Road Trip

2020's Best pop-up travel trailers

The pop-up travel trailers on this list are priced for budget-conscious travelers and those with larger amounts to spend.

Photo courtesy of OPUS

As U.S. states begin relaxing shelter-in-place restrictions due to COVID-19, many Americans are going to find it hard to resist the urge to get outdoors and away from home. One popular pursuit will undoubtedly be camping under the stars.

Pop-up travel trailers are a great option for those wanting to maintain a healthy amount of social distancing — sleeping off the ground in an actual bed — insulated from the elements and other campers. An economical addition for active outdoorsy families, pop-ups can be decked out with comforts similar to larger fifth-wheel trailers or even full-size RVs, yet offer compactness, maneuverability, convenience and lower cost when compared to larger recreational vehicles.

Read on for a sampling of unique pop-up travel trailers for 2020. Note that prices are sourced from manufacturer websites or NADA Guides.

Aliner Expedition

Photo courtesy of Aliner

Approx. Starting Price: $20,660
At 18 feet long, 84 inches wide with a road height of 68 inches, the Expedition has the biggest footprint of any Aliner trailer, yet it is still has one of the fastest setup times among tent trailers. The company says Expeditions are a full 30 percent bigger than their other models, yet still only require about 30 seconds to pop up.

The Expedition comes in four floor plans, and three of those include an optional toilet. The Expedition has a standard slideout kitchen, yet the entire camper weighs less than 2,000 pounds so it can be towed by a variety of vehicles. There are other lower-priced Aliners, but the roomy Expedition is a true beauty.

AWOL Outdoors Camp365

Photo courtesy of AWOL Outdoors

Approx. Starting Price: $19,995
Billed as the "world's first fold-out cabin" as well as "the cabin that goes everywhere," the Camp365 is designed and built in Minnesota. The trailer's aluminum alloy steel reinforced frame offers light weight as well as strength and durability; the trailer's shell is aluminum too, so the unit weighs under 1,500 pounds. The cabin uses no wood or canvas that can mold, rip, rot or fade, and its aerodynamic shape makes the Camp365 easy to store as well as transport. It can be towed by any vehicle equipped with a Class I hitch — including most ATVs.

The Camp365 cabin is 700 cubic feet and has almost 40 cubic feet of dry storage, as well as five tinted windows; options include air-conditioning and heating, shower and bath, an off-road wheel kit, customized beds and more. The cabin can be configured for almost any occasion — even happy hour.

Coachmen Clipper Sport 108ST

Photo courtesy of Coachmen

Approx. Starting Price: $15,043
Weighing in at 2,687 pounds, the Coachmen Clipper Sport 108ST spans almost 17 feet closed; open it is more than 20 feet long thanks to the pull-out queen-size beds. The Clipper Sport features an E-coated tubular steel frame, a dual-drive winch, a Goshen lift system, a 4-layer laminated seamless roof, laminated fiberglass walls, LED exterior lights, and a power roof vent, to name a few.

Optional features for the Coachmen Clipper Sport include an Essentials Package with a 3-way power refrigerator, a 20,000 BTU furnace, an awning, electric brakes and a spare tire carrier. The Clipper Sport can also be outfitted with an exterior wall-mounted grill, a 40- or 80-watt Zamp portable solar panel, a screen room, a Thetford porta potty and a bike rack.

Coachmen Viking V-Trec

Photo courtesy of Coachmen

Approx. Starting Price: $16,595
Coachmen's Viking V-Trec comes in three different floor plans: the lowest-price V1 with a queen-size bed at each end; the V2 with a queen bed at one end and a king bed at the other end; and the V3 with a slide-out dinette as well as a queen bed at one end and a king-size bed over a full cargo deck on the other end.

Similar to the Clipper Sport, the Viking comes with many standard features as well as the Glide-N-Lock bed support system that eliminates the need for support poles under the beds. The V-Trec V3 weighs in at 4,42 pounds and has an exterior length of almost 22 feet. The V3 floor plan shown above includes a wet bath with a toilet and standup shower.

​Forest River Flagstaff 176SE

Photo courtesy of Forest River


Approx. Starting Price: $12,993
Forest River's entry-level Flagstaff 176SE is 12 feet long and weighs 1,772 pounds; it has a standard (42-inch wide) and a full (54-inch wide) bed at either end, as well as a sink, fridge, café table, range and cabinet storage in the living space. The Flagstaff model line has a Sports Enthusiast package designed for active families, couples and campers with a sense of adventure.

The Flagstaff trailers with the SE package have ProRac Systems crossbars to carry up to 150 pounds of gear and toys. The SEs also include an AM/FM stereo with Bluetooth, an MP3 player and USB ports for streaming and charging, LED lighting and a Wi-Fi booster. The Flagstaff SE series is also solar-ready, has 12 inches of ground clearance and 15-inch off-road wheels and tires.

​Forest River Rockwood 1640LTD

Photo courtesy of Forest River

Approx. Starting Price: $8,754
Another entry trailer that weighs less than 1,500 pounds (1,465 to be exact) yet sleeps six campers is the Forest River Rockwood Freedom Series 1640LTD (larger 2514F shown above, click to the video below to see full model walkaroud). The Rockwood Freedom series is all about giving tent trailer campers the ability to find the perfect camper for their needs. All Rockwoods are constructed with powder-coated tubular steel frames, rafter poles and bed bows; and one-piece doors.

Rockwoods also feature full perimeter aluminum bedframes and air-conditioning reinforcing laminated into the roof. Similar to the Flagstaff line, the Rockwood line can also be equipped with many optional features including awning lights, a refrigerator, heated mattresses, and ProRac bike and kayak racks.

​Jayco Jay Sport

Photo courtesy of Jayco

Approx. Starting Price: $13,770
The Jayco Jay Sport is still on dealer lots, but it is limited to stock on hand since this model is no longer being produced. The Jay Sport comes in four floor plans with base prices that range from $13,000 to 17,000. Lengths range from 8.5 to 18.5 feet with beds ranging from 42 to 70 inches in width. Jay Sport campers can also be equipped with a Baja Package that includes 15-inch Goodyear off-road tires, 5 additional inches of ground clearance as well as a double entry step to accommodate the extra height.

All Jay Sport versions have a sink, a hinged galley, a cabinet for a porta-potty, an indoor/outdoor stove, vinyl flooring and residential cabinets. Each floor plan also has a Customer Value Package consisting of an awning, a 28-gallon water tank, stabilizer jacks, a 2 cubic foot 3-way power reefer, front and rear black diamond plating and a spare tire. The option packages are additional cost.

​OPUS Off-Road 4-Sleeper

Approx. Starting Price: $29,000
The OPUS tent trailer has a unique setup system. The company says setup takes two minutes; all campers need to do is open the trailer, secure the bed ends and start the inflation system. The lower walls of the camper are constructed of aluminum dibond and polystyrene insulation, and the trailer sits on a powder-coated tubular frame. The trailer sections unfold with the aid of pressurized gas springs, allowing one-person setup.

The exterior of the OPUS also has a slideout kitchen including a slideout Dometic reefer and storage drawers. Inside, beds at each end sleep two each, and the interior can be configured in myriad ways to accommodate a sink, microwave, 2-burner stove, a table, a seating area and storage space.

​Somerset Grand Tour Utah

Photo courtesy of Somerset

Approx. Starting Price: $22,440
The Somerset line is part of the Aliner family, and both are owned by Columbia Northwest. The Utah is a great option because of its one-piece aluminum-skinned roof and Sunbrella tent fabric, as well as its steel wall construction. Exterior features include outside speakers, stabilizer jacks, allow wheels and chrome lug nuts.

All models in the Somerset line include indoor stoves, stereos, a water heater, a furnace, a water pump, a 3-way power refrigerator (propane, shore, battery), and a 35-amp converter with a charger. It's interesting to note that the Somerset series comes in only one floor plan, which the company says — after 40-plus years of building tent trailers — their one layout is best.

Sylvansport GO

Photo courtesy of Sylvansport

Approx. Starting Price: $8,995
One of the most versatile trailers on this list, the Sylvansport GO is a camper, gear hauler and utility trailer all in one. The innovative, lightweight design lets active families use the GO for many applications — from camping under the stars to hauling a washer and dryer home from a big box store. The TIG-welded, powder-coated aluminum frame and diamond-plate aluminum deck stand up to abuse.

As a camper, the GO features a versatile tent floor plan. The tent material is made from 220-denier ripstop nylon, and Sylvansport offers attachable awnings and accessories to make the GO an even bigger camp tool. One might be tempted to call the Sylvansport GO the Swiss Army knife of tent trailers.

​TAXA Outdoors Cricket

Photo courtesy of TAXA

Approx. Starting Price: $34,983
What we would call a literal pop-top trailer, the TAXA Outdoors Cricket is a fully hard-sides trailer that raises its roof in a cantilever style when set up. The 15-foot Cricket has a powder-coated steel chassis, a laser-cut aluminum skeleton, it weighs 1,800 pounds and sleeps two adults and two children. TAXA calls the Cricket a "NASA-inspired design."

The Cricket has many features as standard equipment including a large picture window, a generous kitchen area with a counter and sink, interior LED lighting, a Truma combo furnace and water heater, an exterior hot and cold shower, a roof exhaust fan and 12 USB ports. Options include a porta-potty, Thule load bars, a kids' berth and a Dometic refrigerator.

Turtleback Adventure Trail

Photo courtesy of Turtleback Trailers

Approx. Starting Price: $18,495
Although there is an entry-level trailer called the Adventure at $12,995, the one to get it is the next level up: the Turtleback Adventure Trail. All the standard features of the Adventure are there, including the CNC-cut, galvanized steel trailer with bedliner coating, Timbren suspension, forward and aft receiver hitches, a full aluminum floor and main box, and an OZtent Outer Ridge Venturer trailer tent with a fully enclosed room and awning.

The Adventure Trail also has a full single-battery electrical system, an interior / exterior lighting kit, 12-volt socket and USB ports, a kitchen with maple-topped birch cabinetry as well as a stove and a Dometic stainless steel sink, a 21-gallon BPA-free water tank with on-demand pump, and an 11-pound tank for accessory grills, heaters, etc. And this is not even a complete list of features or equipment. Finally, proud Turtleback owners (and wannabees) attend "Herd of Turtle Gatherings" throughout the country during temperate months.

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The Passport was lightly modified for competition.

Honda

Honda recently announced a line of off-road-oriented trims and packages for its vehicles. Called TrailSport, the trim brings rugged appearance upgrades to the Honda Passport and will eventually offer more performance upgrades for other vehicles in the automaker's catalog. To further prove its mettle in the off-road space, Honda built a 2022 Passport rally truck to compete in the American Rally Association race series. The truck debuted over the weekend in Michigan and had a reasonably successful run for its first time out.

2022 Honda Passport Two Honda engineers handled driving duties.Honda

Importantly, the Passport's drivetrain and suspension were left untouched for the rally. The 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6, nine-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, and suspension in the rally vehicle are the same components that you or I would see if we bought a new Passport today. Honda did add a transmission fluid cooler, but even then, it's the unit that everyday buyers can get with the available towing package. The SUV's interior was stripped and modified for safety and performance.

2022 Honda Passport Honda is pushing deeper into the off-road with its TrailSport trims.Honda

Honda did upgrade the Passport's wheels and tires for the event by fitting 17-inch BRAID Winrace T rally wheels and Maxxis RAZR M/T or A/T tires. The automaker also made modifications to the SUV's underside with custom 1/8-inch thick aluminum oil pan and rear differential skid plates. High-density panels protect the fuel tank and other sensitive components, while Carbontech XP12 brake pads and high-temp racing brake fluid slow things down.

2022 Honda Passport The Passport's interior had to be stripped and modified for the event.Honda

The ARA National and Regional Championship Series events feature modified street vehicles that travel at speeds well in excess of 100 mph. The courses include gravel, dirt, mud, and snow, and cover hundreds of miles. The Honda Passport rally vehicle was first driven by two Honda engineers and ran in the top ten out of 42 teams. Honda says that a tire de-bead eventually slowed the team, leading to a delayed finish.

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The Bronze Edition model builds on the XLE trim.

Toyota

The Toyota Highlander entered its fourth generation for the 2020 model year, which brought sleek style, updated tech, and a premium-look interior. A new XSE trim joined the lineup for 2021, and for 2022, Toyota is adding a new hybrid-only Bronze Edition trim.

2022 Toyota Highlander Bronze Edition The Bronze Edition adds useful features, such as a hands-free power liftgate.toyota

The new Bronze Edition Highlander builds on the XLE trim with:

  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Digital rearview mirror
  • Ambient interior lighting
  • Memory driver's seat with 10-way power adjustments
  • Hands-free power liftgate

Toyota notes that the Bronze Edition previews features that will show up with the greater 2022 Highlander release. Among them are the new Wind Chill Pearl color, which replaces Blizzard Pearl from the previous model, and height/tilt passenger seat adjustments.

2022 Toyota Highlander Bronze Edition The Highlander is a supremely comfortable SUV with room for the family.Toyota

The Highlander carries on into 2022 with a standard 3.5-liter V6 that makes 295 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. A Highlander Hybrid is available, which mates a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors. Combined system output is 243 horsepower. With the V6 on board, the Highlander can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

2022 Toyota Highlander Bronze Edition The Bronze Edition is available for Highlander Hybrid models.Toyota

All 2022 Highlander models get Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+, which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, road sign assist, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure alerts, lane tracing assist, a sway warning system, and automatic high beams. Those features and the Highlander's excellent crash testing scores were good enough for the SUV to earn a Top Safety Pick + designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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