Tent or Pop Up trailers have their positives and fill a void in the market by providing people a lightweight trailer to tow and provide more amenities than tent camping, but they also come with many negatives. We have compiled all of the reasons not to buy a tent trailer below.
Hot in the Summer
Many tent trailers will come with air conditioning, but as you can imagine, canvas material does not have any insulation properties. You may be able to run the a/c and feel cool, but it will not retain any of the cooling. If you are boondocking without air conditioning, your tent trailer will be very hot inside.
Cold in the Winter
As with trying to cool the popup camper in the summer, if your camper is equipped with a heater for winter, the canvas material will not retain the heat and it will be hard to keep your camper heated. If it is 50 degrees, this may be fine, bit if you are camping in 30 degrees, you will not be able to keep heated and blow through lots of propane.
If you have a generator to provide power when you are out at your campsite, the canvas material will not hold out any generator noise and you will be stuck hearing the drone of the exhaust. Also if you run a generator with a pop up camper, make sure the exhaust is far away so it does not enter the RV and poison your family.
As you can imagine, the purpose of a tent trailer is to provide someone with a lightweight trailer to tow behind their small vehicle or SUV. The quality will be cut as typically quality in RV’s means weight. The popup camper will have less insulation, lightweight materials, lightweight frame, etc.
Small Amount of Room
Many popup campers have a small amount of room inside and are more dedicated to sleeping only. Your living area if you can call it that will consist of something that may be 8′ wide by 8′ in length, or about the size of a couch for your kitchen, bathroom, seating, and storage.
Each time you arrive at a campsite or leave, you will have to pack and unpack your canvas as well as items that will not fit in your trailer when it is folded down. This does not allow you to simply pack up quickly or go. If you have a restroom with grey and black tanks, you will need to pack everything up in order to make a quick trip to dump your tanks.
Air out Canvas after the Rain
If it is rainy out, or even if there is moisture produced inside when you breathe, you will need to air out your canvas before you pack it up. If you fail to do this, your canvas will grow mold and be musty. Mold is toxic and can cause breathing or long term issues if you stay in your camper with it.
Clean the Canvas
You will need to clean the canvas frequently to prevent the growth of mold, bacteria, as well as to keep your canvas clean and pliable. There are chemicals you will need to apply to treat your canvas to keep it resisting water and the UV rays.
Most don’t have Bathrooms
Many people get a travel trailer, or camper for the use of a shower or bathroom. Most tent trailers do not have room therefore don’t have a shower or a bathroom available. Some may have an outdoor shower if there is none inside, but you can imagine how this would work in populated campsite.
If you are looking to buy a new pop up camper, they actually are quite expensive. They range new from $6,000-$13,000 and can even go higher if you are looking at a A Frame model or larger pop up camper. Travel trailers in comparable size start at about $8,000 and have beds, showers, refrigerators, ovens, bathrooms, etc.
Limited Storage Space
Pop-up trailers have limited storage space, you can also never leave anything stored in there that is taller than it is when folded down. Typically the beds that hang out of the trailer fold in to the cab when it is closed leaving little to no storage in most models. Some may have an exterior dedicated storage that doesn’t change in size.
When you are in your popup trailer, you will always be in close proximity with whoever else is in there. As stated above, your living area may be 8’x8′ so imagine 4 people trying to hang out in the rain in such a small space. Getting around people will also be a complication due to the limited pathways.
Popup campers have thin walls to keep construction light. With this comes many negatives: less insulation, easier to damage, noise issues, warping issues, etc.
If you end up with a popup camper that has a bathroom, using it may be awkward. Some do not have full walls, or may just have a canvas wall. Being able to make eye contact with others in your trailer may be awkward when using the pot. Along with that, smells aren’t able to be contained if there are no walls or a thin canvas.
Don’t think just because there still is a lock on your popup camper’s door means you are secure. Any animal could easily tear through the canvas to get into food or you when you are not around or sleeping. Many parks ban tent trailers when they have bear issues in the campground.
Also, the canvas will not keep thieves out. Anyone could easily unzip your canvas or cut it with a knife to get in and steal your iPad or whatever you have stored in your tent trailer.
After use, the canvas can get brittle and tear. This may be hard to repair or find replacement panels. If you do have damage, you may need to find someone to custom replace your canvas as it may not be available.
A pop-up camper will be less comfortable for several reasons, heating, cooling, space, storage, packing, moisture, and many others as you are cramping a lot of items in a small package.
As you just have a thin canvas material separating you from your neighbors, anything you say, noises you make, smells you produce will be available for your neighbors or anyone in close proximity of your trailer to see, hear, or smell. Also remember if you have the lights on in the dark, your neighbors will be able to see your shadows. (we found this out on one of our camping trips)
Your canvas material will have seams and zipper areas and will leak if it rains. It will do its job and keep most of the rain out, but there will always be a leak somewhere. For many, this is not a big deal and is still better than a tent.
Even though we just listed off tons of reasons not to buy a popup camper, they are great units for newbies or even people who have been camping for some time. They are easily stored and towed by small vehicles and are very popular by many people young and old. Pop up trailers have many positives of which you can read in our opposing article of reasons to buy a popup camper. Thanks for reading and hope to see you at the campsite.
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