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Tent trailers have certainly changed since I was a kid. Pop-up trailers used to essentially be big tents with sleeping pads inside, but now you can rent a luxury pop-up camper with all kinds of amenities! In this article, we’ll take a look at how these campers work and what features to look for in a pop-up trailer rental for your next vacation.
What is a Pop-Up Trailer?
Pop-up trailers use a combination of solid and canvas construction to allow them to collapse down into a small, lightweight, low-profile box. The floor, lower walls, and ceiling are usually made of solid material like fiberglass, and then when the trailer is opened up, the canvas upper parts of the walls and the walls and ceiling of any fold-out areas like sleeping bays are revealed.
These trailers are hybrids between classic travel trailers and tents. They attach to the tow vehicle with a bumper hitch and vary in size from ultra-tiny footprints to family-sized campers. No matter the size, the closed trailer will be much smaller than the actual interior space when the pop-up camper is opened, which makes them much easier to tow.
How Does a Pop-Up Trailer Work?
Pop-up trailers require a bit of set-up work once you get to your destination. First, you’ll need to make sure that you park your trailer on a level spot. It’s a good idea to get out of your vehicle and walk around the trailer before you detach it to make sure that the spot you’ choose is level because if it’s not, the camper might get damaged when you open it and the door may not fit in properly. It can also be a pain to move it once you have it all set up.
Once your trailer is in a good place, you can detach it from your vehicle and set up the stabilizer(s), cranking until your trailer is level and sturdy. Then you’ll want to set up all the jacks, which fold down from underneath the trailer to further stabilize it. Be sure they are all fully locked out.
Now that your trailer is locked and leveled, it’s time to open it up. Unhook all of the latches that hold your pop-up trailer closed and put the crank in place. Slowly crank (or activate the powered lift if you have one) to open it up until it’s fully extended. Then put in any extra pieces like doors, beds, and so forth to further reinforce your trailer’s structure and get it ready for use.
The final step is to connect the trailer to electricity and water hook-ups if present, and set up other interior furniture, sewage systems, and propane lines.
Common Features of Pop-Up Trailers
Most pop-up trailers have large front and rear sleeping areas that fold out when the camper is open, as well as sometimes a dinette that can be converted to a small bed. This creates enough space for five or six people to sleep comfortably, especially if you have small children. The mattresses are usually fairly thin, but they are significantly more comfortable than sleeping on the ground on a sleeping pad or air mattress. Be sure to check the sleeping capacity when you are selecting a pop-up trailer rental to be sure it meets your needs.
Most pop-ups also have a small kitchenette with a stove and a sink, although some higher-end trailers have refrigerators, toilets, showers, and heating and air conditioning options. Some storage space is usually built in, although due to the canvas walls, there is usually less storage space than in a similar-sized conventional trailer since there cannot be upper cabinets. Obviously, the more amenities onboard the trailer, the more expensive the rental will be per night.
Since the walls are generally all canvas, they usually include many large screened windows with panels that zip into place for weatherproofing and privacy if necessary. These huge windows provide excellent airflow, which helps keep you cool as you cook and sleep while still protecting you from bugs and creepy crawlies.
Pop-up trailers also provide storage for when you are driving, as items can be loaded into them even while they are closed, and then accessed easily through a cargo hatch. They may have external storage bins as well. That way you can pack all of your clothing, supplies, and gear into the trailer and save space in your tow vehicle as you drive to your destination.
Some trailers also come with racks on top or in front to hold large items like bikes, small boats, and so forth. If you are planning a trip to an outdoor recreation destination, this can be a super convenient way to get all your gear packed safely.
Why a Pop-Up Trailer Rental is a Good Choice
First of all, pop-up trailers are much easier to tow than classic camper trailers. They are smaller and lighter, which means there will be less wind resistance and sway while you’re driving and they won’t negatively affect your gas mileage as much as larger trailers. If you aren’t experienced with driving while towing, a pop-up trailer is a low-stress way to start out.
Plus, you can tow a pop-up with almost any vehicle that has a bumper hitch. The tow rating for most cars and small SUVs is about 3,500 pounds, and most pop-up trailers weigh roughly 2,800 pounds or less. That means you don’t have to already own a truck or pay to rent one in addition to renting the trailer.
Pop-ups are a huge upgrade from tent camping, but they are much cheaper to rent than a motorhome. They provide plenty of space for your whole family or group of friends to sleep and eat comfortably, all while easily fitting into a standard campsite and allowing you the convenience of detaching the trailer from your tow vehicle so you can run errands or go on adventures without packing up the trailer each time.
Tell me – do you think a pop-up trailer rental is a good idea for your next adventure? Why? Comment below.
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