What is the average price of a pop up camper?
If the idea of sleeping on the ground in a tent doesn’t appeal to you, and the thought of driving a large RV scares you, then perhaps you might want to look into pop up trailer campers.
The pop-up camper market has seen recent growth partly because of their appeal as tiny houses and RV living.
Manufacturers are producing them with bigger sleeping areas, wood floors and porches. Some models are even being made out of recycled marine steel so they’re lighter than other campers.
What is a Pop-Up Camper
The pop-up campers fall into three categories: lightweight (weighing less than 1,000 pounds), midweight (1,000 to 3,500 pounds) and heavy duty (more than 3,500 pounds).
They can be towed behind almost any vehicle with a tow hitch or ball. A lighter pop-up camper can be towed by a passenger car or SUV with an adequate engine.
The Avrage Costs of a Pop-Up Camper
The cost of a pop-up camper depends on its age and model. It can also depend on whether you’re renting or buying it. Popup trailers are a nice upgrade from a tent because they’re more comfortable for sleeping and provide better protection from the elements than most tents do, yet easier on the budget than an RV.
Pop-up campers range in price anywhere from about $10,000 to $27,000 depending on the model and features.It’s an entry-level, affordable option for people who want to go camping but don’t have the money or space for a larger trailer.
Finally Renting a pop-up camper It varies depending on where you live, but it is usually around $30 per night.This includes insurance, deposits, etc.
Digging Deeper: What Does a Pop-Up Camper Price?
Price for buying new
Although the cost of purchasing a new pop-up camper is higher than the purchase price, it’s an affordable place to start. You’re looking at between $10,000 – $27,000. The price range where a fold-out camper can be found depends on its age, brand and most importantly the features.
You’ll find standard features on the lower end, including, but not always, a:
- Small kitchenette
- Mini-fridge, freezer (or some other form of cold storage)
- A cooking surface, often a small stove-like stove or camp stove.
Although they are smaller than tents, budget pop-up campers can still be a great upgrade to tents. You’ll get more square footage and more features as you go up in price.
- Heated beds
- A heater or air conditioning
- Take a shower or a bath
- More cooking appliances
The Hidden Costs of Buying New
You now have an idea of the cost of a new pop-up camper. Let’s take a look at other costs, such as maintenance and financing.
Finance a pop-up camper
Many of us don’t have enough money to buy outright, so financing is one of the initial costs of purchasing a new pop-up camper.
Pop-up camper loans are typically available with a term of up to 20 years and an interest rate around 5.5% or higher. If you choose a $10,000 standard model, this means that you would pay $6,500 interest over the loan’s life if you secured a low rate of interest and kept it for 20 years.
When financing, you should aim to get the lowest fixed rate possible and ensure that there is no prepayment penalty regardless of how long your loan term. The shorter the loan term, the lower the interest rate. A $10,000 loan at 5.5% for a 5-year term would cost you less than $1,500. This is about 1/4 of what you would pay for a 20 year term.
Insurance for pop-up campers
Although pop-up camper insurance is generally cheaper than RV insurance, it’s still worth considering when getting a price quote. Your location and the chosen company will influence how much you pay for insurance.
You can expect to pay between $200-$400 per year and $16-$32 each month.
Maintenance and repairs
Although fold-out campers don’t require a lot of maintenance, they should be kept in good condition. You may need to do maintenance or repairs more frequently depending on how often your camper is used. However, you can expect at least one annual checkup.
These are some of the recommended maintenance tasks:
- Verify the tire pressure and ensure they are road-safe
- Inspecting and lubricating the cable system that raises/lowers camper roofs
- Oil the wheel bearings
- Verify that tail and brake lights work.
- If applicable, clean the exhaust fan
You’ll need an AC filter changed if your pop-up camper has one. If it has plumbing or toilets, empty the tank and clean the lines. If you live in colder climates, winterize the camper. These costs and any repairs made during the process are estimated at $150 per year by most users.
Used Pop-Up Camper
A used pop-up camper is cheaper than buying new. It will still be necessary to maintain and insure it. You may be able buy a camper at a lower price in cash to avoid financing.
There are many things you should keep in mind when purchasing a used camper. We created this guide to help you find the right pop-up camper. It even comes with a checklist that you can use.
You should also consider the depreciation cost as used pop-up campers can be older. While fold-out campers are less likely to lose value than new vehicles or RVs, they will depreciate more slowly over time. For the next seven years, you can expect to lose about 20% and then 10% each year.
Pop-up campers will reach the 8 th birthday. After that, depreciation is usually flat-lines and your pop-up camper’s value will remain steady.
Check the National Automobile Dealers Association value before purchasing a used popup camper.
Costs of renting a pop-up camper
The cost of renting a pop-up tent will depend on the area you live in and what size/type camper you select. Prices range from $30 to $100 per night in most areas. Other costs that are not included in the nightly rate should also be considered.
Additional fees may be charged by some rental companies, such as a deposit (usually non-refundable), insurance and cleaning fees. The rental price includes a deposit of $250-$500 and rental insurance that is usually between 6-7%. Although not all rental companies charge a cleaning fee you can expect to pay $50-$100.
Renting can be reduced by:
- Book online and get there early
- A peer-to-peer renting arrangement
- Choose off-season dates
- Choose a model that is smaller and less feature-packed
- Long-term rental
Buying vs. Renting a pop-up camper: Which is better?
The next question you will have to ask is whether buying or renting a pop-up tent camper is better. The answer to this question will differ from one camper to the next. We mean you, unfortunately!
Consider how often you will use it, if you have the vehicle to tow a camper van, and whether storage is necessary.
If you camp frequently, have a trailer-ready rig, and ample storage space, buying is often the best option, especially if you are cash-strapped. Although rental costs can quickly add up, they are usually less expensive than buying. To do a price comparison, you can use the information above on pop-up camps to find out what your needs are.
The basic unit has two fold outs that are used as sleeping quarters. The main part has a small dinette, a storage area and a cooking area with a tiny refrigerator. Generally there is an outdoor shower and a grilling area. Notice a toilet is not mentioned. The low end pop-up trailers don’t have them. Many people use portable toilets for emergencies and use the campground facilities otherwise.
The higher priced campers often have cassette toilets, a shower, better cooking facilities and some have a slide out, which gives you extra living space. The extra room is a boon when everyone is stuck inside due to inclement weather. Remember to pack some games and toys for the kids and a good book for yourself.
Your family should have no problem eating and sleeping in the pop-up as long as you don’t have to stay indoors for long periods of time. You are protected from the elements by heavy duty canvas and a metal rook.
One problem new RV-ers have with their pop-ups is backing into your campsites. Take it slow and have someone guide you in or choose a pull-through campsite.
The only other major expense you will have is the cost of the hitch, which is less than $500. The increased consumption of gasoline is minimal and your insurance and tolls for your camper is much less than it would be for high end RVs.
Our first camper was a Coleman pop-up that we bought used. We used it for two years and had a blast. It was sold to a friend when we bought a camper van.
If you aren’t sure about whether you would enjoy RV-ing and don’t want to hassle with having to get the RV back to the dealer by a certain time, get yourself a used pop-up and I guarantee you will be hooked on RV-ing.
Vehicle Storage and Requirements
Pop-up campers often weigh between 1,000 and 5,000 pounds. They can be towed behind almost any vehicle with a tow hitch or ball. A lighter pop-up camper can be towed by a passenger car or SUV with an adequate engine.
A heavier model would need a pickup truck with at least a 3/4-ton pickup to have enough power and weight to tow it comfortably.
Towing is not allowed by many rental companies. You can expect to pay between $55 and $150 per day for those who do. You may also be charged a per-mile fee.
Storage rental prices range from $100 per month to $400 depending on whether you rent an indoor or outdoor space, or if you have a heated unit. While pop-up trailers are generally fine outdoors, they may be more resilient to the elements if covered or wrapped.
As far as storage goes, one way around this is to store the pop-up camper over in your garage. That way you can keep it in place all year round and just pick up where you left off when you are ready to go camping again.
How to Reduce the Cost of Buying a Pop-Up Camper
We have already discussed ways to save money when renting a pop up camper, but there are also steps you can take to lower the cost of purchasing a camper. You can pay cash first, but you also have the option of:
- Private dealers are available for purchase: You’ll be able to get a lower price if you buy directly from the seller than a dealer, even if it’s not an older or heavily-used camper.
- End-of-the-year sales: You should shop at the end-of-the-year when dealers are likely to be trying to sell this year’s models. Remember to negotiate.
- Purchase an older model and get a new one: If you are looking for a model from last year, consider buying an older pop-up camper. It is possible to find high-end features for a lower price.
- You might consider renting it: Once you have purchased your pop-up camper, it is possible to rent it out and recoup the purchase price.