Tent Vs Pop Up Camper

If you click and purchase with one of our links, we earn a commission. Thanks.

Over 40 million Americans camp every year.

And one of the most important considerations to make is to decide between a tent and a pop-up camper.

There is no right or wrong answer. While a pop-up camper is not exactly “roughing it”, the majority of people who tent camp are bringing along an RV with them except stored in a nylon tent.

I spend most of my time outside sleeping without either a tent or a camper. I just pitch a cot plus a tarp for wind and rain protection. This gives me the most flexibility.

Many of y’all might be wondering why I wouldn’t just use a hammock. But where I camp it’s hard for me to find trees suitable enough to hang a hammock for the average size person. And I’m the average height of an NFL linebacker so it’s almost impossible for me to find trees.

Thus I go with a cot plus tarp.

But if you are considering a tent or a pop-up camper then read on.

Here is a breakdown of the key variables that play a role when it is time to find a fit that works.

Pricing

Let’s start with pricing as that is going to be the first detail you are going to have to think about. A pop up camper is going to be far more expensive than a tent and that alone is something you have to account for. Some people are not going to have the budget to go with a pop up camper and that is why they are going to lean towards getting a good-sized tent. There is nothing wrong with using a tent and that is one option that will work as it does for most people outdoors. As long as you get a tent that is going to last during the experience, you are going to be good to go. If you have the money to spend on a pop up camper then that is a good option too. It sometimes does come down to your budget and how much you are willing to spend on the setup.

Usability

Usability is one of those details that you are going to have to think about. As you iron out the details, most people will appreciate going with something easy to use. A pop up camper is easy to use and that is what makes it appealing. You are not going to have to take a long time to settle into the pop up camper and that saves time. This means if you are coming with a family and looking to settle outdoors, you will want to take advantage of a pop up camper. It is going to be far more usable inside and that is helpful when you have kids that are going to be spending time outdoors. A tent is useful but it is a lot harder to manage when you are inside. This can make it difficult to make space for everyone when they are looking to have fun.

Comfort

Comfort is often one of the main deciding factors as you are thinking about the different options that are out there. A pop up camper is great because it is going to offer more space than a traditional tent and it is going to have an opportunity to house more people. This makes it far more comfortable due to the amount of space you are getting per person. If you want a good resting spot during the night and want to lounge in the pop up camper, it is going to be easy to do so. With a tent, you are not going to have the same type of space. Of course, tents do come in larger sizes but that does not mean you are going to get enough space per person for it to feel welcoming. This is a concern that does add up when more people enter the tent.

Sizing

The size is one of the main advantages of going with a pop up camper. You are going to notice this as soon as you enter the pop up camper because it will offer a tremendous amount of space due to how the spacing is maximized. This includes having the chance to rest in a comfortable spot and knowing you are going to have no trouble welcoming a larger group in. This is ideal for families that are going to be spending multiple days outdoors and want a consistent place to rest. This is not always easy to do when it comes to using a tent, which is why people look at going with a pop up camper in the first place. A tent is a lot harder to manage due to its size. This is a concern for larger groups that are hoping to make things as easy as they should be over the long haul.

Setup

The setup is one of those things people have to consider because you are not going to enjoy something time-consuming when the goal is to enjoy the outdoors. Your goal should be to have an adventure and a good time when you are outdoors. With this in mind, the pop up camper is going to take a long time to set up. This is due to how the camper is designed. It is going to offer more space but you are going to have to earn it. A tent is not going to take a long time to set up, which is ideal for those who are on the go. Of course, when you are going to be spending multiple days in the same spot, it is not going to be much of a bother. while those who are only going to be spending a few hours in the space might want to go with a tent instead.

It simply comes down to what your needs are.

If you want to spend more time on the spot, a pop up camper will get the job done. If not, the tent might work out better for you and it will not take a long time to remove.

Maintenance

Maintenance is one of those things people have to think about. A pop up camper is going to require more time to maintain and that is the cost of going with something as large as this. You are not going to have to think about maintaining a tent as much. Due to the nature of a tent, it is going to be designed to have a simpler design that does not require a lot to set up.

This is ideal for those who are making quick stops outdoors and just need a place to rest.

On the other hand, maintenance might not be much of an issue for those who are thinking about spending multiple days outdoors. You are going to like the idea of setting up the pop up camper and knowing it will be ready to go whenever you need it to be.

Running Water

Running water is something people are going to want to care about if you are spending a long time outdoors. It is not easy to find running water outdoors, so you are going to want to keep bottled water or something that will allow you to tap into a water source instantly.

A pop up camper makes this easier as it is designed to have running water. You can set it up and know you will have access to water whenever you need it.

On the other hand, a tent makes it much harder to manage water and you are going to have to store bottled sources nearby. This can be difficult for those who are already running out of space. With the pop up camper, you will know the running water is going to be where it needs to be as soon as it is time to use it.

Storage

When you are thinking about storing items inside the setup, you are going to want to think about the amount of space you are going to have for those items. A lot of tents are not going to offer enough space for you to put items inside. The only tents that do this are going to be the ones that cause you to cram things into smaller spaces. That can not only damage the tent but is not good for the items too. On the other hand, you are not going to have these issues when it comes to going with a pop up camper. The camper is going to offer specialized storage space and it is going to be a lot easier to put specific items where they need to go. If you are spending more time outdoors, it is these details that do make a difference.

Insects

Are you concerned about the mosquitoes and flies that are going to be around? What about the other critters that are looking to find a way in? These are issues that you are going to have to be ready for when sleeping at night outdoors. This is why more and more people look at setting up nets and/or using insect repellents.

While those do work, you also have to think about the direction you are going in with the overall setup. A pop up camper is going to do a lot better when it comes to keeping the insects out. It is going to be insulated the right way and it is going to get the job done.

This is key when it comes to ensuring the insects don’t become a nuisance.

Tents do a good job too but there are issues when insects can start to come inside.

Temperature

This is one concern that does come along with a pop up camper. You are going to want to make sure the internal temperature for your setup is not going to fluctuate rapidly and it is not going to get to the point where it is better to stand outside.

This can happen depending on how hot it is.

If it is too hot, the pop up camper can become toasty. This is due to how well-insulated it is. This is a real issue when it comes to those hotter days when it becomes sweltering in the middle of the afternoon.

You will want to keep this in mind while looking at the options that are out there for you to choose from. A tent is a more breezy option, which is going to be cooler during the summer days. A lot of tents come with breathable mesh that will do well against the heat.

Noise Protection

Noise is a real issue when you are outdoors.

There are animals and other things that are going to be making noise. While these animals are not going to bother you, those sounds are not appealing when you are looking to rest at night.

This is why a lot of people prefer to go with something that has a bit of insulation to prevent the noise for becoming a concern. As long as you are going with a pop up camper, you are not going to have to fret about the noise as much as you would with a tent. Of course, there are some tents that are now sold on the open market, which will do well when it comes to preventing noise.

You have to look at your options and figure out what is going to work for you.

Final Thoughts

In the end, it is going to come down to the type of experience you are going for. Most people are going to want to enjoy the camping experience and will choose based on how they are going to be setting things up as soon as they are in place.

For most people, a tent is going to be enough. However, if you are going with a family and want to prevent most of the environmental hurdles that come along with camping then it makes sense to go with a pop up camper.

Both options have benefits and it is often going to come down to what you prefer for your situation. It sometimes is not going to be about which one is better in a vacuum but rather what is going to work for your setup.

Pinterest image for Tent Vs Pop Up Camper