How to convert a pop-up to hard side camper?

In this blog post, we will answer the question: “How to convert a pop-up to a hard-side camper?” We will discuss the steps for successfully converting a pop-up to hard side camper. We will also discuss the benefits of a hard-side camper and the best hard-side campers available.

How to convert a pop-up to hard side camper?

To convert a pop-up to hard side camper, you need to follow the steps described below.

  • Extend the pop top
  • Remove the interior
  • Remove the soft-side material
  • Retain the frame
  • Add solid panels

Extend the pop top

  • Converting a pop-up camper into a hard side is pretty simple, and it can be done in just a few simple steps. There are various types of pop-up campers and trailers. The only difference is the size and the design on the pop top.
  • The first step is to extend the pop top. Make sure to park the camper in an open place so it is easy to work. Extend the camper’s pop-up and ensure you have enough space to walk around the camper.

Remove the interior

  • The next step is to remove the interior. You will be required to get rid of all the accessories, tools, and other items attached to the pop top. 
  • Remove everything around the pop-top since you will be required to have space on the inside as well. Remove the bedding, curtains, and everything that is near the pop-top.
  • Be sure to store these materials safely since you will be required to reinstall them again.

Remove the soft-side material

  • Next, you must remove the soft-side material of the pop-up camper. This is applicable if you want to have a permanent hard-side camper. Some people prefer to have a temporary hard-side camper. In that case, you can leave the soft-side material as it is. However, if you need a permanent hard-side camper, remove the soft-side material.

Retain the frame

  • The most important part is to retain the frame of the camper. This is essential since you need to build the hard side of the camper by using the frame as the base. Pop-up campers arrive with frames that can be converted into hard-side structures. Keep the fitting that you need to reuse and retain nothing but the shell.
  • You can also retain the wooden bench, seats, sides, and other amenities like the sink, galley, sink, furnace, or stove.

Add solid panels

  • The next step is to add solid panels to the camper’s frame. You should add a few wooden beams to secure the solid panels to the camper. Wood or sheets of plywood will be one of the best options.
  • Make sure that the frame is strong, and there is no damage. Repair or replace the wooden areas that are damaged in the frame. Make sure to use light wood since it can add to the camper’s weight.
  • One easy way is to purchase ready-to-use plywood panels. Just be sure to check if the length of the panel is right. You can also use Baltic birch plywood or premium Baltic birch. Ensure the plywood is thick enough to be used as a hard side. 1-1/2-inch plywood should be good enough to use for this project.
  • If you are unable to add solid panels, you can choose to add wooden strips vertically or horizontally to the frame. Use 2 by 4s in between the frame to make the frame sturdier. Take measurements of the panel before fixing them to the frame.
  • Use screws or bolts to secure the plywood to the frame. Plywood is not too heavy and is one of the best options. Plywood also has several benefits and can also be used as insulation. You can also use spray foam insulation on the plywood. While installing the plywood walls, get help from another person.

Converting a pop-up to a hard-side camper is an easy process, but it can take up to two days. There are experienced professionals to get to this task complete. Contact an expert if you cannot work on this project on your own. All you need is a couple of wood panels and bolts to convert a pop-up to hard side camper.

Benefits of a hard side camper

Most people change their pop-up camper and convert it to the hard side for the benefits. Having a hard-side camper is sure to provide several benefits. Here are a few benefits of a hard-side camper.

They provide better protection

  • Compared to the usual canvas pop-up campers, hard-side campers provide better protection. Hard-side campers are strong and are one of the best in windy and rainy climatic conditions. Hard-sided campers also last longer than the other models.

They have better insulation

  • One of the biggest advantages of hard-side campers is the insulation. Hard-side campers are easier to regulate temperature and are good for cold climatic conditions. You can easily add insulation on your own with a hard-side camper.

They offer more privacy

  • Since the hard-side campers are blocked, they offer more privacy. These are useful, especially when you go camping on a trip. The hard side is covered on all sides, preventing noise from entering. Regarding security, the hard side camper is once again better than usual.

Best hard-side campers available

There are plenty of hard-side campers in the market, but these are some of the best campers available.

Aliner Expedition

  • The Aliner Expedition is one of those well-known hard-side campers that is perfect for a small family. There is additional space and headroom with the optional hard-sided dormers. This camper is spacious as it arrives with a dinette, sink, bed, fridge, stove, and toilet. It has a GVWR of 3,500 pounds.

Forest River Flagstaff

  • The Forest River Flagstaff is one of the best A-frame hard-side pop-up campers with great comfort and convenience. This camper arrives with a bed, dinette, and additional sleeping space. 
  • It also has a bath, microwave, sink, refrigerator, and two-burner stove. The dry weight of this camper is 2,700 pounds, and it offers enough storage options.

Coachmen Clipper Express

  • The Coachmen Clipper Express is also one of those famous hard-side campers that have been around for a long time. This camper is compact, and it has some of the best features and specifications. 
  • The dry weight of this camper is 2,225 pounds, and the length is 17’5” inches. The cabinets, sofa, fridge, outdoor shower, and microwave are key features.

Trail Manor

  • Trail Manor is known for their hard-side pop-up campers. These campers are more like travel trailers as they arrive with enough space. These are rectangular campers that are sturdy and 27’ in length. One of the major advantages of these campers is the fully-functional kitchen. The dry weight of this camper is 3,100 pounds.

Forest River Rockwood

  • Forest River has again taken the market by storm with some of the best hard-sided campers. The Forest River Rockwood is one of the top campers with a hard side A-Frame. 
  • This camper has enough amenities to keep you up and running even in remote places. The dry weight of this camper is 2,120 pounds, just over 19 inches long.


In this blog post, we have answered the question: “How to convert a pop-up to a hard-side camper?” We have discussed the steps for successfully converting a pop-up to hard side camper. We have also discussed the benefits of a hard-side camper and the best hard-side campers available in the market.


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