Is It Possible to Boondock With a Pop-Up Camper?


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Camping has been growing steadily in the US over the past couple of years. However, the pandemic and the lockdowns pushed 10.1 million households to attempt camping for the first time. According to the 2021 North American camping report, more than 94.5 million households went camping in 2020. 

Is It Possible to Boondock With a Pop-Up Camper?

It’s possible to boondock with a pop-up camper, but you need to ensure your onboard systems will be sufficient. The camper is easy to transport and has space for your water, food, and battery power. The water and wastewater tanks can last a few days. The large windows allow in fresh air and light. 

The rest of this article will look at the features that make the pop-up camper suitable for boondocking and its limitations. 


The Pop-Up Camper Is Easy To Tow

One of the advantages of the pop-up camper is the walls can be folded down, which makes its size a fraction of most RVs. You can tow it to the boondocking site with no difficulty. Once you have found the ideal spot, you can unfold the walls to create more living or sleeping space.

Since most boondock locations are remote and sometimes have tough terrains, you can easily maneuver a light camper as you search for the ideal camping spot.   

Additionally, the pop-up camper doesn’t need a heavy-duty tow vehicle. You can use an SUV, van, or family car, depending on your destination. These vehicles tend to have a tow limit of 3,500 pounds (1.59 tonnes) and 4,500 pounds (2.25 tonnes). The average pop-up camper is 2,800 pounds (1.27 tonnes) or less. 

Some campers are lighter, while others are heavier. Ensure you check your vehicle’s towing capacity against the camper’s weight. 


It Has Small Freshwater and Wastewater Tanks

The size of the fresh water and wastewater tanks in the pop-up camper may be seen as a drawback. However, if you’re planning to boondock for a few days, the size of the tanks is sufficient. 

Although most states have their own rules regarding boondocking, The standard rule when camping on public land is 14 days within a 28-day cycle. It could be based on continuous occupation or over several visits. 

If you intend to spend the entire 14 days boondocking and know how you conserve and use your water, these tanks may be sufficient. For example, you can use biodegradable soap to wash the dishes and pour the water out instead of releasing it into the wastewater tank. 

If you intend to spend less than the maximum time allowed, then you probably have nothing to worry about. 

The SurVivv Collapsible Water Container (available on Amazon.com) is excellent if you have limited space in your pop-up camper. It carries 5.3 gallons (20.06 liters) of water, is BPA free, has a leak-free faucet, and no seams. The material is light and flexible, so you can easily fold it after use and save on 80% storage when it’s empty. 

Related Articles:
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How Long Can You Leave a Pop-Up Camper Up?

It Has Large Screen Windows

The pop-up camper has large screen windows which provide great ventilation, natural lighting, and views of the vast space and the horizon. You don’t have to worry about the dark and stuffy feeling common in tents and some RVs.

This YouTube video offers great insights on the setup of the pop-up camper for your boondocking adventure:


Pop-Up Campers Have the Necessary Camping Amenities

When boondocking, you need a camper that has the basic amenities since you’ll have access to the facilities available in RV parks. Although the basic pop-up campers have few amenities, like the sink and burner stove, some recent models are fitted with: 

  • Refrigerators
  • Showers
  • Toilets
  • Air conditioning

If you intend to boondock with a pop-up camper, it’s best to get one with all the basic facilities you need. If your camper doesn’t have a toilet or shower, boondocking may be impossible, especially in locations with strict conditions regarding waste and wastewater disposal.

If you want to sit outside your pop-up camper, the EightEighteen RV Awning Shade Screen (available on Amazon.com), is excellent. It’s easy to install and remove, comes in various sizes, blocks upto 90% UV, and helps you to stay cool when it’s hot.  


External Storage Trunks

Some pop-up tent trailers have sufficient storage capacity. If your vehicle is full and you still wish to carry more food or water, some campers have external storage trucks, usually located at the front or back. 

You can comfortably boondock as far away as you wish if you have all the supplies you need. 

This YouTube video is a guide of the essentials when boondocking with a pop-up camper:

If your camper has extra storage spaces, you can carry as many items as you need, for the camping duration. 


It Is a Low-Cost RV

If you don’t have funds to spare and prefer boondocking to save on camping fees, then the pop-up camper is an excellent choice. The pop-up tent camper is almost half the price of hard-sided camping trailers. 

Besides its purchase price, this camper is cheap to maintain. It can easily fit in your driveway or garage on days when you are not camping. So, you save on the money you would have spent for storage in designated motor homes. 


Why Is It Difficult to Boondock With a Pop-Up Camper?

Although the pop-up camper has many things going for it as an ideal choice for boondocking, some of its features make it unsuitable. 

The soft walls of the pop-up camper aren’t great barriers against strong winds and rain. The flapping and noise can be a nuisance. The small tanks will not allow you to extend your stay. The pop-up camper isn’t well insulated, so it’s unsuitable for the cold season. 

If you’re contemplating using a pop-up camper for your boondock experience, you need to consider its disadvantages against the advantages. You can decide if you can boondock with the pop-up camper based on your circumstances.


Conclusion

The decision of whether it’s possible to use a pop-up camper to boondock is subjective. If you’re boondocking alone or with your partner for a few days, the space and amenities may be sufficient. However, it may not work for families with children due to the limited space and utilities. Consider your needs and duration of stay before deciding on the suitability of the pop-up camper.


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Martin

As an independent traveler, I try to share my positive and negative observations about van life as well as tips and tricks to make your life on the road easier. I travel and work in my old RV and would greatly appreciate a coffee from you if you find my content useful.

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