The basics of Pop Up Trailers
|Pop-ups are easily towed by most cars. Even small cars can tow a small pop-up.
Folding camping trailers are lightweight, affordable and offer a lot for a relatively small investment.
By Brent Peterson
and the editors of Beginners Guide to RVing
Or maybe you know them better as fold-down campers, folding camping trailers or tent trailers. As kids we called them "Big Macs" why I have no idea. But these days, theyre mostly referred to as pop-ups, and they serve as the best and most cost-effective way for young families to camp and travel.
Popular brands of pop-ups are made by Coleman, Starcraft and Forest River (Rockwood). Pop-upsare easily towable, ranging in weight from 1,500 to 4,000 pounds, and easily hitch to your SUV, truck, mini-van or large sedan. Of course, youll need a proper hitch and some information regardingtrailer weights and towing capabilities, but your dealer can help you with that. After that, youre free to roam the country, confident that a dry bed, storage for your gear and a hot meal await you.
|An interesting variation on the traditional pop up is the Aliner. This lightweight RV tows like a regular folding trailer, but in camp pops up in less than a minute with a hard-sided roof. The smallest models weigh less than 1,000 pounds and can be pulled by a motorcycle.
Pop-ups deliver a major upgra
de from a tent and sleeping bag, not to mention a much more reliable and durable barrier against the elements. Upon arrival at your campsite, the unit folds out (pops up!) into two large "wings" (usually through the use of a crank), whichserve as two separate sleeping areas. The base of the unit, which indeed looks like a tent on wheels, usually features a small dinette, mini-refrigerator, storage areas and some kind of cooking appliances. A heater, outdoor shower and grilling area are also fairly common. More expensive units can boast a shower, toilet, a manual slide-out room (which greatly expands the roominess inside) and more deluxe cooking features. Travelers are protected from the elements by a mix of heavy canvass and hard-sided roof.
|Coleman leads the way
The best selling foldling camping trailers are those from Coleman. In 1967, the Coleman Company, based in Wichita, Kansas, began manufacturing a full line of folding trailers in Somerset, Pennsylvania.
In 1989, Fleetwood Enterprises, Inc. of Riverside, California, acquired the Coleman Folding Trailer Division. Both the Coleman and Fleetwood names have steadily grown. Today, the Somerset facility is the largest towable recreational vehicle plant in North America.
Fleetwood has also established itself as the world's largest recreational vehicle manufacturer, providing nearly one out of every three RVs on the road today.
You can buy
most new pop-ups for between $4,000-$12,000, a bona fide bargain considering its livability. A family of four, particularly if the kids are still young enough to consider sharing a bed fun, should have little problem eating, sleeping and
|Starcraft folding trailers are among the most popular
Starcraft has a long history of innovation and market leadership, dating back to 1903. The company was founded in Northern Indiana's Amish country, and still calls this area home. Starcraft originally produced livestock tanks and other metal farm equipment, and in the 1920s, added a variety of boats to itslineup. In 1964, the company entered into the RV industry with a line of folding camping trailers. The camper's innovative features (which included a hardtop and crank-up lifter system) quickly achieved a major share of the RV market, which it still does.
Today, Starcraft offers soft- and hard-side truck campers, folding camping trailers, and both lightweight and full-size laminated travel trailers and fifth wheels in the United States and Canada. It is owned by Jayco, Inc., the largest privately-owned RV manufacturer in the world.
dressing onboard, provided you dont spendcountless hours in a space that is still relatively tiny. Aside from the cost of the hitch (under $500), a pop-up adds little in the way of extra expenses. Your tow vehicles gas mileage will suffer somewhat, but only marginally, and insurance, tolls and maintenance costs are a fraction of higher-end RVs.
of Pop Ups
See many models of pop up trailers. See them set up and taken down. See how pop up trailers are constructed. And much more. Watch the videos at PopUpTrailerVideos.com.
The biggest challenge pop-up owners face is probably backing into their campsite. Just take it slow and have your co-pilot hop out and give you directions. Or better yet, opt for a pull-through campsite. Once your destination is reached and your unit set-up, your tow vehicle is now free to transport the family into town, the amusement park o
r other points of interest without a trailer in tow. Your mobility will certainly be the envy of larger motorhomers and
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Families who spent one-too-many camping trips suffering through cold nights and gear mishaps often soon find themselves on an RV dealers lot scouting out these entry-level units. And for many, buying a pop-up represents a couples first foray into the world of RVing,with the purchase of a larger trailer or motorhome not far behind. RV manufacturers know this, and hope travelers use a pop-ups as a springboard later on to a larger, more expensive RV. Until that time, however, enjoy these small camping wonders, the best value in the industry.
Copyright 2010 by RVbookstore.com
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Pop Up Trailers 101
Learn everything you need to know about pop up trailers. Host Mark Polk shows how to operate everything, how to back it, level it and hook it up and more. 45 minutes. Get more information.
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