Here at, we want to ensure our readers and visitors have everything they need and want when it boils down to purchasing an RV or RV accessories. This week we wanted to cover the basics of pop-ups and expandable trailers and some features you might want to look for when searching for the one that fits your needs. Both are lightweight, comfy and rather affordable options for camping. They both offer that middle ground between tent camping and full size RV camping. We hope this helps!

Pop-ups have been around since the 1950s and were so popular then because they are small enough to be towed by essentially any vehicle but also open up for enough space to accommodate a family comfortably. Though they’ve definitely upgraded since the 50s, the basics are still the same. They fold down small enough to be hauled, but are made with all the necessities.

Expandables might be more ideal if you’re traveling with more people or for a longer period of time. Though they aren’t as light as pop-ups, they are still among the lightest ball towed RVs. Expandables are the perfect option for campers who want the homey feel and convenience, but aren’t ready to commit to a full size RV. They are efficient on space until it comes time to set up, which is much easier than a pop-up. All you need to do is park, then lower and level the bunks covered by tents. These campers come with many of the accommodations that people look for, like an entertainment center or full bathrooms and kitchens. This option is right in the middle of a pop-up and a heavy duty RV. Below is a list of features to consider when searching for the perfect pop-up or expandable.

  1. A/C unit. This can depend on what climate zone you plan to camp in, but most of us in the 21st century, no matter how rustic and close to nature we want to get, need some luxurious air conditioning. If you plan to escape to the cooler climates for camping, you can overlook this one. Otherwise, camping just won’t be as effortless and relaxing without it. It’s always a good idea to have one regardless of where you decide to set up shop for the weekend, just in case you do decide that an impromptu trip to the South will be the only fix for your sorrows.
  2. Furnace. If you think you might be going to straight up cold and chilly climates, then a furnace should be at the top of the list when looking for pop-ups and expandables. It can be just as difficult to get some quality Zzz’s if you’re cold! Again, not a necessity, but definitely something to look into.
  3. Square footage. Will you be bringing kids with you? Or will you have a few friends join in? How many sleeping spots do you need? These are all questions to ask when considering a pop-up or expandable. Obviously, most campers will say that more space is always better, but unless that extra few feet or one extra bed is necessary, why not save a few bucks and get a smaller one? Although it never hurts to buy as much space as you can afford, especially if you plan on keeping it for a while.
  4. Hot water heater. This is particularly important if you don’t plan on stopping on a campground equipped with toilets and showers. Even after a long, sweaty day of hiking or playing sports, does it get any better than washing the day away with a hot shower? A hot water heater also allows for a cheap Ramen dinner at the end of the night too.
  5. Heated Mattresses. Because the sleeping spaces in most expandables are in the expandable parts, they don’t tend to be as insulated and comfortable as the rest of the trailer. It’s the smallest of details, but packs the biggest punch when it comes down to coziness and getting a good nights sleep. This shouldn’t be a problem with pop-ups, though, simply because they’re much smaller.
  6. Expandable sleeping sections. Though most expandable trailers do come with extra sleeping sections, they extend out into nature, so you can enjoy the view while being protected from the sun and mosquitoes (yikes). They also allow for more room in the bedroom. These sections are a reliable feature because you might not always need the expand them, but they’re always there in case you have a few more people saying “Why not?” On that road trip at the last minute.


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