After months of sheltering in place, many Americans feel the urge to get outdoors and away from home during summer 2021. One popular pursuit experiencing exponential growth is camping via travel trailer. As an economical first-time RV, pop-up travel trailers are great choices for RV newbies or reformed tent campers who want to stay protected from the elements while sleeping off the ground in a real bed. Many pop-ups have features typically found in larger trailers yet offer compactness, maneuverability and lower cost compared with bigger units. Read on for a sampling of unique pop-up travel trailers for 2021.
Approx. Starting Price: $25,000
At 18 feet long, 84 inches wide and a road height of 68 inches, the hard-side, A-frame Expedition has the biggest footprint of any Aliner trailer, yet it has one of the fastest setup times among all pop-up travel trailers. The company says Expeditions are a full 30 percent bigger than their other models, yet still only require about 30 seconds to pop up. Aliner has streamlined its 2021 offerings to better meet increased demand.
The 2021 Expedition now comes in two floor plans (permanent bed or sofa bed), and standard features include a swivel cassette toilet, a furnace, a water heater and an exterior shower. The Expedition also has a Euro-style galley with a sink, a stove and a 3-way refrigerator with freezer, yet the entire trailer weighs less than 2,000 pounds so it can be towed by a variety of vehicles. There are lower priced Aliners, but the roomy Expedition is a true beauty.
Approx. Starting Price: $20,000
Weighing in at 2,687 pounds, the Coachmen Clipper Sport 108ST spans almost 17 feet closed; open it is more than 20 feet long thanks to pull-out queen-size beds. The Clipper Sport features an E-coated tubular steel frame, a dual-drive winch, a Goshen lift system, a 4-layer laminated seamless roof, laminated fiberglass walls, LED exterior lights, and a power roof vent — to name a few notable highlights.
Optional features for the Coachmen Clipper Sport include an Essentials Package with a 3-way power refrigerator, a 20,000 BTU furnace, an awning, electric brakes and a spare tire carrier. The Clipper Sport can also be outfitted with an exterior wall-mounted grill, a 40- or 80-watt Zamp portable solar panel, a screen room, a Thetford Porta Potti and a bike rack.
Approx. Starting Price: $20,000
Billed as the “world’s first fold-out cabin” as well as “the cabin that goes everywhere,” the Camp365 is designed and built in Minnesota. The trailer’s aluminum alloy steel reinforced frame offers light weight as well as strength and durability; the trailer’s shell is aluminum, too, so the unit weighs under 1,500 pounds. The cabin uses no wood or canvas that can mold, rip, rot or fade, and its aerodynamic shape makes the Camp365 easy to store as well as transport.
The Camp365 cabin is 700 cubic feet and has almost 40 cubic feet of dry storage, and it can be towed by any vehicle equipped with a Class I hitch — including most ATVs. The Camp365 has five tinted windows, and options include air-conditioning and heating, a shower and bath, an off-road wheel kit, customized beds and more. The cabin can be configured for almost any occasion — even happy hour.
Approx. Starting Price: $20,000
Another great choice in A-frame pop-up travel trailers, Chalets are made in Albany, Oregon. The trailers come in three sizes (LTW, Classic, XL), and those sizes have specific models with various floor plans and features.
A big draw with the Chalet XL is its motorized roof, which allows total setup time in the neighborhood of one minute — the Chalet brochure says 30 seconds, but take a minute simply because you can.
The Chalet XL 1920 is the company’s largest model. This pop-up is best suited for larger families since it has maximum space (including 8 feet of headroom), residential-height countertops, bunk beds and can be configured with a dormer and a wet bath with shower. Chalet customers may configure trailers to their liking on the website store and then submit their orders. All trailers are on backorder due to sheer demand, so it’s best to call directly to learn about specific wait times.
Approx. Starting Price: $15,000
Forest River’s longtime pop-up line, Rockwood pop-up travel trailers represent years of solid service, optimized floor plans and clever features. The Rockwood 1910ESP stands for Extreme Sports Package, designed for those who want to go a bit more off-road than the local KOA. The ESP package has a standard pro rack system for adding kayaks, bikes, and other toys. The unit features bigger off-road tires for more ground clearance when heading off grid. The 1910ESP also has hot and cold spray ports for cleaning muddy gear or for use as outdoor shower.
A key feature of the Rockwood 1910ESP is its solar capability, which allows more adventurous types to get out of the campground and into more off-grid boondocking — but without sacrificing creature comforts such as power. The trailer has an available roof-mount 100-watt solar panel, and the 1910ESP has a standard 1,000-watt inverter to plug in appliances, computers, etc. The ESP also has two large batteries for more energy storage and thus more time off grid. The Rockwood 1910ESP’s standard features include a roof vent, and L-shaped seating area and a table extension, as well as a Traveloo 2.5 porta potty.
Approx. Starting Price: Starting at $20,000
Trailers from OPUS Camper USA are a bit of a marvel — the entire self-inflating tent pop-up system uses an integrated air pump so initial setup takes about 90 seconds. The OP2 is the company’s most compact trailer, yet it is as ready to go off-road as any other OPUS model. The OP Lite has an articulating hitch, all-terrain tires, coil suspension with dual shocks, and underbody armor to navigate rocky terrain. Clearly the OP Lite is ready for adventure beyond the campground.
The OP Lite sleeps up to four thanks to a queen-size bed on one end and a U-shaped sofa that converts to a bed at the other. The trailer has a complete slideout kitchen with a 4-burner stove, a 12V refrigerator / freezer, a sink with running water and LED lighting for evening meals. OPUS also offers the Air Annex tent extension, which provides an enclosed space for gear storage or living, since the Air Annex functions like an awning. Cost for the annex is $1,500.
Approx. Starting Price: $18,000
Coachmen’s Viking V-Trec comes in three different floor plans: the lowest-price V1 with a queen-size bed at each end; the V2 with a queen bed at one end and a king bed at the other end; and the V3 with a slide-out dinette as well as a queen bed at one end and a king-size bed over a full cargo deck on the other end.
Similar to the Clipper Sport, the Viking comes with many standard features as well as the Glide-N-Lock bed support system that eliminates the need for support poles under the beds. The V-Trec V3 has a GVWR of 4,427 pounds and an exterior length of almost 22 feet. The V3 floor plan shown above includes a wet bath with a toilet and standup shower.
Approx. Starting Price: $22,000
The Flagstaff A-frame hard-side models from Forest River make camp setup a breeze. Lower the stabilizer jacks, unlatch the trailer top, press a button and a power lift system raises the roof. Step inside, raise the side walls, latch in place, and this trailer is ready for family fun. There are two Flagstaff high-wall models, one with twin beds that convert to a king-size, and the T21DMHW (shown above) with a dinette amidships and a flip-up queen-size bed at one end. The Flagstaff pop-up high-wall models are constructed of fiberglass.
Inside, the Flagstaff T21DMHW has roomy layout thanks to its dinette and flip-up bed configuration. Other features include a CoolCat heat pump air-conditioner, an LP furnace, a full step-in wet bath with a flush toilet and curtain surround, a microwave, a Fantastic Fan, a 4 cubic foot refrigerator, a water heater as well as front and rear storage compartments. The twin-bed Flagstaff T21TBHW interior (shown above) model has the galley mid-trailer and the dinette at the front end of the unit under a pop-out dormer for additional convenience and head space.
Approx. Starting Price: $9,995
One of the most versatile pop-up travel trailers on this list, the SylvanSport GO is a camper, gear hauler and utility trailer all in one. The innovative, lightweight design lets active families use the GO for many applications — from camping under the stars to hauling a washer and dryer home from a big box store. The TIG-welded, powder-coated aluminum frame and diamond-plate aluminum deck stand up to abuse. The tent deploys from a case mounted below the equipment racks.
As a camper, the GO features a versatile tent floor plan. It has a large dining table for 4+ as well as side benches that can be converted to twin beds or one large king-size bed. The tent material is 220-denier ripstop nylon, and Sylvansport offers attachable awnings, a Gozeebo screen room / tent as well as accessories to make the GO an even better camp tool. One might be tempted to call the SylvanSport GO the Swiss Army Knife of tent trailers. Due to increased demand, SylvanSport has created some value packages for 2021 to make the build and ordering processes easier.
Approx. Starting Price: $16,000
A new model in the Coachmen pop-up line for the 2021 camping season, the 12.0TD MAX joins the Viking series as another hybrid pop-up — it provides the compact design of a teardrop trailer with the stand-up height of full pop-up travel trailers. Exterior features include a full-height rear door as well as a side bike door for accessing the unit when the roof is down. The Express features 4 scissor-style stabilizer jacks, LED exterior and interior lighting, a 27-gallon freshwater tank and a 35-amp converter / trickle charger.
Inside, the new 12.0TD MAX has dark ash cabinetry, a 2-burner stove, LED lighting, a deep-bowl acrylic sink, a 3-way 1.9 cubic foot refrigerator, a 12-volt on-demand water pump and a Thetford Porta Potti. Options include an exterior-mounted grill, a bike carrier, an air-conditioner and an optional off-road package that adds 15-inch tires and off-road lifted axles.
Approx. Starting Price: $29,000
The OPUS OP4 tent trailer has a unique setup system, which takes all of 90 seconds. All campers need to do is open the trailer, secure the bed ends and start the inflation system. The lower walls of the camper are constructed of aluminum dibond and polystyrene insulation, and the trailer sits on a powder-coated tubular frame. The trailer sections unfold with the aid of pressurized gas springs, allowing one-person setup. (The 2021 OPUS OPO4 online brochure says the starting MSRP is $24,500; the lowest online dealer prices are in the $29,000 range.)
Like the OP Lite, the exterior of the OP4 has a rugged slideout kitchen with 4-burner range, sink with running water and a slideout Dometic reefer as well as storage drawers. Inside, beds at each end sleep two, and the leatherette dinette can be configured in myriad ways to accommodate a table, a seating area, storage space or another sleeping area. Thus, the OP4 can sleep up to six people.
Approx. Starting Price: $19,000
Forest River’s Flagstaff 23SCSE is 22 feet long and weighs 2,933 pounds; it has a king-size bed at one end and a queen-size at the other, as well as a sink, fridge, a slideout dinette, a range and cabinet storage in the living space. The Flagstaff model line has a Sports Enthusiast package designed for active campers with a sense of adventure. The unique feature of this trailer is the metal deck at the front, great for storing lots of gear en route.
The Flagstaff trailers with the SE package have ProRac Systems crossbars to carry up to 150 pounds of gear and toys. The SEs also include an AM/FM stereo with Bluetooth, an MP3 player and USB ports for streaming and charging, LED lighting. The Flagstaff SE series is also solar-ready, has a power lift system, 12 inches of ground clearance and 15-inch off-road wheels and tires. And for resting weary muscles after outdoor activity in chilly weather — the beds even have heated mattresses.
Approx. Starting Price: $31,000
What we would call a literal pop-top trailer, the TAXA Outdoors Cricket is a fully hard-sides trailer that raises its roof in a cantilever style when set up. The 15-foot Cricket has a powder-coated steel chassis, a laser-cut aluminum skeleton, it weighs about 1,800 pounds and sleeps two adults and two children. TAXA calls the Cricket a “NASA-inspired design.”
The Cricket has many features as standard equipment including a large picture window, a generous kitchen area with a counter and sink, interior LED lighting, a Truma combo furnace and water heater, an exterior hot and cold shower, a roof exhaust fan and 12 USB ports. Options include a porta potty, Thule load bars, a kids’ berth and a Dometic refrigerator. Currently on the TAXA website it says estimated availability for a Cricket is 8 weeks; check with a local TAXA dealer for up-to-date lead times.
Approx. Starting Price: $51,000
While it might be said that other OPUS units are more tent than trailer, the OP15 hybrid caravan is the antithesis — more trailer than tent. At 15 feet in length, the OP15 has hard sidewalls and a pop-up roof for maximum headroom inside. This trailer features a bamboo interior and has loads of standard features inside, including a full bathroom with shower, sink and flush toilet; a leatherette dining area; a king-size bed and twin bunk beds; a 4-speaker stereo system; a Truma heater and hot water; and a TV and air-conditioning.
The OP15 has an outdoor slideout stainless steel kitchen with a 4-burner stove, a sink, as well as a separate slideout refrigerator and freezer —both of which maximize interior space. This pop-up travel trailer’s roof provides plenty of headroom, as well as an extendable rear area for even more space. The OP15 has the goods to boondock off-road thanks to 3 100 amp-hour AGM batteries connected to a 300-watt solar setup, as well as tanks for 63 gallons of freshwater, 18 gallons of gray water collection and 10 gallons of black water.
Approx. Starting Price: $12,000
Billed as “the basecamp you’ve always dreamed of,” the Woolly Bear is a great starter trailer due to its small size and light weight. Unlike standard pop-up travel trailers that have beds at each end, the Woolly Bear goes for more altitude: it has an elevated platform that can hold most 2 to 3-person tents. TAXA Outdoors also offers a Thule / Tepui rooftop tent as an option. The Wooly Bear features a full-size outdoor kitchen with a pullout drawer that fits many large-capacity coolers.
The Woolly Bear has tons of standard features including underbody lighting, a swiveling tongue jack, powder-coated steel cabinetry, 12-volt accessory outlets, a Torsen axle suspension with electric brakes and a rear accessory hitch. Optional features other than the tent include Thule load bars, a 6-foot awning, a mosquito-net room and a propane package. Note that the add-ons can bring the price up to around $16,000. No worries, though — TAXA Outdoors also offers financing.
Approx. Starting Price: $19,000
A hard-sided A-frame camper from Forest River, the Rockwood 122S differs from the aforementioned Forest River Flagstaff hard-sided T21DMHW unit because it lacks the wet bath of the Flagstaff. The S designation of this model is for the large storage box at the front of the trailer. The Rockwood is about 19 feet long and it weighs 2,120 pounds.
The Rockwood A122S has a microwave, a flip-up bed, a 10,000 BTU Cool Cat heat pump, a sink, a refrigerator, an outdoor griddle and a dinette with a large picture window up front. The Rockwood also has plenty of storage with the main storage bin up front as well as three EZ Reach exterior storage trunks.