10 Best Hard-Sided Pop-Up Campers

Hard-sided pop-up campers are a great option for new RVers who want to enjoy the great outdoors. They offer some protection from the elements and are easy to pull and store.

Most hard-sided pop-up campers can be pulled by a car or small SUV, are easy to put up and take down, and many have bathrooms and other useful amenities. Many can also be stored in a standard-size garage making indoor storage possible.

Pop-up campers with canvas sides are great but these hard-sided versions make camping a little more comfortable without busting your budget.

Let’s check out some advantages and disadvantages of hard-sided pop-up campers and see what manufacturers are creating in this RV category.

What is a Hard-Sided Pop-Up Camper?

Simply put, hard-sided pop-up campers are trailers that fold down into a small version for ease of travel. If you compare them to a tent trailer, also known as a pop-up camper, they simply have hard sides instead of canvas sides. This difference makes them closer to a regular pull-behind trailer than a tent.

Hard-sided pop-up campers feature solid walls made of materials such as fiberglass, aluminum, or composite panels. Solid walls provide protection against the elements and are more secure from human or animal intruders. These campers offer the strength of a travel trailer with the ease of a tent trailer.

7 Benefits Of Hard-Sided Pop-Up Campers

These “hybrids” are becoming more popular with nature lovers for many reasons. Let’s take a look at 7 great benefits of hard-sided pop-up campers.

1. Insulation

If you are someone who enjoys camping in all seasons, hard-sided pop-ups offer more insulation than regular pop-ups. Canvas sides make keeping warm or cool inside more difficult, while solid walls allow for better temperature control.

The hard-sided campers can retain more heat during the winter and cool air during the summer, making you more comfortable.

2. Durability

Of course, hard-sided pop-up campers are going to be more durable than canvas. Softer materials can sustain water damage, tears, snag on branches, or attract mold and mildew.

As a family of six, we started camping with our kids in a tent. We then moved to a canvas pop-up trailer which was great. We would have loved having a hard-sided pop-up camper for all the reasons I’ve listed here.

3. Bathrooms

Yes, many of these hard-sided pop-up campers even have bathrooms. This means more comfort for you. You can avoid the well-used campground bathroom or the pit toilets at state parks. Some of these even have showers.

Most won’t be very large and you may have a cassest toilet instead of a flush or no shower, however, it is still convenient.

Do hard-sided pop-up campers have bathrooms?

4. Security and Privacy

Let’s be real. You just don’t get much privacy in a tent or a tent camper. The voices of your neighbors outside can be heard clearly and they can certainly hear you too. You will feel much more secure in a hard-sided pop-up camper.

Some brands and styles feature door and window locks, strong wall panels, and steel chassis. They protect you from almost anything in nature that might want to come inside including inclement weather, wild animals, or unwanted visitors.

5. Amenities

As I indicated, hard-sided pop-up campers are more likely to have bathrooms but you can also be sure they will have a kitchen with a sink, countertop, stovetop, and refrigerator.

Other things such as storage compartments, convertible seating, and even a king-size bed can also be included.

6. Fewer Restrictions at Certain RV Parks

For safety reasons, soft-sided campers could be restricted at some parks. Bears are a problem in many areas and food and trash could attract them to your camper. Canvas won’t keep them from getting into your stuff.

Once a bear finds easy food, it likely will become a nuisance. National Parks, state parks, and some private campgrounds don’t want this problem.

Hard-sided pop-up campers strike that balance with their convenience and ease of use, and their safety and compliance with restrictive campgrounds.

7. Easy Setup and Tear-Down

Hard-sided pop-up campers require a lot less assembly time than their canvas counterparts. First, you level your camper. Then, with most hard-sided pop-ups you simply unlatch the roof pieces and use an assistance pole that is included with the camper. Or just push them up if you are tall enough.

The roof snaps into place. Once the roof is in place, you can set the sidewalls and latch those into place. Then connect the two pieces of your door together with a latch and you are done. The teardown is similar, just backward.

If I remember correctly, with a soft-sided pop-up camper you raise the roof with a crank, slide out the bed or beds, and then button everything up with a lot of snaps.

Taking it down required cranking the roof down but it wasn’t as simple as it sounds. Once you had everything cleared for the beds to come in, you would be running around and around to push the canvas inside as the roof came down. It definitely took two people for the setup and tear-down.

Top 10 Hard-Sided Pop-Up Campers

If you’re sold on the idea of this hard-wall-style pop-up camper, look no further. We’ve assembled a list of 10 of our favorite hard-sided pop-up campers all perfect for your next adventure!

1. Aliner Family

Aliner Family hard-sided pop-up campers
Aliner Family interior
Aliner Family floorplan
  • Length: 18’
  • UVW: 1,980
  • GVWR: 3,500 pounds
  • CCC: 1,520 pounds
  • Tongue Weight: 285 pounds

As the name implies, the Aliner Family is perfect for a camping family who wants the ease of towing with a homey feel when you arrive at your campsite. Any of the Aliner floorplans can easily sleep four with a dinette conversion or bunks.

The Family features city water hookups, a Fantastic fan, LED interior lights, and is pre-wired for solar. The electrical system is 120 volt/12 volt.

The Family is considered a deluxe version and has an 11-gallon freshwater tank, two-burner stove, large refrigerator with a freezer, hardwood cabinets, microwave, plenty of windows, and cable connection.

2. Chalet A-Frame XL 1935

Chalet A-Frame XL 1935 hard-sided pop-up campers
Chalet A-Frame XL 1935 interior
Chalet A-Frame XL 1935 floorplan
  • Length: 18’ 7”
  • UVW: 2,165 pounds
  • GVWR: 3,500 pounds
  • CCC: 1,335 pounds
  • Tongue Weight:  370 pounds

As one of the most popular XL trailers, the Chalet XL 1935 model offers a permanent queen bed with plenty of under-bed storage. The dinette converts to a bed as well. You will love the 8’ of headroom in this pop-up.

A large galley, residential-height countertops, and windows and skylights provide ample light and views in all directions. There is also an optional wet bath and dormer available.

This self-contained folding trailer is easy to tow and quick to set up with a patented electronic roof lift system.

3. TrailManor 2518KD

TrailManor 2518KD hard-sided pop-up campers
TrailManor 2518KD interior
TrailManor 2518KD floorplan
  • Length: 18’
  • UVW: 2,600 pounds
  • GVWR: 4,580 pounds
  • CCC: 1980 pounds
  • Tongue Weight: 320 pounds

The TrailManor 2518KD doesn’t need a large tow vehicle but you will have a large trailer experience when you open it up. You can tow these with a properly equipped minivan, crossover, or SUV.

These can also be stored in your standard-size garage and set up in just five minutes. You can even set up in the rain without everything inside getting wet!

Some features of the TrailManor include a dry bath with cassette toilet and shower, two burner stove, 3-way, 3 cu. ft. refrigerator, Fantastic vent fan, 20,000 BTU furnace, 20-gallon fresh water tank, and more.

4. Forest River Rockwood A122S

Forest River Rockwood A122S hard-sided pop-up campers
Forest River Rockwood A122S interior
Forest River Rockwood A122S floorplan
  • Length: 18’ 8”
  • UVW: 2,120 pounds
  • GVWR: 3,284 pounds
  • CCC: 1,164 pounds
  • Tongue Weight: 284 pounds

The Forest River Rockwood A122S has a large storage area in the front and all the comfort features you could want in a small A-frame camper. It sets up in minutes with a large window on the front and a dinette that comfortably seats four.

The Rockwood also has a flip-up bed that is 54” X 80” and a dinette that makes it into a 45” X 80” bed, so you can easily sleep four. It boasts a 3-way refrigerator, outside griddle, 20-gallon freshwater tank, cassette toilet, and plenty of storage.

5. Antishanty AS1 Pro

Antishanty AS1 Pro hard-sided pop-up campers
Antishanty AS1 Pro floorplan
  • Length: 14’ 5”
  • UVW: 2,000 pound

The Antishanty AS1 Pro is not your average hard-sided pop-up camper. It combines some of the best features of a travel trailer, toy hauler, teardrop, and overland trailer for a very cool rig. This tiny home has all the creature comforts you could want in an off-grid hard-sided pop-up trailer.

This trailer is compact for easy towing and storage, sleeps up to 4 adults in two queen beds, and has a whopping 9’ headroom. The insulated hard-sided cabin will keep you toasty no matter what season you are in.

Enjoy the six, shaded windows and skylight for plenty of natural light. When the sun goes down, you’ve got integrated indoor and outdoor lighting.

6. Aliner Evolution 12

Aliner Expedition hard-sided pop-up campers
Aliner Evolutio 12 interior
Aliner Expedition floorplan
  • Length: 15′
  • UVW: 2,000 pounds
  • GVWR: 3,000 pounds
  • CCC: 1,000 pounds
  • Tongue Weight: 200 pounds

The Aliner Evolution 12 is one of this brand’s largest models with more living space, more storage, taller countertops, taller beds, and the highest capacity chassis. Even with more of everything, it is still a great hard-sided pop-up option that can be towed by many smaller fuel-efficient vehicles.

It is perfect for the whole family or a couple who just wants a little more room. The Evolution features an 11-gallon freshwater tank, plenty of electrical outlets, an optional off-road package, and much more. This little gem will easily get you to your favorite campsites.

7. Chalet LTW

Chalet LTW hard-sided pop-up campers
Chalet LTW interior
Chalet LTW floorplan
  • Length: 12’ 9”
  • UVW: 990 pounds
  • GVWR: 2,000 pounds
  • CCC: 1,010 pounds
  • Tongue Weight: 138 pounds

The Chalet LTW is a small but unique trailer. It is easy to tow and maneuver around campsites, parking lots, or wherever the road might take you.

This unit includes standard features such as LED lighting, 3 cu. ft. refrigerator, two burner cooktop with cover, 16,000 BTU furnace, 3-speed fan, sink, and single propane tank. It has a 12-volt electric water pump and a 15-gallon freshwater tank. The Chalet LTW is pre-wired for solar and includes an optional solar package, and sleeps two.

Some of this model’s options include a rear bike rack receiver, dual propane tanks which include an automatic change-over regulator, a large front cargo box, a 6-gallon water heater with an outside shower, off-road suspension, and much more.

8. Taxa Mantis 

Taxa Mantis hard-sided pop-up campers
Taxa Mantis interior
Taxa Mantis floorplan
  • Length: 19’
  • UVW: 3,115 pounds
  • GVWR: 4,200 pounds
  • CCC: 986 pounds
  • Tongue Weight: 435 pounds

The Taxa Mantis is a great adventure vehicle with plenty of room for the family. It has two activity areas at the front and rear of the floor plan and plenty of space in the middle. There is space to sleep at least four adults and its pop-up roof makes it feel more open.

It features a Dometic toilet and foldable shower, furnace, 8,000 BTU air conditioner, water heater, two-burner stove, full-size bed, folding couch/bunk bed system and much more for all your adventures.

With plenty of storage for the kitchen and bathroom, it also has a desk for any work you might need to get done.

9. Forest River Flagstaff T21DMHW

Forest River Flagstaff T21DMHW hard-sided pop-up campers
Forest River Flagstaff T21DMHW interior
Forest River Flagstaff T21DMHW floorplan
  • Length: 21’ 2”
  • UVW: 2,700 pounds
  • GVWR: 3,353 pounds
  • CCC: 653 pounds
  • Tongue Weight: 353 pounds

Check out this unique high-wall A-frame which has a front dormer for added living area. The dormer allows for a full wet bath and front kitchen. You can set this one up quickly with the gas strut lift assist.

Up front, the Flagstaff T21DWHW has a wet bath and kitchen. It comes with a CoolCat heat pump air conditioner, LP gas furnace, refrigerator, cooktop, and microwave. In the rear is a Queen-sized bed to prepare you for the next day.

Outside the features continue with a shower, stereo with indoor and outdoor speakers, exterior mount griddle, and work table. But that’s not it. This model also offers a 100-watt solar panel, aluminum wheels, storage compartments with a sliding trunk, ProRac Crossbars, 4 heavy-duty stabilizer jacks, and a spare tire.

You will lack nothing on this hard-sided pop-up camper.

10. Trailmanor 3124KB

Trailmanor 3124KB hard-sided pop-up campers
Trailmanor 3124KB interior
Trailmanor 3124KB floorplan
  • Length: 24’
  • UVW: 3,140 pounds
  • GVWR: 4,740 pounds
  • CCC: 1,600 pounds
  • Tongue Weight: 434 pounds

If you have a family and love having a towable and still stylish trailer, you will love the Trailmanor 3124KB. This model sleeps 7 and gives you the ultimate in amenities along with the same ease of setup as the smaller models.

You can enjoy a king-size bed in the KB and plenty of storage in the rear of the unit. The hard wall bathroom has a shower and tub, and the kitchen is complete with a three-burner stove, oven, sink, and 3-way, 3 cu. ft. refrigerator. The ample living space is great for relaxing and entertaining your friends.

The Trailmanor sets up quickly without having to unhitch and is light enough to be towed by a smaller tow vehicle.

Can You Tow A Hard-Sided Pop-Up Camper With A Car?

Many of these hard-sided pop-up campers can be towed with a car or a small SUV. Make sure you know your vehicle’s towing specifications before you purchase your trailer.

One of the great things about these trailers and the reason they are so popular is you generally don’t need a large truck to get these out on the road.

Do Hard-Sided Pop-Up Campers Leak?

Of course, hard-sided pop-up campers have the potential to leak like other RVs. With the proper maintenance and regular inspection of seals, you will have a camper that will keep you seeking adventures for years to come.

Certainly, hard-sided pop-up campers are much less likely to leak than canvas pop-up trailers. However, one area of concern for hard-sided campers is any damage to the sides. Poorly maintained or deteriorated seals are also problematic.

Believe it or not. there are some models of pop-up campers that have slide-outs. Inspecting the slide areas for potential leaks is important. Moving parts always have the potential for problems. To learn more, check out our article called 8 Best Pop-Up Campers with Slide-Outs.

Checking seals often and making sure your camper is set up properly will help avoid leak issues. At the first sign of a leak, make sure to address it. Water damage spreads quickly and finds its way to places you won’t see.

Are Hard-Sided Pop-Up Campers Worth the Money?

Hard-sided pop-up campers can cost anywhere from $10,000 to around $40,000. That is a big range for a relatively small camper. Is it worth the money? It could be, depending on what your tow vehicle is and what your camping plans might be.

As I said earlier, you don’t need to have a large tow vehicle with these, so it’s possible you won’t even need to purchase a vehicle to tow. You can buy a relatively nice travel trailer with a lot more room for $50,000 and up, but you will possibly need at least a half-ton truck to pull the trailer. That is another big investment.

You will want to consider what your current camping plans are when considering a hard-sided pop-up camper. It could work well for your weekend camping adventures with a small family or couple. Later, you might want to consider upgrading as you enjoy more time in the RVing world.

Hard-sided pop-up campers are currently enjoying a lot of popularity because they are easy to tow, and set up, and manufacturers are adding nice amenities such as bathrooms, showers, cassette toilets, well-apportioned kitchens, and more.

Can You Live Full-Time in a Pop-Up Camper?

Of course, you can live full-time in a hard-sided pop-up camper but first of all, you must consider your space needs. RVing is all about being outdoors so that’s likely where you will want to spend most of your time anyway.

Most of these campers do have options for an air conditioner and a furnace. However. they are not generally designed for full-time use so they may not hold up well in the long term.

Whether you are thinking about full-time or just weekends, rent a pop-up camper first. Pop-up campers aren’t a good fit for everyone so before cutting a check try one out.

Final Thoughts About Hard-Sided Pop-Up Campers

Hard-sided pop-up campers are a great option for anyone looking for ease of travel and easy setup. They are a great way to get your foot in the door of RVing without a massive financial commitment, both in the trailer and the tow vehicle.

Older canvas pop-up campers have some negativity surrounding them but that shouldn’t deter you from a hard-sided pop-up. These campers are a great option for singles, couples, and even small families.

The value and ease of towing they offer make them a very attractive way to get out and enjoy the RV life!

Related Reading:

10 Best Pop-Up Campers For Beginners

What Exactly Is A Pop-Up Camper?

7 Best Pop-Up Campers That Sleep 8

Can You Put A Bike Rack On A Pop-Up Camper?

About the Author:

Terri Nighswonger and her husband Todd have been RVing and work camping for five years with their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Newton, and their Minnie Australian Shepherd, Remi.

They originate from the Midwest but plan to enjoy the West for a few years, wintering in Arizona and summering wherever the road may lead. Writing is Terri’s passion, but she also loves hiking, kayaking, walking her dogs, and anything she can do outdoors.