Pop-ups vs. Trailers: Which is Right for You?

Jun 23 2015

For the first-time RVer, a trip to an RV dealership can be overwhelming. Many of the fifth wheels, motorhomes and trailers available are enormous, and come with many of the comforts of home—maybe even more than your home!

You might want to get into RVing with something a bit smaller. Pop-up trailers and travel trailers are two popular options for this instance. But how do you know which is right for you and your needs?

If you’re on the fence between a pop-up and a trailer, you’ve got to read this.

RV TRAVEL AND PACKING

  • Pop-ups are much easier to tow. They’re dramatically lighter than a travel trailer, and tend to be shorter as well. Depending on your vehicle, this can be a deal-breaker. Many cars can’t tow a travel trailer, but pop-ups are light enough to be towed by many smaller vehicles. This also bodes well for gas mileage. Winner: Pop-Up

  • A travel trailer is pretty much ready to go once you pull up to the campsite. Find the spot you want, stabilize and secure the trailer, open the awning and have fun. Pop-ups can be a little more labor-intensive when setting up, and can take up to an hour to set up, while a trailer can be ready in about 15 minutes. Winner: Trailer

RV STORAGE

  • It’s a prerequisite that you bring oodles of fun stuff along when you’re camping: fishing poles, beach balls, firewood and more. Travel trailers are larger, but that also means there’s more room for fun stuff. Pop-ups often have limited storage area. Winner: Trailer

  • When the weather gets cold and it’s time to put your RV away for the season, pop-ups are often easier to manage. Their compact size means they can fit in a normal-sized garage rather than require storage somewhere other than your driveway or home. Winner: Pop-up

COMFORT AND STABILITY

  • Travel trailers are made of wood, aluminum and fiberglass, while pop-ups are often made largely of canvas. The materials in a travel trailer makes for a more stable, secure living environment appropriate to a more indoors-centric camping experience than a pop-up. Winner: Trailer

  • When you’re ready to upgrade, pop-ups often keep their resale value longer than a trailer. They are also easier to spruce up, maintain and keep clean, adding to their eventual resale value. Winner: Pop-up

  • If you’re the Emeril Lagasse of your family and enjoy whipping up some tasty food, a trailer is much more appropriate for you. Trailers often come with a larger kitchen—pop-ups might not come with one at all. Winner: Trailer

  • A bathroom is really what separates minimal camping from something more comfortable. Most trailers come with bathroom facilities, but pop-ups generally don’t. Winner: Trailer

Unless the compactness of a pop-up is more important to you than the comforts of a trailer, a trailer is the smarter choice for the first RV you choose.

But it’s a tough choice! Check in with one of Good Life RV’s three locations to check them out in person and see what’s right for you.