Pop-up campers allow those who don’t have a large truck or SUV to go glamping without investing in anything too large or cumbersome, like an RV. Pop-up trailers under 1,500 pounds are versatile, and many still have a dinette, sleeping for four, and extra storage.
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After checking out this list, you’ll be surprised you ever considered anything heavier. There are not many lightweight pop-up campers on the market, but I’ve pulled together the seven best for you to check out. Here they are…
7 best pop-up campers under 1,500 lbs:
1. Sylvan Sport Go Trailer
Sylvan Sport offers three packages on their GO Trailer, the lightest weighing in at a mere 840 pounds. This trailer is so small and lightweight; it can be pulled by almost any car that can tow. It can be switched from Travel mode, a sleek trailer design, to Transport mode, holding 12 kays or bikes – or even a motorcycle.
Build from aluminum and made in Brevard, North Carolina, this trailer is made for any adventure you can throw at it. The GO comes with a Kelty Tent System, but you can upgrade to the GO Big or GO All Out for even more amenities, like an awning, privacy curtain, solar kit, and more.
This bright green pop up trailer packs a punch in its petite size. It can be a bed for four or a table for the family. Maybe, it will carry all your boats for a day, or you’ll use it for cargo as you move across the country. Whatever it is, the Sylvan Sport Go Trailer is an exceptional choice for a lightweight and versatile pop-up camper.
2. Aliner Ranger 12
Aliner has been around since the 1970s when Raph Tait made the first A-frame pop-up camper. While the company started in Bend, Oregon, Aliners are now made in Pennsylvania, keeping with their unique A-frame tradition.
The Ranger 12 weighs 1450 pounds with a dry hitch weight of 150 pounds. It comes in two interior options: a sofa-bed or two twin bed set up. Both have a dinette that converts to an extra bed and a sink, stove, refrigerator, and some storage.
Available options to add include a grill, furnace, front storage box, off-road package, and more. For a lightweight pop up that maximizes what you can get while staying under 1500 pounds, the Ranger 12 is it.
3. Turtleback Trailer’s Getaway Trailer Adventure
Turtleback Trailers are built in Phoenix, Arizona, by a group of outdoorsy folks who want to provide their customers with a dependable and rugged way to get outside. Anyone who purchases one of their trailers is considered part of the “herd” and is able to join gatherings and be part of the community.
Their Getaway Trailer weighs 1,300 pounds and can be pulled by most small SUVs. It has a steel frame, electric brakes, and over 50 cubic feet of storage. The kitchen slides out of the side and includes a solid maple countertop, two-burner stove, and an 11-pound propane tank.
You can opt-in for a fridge, deep sink, suspension package, and a variety of tents and awnings. This pop-up camper trailer is incredibly durable and made to get you out to the backcountry without sacrificing any of your cooking or sleeping needs.
4. Coachmen Clipper 9.0TD
A division of Forest River Inc., Coachmen provides all shapes and sizes of RVs from Middlebury, Indiana. The Clipper 9.0TD is their lightweight pop-up camper that has all the essentials tucked in. The Clipper weighs 1080 pounds, although they also have a Clipper Express that has less storage and weighs only 761 pounds!
But, the Clipper 9.0TD comes with a furnace, AC unit, outdoor grill, fridge, Bluetooth stereo, solar panel adapter, sink, portapotty, propane tank, indoor/outdoor table, and an optional screened-in room off the back. You can upgrade to an off-road package, which includes upgraded tires, an outdoor shower, and a roof rack.
This small but mighty pop-up trailer is a common sight all across the US, making it easy to snag second-hand as well.
5. EasyCaravanning Takeoff
If you want a truly lightweight pop up trailer to pull behind a sedan, check out Easy Caravanning’s TakeOff trailer. Made in Holland, these pop-up campers have been gone over with a fine-tooth comb to ensure ease of use and ultra-light style.
The TakeOff includes a double bed and a roof that pops up in thirty seconds. While two can sleep inside, a pop-out tent off the back can house more if needed, although they’ll be sleeping on the ground. Inside, the bed converts to a dining space. The snap-in and snap-out stove allows you to cook inside or out, depending on how you feel.
This trailer drips with European ingenuity and is well worth it if you find yourself on that side of the pond or are able to have it shipped across the sea! The max trailer weight is 1652 pounds, but that is after you’ve packed it full of your belongings.
6. Livin Lite Quicksilver 8.0
While this camper is no longer made, they are well worth considering, even if you have to grab one used. The Livin Lite Quicksilver 8.0 has an unladen weight of just 1080 pounds. The low profile allows you to put cargo on top if you want too.
The all-aluminum structure pops up and out easily, giving access to the pull-out bunks and zippered windows. When fully opened, including making the dinette seats into extra beds, this pop up can sleep six adults.
The basic aluminum and composite storage areas are not particularly appealing to the eye, but they’re lightweight and get the job done. You can add solar panels if you want to go off-grid, and the Livin Lite already has a 30 amp power converter on it. Some models have optional electric brakes, an air conditioner, an outdoor shower, hot/cold faucet, hot water heater, or awnings.
7. Rockwood Tent 1640LTD
Another great pop-up camper from Forest River Inc. is the Rockwood Tent. It barely made the cut for this list, weighing in at 1465 pounds straight from the factory. But, it uses every bit of that to bring its users the best amenities at a great price.
The Rockwood Tent is a pop-up camper with two beds, one double and one twin. It has a small dinette, sink, two cabinets, and a fridge inside. Outside, there’s a 7-foot awning and a carryout range for a barbeque. When open, it is just over 17-feet long; when closed, it is only 12-feet, one-inch long.
Because this trailer is from a big company, you will get quite a bit for your budget. If you’re looking for a traditional pop-up trailer to fit three or four, this is a great place to start.
Advice on Choosing a Pop-Up Camper
Deciding which pop-up camper is right for you depends on many things. Let’s go through a few of the main points you’ll want to narrow down before choosing a camper:
Your Vehicle’s Towing Capacity
Some of the trailers in this article can be towed with a sedan, while others nearing the 1500-pound range are much better suited to an SUV or truck. Check out your owner’s manual and make sure your vehicle can actually tow the trailer you have your eyes on.
Also, remember that most trailers will have water, propane, dishes, clothes, and other supplies tucked in them, adding at least 100 to 150 pounds to the base weight. Ensuring that your vehicle can tow both the trailer and your valuables is essential.
Lastly, while your vehicle does have a towing capacity, know that it is always best to stay under that. It will give you more acceleration and braking power the further under you are.
Number of People Sleeping
This may seem obvious, but you’ll want to get a pop-up camper large enough for anyone that might want to tag along. Most campers will fit two people inside, if not three or four. But, most of the campers on our list have cargo space to bring a tent along or an outside awning for more to tuck in.
Off-Road Capability – Do You Need It?
If backcountry deserts or Jeep roads often call your name, make sure your pop-up camper can take the beating too. There are beefy trailers meant to take on off-road paths, but most trailers are not built to withstand that much bumping.
If you think you’d like to go off-grid or just off-road, make sure your pop-up camping is rated for that or you might find yourself off-road and without a place to sleep!
Related article: Best Overland Trailers? (10 Off-Road Favorites)
Do You Need a Bathroom In Your Camper?
A seemingly endless debate in the RV and Camper world is whether or not you need a toilet or portapotty in the camper. If you will primarily be camping in the backwoods, far from others, you may not need to take up much-desired space in your camper with a toilet.
However, if you don’t like using campground restrooms or simply don’t want to leave the warmth of your camper at night, definitely opt-in for a simply portapotty in your camper.
To Heat or Not to Heat
Many pop-up campers have canvas sides, making them lack decent insulation most of the time. While many people like the feel of a heater – and many of the listed pop-ups have heaters – always make sure to bring a multiple spare blankets along too.
If you know you’ll be doing mainly three-season camping or sticking to the southern half of the US, I’d say forgo the heater. Layer up on those cold mornings and make yourself an extra cup of coffee instead. This will save you money and the upkeep and maintenance of a heater.
Here are a few commonly asked questions by our readers about pop-up campers and their amenities:
How much weight does a pop-up camper bed hold?
If the bed is located on the pop-out portion of the camper, the bed will usually hold between 1,000 and 1,200 pounds. However, it is never recommended that that much weight is put on them. In addition, the mattresses used in pop-up campers will usually deteriorate faster than the mechanicals of the bed under that much weight, rendering them uncomfortable quite quickly.
What is the lightest weight pop up camper?
The lightest pop-up camper we have found is the Sylvan Sport Go, weighing in at 840 pounds from the factory.
Do pop up campers have toilets and showers?
Some pop-up campers have toilets, although it’s more likely to be a small portapotty that is stowed under the bed or sink. Most do not have showers, although a few have outdoor shower options you can easily add on.
The point of a pop-up camper, in my opinion, is to be able to get out into nature while using your normal car, instead of investing in an RV. So, I’d want it to be small, simple, and preferably multi-use.
Using these guidelines, I would choose the Sylvan Sport GO All the Way trailer. It’s versatile and can be used to move boats and bikes, as well as sleep the whole family when needed. It’s ridiculously lightweight, making it the best buy for pop-up campers under 1,500 pounds, I think!
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