Before you hit the open road with your pop-up camper in tow, check out the list below of essential accessories, supplies and tools to pack. We compiled this list of pop-up camper must-haves from our own experiences and from advice from our camping friends.
Pop-Up Camper Life
A pop-up camper, often referred to as a “pop-up trailer” or “folding camper,” is a space-conserving and versatile camping solution. These smaller-scale RVs are characterized by their collapsible design, which allows them to be folded down into a compact, easy-to-tow trailer that expands into a fully functional living space. When collapsed, they typically resemble a small, lightweight trailer that’s easy to tow with a variety of vehicles, making them a favorite a great option for many campers.
We started out our RV adventures with a small pop-up camper. We towed our pop-up with both a truck and an SUV and loved the upgrade from tent camping to camper. Traveling in our pop-up camper gave us heating and air conditioning, a bed off the ground, and some other basic amenities, including running water and an indoor cook space!
Pop-Ups Are Small (and that’s a serious perk)
One of the most significant advantages of pop-up campers is their portability and ease of towing. Due to their lightweight design, some small pop-ups can be towed by a wide range of vehicles, including smaller SUVs and even some sedans.
This versatility makes them accessible to a broad range of campers, from beginners to experienced RVers. Additionally, pop-up campers are a more budget-friendly option compared to larger RVs, offering the comforts of home without the higher price tag. They’re ideal for those who want to experience the beauty of the great outdoors without compromising on some comfort and convenience.
Pop-ups also expand the options for camping locales since they can fit into the smallest of campsite spaces.
Limited Space in a Pop Up
Having such a small and compact size, pop-ups do have one major drawback: limited storage space. Campers who travel with pop-ups have fewer and smaller closets and cabinets to store all of their belongings and supplies. Therefore it is important to hone in on only the most essential must-haves when packing for a trip!
Check out our pop-up camper must-haves that you won’t want to leave behind, no matter how tiny your home-on-wheels is!
Pop-Up Camper Must-Haves
- Camping Chairs: Comfortable folding chairs are a must for outdoor relaxation. We travel with a folding chair for each family member.
- Cooking Equipment: A portable stove, propane cylinders, cookware, and utensils for are helpful for preparing meals. Some pop-up campers come with small stoves or griddle cooktops. If your camper did not come with cooking appliances, consider adding one or two items. We love our electric griddle and our electric cookpot!
- Bedding: Quality sleeping bags, sheets, and pillows are the key to a good night’s rest.
- Tableware: Pack plates, bowls, cups, and silverware for mealtime. We bought a separate set of dishes and silverware to keep in the camper. It is nice to know that these supplies are always waiting for you and don’t need to be packed from your house.
- Cooler or Refrigerator: Keep food and drinks fresh during your trip. Some pop-up campers come with a small refrigerator. A cooler is a great way to bring anything that doesn’t fit in the fridge.
- First Aid Kit: A well-stocked first aid kit is really a must for any road trip. These supplies come in handy for treating minor injuries and ailments.
- Camping Lights: Flashlights, lanterns, and headlamps are necessary for any after-dark walks you might be taking across the campground. Lanterns on a picnic table give off a cozy glow and just enough light to play a hand of cards or enjoy conversation with friends.
- Water Containers: Freshwater containers and a fresh water hose are necessary for refilling your camper’s water tank.
- Document Holder: Keep important camper paperwork (like registration and insurance) safe from water and other elements. Install a document holder inside a cabinet, under a counter, etc and put important papers inside for safe keeping.
- Leveling Blocks: Use leveling blocks to ensure that your camper is level when parked.
- Awning or Screen Room: These tent-like structures provide additional shaded or bug-free outdoor space. They fold down into a compact carrying bag and can be stowed under a bed or in a cargo space.
- Firewood and Fire Starter: Have fuel on hand for campfires and outdoor cooking. An ax is helpful for cutting kindling off bigger pieces of wood. One thing to note: you should not take firewood long distances. Plan to buy firewood in the same area that you plan to burn it.
- Tool Kit: Take a basic tool set for minor repairs and adjustments.
- RV Toilet and Supplies: Assuming your pop-up did not come with a toilet (most do not), consider taking a portable toilet. If roughing it in the great outdoors does not bother you, or if you are staying at a campsite that has bathroom facilities, feel free to skip the toilet! Biodegradable toilet paper is still a good idea to pack.
- Hitch Lock: This lock will keep your camper secure when not in use. It prevents someone from driving up to it and hooking it to their own hitch.
- Wheel Chocks: Slip the chocks under your tires to prevent your trailer from rolling when parked.
- Large Outdoor Rug: These large all-weather rugs provide a clean space to step on outside the trailer. They also help to keep dirt and sand from your shoes from being dumped inside the camper.
- Cleaning Supplies: Tuck a broom, mop, cleaning products, and trash bags in your camper to help keep it tidy. A small dust buster vacuum is also great for cleaning up crumbs, dirt and hair
- Entertainment and Games: Books, board games, playing cards, and outdoor recreational gear are great to have on hand for entertainment during downtime.
- Extension Cords and Power Adapters: If you plan to connect to campground power sources, make sure you pack the correct cords and adapters.
I hope that these suggestions help you out as you pack up your pop-up camper! I know that your space is more limited than a bigger rig, but the items above are good ones to tuck in those cabinets and storage spots.
What pop-up supplies are on YOUR must-pack list that I didn’t list above? Leave me a comment below and tell us about it!