Is a pop-up camper considered an RV?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Is a pop-up camper considered an RV? We will explain what an RV is, what a pop-up camper is, and what are the main differences between a pop-up camper and a travel trailer. 

Is a pop-up camper considered an RV?

Yes, a pop-up camper is considered an RV. There are two main categories of RVs: models that must be towed like the pop-up camper, the classic caravan, the fifth-wheel camper and the motorized RVs like the class A, B or C motorhomes. 

Recreational vehicles are divided into two main categories:

  1. Motorized vehicles: Also called motor homes, they are separated into three classes.
  • Class A (large motorized RV, built on a heavy or commercial truck chassis, or that of a bus)
  • Class B (built from an ordinary van with a raised roof added)
  • Class C (built from a sturdy truck chassis with a cabin that doubles as living quarters)
  1. Towable vehicles: Different models of trailers belong to this category.
  • The classic (or conventional) caravan
  • The fifth wheel
  • The pop-up camper (or pop-up camper)
  • The classic hybrid trailer. 

The recreational vehicle includes a structure designed for temporary accommodation for the purpose of travelling, vacationing, or recreational use, and may be driven, pulled, parked or transported. Accommodation may include sleeping area, kitchen, bathroom, and fresh and wastewater piping systems, 110 A / 12 V power supply, propane gas, heating, air conditioning and entertainment system. 

The RV shall not exceed 13.2 meters (42 feet and 11 inches) in length and 2.6 meters (8 feet and 6 inches) in width, the latter being the sum of the distance from the centre of the vehicle to the at the side ends (including door handles, water connections, etc.) when the vehicle is closed or stowed for transport. Such structures include pop-up campers, classic trailers, fifth-wheel trailers, separable motorhomes and motorhomes.

What is a pop-up camper?

Neither a traditional trailer nor a motorhome, the pop-up camper is located somewhere between these two recreational vehicles. Indeed, it has rigid sides like those of a trailer, while offering canvas extensions. And unlike conventional RVs, pop-up campers have less weight on the scale, due in particular to the canvas extensions; they are also generally smaller, which makes towing easier.

The advantages of pop-up campers

  1. Easy to transport: being small in size, a caravan with a lifting roof is easier to transport, it does not weigh as much for the car that is transporting it, and the manoeuvres are also easier than if it were a conventional caravan.
  1. Has almost enough space: when you park and you want to inhabit the caravan, you will have an extra space, which not all small caravans have.
  1. Lower consumption: the consumption of the vehicle with which you transport the pop-up roof caravan will be less than if you take a large caravan since it weighs less and the size is reduced when the roof is folded.
  1. Easier to store: due to its dimensions, smaller than those of a regular caravan, it can be stored in the garage when it is not going to be used.

The disadvantages of pop-up campers

  1. They offer limited space for a family: a caravan with a lifting roof is still a small caravan with an extension, so it is not designed to accommodate many people. If you want to do it, you should opt for a larger caravan.
  1. They have perhaps the worst insulation: the pop-up roof makes the caravan have better insulation than one that does not have this type of roof, something that is very noticeable, both on the coldest days and on the hottest ones.

Trailer vs. pop-up camper: what’s the difference?

Even if the trailer and the pop-up camper are part of the large family of RVs, they are two very distinct types of vehicles.

The classic trailer, also called a travel trailer, is a towable trailer made up of a single rigid hull. As the name suggests, it’s designed for campers who like to travel from site to site to discover new places.

The pop-up camper is also a towable caravan, but its flexible canvas walls fold up for transport. So, when you arrive at the campsite, the pop-up camper must be unfolded to accommodate your family. This is certainly the type of trailer that comes closest to the camping tent. Ideal for outdoor enthusiasts looking for contact with nature, but with the comfort of the bunks!

Benefits of buying a trailer

The purchase of a classic trailer (or travel trailer) has many advantages for families.

  • First, it is always ready to use when you arrive at the campsite. Unlike the pop-up camper, you do not need to unfold its walls to accommodate your family. So you can prepare the children’s beds in advance so that you are ready to go to bed in the evening.
  • It is also easier to control the humidity in a travel trailer than in a pop-up camper. Thanks to its rigid walls, the trailer is resistant to rain, dew and external humidity. You can also install various ventilation solutions such as a fan, air conditioning or dome ventilator.
  • But what most encourages campers to buy a trailer is certainly its many amenities and great comfort. With its refrigerator, stove, microwave oven, television and air conditioning, you almost feel at home … but with the advantages of camping as a bonus!

Benefits of buying a pop-up camper

The pop-up camper is also a very interesting purchase, especially for young families who are discovering the joys of caravanning.

  • The main advantage of the pop-up camper is certainly its affordability for new owners. A new pop-up camper is generally available from $ 15,000 (with financing options). Used pop-up campers that have been inspected at several points are also available starting at $ 6,000.
  • Another big plus when it comes to purchasing a pop-up camper is the ease of pulling. Its flexible canvas walls make it much lighter to tow than a travel trailer. The pop-up camper can therefore be towed by most family vehicles (SUVs or 4 or 6 cylinder vans).
  • The pop-up camper is also easy to manoeuvre in summer and simple to store in winter. With its many advantages, the pop-up camper is often the first choice of families who want to learn about caravanning.

Advice for successful camping with a pop-up camper

If you want to go camping with a pop-up camper, first, get organized! Think about what kind of place you prefer to go to and what activities you want to do, be it walks, nature excursions, beaches, fishing, picnics and/or sports. Or maybe you just want to rest a bit and enjoy a good book! 

Once you have that clear, look for places with those characteristics near your area. Then, go to the store, and find the necessary equipment for it.

Keep in mind that pop up campers do not have the best isolation, therefore, you should check what is the minimum temperature during the night of the place at the time you will go to buy property! Some campers avoid going camping in winter with a pop-up!

There are different models of pop-up campers. Keep in mind that it is preferable to invest a few dollars and avoid unpleasant surprises such as flooding if it rains or unwanted animals or insects entering! You may also want a sleeping cushion and other products that can give you comfort. It will depend on how comfortable you are willing to sleep.

Other things that you will need for successful camping in a pop-up camper are:

  • a source of light, to illuminate you when it gets dark. A cheap LED headlight is the best.
  • lanterns, for the same purpose as above. Do not rely so much on what can light the fire.
  • first aid kit: something basic to clean and heal wounds from scrapes, cuts, blisters and any other medication you take. Even antiallergic.
  • sunscreen: minimum SP40 factor! And also include hats with a visor or eaves in your garments to protect your head from the sun!
  • Insect repellent.

For other things, you may need, do your research! You have the internet at hand for looking for camping places, even in some with bathroom facilities and others you can book in advance. Always read helpful information and talk to the camping site manager. Don’t keep any questions to yourself! What if someone gets lost? What if a bear appears? What if an accident occurs? Consider all the possibilities.

In some campsites, you can rent all the necessary equipment and you will not have to buy it. Keep in mind that clothes have to be comfortable and always, wherever you go, carry water, sunscreen, nutritional bars and insect repellent. 


Pop-up campers are ideal for single persons or couples who want to hit the road for a longer period. The size of this type of camper allows you the functionality of having it parked at home and deciding to go out for a weekend without a problem. Still, they are loud and can get quite cold in winter. 

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

FAQ on Is a pop-up camper considered an RV?

Is a camper trailer considered an RV?

Yes, a camper trailer is considered an RV. More exactly, the term RV – recreational vehicle – includes:

  • Camper trailers;
  • Motorhomes;
  • And fifth wheels. 

What is a motorhome?

The concept of a motorhome applies to vehicles built with a special purpose for the transport and accommodation of people. This means that everything or that serves for autonomous transport – serves as a properly propelled vehicle – and accommodation is a motorhome.

Are pop-up campers good?

Yes, pop-up campers are good. Pop-up campers are practical models with little consumption, in which the roof is raised in just over two minutes, and that allows you that functionality of having it parked at home and deciding to go out for a weekend without a problem. 

What is the best pop-up caravan to buy?

Among the best pop-up caravans to buy are the Coronet Series F S2; Goldstream RV 16FT FKST; Jayco Expanda OB 18.58-2 PT; Jurgens Jindabyne PT2210 and the Olympic Javelin.

Do you store a pop-up camper with the top up or down?

The correct way to store a pop-up camper is with the top down to prevent sun and wind damage. Extreme temperatures and adverse weather will affect a pop-top caravan more than other RVs and campers.


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