Technically speaking an expandable camper would include any type of tent or RV that is able to be expanded once it is set in place. For the purpose of this blog the focus is FOLDING POP-UP CAMPERS!

With a new interest in purchasing and renting RV’s because of COVID CRAZY 2020, camping has become trendy even among those that may have never considered it before. But now, it is considered an ideal way to travel and vacation. A very easy way to vacation while keeping a safe distance from others, it can be a very economical choice for a family – especially if they purchase a used Pop-Up Camper. It is lightweight and easy to tow, can easily sleep a family of four+ (even if they all look like they are professional basketball players), and can be bought used for under 3K, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

A few weeks ago glancing through my Instagram feed, I noticed a pic of a used pop-up tent camper. The person posting the picture is a very close friend of our family and is a successful reseller of vintage clothing and accessories. “Could she now be in the business of reselling campers?”…I wondered with furrowed brow.

Her husband who is the same age as my oldest son did not seem like the “camping type”. I have known him for years, just doesn’t seem like something he would want to do. I guess I didn’t really know him after all. They have a recently graduated high schooler and a senior in high school this year, surely they would be bored going to campsites I thought. Yes, I was convinced she was going to flip that camper! Then I saw another pic where she was starting to renovate the camper. Absolutely! She was going to live my dream, buy a camper on the cheap, fix it up and sell it and make some extra cash. I was so excited for her! So I called her and much to my dismay, she was not fixing it up to sell.

Like so many other families this year, they decided to try camping since it seemed like the safest alternative in Covid Crazy 2020. They planned to take short trips from home and get a change of scenery. They didn’t want to spend a lot of money and it had to be lightweight since they would be pulling with their SUV and it had to sleep 4 VERY TALL PEOPLE. The answer? An old, almost ugly pop-up camper! The model is an early 2000’s model, not very attractive but in decent shape. Our family friend who can see the beauty and value in a vintage piece of clothing that she purchases at a garage sale and then flips on Ebay or Poshmart for a hefty little price tag, can see the value and beauty of this pop-up tent camper.

New pop-up campers can range anywhere from $10,000 to more than $20,000. Of course with any type of purchase, you will have pros and cons. With a pop-up camper most would probably say the cons outweigh the pros, but not for every family. Some of the things to consider is that once you are at the campsite, you now have to expand it. Expanding it once it is at the campsite can be cumbersome especially if it is raining that day.

Many pop-ups can sleep up to six and the beds are large on opposite ends so that is great for taller campers or a way to sleep a few little kiddos in one bed. If it is a cold night, pop-up campers can be hard to keep warm and keep cold on hot summer days due to the canvas wall construction. There is also very little storage space and limited floorspace. On the other hand, I don’t know many campers that want to hang out in their camper day and night….unless you get consecutive rainy days and then you better hope you don’t have any holes that will leak. If you want a nice big shower and private bathroom, you better hope the Campsite facilities are top notch. However, the money you save with a pop-up during this pandemic can be used in the near future when eventually we can travel the world and go to a swanky hotel.

One of the pros of camping in a pop-up camper are the stories you will long remember. Family camping stories can be filled with fun and terror, struggles and hilarity. When I was a child our dad bought a pop-up tent camper. I have no idea why and I only remember taking it to my grandparents place in Pennsylvania sometime in the 1960’s. They had a berry farm on several acres and there were a couple family homes on the property. We were sleeping in my aunt’s house, but my brother and boy cousins were supposed to sleep in the camper. In the middle of the night we all jumped out of bed when we heard the boys screaming. The nightmare for me started when my dad ran out of the bedroom with not a stitch of clothes on but with a rifle in his hand. He and my uncle ran out into the pitch dark not knowing what they would encounter. The boys were screaming that a bear had been trying to get into the camper. I am pretty sure that if a bear was trying to get into a pop-up camper it would no doubt have been able to make one swipe with a massive paw and torn the canvas apart. Being a small child of course, I was convinced it was one of those scary black bears. Of course my dad and uncle did not find any evidence of any black bears but they did see some minor scratches on the camper in the morning. My mom and aunt thought it may be a bobcat. Other family members thought it was a racoon. But whatever it was, nobody ended up sleeping in the camper the rest of the night!

So if you are looking for an inexpensive way to try out camping, you may want to consider a pop-up camper. If you are thrifty like our friend and use a little ingenuity you can transform a used camper into something very cozy and useful for you and your family. It is amazing what a little paint, new fabric, a few cute pillows, new flooring, fresh bed linens and drapes can do. Our friend purchased the used pop-up camper for less than $2600 and she is not called thrifty for nothing. The best part is that she looked for great deals and was able to transform the interior for less than $400! I call this transformation POP-UP PIZZAZZ! Watch the following video to see the finished product: