One good way to cultivate family time and tap into a little wild(er)ness is through a recreational vehicle (RV), especially a pop-up camper.
Pop-up tent trailers can be called folding trailers, tent trailers, expandable trailers, or pups by people in the community.
Pop-ups tow behind a truck, SUV, or sometimes a car or motorcycle (for the teardrops), depending on the towing capacity of the vehicle, and offer sleeping space and sometimes more.
Pop-ups with hard tops allow you to bring more gear or even air-conditioning units, for stowing on top.
All pop-ups have an area that is compressed (down), and perhaps some slide-outs, for easier, more aerodynamic towing.
Regardless of your pup type, you might like to know its bed weight limit for safe sleeping.
There are two main ways to find out the weight rating on a pop-up bed: (1.) Consult your owner’s manual or search online; alternatively, contact either the maker directly or the dealership where you bought it; (2.) Check the rating sticker/label somewhere on or near the bunk(s) or slide-out. The rule of thumb: Today’s pop-up beds of full-size and up are typically rated 1,000 to 1,200 pounds.
Also, for your benefit, we are including a table with 20 pop-up bed ratings, if disclosed by the company that made the pup.
I used a range of sources to locate this information on your behalf. Please read on for more information on that, in its own section below!
RV sources generally categorize pop-ups into EITHER two very broad categories (hard- and soft-sided) or four: hard-sided, soft-sided, A-frame, or hard-top pop-ups (Source and Source).
Some hard-sided or hard-tops also are so-called high-wall pop-ups, such as Forest River’s Rockwood with A213HW floorplan, an A-frame series camper (Source).
In the pop-up and larger RV industry, there is confusion and inconsistency among categories and how individual models or series fit within these designations, however.
Although I’ve made every attempt to classify pups accordingly in this article, I am human. If you notice a mistake, please let us know (we do appreciate it!).
Pop-up campers, by their very definition “pop out,” usually vertically and also horizontally in the form of platforms holding slide-out (or “glide out”) beds, dinette, or storage space.
Bigger pop-ups can sleep up to 8 people and might even have a kitchenette with table, air-conditioning, and shower or bathroom including a “cassette toilet” or perhaps a swivel toilet.
If you’ve chosen to buy rather than rent a pop-up, the skyline of your budget is really the limit.
Pups can be made custom, as happens with “fancier” or roomier RVs such as travel trailers, toy haulers, or much-coveted fifth wheels and motorhomes (of Classes A, B, and C).
You can use J.D. Power NADA Guides to look up the values of any type of RV that catches your fancy (Source).
As the name implies, soft-sided pups contain soft or at least partially soft sides, usually of canvas.
This is the type of pop-up many people think of when they think of traditional pop-ups, because they are closest to being a tent on wheels.
The pros of soft-sided pups tend to be that they are lighter and more towable and offer a thinner barrier between you and nature, but this is also the con.
They can retain condensation, require attention to cleaning, and have little protection from the heat or exterior noise.
One type of soft-sided camper is the Sylvansport GO ultra-light camping trailer (pictured above), which is an open powder-coated aluminum frame upon which sits a heavy-duty tent pod with two XL twins (80 inches long) that sleep four (Source).
Sylvansport users can enlist the open-air equipment rack to tote along additional gear and supplies or kayaks, mountain bikes, quads, skis, dirtbikes, etc.
Hard-sided campers offer users more protection from the elements (cold, heat, precipitation), more security, and more durability (Source).
These hard-sided campers, which also cross-over into other categories seen here (like the Phoenix truck camper), tend to be made of a metal such as aluminum, but they may also contain fiberglass (e.g., the roof of the 2019 Jay series by Jayco).
For instance, the Phoenix chassis-mounted base model is available in a hard-side or a pop-up and features a double-welded aluminum cage frame and metal floor reinforcements that are bolted to the chassis/frame (Source).
Other hard-sides are the Forest River Rockwood, Forest River’s Flagstaff (high-walled), Coachmen’s Clipper or Viking, and Trailmanor’s 2518 Series (Source).
A-frame pop-ups are compact, have an “A” shape to their roof offering more height, and generally are hard-sided (Source).
The best known brands and models of A-frames are by industry standard-bearer Aliner (with the widest range of models, at 12 as of 2020), the Forest River Flagstaff hard side (3-D tour of the Flagstaff T12RBST floorplan), Jayco’s J series Sport, and Chalet.
Pictured here is Chalet’s 18’7″ XL, with eight feet of headroom, furnace, and 3-burner cooktop. It sleeps 4 adults.
Some say that teardrop pop-ups comprise a different and separate—and very compact!—category unto themselves but nestled within pop-ups. Teardops, as their name implies, are teardrop-shaped and very light-weight (so, they’re a snap to tow).
Red teardrop trailer. Photo by Amato Polselli, Little Guy/Xtreme Outdoors
“The simplest [teardrop] trailers consist of a bedroom on wheels. Larger floorplans can have a bed, kitchen and dining area, and wet bath” (Source).
Brand makes and models include Timberleaf, nuCamp RV, Little Guy, the motorcycle-towable MyPod (also by Little Guy), and the dainty 122-pound Coachmen Clipper 9.0TD Express, a teardrop pop-up hybrid (Source).
Subcategory: Truck Camper or “All Terrain”
Another type of pop-up that I have seen is the truck camper or “all terrain” pop-up. Some fit over the cab, and others don’t.
Prominent brands of these campers are Hiatus, All Terrain, Phoenix, the otherwordly appearing Earthcruiser Mod (the 300 short-bed model is shown here), and Alaskan truck campers featuring over-cab beds and solid walls with hydraulic lifts to pop the camper up (Source).
A Few Tips and No-Nos
Also, do not use jacks to prop up your rig’s slide-outs—unless the owner’s manual or company literature explicitly states this is okay.
If you add supports such as two-by-fours or jacks, besides potentially causing damage to the pup, you will likely nullify your warranty.
Living full-time in your pop-up also nixes the warranty, across many brands if not all.
Please be extra-careful if you camp with an infant or toddler; they can sometimes slip through the slide-out to the ground or supports below or between the slide-out and camper if it is not attached according to the owner’s manual instructions and if not closely supervised.
Likewise with older children. Do not allow them to jump on the slide-out beds (or dinettes).
All the weights listed in the following table are STATIC WEIGHTS, not DYNAMIC WEIGHTS (as would be seen with bouncing, extreme shifting, or other movement).
Table of Bed Weight Limits
And now, here’s what I hope is a handy table for those of you interested in a pup’s bed weight limits.
I completed a fairly exhaustive search of about 22 owner’s manuals or sales brochures (80%-plus were manuals) to determine whether the makers have ever disclosed the bed ratings.
Sadly, a majority of manuals or brochures do not provide weight limits for any slide-outs or beds (3/22 did).
None that I surveyed provided weight ratings for gauchos (sofas or dinette seats that fold out into beds).
Some companies are better about being transparent here than others (Jayco is one), and the more modern your pop-up, the more likely it will have a weight limit listed for the beds or other slide-outs (slide-outs sometimes contain a dinette, for example, instead of a bed).
So, I sought out RV forums online, books, and Facebook groups to find answers to your very valid question about bed ratings. Following is what I found:
|Make/model||How many sleeps? Other bedding info||Bed weight limits if known/listed||More information|
|2021 Forest River Flagstaff Sports Enthusiast 207SE Folding Camper||Sleeps up to 8. |
Full-perimeter aluminum bed frames.
Easy-glide scissor-pole bed supports.
Quilted-top bed mattresses. Thermostatically controlled heated mattresses.
|Plywood bunk ends with 1,000-pound weight rating||https://cheyennecampingcenter.com/inventory/2021-forest-river-flagstaff-sports-enthusiast-207se-folding-camper-131|
|2021 Forest River Flagstaff Sports Enthusiast 206STSE Folding Camper||Sleeps up to 6. |
Full-perimeter aluminum bed frames.
Easy-glide scissor-pole bed supports.
Quilted-top bed mattresses. Thermostatically controlled heated mattresses.
|Plywood bunk ends with 1,000-pound weight rating||https://cheyennecampingcenter.com/inventory/2021-forest-river-flagstaff-sports-enthusiast-206stse-folding-camper-130|
|Aliner Expedition pop-up camper|
Aliner Somerset pop-up camper (not actively producing as of Jan. 6, 2021)
|4-inch high-density foam bedding||A company rep told me “no official weight ratings” and “not robust” on the bed-weight limit.||https://aliner.com/campers/expedition/ |
360-degree view of Expedition: https://players.cupix.com/p/K65JXRi4
Download floor plans: https://aliner.com/resources/
|Hiatus pop-up truck campers—these custom-made rigs are in high demand, so they won’t be starting new orders until at least mid-2022!||Slide-out sleeping platform with cushions. “The bed platform for a mid-size truck is 50 inches wide by 74 in long. The bed platform for a full-size truck is 57 inches wide by 74 in long. For our tall friends, it is possible to increase the length of the sleeping platform.” (per https://www.hiatuscampers.com/faq/)|
Very responsive folks; I feel confident they’ll answer any question (bedding or other) you have!
|“Our bed slide platforms are rated to 450 pounds.”||https://www.hiatuscampers.com/product/hiatus-camper/|
|2019 Jayco Jay Sport|
2017 Jayco Jay Sport
|Sleeps 5 or more depending on floorplan of the Jay Sport. 2019 info says “DuraTek™ water-repellent sectionalized tent” contains the beds.||1,050 pounds standard (both 2019 and 2017)|
Pop-Up Portal brochure, 2017 Jay Sport, (https://www.popupportal.com/resources/2017-jay-sport-brochure.730/)*
|All Terrain over-the-cab truck camper||“Our standard bed extends 48 inches over your cab and has a very comfortable 4- inch thick mattress. The bed’s overall size varies with the model. . . .”||No response from company||https://www.allterraincampers.com/StandardFeatures|
|Complete Trailers 7 by 16-foot sleep trailer POP-OUT||“Between a twin and a full-sized bed”||1,100 pounds||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKT14Sof8c0 |
|2011 Coleman Camping Trailers||Varies by model and/or floorplan||“Maximum weight rating of glide-out compartment is 1,000 pounds.“||https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0273/4347/files/2011_owners_manual.pdf?13230720448029520186|
|2010 Coleman Camping Trailers||Varies by model and/or floorplan||“Maximum weight rating of glide-out compartment is 1,000 pounds.”||https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0273/4347/files/2010_owners_manual.pdf?13230720448029520186|
|2009 Coleman Camping Trailers||Varies by model and/or floorplan||“Maximum weight rating of glide-out compartment is 1,000 pounds.”||https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0273/4347/files/2009_owners_manual.pdf?13230720448029520186|
|Coleman/Fleetwood Taos||Unknown||Anecdotal: “Fleetwood Taos has a limit of 750 lbs.”||Per RV Itch forum user “Baytoven,” http://www.rvitch.com/forum/index.php?topic=73147.0|
|2015 Dutchmen Aerolite 174e||“It has two queen tent foldout sections.”||Anecdotal: “The label on the bed . . . says 1100 pounds.”||Per user Jdog2019, who owns this model/year/make, at the Pop-Up Portal: https://www.popupportal.com/threads/weight-limit-on-beds.29061/ |
|1986 Jayco 1008||Unknown||Anecdotal: “1,000 pounds according to Jayco”||According to user fla-gypsy on Open Roads Forum (http://forums.goodsamclub.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/26337427/print/true.cfm)|
|2008 Fleetwood Sea Pine||Unknown||Anecdotal: “1,100 lb both beds”||Per user silvermickey2002, https://www.popupportal.com/threads/weight-limit-on-beds.29061/|
|2007 Coachmen Clipper 086||Unknown||Anecdotal: “There are stickers at each of the bunks . . . that read 1200 lbs max. on front bunk and 1000lbs max. on rear bunk”||According to user travler, https://www.popupportal.com/threads/weight-limit-on-beds.29061/|
|2008 Starcraft||Unknown||Anecdotal: 1,000 pounds for each bed per manual||According to RoyB on Open Roads Forum (http://forums.goodsamclub.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/26337427/print/true.cfm)|
|2003 Viking model 1906||Unknown||Anecdotal: From markings on the bunks, 1,000 pounds on one end and 1200 pounds on the other.||Per user Grandpa Don at Pop-Up Portal, https://www.popupportal.com/threads/weight-limit-on-beds.29061/page-2|
|1997 Camplite by Damon fold-down tent campers||Sleep number depends on series. Gaucho couch can be converted to a bed.||Bunk support poles must be used, and bed slides must be kept well-lubricated. Owner’s manual does not list weight limits.||https://www.popupportal.com/resources/1997-camplite-by-damon-fold-down-tent-campers-owners-manual.17/ |
*Pop-Up Portal is a priceless resource you should use if you have or plan to buy a pop-up. You will have to register—it is free—to get access to owner’s manuals, brochures, and tons of great advice from pup owners about just about any make or model of rig out there, any year!
One Unclassifiable Camper
2008 Trail-Lite Bantam Flier Hybrid
One last rating came to my attention just as I was finishing up my evaluation.
This model seems to be a hybrid of a travel-trailer and a pop-up trailer, so I left it off the table because of being unable to classify it definitively as either a pop-up/pop-out tent trailer.
A Pop-Up Explorer forum user named “frankvanw1” said their 2008 Trail-Lite Bantam Flier hybrid travel trailer with a slide-out bed rates at 1,000 pounds (Source).
Choosing a Pop-Up Mattress or Mattress Topper
Today’s pop-up usually comes with a four- to six-inch mattress of some kind.
These days, it’s typically foam or memory foam, of which there are several types including egg-crate and gel-infused (among other bells and whistles).
Air mattresses and latex mattresses also appear in RVs, but RVShare’s critic recommends foam and latex because, despite all their improvements, air mattresses can still leak and they are expensive for RVs, starting at $1,100 (Source).
Survival Tech Shop advises this with regard to your mattress: “With the standard 4-inch RV mattress, you can slide it right into the bed space while leaving an additional 2-inches of wiggle room (6 inches total) if you want to leave the sheets on. It’s best to go no larger than 4 inches on the mattress itself to avoid having difficulties sliding in your beds when popping down your pop up camper” (Source).
Besides Survival Tech Shop, other RV authorities swear by mattress toppers to bolster the comfort of the sometimes less-than-comfy standard mattresses.
Pop-Up Princess, for example, says she chose a Lucid 2-inch memory foam topper for a pup remodel on full- and king-sized beds, like this ventilated model.
- 2-inch premium memory foam mattress topper
She used an electric knife to trim them down, as they were too large (Source).
Other RV resources point to Zinus’ green tea-infused cooling-gel toppers, like this 3-inch model.
- COOL CUDDLES, SOUND SLEEP - Our most cooling topper yet is packed with temperature regulating gel and ultra-conforming memory foam to make your mattress and your night’s sleep feel like new again
But be sure to do the Kleenex box test—Pop-Up Princess describes it at the previous link, having learned it from the Pop-Up Portal herself—to make sure your mattress and topper will not be too thick to stow away properly when you compress your pop-up before hitting the road.
Before I leave you with a final list of additional resources—many of which were tapped for this article—let me wish you sweet dreams and safe travels in your pup.
Excellent Sources for All Things Pop-Up
This brief list is not comprehensive, but it should get you and your rig off to you a great start!
- Pop-Up Portal; membership is free
- Pop-Up Explorer
- Pop-Up Campers private Facebook group
- The RV Atlas Group
- RV Itch
- iRV2 Forums
- The Pop-Up Princess
- RV Forum
- RV USA Specs Guide
- Coachmen manuals
- Jayco Owners
- Forest River Forums
Book: See you at the Campground: A Guide to Discovering Community, Connection, and a Happier Family in the Great Outdoors (2020), by Stephanie and Jeremy Puglisi (Source)
- Puglisi, Stephanie (Author)