New on the scene, but gaining in popularity is the line of hard-side pop-up campers on the market. People often turn to these due to the size and ease of towing/parking in National and State Parks. Some National parks do not allow soft side pop-up/tent camping due to bear activity within the parks. If you are new to this style of camper just sit back and we will go over the best hard-side pop-up campers of 2022.
What is a hard-side pop-up camper?
These campers have solid tops and sides usually made from steel or fiberglass to provide a more rigid enclosure. Unlike the regular soft side pop-ups, they are solid, making them able to stand up against winds and rain. Hard-side campers usually pop up into an A-frame shape with some providing slide-out sides for even more space to spread out. Walls are also hard-sided and lift up into position for more rigidity.
If you have ever used a soft side pop-up camper, you know all too well that they are prone to rips and leaks. The added durability of a hard side can give a little peace of mind and is better equipped to provide protection from elements.
Table on Contents
- Benefits of a hard-sided pop-up camper
- How much do hard-side campers cost?
- How much does a hard-sided pop-up weigh on average?
- Pros of a pop-up camper
- Cons of a pop-up camper
- Is a pop-up camper good for boondocking?
- How to store your camper
5 Best hard sided pop up campers that are currently available
- Rockwood A214HW
- Chalet A-frame XL 1935
- Jayco Jay Series Sport A-frame
- Coachman Viking Express 12.0td (off-grid special)
- Aliner Lxe A-frame camper
Soft side pop-up camper
What are the benefits of a Hard Sided Camper?
These Hard Side Pop Up Campers can provide many benefits, especially when compared to a soft-side pop-up or a tent.
One of the first things that come to mind is the ability to better handle the fluctuation of temperatures. They are by no means anything like a class C or class A RV, but they are still able to provide some comfort in mild winter weather and summer heat.
As we talked about earlier, hard-side pop-up campers provide better protection against wildlife intrusion. While it is not Fort Knox, it would take a larger animal with a hungry belly, to see its way inside as an unwanted house guest.
This also goes for an unwanted human looking for a quick heist of some camping equipment or personal belongings. It is going to take a little more effort than slitting the side with a pocket knife.
A hard-side pop-up camper can provide a homey feel that the good soft side just can’t. It just feels different when you are showering (yes, some have showers) or changing your clothes and the sides are not flapping in the breeze.
These hard-sided pop-up campers can also help keep the noise out while sleeping and conversations that you don’t want the world to hear private.
A campground can be a loud place and sometimes I just feel like taking that afternoon nap.
These campers provide better protection from the elements, like wind and rain. I remember growing up with my parents using the old canvas pop-up and them telling me don’t touch it or it will leak in the rain. I really don’t know if that is just an old wives tale, but I do remember dodging the drips when it would rain.
While a hard-side pop-up camper can still leak, it is much more unlikely. With proper care and maintenance, it should not be an issue to enjoy time inside during a rainstorm.
As with any recreational vehicle, if you are expecting extreme weather conditions, make sure you have a safe place in mind to retreat to.
How much do hard-side pop-up campers cost?
Ranging from $10,000 to over $25,000, these campers can provide all the luxuries of home, but in a small package. regular size beds, a full kitchen, and even a bath with shower in some models. Staying indoors is not the plan with this type of camping though.
How much do hard-sided pop-up campers weigh?
Typically, around 2000 lbs. or less. This makes it easily towed with either a van or SUV, but check your vehicle towing capacity before hitching up.
Best hard-side pop-up campers of 2022
What benefits of camping using a pop-up?
- Due to the compact size, you will not need a rear camera for backing into your site
- Limited stress from towing as it is maneuverable
- Campsite setup is quick and painless for the most part
- Getting in and out of National Parks or campgrounds is a breeze
- Gas usage will only be affected minimally by this lightweight camper
- As with setup, breaking camp when you are tired is just as painless
- Less maintenance than a travel trailer or fifth wheel
Drawbacks of camping using a pop-up?
- Limited storage
- A couple or a very small family is the max capacity
- Limited creature comforts (not for inside living your whole trip)
- keeping temperatures from fluctuating
- Not easy to heat or cool
Is a hard-side pop-up camper good for boondocking?
Definitely, If you love boondocking or dry camping then pop-up campers are really the ones that you need. lightweight makes it easy to get back into the good spots, and perfect to tow along those muddy or gravel roads.
Most vehicles won’t have a hard time pulling them. Also, you don’t have to work hard towards getting them leveled. Your time hopefully will be mostly outside the camper and less time inside.
Solar is also a perfect addition to the top of an A-frame camper setup to extend your off-grid outing.
Less maintenance and durability make it a good choice for this type of camping.
Are pop-up campers easy to store?
Yes, they can be stored at your residence if needed taking up minimal space. Durable in the weather makes it good for sitting on the side of the house or even in the garage with a tarp thrown over it. This will save you on the storage fees that are needed for most RVs.
2021 Rockwood hard side pop up
2021 Forest River Rockwood Hard-Side Popup Fold-Down Camper The moment I saw this floor plan first roll out a few years ago I knew it would be popular.
What I DIDN’T realize was just HOW Popular!! And for good reason! It combines all the great parts of a small travel trailer with the lightweight and easy towing benefits of a folding camper PLUS a hiding Cassette 1/2 bath & convertible bed setup that can work for just about anyone and everyone!
Well-sized for most Minivans and SUVs this is an awesome way to get a nice camper WITHOUT “canvas” tent-sides without having to haul something so darn large!
Best hard-side pop-up campers on the market
5 Best hard-sided campers to get you started
1. Rockwood A214HW (see A213HW above)
This great A-Frame floor plan features a residential Queen 60 x 80 flip-up bed which creates great storage and a sleeping area. The easy-to-reach storage trunk in the front is great for all your camping accessories as well.
Hitch Weight: 353 lb.
UVW 2,700 lb.
CCC 653 lb.
Box Size 14.00′
Open Length: 21′ 2″
Closed Height: 5′ 8″
Closed Length: 21′ 2″
2. Chalet A-frame XL 1935
The XL 1930 series A-frame trailer is our most popular XL trailer, offering a permanent queen bed, significant under bed storage, eight feet of headroom, a large galley with residential height countertops, windows, and skylights providing ample light in the cabin with views in all directions, and a dinette that converts to a bed. The XL line of trailers maintains the essence of an A-frame trailer, a self-contained folding trailer with large storage, low maintenance, easy towing, and quick setup with our Patented Electronic Roof Lift System. Optional Wet Bath and Dormer are also available
3. Jayco Jay Series Sport A-frame
The Jay Series Sport Hardwall is Jayco’s line of a-frame pop-up campers. These units sleep fewer people (up to four) than Jayco’s other pop-ups, which is a common theme in a-frame campers. The trade-off is that although Jay Series Sport Hardwall campers don’t have the additional sleeping space afforded by pop-out bunks, they stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer (with an optional air conditioning unit), and there aren’t any soft walls to wear out or leak.
There are currently eight different floor plans in the Jay Series Sport Hardside lineup, some of which include a fully-enclosed, hard-walled bathroom, and others that include cargo decks like the Baja Edition tent trailers.
4. Coachman Viking Express 12.0td (off-grid special)
Though this is not a 100% hard-side pop-up, it is still the perfect option for a lightweight off-grid outing.
The soft side adds extra headroom in the entranceway and kitchen area. This unit is also packed with great options to make your off-grid adventure something special.
5. Aliner Lxe A-frame camper
The Aliner LXE was truly designed to be your home on the road. The standard hard-walled front dormer provides ample space and headroom for the built-in shower and cassette toilet. All of this in a package that weighs less than 2000 lbs.
Perfect for the camping purist
- City Water Hookup
- Pre-Wired for Solar
- LED Interior Lights
- Fantastic Fan
- Premium Curtains
- Alloy Wheels
- 120-volt/12-volt Electrical System
- Electric Trailer Brakes with Break-Away Safety Switch
As nice as these hard-side pop-up campers can be, they are just really sleeping quarters for the most part. If you are looking to hang out in your RV all weekend, it is probably not the right choice for you.
RVs were not invented to be hauled out in the woods as make-shift weekend cabins for you to lounge in the whole time.
Many people around the united states want to camp in an RV. But, a point many people miss is to go out and enjoy what there is to see.
If you get up early and hit the trails, just to come back to eat and catch some sleep, then this is a perfect setup.
You can make use of the camper for sleeping and taking a nap or cooking a meal, but you most likely won’t be comfortable staying inside all day long.
So, if you want that kind of a life camping, then going for such a pop-up would be a great idea rather than investing in a several thousand dollar travel trailer or motorhome.
Come along on our trip through Yosemite with all the points of interest
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