If you are considering whether or not to buy a pop-up camper, already own one, or looking to rent pop-up campers, then there are a few key factors very relevant to the weight of your pop-up camper that you need to know before you set off on your boondocking trip!
Contents of This Page
- 1 Why You Should Learn To Manage the Weight of Your Pop Up Camper!
- 2 What You Need To Know About Weight Before You Tow a Pop Up Camper
- 3 Towing Capacity
- 4 UVW (Unloaded Vehicle Weight) or (Dry Weight)
- 5 CCC (Cargo Carrying Capacity) or Cargo Load/Cargo Carry Weight/Cargo Weight
- 6 GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating)
- 7 GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Ratio)
- 8 Tongue Weight / Hitch Weight /Trailer Hitch Weight
- 9 Contributing Factors to Weight in Pop Up Campers
- 10 Categories of Pop up Campers
- 11 Types of Pop Up Campers
- 11.1 Small (Mini) Pop up Campers weighing less than 1000 lbs
- 11.2 Medium Pop up Camper Weighing Between 1000 & 2000 lbs
- 11.3 Large Pop-up Camper Weighing from 2000 lbs
- 11.4 Air Opus op4 (Large)
- 11.5 Forest River Flagstaff 228D Mac series (Large)
Why You Should Learn To Manage the Weight of Your Pop Up Camper!
RV owners know all too well that some things are just not worth the added camper weight.
The towing capacity of your towing vehicle is a critical factor that determines what size pop-up camper is within your towing range.
Even a compact size pop-up camper gets pretty heavy once you have finished loading it with all your basic amenities.
This is why it is so important to know the vehicle’s towing capacity by checking the owner’s manual of your vehicle or RV.
This will make your camper experience safer and far less problematic so that you can make the most of your camping experience.
The weight of a pop-up camper will directly affect the ease in which it tows, maneuvers, and is stored. The lighter your pop-up camper is, the easier it will be to tow and the more towing options you will have.
Lighter models or small pop-up campers are also easier to maneuver and are more likely to fit neatly in your garage for storage.
What You Need To Know About Weight Before You Tow a Pop Up Camper
What should you know about your pop-up camper weight before you tow it?
You have most likely come across at least some of these terms during your search for your camper already, but we will review them for safety’s sake as they are very relevant to your camper experience.
This refers to how much towing capacity your tow vehicle has. Refer to your current vehicle manufacturer specs for the vehicle weight rating and maximum weight limit.
UVW (Unloaded Vehicle Weight) or (Dry Weight)
Other commonly used terms for UVW unloaded vehicle weight: Trailer weight, Dry weight
This simply refers to the manufacturing weight of your pop-up camper when it leaves the factory and makes its way to the dealers’ floor.
The components which contribute to this unloaded weight are the axles, hitch, a full lp propane tank, and all the basic amenities and features that you selected from the dealer.
Essentially this is the pop-up camper weight baseline before you start to load it with the extra weight of all your camping gear and supplies.
CCC (Cargo Carrying Capacity) or Cargo Load/Cargo Carry Weight/Cargo Weight
This is how much weight you can load on your travel trailer before you head off. This is why it is crucial that you keep track of everything you load into your camper and how much all that gear weighs to ensure that you do not exceed your pop-up’s maximum cargo weight.
A helpful tip is to start with your travel essentials such as freshwater, food, luggage, and bedding. Now you can calculate how much additional weight you can load into your camper safely.
A safe recommended packing load is not more than 10% of the maximum pop-up camper weight of your camper, but this varies greatly especially with mini-sized pop-ups.
GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating)
This is the maximum weight the axle/s of your camper can safely manage. This includes the body frame, water added, and everything else you have packed in. Loading beyond this weight is not only dangerous but could damage your camper.
GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Ratio)
This refers to the total weight your towing vehicle can carry. This includes the overall weight of the trailer, hitch, and everyone and everything inside the towing vehicle itself.
Tongue Weight / Hitch Weight /Trailer Hitch Weight
Tongue weight is always expressed as maximum tongue weight and is the direct weight exerted down onto the tow hitch of the tow vehicle.
Not to be confused with gross vehicle weight rating or towing capacity of the towing vehicle.
Too light and the pop-up camper could easily end up in a trailer sway which is very dangerous for everyone on the road, not just the pop-ups. Too heavy and your steering could be severely affected.
By moving cargo already packed into your camping trailer in front to behind the axle of your travel trailer you can adjust the tongue weight without adding to the overall weight or compromising the vehicle’s carrying capacity.
You could even move the spare tire of most pop-up campers to achieve the same result.
An easy way to check the tongue weight of your pop-up camper is to slowly lower the hitch using a jack onto an upright positioned pipe resting on a standard bathroom scale.
This weight multiplied by three will give you the tongue weight of your pop-up camper.
Contributing Factors to Weight in Pop Up Campers
The lighter your pop-up camper weighs, the better for your tow vehicle. The higher the gross trailer weight of a pop-up trailer the harder it is going to be for the towing vehicle to
Building materials used
The materials used to construct your pop-ups will directly affect the camper’s weight. Durable materials like fiberglass for the walls weigh more than a wall constructed of aqua-shield tenting material for instance.
They also insulate heat better so don’t be too quick to dismiss the hard-sided pop-up camper or a hard-sided A-frame camper option due to their average weight as it may save you from having to install a heating system depending on where you are planning on camping.
The same goes for the floor material, it might make sense to use lightweight materials to save on tonnage, but then end up needing extra insulation down the line.
Or water damage becomes an issue due to the qualities of using the lightest materials possible.
There are various methods and systems for lifting the roof of pop-up trailers. One example especially popular on smaller pop-up trailers is the clever lift system which utilizes a clutch controller winch to minimize the extra load.
Nearly all pop-ups come with a lift system already installed so it would only be prevalent to consider changing it once it needs replacing.
You will need a freshwater tank to store your freshwater. Your fresh water tank capacity might have gallons of water that are not necessarily needed for a shorter camping experience.
It’s also a great idea to fill up on water at your destination where possible for a long-term trip instead of driving all that unnecessary load around.
The whole idea behind pop-up campers is for them to be the lighter option. A light weight pop-up is ideal for traveling and storing, but not ideal for all those bulky luxury amenities you might find in large-sized models of RVs or fifth-wheel trailers.
There is no shortage of camping appliances to install or add to pop-ups, all of which add to how much your pop-up camper weigh, so choose wisely unless your towing vehicle can afford all the load.
If this is the case and you have the space in your large-sized pop-up then adding a water heater, water pump system, gas stove, air pumps, and A/C can make your camping experience all the more comfortable.
Brake controller/Trailer Brakes
Though this system is not a big concern when it comes to adding load to your trailer, they are extremely helpful in controlling that load behind your vehicle while towing, especially if your travel trailer is close to your maximum towing capacity.
Categories of Pop up Campers
Pop up campers are classified by their weight into 3 categories according to how much the pop-up campers weigh.
Small or Mini pop up camper: Less than a 1,000 pounds
Medium pop up campers: Between a 1,000 to 2, 000 pounds
Large: Over 2, 000 pounds
Types of Pop Up Campers
Picking the right pop-up camper for you can be overwhelming so we have done the research for you. Listed below are examples of pop-up campers currently available, outlining their respective camper weight and features for you to consider.
Small (Mini) Pop up Campers weighing less than 1000 lbs
Below are some different examples of mini pop-ups so you can better understand which features you might prefer.
SylvanSport Go (Mini)
UVW: 840 lbs (Unloaded Vehicle Weight) or dry weight
CCC: 800 lbs (Cargo Carrying Capacity)
Cargo Dimensions (Whilst in transit): 84″ x 48″ x 48″
As one of the lightest mini-sized pop-ups on the market, this camper is not only comfortable to tow with a smaller vehicle but comfortable with a heavy load for a stronger towing vehicle. With a UVW of only 840 lbs and an impressive cargo capacity of 800lbs, this lightweight camper has lots of storage space.
A lockable 9 cu ft waterproof cargo box in the front of the storage pod provides cargo security.
Trailer dimensions while traveling are 143″ x 75″ x 81″ while expanding to an impressive 154″ x 124″ x 108″ when camping!
This very light versatile camper has ample storage space with a 48″ x 84″ interior floor space which also serves as an impressive loading bay of 84″ x 48″ x 48″ ideal for loading fun toys like kayaks, dirt bikes, or even a quad bike or any extra cargo. It even sleeps up to four people!
With an all-aluminum pop-up trailer frame and a very aerodynamic design to eliminate drag, the SylvanSport GO offers great fuel efficiency while towing.
Coachmen Clipper Express (Mini)
The Clipper Express is a versatile and lightweight mini pop-up camper that can provide a comfortable camping experience for a family or a few close friends.
UVW: 761 lbs
CCC: 516 lbs
GVWR: 1,277 lbs
This is the lightest pop-up camper Coachmen’s has ever built. Constructed from light weight materials, soft walls and aerodynamic design makes the Coachmen Clipper is easy to tow and store.
Coachmen have designed the clipper with comfort, practicality, and convenience in mind. Such as LED lighting on both the interior and the exterior of the camper are innovations that keep your pop-up camper lighter.
Manufacturers will give you the option to upgrade certain features on your camper when buying such as installing a 5, 000 BTU air conditioner, a spare wheel with the carrier, bike rack, and many more, keeping in mind that all of these features will directly increase the overall weight of your popup camper.
Livin’ Lite Quicksilver 8.0 (Mini)
Livin’ Lite has been totally redesigned from scratch. The revised model boasts a more spacious interior whilst still maintaining the original style as well as some extra more modern amenities.
With all the best of the old combined with the new, this camper should impress anyone in the market for a light pop-up camper.
UVW: 994 lbs
CCC: 1,096 lbs
GVWR: 2,090 lbs
Though this camper appears quite small at first glance it has a rather impressive layout once you have expanded its living area and pop-ups, 6 people are comfortably accommodated.
With two full-sized beds in its flip-out bunk and a sofa bed for even more sleeping space, the Livin’ Lite is ideal for families or multiple couples wanting to camp together.
Though the basic amenities are just that, due to the all-aluminum superstructure, there is still a great deal of load capacity available for packing or adding additional amenities.
Extra factory amenities include a water pump, water heater, outside shower. There is also an off-road package option, but make sure to keep track of the weight.
Medium Pop up Camper Weighing Between 1000 & 2000 lbs
These campers are ideal for longer more comfortable vacations with more space for cooking, packing, and sleeping quarters. Even the largest of these campers in this range should be able to be towed by your average vehicle.
Some might need a stronger car once fully loaded so be sure to make yourself aware of all the weight restricting factors of your vehicle.
It is not recommended to tow a camper or a trailer on your vehicle’s maximum limit or even very close to it.
Taxa Outdoors 2021 Tiger Moth (Medium)
The Tiger Moth is one of the most popular pop-up campers available today. This model is designed with the camper’s comfort, safety, and convenience in mind.
A large front window lets in lots of natural light and the front room can be converted into either a comfortable sitting area or an extra sleeping area if needed.
The rear room has a closet that provides plenty of storage for clothing, and the rear door leads to a pass-through storage compartment that can be used for your outdoor gear or additional sleeping space.
The rear door is designed with a crank-out window that makes it easy to enter and exit the unit without disturbing your sleeping partner. The Tiger Moth is available in several colors to suit your personal style.
UVW: 1,359 lbs (Unloaded Vehicle Weight) or Dry weight
CCC: 841 lbs
GVWR: 2,200 lbs (Gross Vehicle Weight Ratio)
The Tiger Moth is truly designed for maximum space utilization with ample innovations to make the most out of packing and living space.
There is a pull-out kitchen which provides an impressive amount of space for cooking. LED lights to illuminate both inside and outside of the camper.
Camping off-grid is no problem either as the Tiger Moth has both a built-in electrical and water system with an option to have solar panels installed by the manufacturers.
Jayco Jay Sport 8SD (Medium)
The Jay Sport is a pop-up camper weighing in at only 1,570 lbs, which makes a weekend away an easy option. Spacious and comfortable, it even has a fully equipped kitchen so you can save money and have a gourmet meal – not just a takeaway – while you’re away. And with a whole range of optional extras, you can customize your Jay Sport to suit your specific needs.
UVW: 1,570 lbs
CCC: 680 lbs
GVWR: 2,250 lbs
The Jay Sport Series of pop-up trailers combines the classic styling of the traditional teardrop trailer with the modern conveniences of the pop-up trailer.
Viking Epic Series 1706 XLS (Medium)
The 1706 XLS pop-up camper trailer has a deluxe rear living area, two full beds, two gaucho pull-outs, and a huge front bedroom. It’s perfect for family camping and can sleep up to nine people.
UVW: 1,642 lbs
CCC: 1,255 lbs
GVWR: 2,897 lbs
This camper is the perfect home base for your next outdoor adventure or weekend escape. It’s ruggedly built with a fiberglass exterior, so it’s easy to tow—but the full-body, padded, camper shell offers protection from the elements.
Inside, the cabin-like kitchen features a slide-out countertop, a two-burner cooktop, a microwave, a 12v refrigerator, a sink with a water filter, and storage cabinets. There’s plenty of countertop space for food prep.
The kitchen also has a curved, drop-down counter with a two-burner cooktop. A great deal of comfort for your longer vacations without adding too much weight as a cost.
Large Pop-up Camper Weighing from 2000 lbs
Large Pop-up campers make the perfect getaway vehicle for those who prefer comfort and ample space over practicality. It’s like a hotel on wheels, and it’s perfect for camping, hunting, and fishing. Take the whole family out on the trails for a weekend of camping in the woods.
All of the comforts of home are right there in your pop-up camper. The towing weight of the campers in this range exceeds the average suburban family vehicle so be sure your vehicle is adequately suited for the task.
Air Opus op4 (Large)
This is not your average pop-up tent camper! Definitely a tent camper for the adventurous who has the towing vehicle to match and is not concerned over gas mileage. With such a high gross vehicle weight rating you just know the pop-ups come with a lot of amenities and add-on options. All of which add to your pop-ups average weight. These include additional sleeping quarters add ons, solar fixtures, a lift system, and hard-sided walls.
UVW: 2,870 lbs
CCC: 1,100 lbs
GVWR: 3,970 lbs
Nearly all the weight of these pop-up campers comes from being built tough enough to not let you down during rugged excursions. When pop-up campers weigh in as much as these pop-ups do they certainly require trailer brakes which are fantastic for road handling if your tow vehicle can afford the weight.
The”Lock N Roll” hitch is also an extra heavy practical tough towing system. There is an air canopy add-on that works in conjunction with your air tent design which requires a pump making for a quick tent set up.
Other heavy options include Gas system options, AC/heat pump, propane heater, and a lithium battery upgrade, all of which add to the gross axle weight rating though.
Forest River Flagstaff 228D Mac series (Large)
Forest River Flagstaff was aiming for ultimate value when designing the Mac series travel trailers. Packing in as many basic options as well as add ons as possible to accommodate any family’s ideal pop-up in this weight range.
Many of the features are standard, but Flagstaff has made many less basic features customary. Perfect if you are fond of a comfortable bathroom experience.
UVW: 2,439 lbs
CCC: 824 lbs
GVWR: 3,263 lbs
Hitch weight: 263 lb
With too many standard features to list here. There is an impressive outdoor package catalog to choose from as well as additional add ons, the heavier options which could tip the scales include:
a 3-Way Refrigerator, a 20K BTU furnace, water filtration system, spare tire with carrier, an outside griddle, a power roof lift system, and two BTU low profile roof-mounted air conditioner solutions, so be sure to keep track of the overall weight of your pop up trailer versus your vehicle’s towing capacity.