500 lbs towing capacity
  3. GMC Sierra – 12, 200 lbs towing capacity
  4. Ram 1500 – 8,290 lbs towing capacity
  5. Toyota Tundra – 10,200 lbs towing capacity
  6. Nissan Titan – 9,400 lbs towing capacity
  7. Toyota Tacoma – 6,800 lbs towing capacity
  8. Nissan Frontier 6,720 lbs towing capacity
  9. Chevrolet Colorado / GMC Canyon – 7,000 lbs towing capacity
  10. Honda Ridgeline – 5,000 lbs towing capacity.

Are diesel pickup better for pop-up truck campers?

When considering your options, diesel engine variants will provide as much torque as possible to pull a large trailer behind so factor that into the price. Also, inquire about your tow hitch options as if you want to tow very large trailers you may need the fifth wheel hitch which will add to the base price. 

How to maintain your pop-up truck camper? 

Here are some tips to maintain your pop-up truck camper: 

  • Check your tire pressure and inspect them for any abnormalities or foreign objects
  • Examine your awnings about once or twice a season for loose strings, tears, or holes
  • Test your electrical connections before leaving on a trip
  • Approximately every month, maybe every two months, check each filter, including hydraulic filters, coolant, diesel filter, and air filter. 

References