Last Updated on
No matter how big of an RV you need or can afford, there are certain size constraints that you are probably limited with. And due to a shortage of storage space, not everyone is able to get the RV that they truly need.
Hard-sided pop-up campers offer a little workaround around this problem.
Sacrificing a little headroom, pop-up campers are excellent when it comes to storage efficiency. Fold the roof down, and you are left with much more room to work within your garage.
And to show that these campers can be no less convenient and comfortable than other RV types, we decided to showcase our favorite hard-sided pop-up campers.
The Best hard sided pop up campers
Forest River’s hard-side pop-up camper series are rather popular out there. One of their lines is Rockwood, the top floorplan of which – A214HW – we chose for our today’s overview.
Being the top floorplan in the Rockwood series, A214HW offers the best in terms of comfort and amenities. Likewise, it is the priciest, so one would need to have the budget for it.
The HW in the floorplan name stands for “High Wall.” Compared to the non-HW floorplans, it has taller walls, as the name suggests. HW floorplans are 5 feet 8 inches high, while non-HW variants are 5 feet 1 inch high.
On the other hand, the A214HW is also the heaviest camper on the line, weighing 2,700 pounds. It is nearly 700 pounds heavier than the smallest floorplan on the line and up to 200 pounds heavier than other HW floorplans.
The A214HW is 20 feet 10 inches long, and compared to the shorter floorplans in the Rockwood line, it has more room for amenities. Namely, it has a large 60 x 80-inch bed, while the shorter floorplans have 50 x 80-inch beds. This may seem like a minor difference, but it is going to matter to some people.
What makes the A214HW floorplan stand out from the others is that it is the only floorplan in the line that has an interior shower and toilet in it. A213HW only has a toilet, while the rest of the floorplans don’t have any bathrooms inside.
On the other hand, the A214HW has to sacrifice some dining area for the bathroom. In other HW floorplans, there is more area allocated to the dining space.
However, when it comes to overall functionality and comfort, the Rockwood A214HW is the best in the line.
The Forest River Flagstaff line overall is very similar to the Rockwood camper series. The Flagstaff series again has three high-wall and two non-high-wall floorplans, with the floorplans in the two lines being fairly similar, if not identical.
For a little more variety, we decided to pick the T21TBHW floorplan to overview. There is the T21DMHW floorplan with a layout very similar to that of the A214HW, but we decided to choose a different one.
So, there are three differences that we would like to pinpoint between these two floorplans.
First of all, the Flagstaff T21TBHW comes with two twin 30 x 74-inch beds instead of one 60 x 80-inch flip-up. In total, you get slightly less sleeping area, though this camper still has two areas.
The second difference lies in the dining area. The T21TBHW camper has a 30 x 81-inch dinette, which is larger than the 33 x 64-inch dinette of the Rockwood camper. Plus, one of the sofas in the Flagstaff camper is longer, so you are overall getting more room for dinner.
The third difference is a rather big one. The T21TBHW floorplan’s bathroom only has a toilet and no shower, which may be a thing that will matter to some. However, Forest River still includes an outside shower with a water heater and other necessary accessories.
A more minor difference is that the T21TBHW camper is 30 pounds lighter than the Rockwood camper. Though 30 pounds isn’t too much, this actually may make a difference for some people.
In the end, while the differences between the Rockwood and Flagstaff campers may seem minor, they will definitely matter to some people out there.
Chalet offers three floorplans in their A-Frame hard-side pop-up camper series – the 12’9” LTW, the 15’6” Classic, and the 18’7” XL. We are going to cover all of them today, and let’s start with the larger XL.
The XL line has 3 floorplans, and we’ve picked the XL-1935 for our overview. The floorplans are more or less similar, but the thing that the XL-1935 is the best at is free floor room.
A-Frame decided to go minimalist in this floorplan and provide it with as much free floor room as possible. Compared to the other floorplans in the XL line, the XL-1935 floorplan has a more compact dining area. This may somewhat decrease comfort when dining, but this floorplan has more wiggle room inside.
On the other hand, the kitchen area in this floorplan is bigger than in the others, which is another thing that’s great in this camper.
One other thing that we like in the XL-1935 and the XL line overall is that it has an optional toilet & shower compartment. The smaller lines do not have this feature. Those who can’t live without an interior bathroom will surely appreciate this option.
The last notable feature in the XL series is that they are equipped with the Power Lift system. This system automatically sets up and takes down the roof with no effort on your side. This feature is exclusive to the XL line, so you’d need to opt for one of its floorplans if you don’t want to do any lifting.
The features of the XL line are great, but some people out there are actually willing to sacrifice comfort for compactness and lightness. Those people would appreciate the smallest A-Frame camper, the LTW, much more.
The LTW line has only one floorplan, and it doesn’t have most of the unique features of the bigger A-Frame campers. It has as much as its length of 12 feet 9 inches allows for.
Inside, the LTW hard-sided pop-up camper has two sofas that convert to a bed, a dinette, a kitchen area with a sink, a two-burner cooktop, a fridge, as well as a countertop with some storage space in it. Everything is made with space-efficiency in mind.
With this camper, you aren’t getting an optional shower and toilet. Instead, Chalet includes an outside shower with a water heater. As for the toilet, one would need to relieve out in the wild.
Other than that, the A-Frame LTW comes with all the essentials one would want for their journey. This camper is equipped no worse than any other camper on the list.
By the way, we also didn’t mention that this actually is one of the lightest campers on the list. It weighs a mere 1,300 pounds when unloaded, which is excellent for vehicles with not so much towing capacity.
The A-Frame Classic is the middle-sized hard-sided pop-up camper option in the A-Frame line. The Classic series, in its turn, has the Alpine and Arrowhead floorplans, of which we chose Alpine because it has more sleeps in it – three versus the two in the Arrowhead.
When compared to the XL line, the Classic Alpine camper lacks two crucial features. One of them is the optional bathroom with shower and toilet, so people who really need them would want to opt for an XL camper.
The second difference is that the Classic Alpine camper (and the entire Classic line overall) doesn’t have the Power Lift System. Like in the LTW camper, you’d need to set up and take down the roof manually.
Aside from these two things, what differs between the Classic and XL series is that Classic campers are 15 feet long, which is 3 feet 7 inches shorter than the XL campers. As a result, there is less wiggle room in this camper.
Due to the more limited space, certain amenities lack in the Classic Alpine camper. For example, the sink in the Alpine is a regular single sink, while XL campers have double sinks. Besides, the cooktop here has just two burners.
Interestingly, in spite of the respectable amount of room in the Classic Alpine camper, it doesn’t weigh that much – 1,505 pounds, just 205 pounds more than the LTW. For the amount of the additional stuff you are getting, this camper is really lightweight.
All in all, the Classic Alpine would be a suitable choice for those who don’t need the features of XL campers and at the same time feel underwhelmed by the LTW. In addition, it’s a good option for those who need three sleeps in their camper.
In recent years, Jayco hasn’t really made anything new for their hard-sided pop-up camper line. Due to this, we’re left with the older 2016 Jay Series. But even though it is several years old, it still is a very good option for purchase.
The Jay Series line includes eight floorplans, and we decided to choose the 12BFD floorplan for our overview. There are two reasons for our selection.
First, this floorplan has a large 63 x 84-inch storage deck in the front, which makes this floorplan stand out. This roomy deck is going to come in handy for people who don’t have the necessary storage space in their vehicle.
The second reason is that the 12BFD floorplan has an interior bathroom with a cassette toilet and shower. The other floorplan with a big front deck, the 12HFD, doesn’t have a bathroom, which is why we thought to choose 12BFD instead.
As a side note, those who don’t really need a huge front deck but do need a bathroom may have a look at the 12B, 12BMD, and the 12BSB floorplans. They are essentially the same inside.
Back to the 12BFD floorplan.
This floorplan is 22 feet 4 inches long, including the front deck. Without the front deck, the camper with its living area is around 16 feet 2 inches long. This means that when going for this floorplan, you sacrifice plenty of compactness for the increased storage space.
Inside, the 12BFD camper is very similar to other hard-sided pop-up campers on our list. It comes with a dinette/bed area, a kitchen area with a three-burner cooktop, a sink, a 3 cubic feet bridge, a couple of storage cabinets, and, of course, the bathroom we mentioned above.
The Coachmen Viking is more than just a hard-sided pop-up camper line. It includes compact soft-sided campers, tent campers, and, of course, pop-up campers. Needless to say, what interests us today is the pop-up campers.
Out of the dozen floorplans in the Viking line, only two actually are hard-sided pop-up campers. Those are V12RBST and V12RBSTHW, of which we chose the latter for our list.
The two floorplans are basically identical. The only difference between the two is that the one we chose a high-wall version, as testified by the HW at the end of its name.
The V12RBSTHW floorplan is 20 feet 2 inches long, which makes it the third longest on our list after the Forest River campers. However, when it comes to amenities, it isn’t the most equipped on our list. For example, the Jay Series 12BFD camper we overviewed above had more stuff in it in spite of being 4 feet shorter (if you don’t count the front deck).
One crucial thing that the Viking camper lacks is a bathroom. The reason for this is that this camper has four sleeps – two in the dinette/bed and two in a separate 54 x 80-inch flip-up bed.
So while this camper has more sleeping space, it does lack some things like a bathroom. Plus, things are a little crowded in the Viking camper overall.
With all that being said, this hard-sided pop-up camper still has a decent kitchen area. It isn’t as roomy as in the Jay Series 12BFD, but it has all the kitchen essentials like a two-burner cooktop, a sink, and a refrigerator.
The Viking camper also has decent storage space in it. There is a quick-release exterior storage box attached to the front of the camper, for example. This storage box has quite a good storage area in it, though not as much as the Jay Series 12BFD’s front deck did.
In the end, those who need two-four sleeps in their camper would likely appreciate what the Viking line has to offer.
Aliner has several great hard-sided pop-up campers, and Classic is just one of them. Measuring 15 feet in length and weighing just 1,590 pounds, the Classic is a rather compact and light camper, though it isn’t the smallest model offered by Aliner.
Needless to say, when you are dealing with a camper of such a small size, you are receiving less comfort and amenities than you would from a large camper.
For example, the Classic camper lacks an interior bathroom, which is common for the size. Aliner still includes an outside shower with this camper, but an indoor bathroom is a must-have for some people.
On the other hand, what this camper does have is plenty of sleeping space. It comes with a 60 x 76-inch rear bed, as well as a 44 x 76-inch front bed/dinette. This amount of sleeping space is good enough for at least three people, maybe four if you are traveling with children.
Other than that, this camper seems to be very similar to the rest of the campers on our list. Most importantly, it comes with a fully-equipped kitchen which is no less functional than the kitchens in most of the larger camper models.
For those who can’t live without the more advanced amenities, the Aliner Expedition camper probably is a more suitable option. At first glance, from outside, the Classic and Expedition seem to be identical, but there actually are some big differences to know about.
Well, the very first and most important difference is that this camper is 18 feet long, 3 feet longer than the Classic. As a result, it has more room for other amenities in addition to the bed, dinette, and kitchen stuff that the Classic has.
The most significant addition to the amenity list of the Expedition is the optional toilet. There still is no interior shower in this model, but a toilet nonetheless is a big plus for this camper.
Another thing that the increased floor room allows is twin beds in the back. Like it was with the Classic, there still are sofa bed and single big bed options for this camper, but some people may actually prefer the twin bed option instead.
The last notable advantage of the increased length of the trailer is that there is more interior room in it, obviously.
One other difference that should be noted in the Expedition camper is that it comes with an off-road axle by default. The Classic camper has a standard axle, though there is the option of an off-road axle available for it. For off-roading, the Expedition may be a much better option.
The Aliner Scout-Lite is yet another compact Aliner camper on our list. This one, however, is noticeably more compact than the Aliner Classic camper we overviewed at the beginning.
This camper measures 13 feet in length, which is 2 feet shorter than the Classic. Plus, this camper weighs just 1,180 pounds – 270 pounds lighter than the Classic – which makes it the lightest camper on our list. Those who have limited storage area and/or whose vehicles have low towing capacity would probably like what the Scout-Lite has to offer.
Compared to the previous two Aliner campers – and all other campers on the list, really – the Scout-Lite camper has the least number of amenities. This may sound bad comparatively, but Aliner actually included everything possible in the limited amount of space they had.
As a result, this camper comes with a 30 x 75-inch bunk, a dinette, a dinette sofa that converts to a 40 x 76-inch bed, a smaller non-convertible sofa, and a sink. Aliner decided not to equip the Scout-Lite camper with any kind of kitchen equipment, which distinguishes it from the rest of the campers on the list quite a bit.
When you think about it, this camper is more suitable for short trips where you don’t need to prepare any food on the go. In addition, it may serve as a supplementary RV to your main unit in case you need more sleeping area.
So if you find that your needs match these criteria, the Scout-Lite camper may be quite a good option for you.
The last camper on our list, the Ranger 10, is sized very close to the Scout-Lite camper we’ve just examined – it is just 4 inches shorter. But there actually are some much bigger differences that we want to talk about.
The one crucial difference that really sets the Ranger 10 camper apart from the Scout-Lite is that it has kitchen equipment in it, including a small 3-way 1.9 cubic feet refrigerator and a two-burner stove.
What this means is that the Ranger 10 camper, even though it is smaller than the Scout-Lite, can be used as a standalone RV unit no matter how long your trip is. Needless to say, it won’t deliver as much comfort and room as larger campers, but it still is a great camper for those who don’t need more.
Another notable difference in this camper is that it comes with an outside shower. Aliner doesn’t include one with the Scout-Lite, which again testifies that it isn’t quite meant to be a standalone RV unit.
Surprisingly, the Ranger 10 isn’t too much heavier than the Scout-Lite. Weighing 1,225 pounds, it is just 45 pounds heavier than the Scout-Lite.
Other than that, the floorplans in the Scout-Lite and the Ranger are pretty similar. At least, the dual-bunk floorplan of the Ranger 10 is – there also is another floorplan with the dinette in the rear and just one convertible bed.
All in all, if you need self-sufficiency in a very small footprint, the Aliner Ranger 10 is a rather good option to consider.