2012 Pop Up Tent Trailers
One of the reasons so many people love folding camping trailers, or what are more commonly known as tent trailers or pop-ups, is that they are lightweight and easy to tow, economical to own and operate, and most importantly, still offer that superbly classic camping experience.
The biggest surprise to many onlookers these days is that these aren’t just empty tents on top of trailers any longer. They’re loaded with amenities that often include stoves, refrigerators, furnaces, water, air conditioning and, in some cases, rugged off-road suspension packages. A few even have hard fiberglass sides like traditional travel trailers that form A-frames in the campground and fold down neatly on top of the box for travel. And there’s no small amount of innovation among pop-up manufacturers whose goal is to get people outdoors, enjoying the RV-camping lifestyle.
The diminutive SylvanSport Go, for instance, is three trailers in one and is meant to be appeal to serious outdoor sports enthusiasts while being available for everyday chores.
“The Go is a piece of outdoor recreational equipment that happens to have wheels on it,” said Kyle Mundt, SylvanSport LLC’s director of marketing and new product development.
The Go, besides being out of the ordinary, is also a green rig due to its environmentally friendly construction methods, as are the pop-ups from Livin’ Lite Recreational Vehicles, Jayco and Starcraft.
In addition, there are the hard-sided campers from Columbia Northwest/Aliner, Palomino and Flagstaff/Rockwood that resemble traditional travel trailers when set up for living in the campground, but fold down neatly like pop-ups for travel mode.
There are quite a few choices for those looking to buy a folding camping trailer. Here’s a look at some of the more popular models available for 2012.
The innovative SylvanSport Go isn’t just a camping trailer. It’s also designed to haul an ATV and other toys, or to become a small open-top cargo trailer. For 2012, the Go — at 11 feet 6 inches from ball to bumper — has been tweaked with a new bicycle-style support frame, suspension, LED taillights, paint and graphics. When open and in the camping mode, the Go provides 6 feet 6 inches of headroom along with a 7-foot-long bed. An Adventure Accessory Package includes a rear awning, table panels, two self-inflating mattresses and a spare tire kit.
Base MSRP: $7,995.
Sylvan Sport, 828-883-4292, www.sylvansport.com
With eight floorplans ranging from 12 to 19 feet in length, the new Traverse series of folding camping trailers from Palomino RV offers a variety of choices for campers looking for a high-end tent trailer. Equipped with top-notch equipment such as 12,000-Btu Suburban furnaces, Dometic three-way refrigerators, B.A.L jacks, A&E awnings, Omnova tents with Sunbrella inserts, Line-X coated roofs, Carefree of Colorado electric lifts, heated Flair mattresses and E-Z Lube independent torsion axles, the fiberglass-box Traverse series features three high-sided floorplans with toilets and showers.
Base MSRP starts at $8,407.
Palomino RV, 269-432-3271, www.palominorv.com
Some new hard-sided trailer designs have been added to Forest River’s Flagstaff and Rockwood pop-up series for 2012. Available in five more floorplans stretching from 13 to 15 feet long with 10- to 12-foot interiors, the laminated fiberglass A-frame walls of the Flagstaff/Rockwood Hard Side Series fold down to create a five-foot-high box when in travel mode. Designed primarily for couples, the Flagstaff/Rockwood Hard Side Series features independent torsion axles, electric brakes, 20,000-Btu furnaces, cherry cabinets, permanently-mounted three-burner stoves, microwaves, three-way 2.5-cubic-foot refrigerators, AM/FM stereos, outside showers and free-standing tables.
Beginning Base MSRP: $12,995.
Forest River Flagstaff/Rockwood, www.forestriverinc.com/nd/pop_up_campers.asp
The Jay Series folding camping trailer is designed with the family in mind, so each of the five floorplans from this Jayco RV product has a king-size bed along with a second queen or double bed and a convertible dinette. The 18-foot 2-inch long Jay Series 1208 floorplan, the largest in the series, is equipped with a soft-sided dinette slideout, along with a second portable dinette table and a stainless-steel two-burner stove that can be taken outside. Underneath its one-piece fiberglass roof and electric powerlift, the model 1208 also features a 16,000-Btu furnace, water heater, portable toilet with optional folding hard-sided bath/shower, cherry cabinets and wall-to-wall vinyl flooring.
Base MSRP (Jay Series 1208): $12,972.
Jayco, 574-825-5861, www.jayco.com
Starcraft’s 2012 Comet pop-up has been certified green by TRA Certification, as has the whole company due to its efforts to reduce waste and use environmentally conscientious processes in building its camping trailers and other towables. The 2012 new aluminum-sided Comet line features five layouts — some with king-and queen-size beds — standard features include diamond-plate front and rear wall covers, electric brakes, power roof-lifts, A/C prep, exterior marine-grade speakers and a front trunk on some models. When equipped with a Customer Convenience package, each also includes a three-way refrigerator, awning, water purifier and a stereo with MP3 inputs.
Base MSRPs start at $8,343.
Starcraft RV, 800-945-4787, www.starcraftrv.com
Adaptability is the key to Lees-ure Lite’s diminutive Excel pop-up camper, which the company claims has a featherweight of just 225 pounds dry. Only 4 feet 6 inches wide, the Excel can be towed by a small car or touring motorcycle. Each 5-foot 6-inch-long Excel is offered with two screened entryways, allowing an optional room to be added to each side. Standard equipment includes curtains, carpeted sleeping area, rain tarp and four-screened windows. In the travel mode, the Excel provides 30 cubic feet of storage and carries 100 pounds of gear on the roof. Along with several other storage possibilities, customizing options include awnings, skirts, mattresses with removable covers, cooler racks and aluminum folding tables.
Base MSRP: $4,795.
Lees-ure Lite, 800-660-0933, www.leesurelite.com
Columbia Northwest’s 15-foot Aliner Classic is the quintessential folding camping trailer. Available in two floorplans, one with a convertible sofa and the other featuring a permanent rear bed, the Aliner’s laminated foam core sidewalls and folding roof system close down to create a 57-inch-high trailer with a dry weight of 1,515 pounds that can be towed by just about anything. Standard amenities include an outside shower, three-cubic-foot refrigerator and a microwave. An optional Titanium Package is available adding LED interior lights and a gray exterior with bold black trim. Base MSRP begins at $14,900.
Well known for its hard-sided A-frame pop-ups, the company has ventured into more traditional tent trailers with the introduction of the Somerset series, available in three touring and two off-road suspension designs. Somerset G2G (Good to Go) trailers feature boxes that range from 12 to 14 feet long with 70-inch by 77-inch beds on each end, along with convertible dinettes, stoves, refrigerators and cassette or flush toilets. Both floorplans in the off-road Somerset A3 model have 12-foot boxes with a beefed-up suspension, dual battery trays, LED interior lights and additional fresh water.
Base MSRPs start at $12,000.
Columbia Northwest/Aliner, 724-423-7440, www.aliner.com
Livin’ Lite Recreational Vehicles has created a niche for itself over the past decade building all-aluminum lightweight folding camping trailers. Now the company has introduced the high-sided Quicksilver XLP for 2012. With 30-inch high sidewalls, the 14-foot Quicksilver XLP is designed with queen beds on both ends, along with a side or rear dinette, and is equipped with a standard refrigerator, furnace and range or grill. Best of all, with a 1,499-pound dry weight, the Quicksilver XLP is towable by most cars. Other feature highlights include aluminum cabinets, interior lights, a cassette commode, exterior shower, aluminum rear deck and a storage box over the hitch.
Base MSRP: $10,999.
Livin’ Lite, 574-862-2228, www.livinlite.com
Another A-frame style pop-up trailer manufacturer, Chalet RV builds the XL Series. Wider and longer than Chalet’s other three models, the XL Series provides ample space for large families, and offers sleeping accommodations for up to six. The XL Series is quick to set up by simply pushing a button on the outside of the trailer. A patented electric lift system hoists the roofs into place. The A-walls are then manually lifted into place with the help of gas struts on each of the walls. Construction features include a composite floor (just like the walls and roof), high-strength aluminum alloy frame, fiberglass structural skin and EPS foam core. The nearly 19-foot-long 1935 model is one of the most popular in the XL Series, and it offers an expanding front dormer as standard.
Base MSRP: $20,583.
Chalet RV, 541-791-4610, www.chaletrv.com