Unlike traditional recreational vehicles (RVs for short), pop-up campers have the convenient and unique qualities of being compact, less expensive, and easier to tow. This article will help provide a clear understanding of the pop-up campers’ weight and its impact on towing, fuel efficiency, maneuverability, and of course safety.
What Impacts the weight of the pop-up camper
How big is the camper? The bigger the camper the more the weight so no real rocket science there however, this should be considered and verified to determine the accurate impact this will have on your travel experience.
What all are you totting? Clothes, food, camping accessories and water must also be accounted for to further establish the weight of the camper.
What is the camper made of? In a traditional sense, many pop-ups are wood based which makes them heavier in most instances than those constructed primarily using modern materials such as aluminum and lighter composites.
What does the layout consist of? Extra comfort producing amenities can be great to enjoy but also a weighty addition to your pop-up. Keep in mind that air conditioners, bathrooms, larger sleeping quarters, and cooking areas can all add to the weight of the camper.
Sizing your camper up
Like the sport of boxing, pop up campers are typically broken down by weight classes. With many different styles and sizes there can be a wide range of weights as it relates to pop ups. On average the lighter versions of the pop-up camper weigh about 600 pounds while the heavier selections hit the scale at around 4500 pounds. Here are the three of the more popular weight categories according to general classification:
Lightweight: The campers that fit the lightweight profile are typically going to be between 600 and 1300 pounds. These typically have a smaller number of amenities and can be towed by most cars.
Middleweight: Pop-up campers fitting this weight class are typically between the 1300 to 2500 pound range with more inside space and more luxuries than their smaller counterparts.
Heavyweight: While you won’t find any Muhammed Ali’s or Iron Mike Tyson’s in this category what you will find are pop-up campers with maxed out space, larger amenities, bigger frames and average weights between 2500 and 4500 pounds.
|Camper Size||Average Price (USD)||Average Weight (lbs)||Tongue Weight (lbs)||Gross Vehicle Weight (lbs)||Storage Space (cubic feet)||Fuel Efficiency (MPG)|
|Large||$15,000 – $25,000||2500 – 4500||300 – 400||3500 – 4500||60 – 80||10 – 15|
|Medium||$10,000 – $15,000||1300 – 2500||200 – 300||2200 – 3500||40 – 60||15 – 20|
|Small||$5,000 – $10,000||600 – 1300||100 – 200||1200 – 2200||20 – 40||20 – 25|
Why we need to understand the weight of our camper
There are a number of reasons to know and understand the weight of your pop-up camper. And it is not just to arrive at a number. In fact, it is so you have a good understanding of what that number effects such as:
Its ability to maneuver. The lighter the camper the easier the tow and typically the easier to setup when on a camp ground.
The braking system. When your camper is heavy being aware of your stopping distance can further increase safety by helping you have greater distance to gain full control of everything during a stop.
The tow. Each vehicle capable of towing has a defined towing capacity that should be considered and safely followed when determining how your pop-up camper will be towed.
Fuel Efficiency. The heavier a pop-up is the harder the tow becomes which has a negative impact on how far your fuel can take you between fill ups. Keep this in mind when considering the type of pop-up you have or want to purchase as well as the vehicle that will be used to tow it!
Here are some other important factors to consider concerning a pop-up’s weight
Weight distribution – Ensuring that the weight of your camper is distributed as even as possible to maintain a balanced and safer towing experience
Types of hitching – Having the right hitching for your vehicle and your pop-up camper is essential to handling the task of towing and understanding limitations of towing so do your research to land the right hitch for the job!
Tongue weight – This goes along with getting the right hitch as the tongue weight reflects the weight the camper tongue imposes on the hitch. Another good thing to consider when prepping your vehicle to tow as well as making sure you buy the right camper for your vehicle.
Gross Vehicle Weight – The Gross Vehicle Weight rating is important because to ensure pulling and towing success your vehicle needs to a towing capacity that is greater than the pop-up campers’ Gross Vehicle Weight rating.
To Sum It UP
The outside look, inside layout, tow style, and setup of a pop-up camper are all important factors that can help you make your choice in what to get and enhance your experience with it once you get it but weight should also be considered. Why? Because not only is it important to the overall safety of your towing experience but knowing your weight capacities can play a vital role in how your camper is towed, fueled, braked, maneuvered, and setup. The weight can also have a considerable impact on what you can store inside your camper while still having a safe and comfortable driving experience!