How to Buy Folding Camping Trailers

How to Buy Folding Camping Trailers
Folding camping trailers, also known as popups, are small camping trailers that have roofs and sides that fold down and in to transport, and up and out when camping. Throughout the United States, there are hundreds of dealerships that carry and sell folding camping trailers. Buying a folding camping trailer is akin to buying a new car, and according the the RV Buying Guide, many RV and camper owners trade in their first trailer within the first couple of years of owning it to upgrade their camping experience.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Brochures and camper information
  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil
Step 1
Write down the answer to several questions: How do you plan to use the trailer? When will you use it? Who else will be using the trailer? Where will you use it? Use this information to begin to research brands, amenities and features you need for the trailer.
Step 2
Find dealers in your area carrying campers and trailers. Drive to the dealer and begin to look at folding camping trailers. Ask the dealer about heater for the camper if you plan to use the trailer during cold months or in winter areas, and ask whether the mechanisms that raise and lower the ceiling work in cold. Inquire whether there are insulation packages available. Ask about air conditioning, mesh windows and shade-providing awnings if you plan to use the camper in summer and hot weather.
Step 3
Consider buying a used trailer to start with. This allows you to trade it in in a couple of years, as most buyers do, without taking the hit on the depreciation. Learn the value of the model you're looking at, before visiting the dealership or an independent seller. Use guides such as the Kelley Blue Book or NADA guides to determine the value of the make you are considering.
Step 4
Visually inspect each folding camping trailer you are considering. Look at the doors, hinges, windows, all moving parts, folding mechanisms, sinks, plumbing fixtures, lights, battery sources, propane tanks, and attachments and stoves. Inspect the bedding, mattresses and cushions for wear, stains and odors, if you're looking at a used camper.
Step 5
Have a mechanic inspect used trailers, especially around the axles and wheels, to determine integrity and durability of the parts.
Step 6
Ask the dealership, if buying new, if it has demo models you can use to spend the night in, or ask if they rent. Rent one similar or exactly like the one you want to buy and take it on an overnight trip to test it.
Step 7
Make an offer for the folding camping trailer when your inspections, tests and research are complete.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.