Also popularly known as pop-up campers, or tent trailers, these versatile units are an excellent choice for an entry-level RV. They are suitable for couples or for a family with young children who don't mind sharing a bed. They are lightweight, with a hard top and sides that collapse for towing and storage. They range in weight from 1,500 to 4,000 pounds and can be towed easily by most SUVs, minivans, pickup trucks, or larger sedans.
Fold-down trailers are easy to tow, inexpensive to operate and maintain, and easy to set up and store. These RVs offer much of the charm and adventure of tent camping with much more protection from the elements. With the collapsible side generally made of heavyweight canvas, you will be able to listen to the sounds of the great outdoors while lying in your bed. Mosquito-netting mesh windows — just like those found in traditional tents — provide light and ventilation. Heavy vinyl or canvas tieback panels provide privacy and shelter from the elements. Most fold-down trailers provide two double beds formed by the sides that fold out, plus a dinette that can be converted into a double bed. They also often feature a small icebox or mini-refrigerator, a two- or three-burner range, and storage areas. More expensive trailers can come equipped with RV toilet and shower facilities (shower facilities may be inside or outside) and a water heater. In the past few years, some manufacturers have even been offering models with slideout rooms that greatly increase the amount of living space as well as more extensive cooking features. Some units come standard with an RV furnace for cool-weather camping. You can also opt for an air-conditioning unit (which may be a highly desired feature, depending on the time of year you will be traveling and the area of the country you will travel to).
Before you start looking at any pop-up trailer, you need to determine if the vehicle you intend to tow it with is up to the job. Not all vehicles are rated to tow a trailer, even a small one. Check your owner's manual or ask your dealer or the manufacturer. Improper towing could void the warranty.
Among other features, an awning over the entrance is wonderful for keeping out the sun and rain. Screened rooms may even be available to attach to the front of the trailer. These can provide additional storage and living space while protecting you from insects and the elements. Folded down for towing or storage, these RVs become a low-profile rectangular box trailer that hooks onto a standard trailer hitch.
Foldup campers are not suitable for winter camping, as they do not provide insulation from the cold, even with a furnace. While they are stable, their lightweight design makes them more vulnerable during hazardous weather, especially during high winds. Stay alert for weather warnings; even a small tornado could turn a foldup trailer into an airship.