Best Pop Up Truck Camper for Winter Use

#1
I am looking to purchase a pop up truck camper within the next year. I live in the Rockies so the pop up TC I get would have to do well in cold weather. Right now Hallmark is my top choice but I am also looking at Outfitters, FWC, and Phoenix. Which pop up do you think has the best insulation and would do well in cold weather?
 

craig333

Expedition Leader
#3
True, it is basically a fancy tent. That said it really depends on just how much winter use you're talking about. Buy the arctic pack, run the heater and you'll be fine for weekend use. If burning a lot of propane doesn't appeal to you then something hard sided would be more appropriate.
 
#4
Having spent many winter camps in a tent and hammock I can say that campers like my 4WC are a major step up for winter camping with inside heater and toilet. But they definitely have their problems. Even with the arctic pack the insulation is not great so the heater can run a lot. If you ski or snow shoe bringing wet items in the camper leads to a fair amount of condensation that must be wiped down. You have to do something like tarp the top of the camper to pull off snow at times because of the weight. And because every sound comes inside parking in ski area lots where they start grooming at 4:00 in the morning with back up warning beepers can lead to grumpy people in the morning. After spending a few weeks in Alaska (in an Alaskan Camper) at the end of winter I can say that a hard sided pop-up like the Alaskan Camper is much better suited for winter camping.
 

Runt

Adventurer
#5
Oh the joys of winter camper camping. Its not easy on your equipment or you! I would recommend Phoenix Pop Up Campers because they will make you what you need! There manual load bar lifting mechanism is superior for snow loads. I spend roughly 100 plus nights per year in my Phoenix pop up camper. This is my second camper from them…. first one was on a Tacoma. It has extra insulation everywhere and a 20,000 btu furnace. I have no issues staying in it to -40 C or in heavy snow conditions except for water and snow load on roof can make it tricky to put up or take down with a foot or so of wet snow (manual lift bars). Facilities and showering are more troublesome.

Now having said that my experience is a very good one due to Phoenix made some upgrades to my camper such as the heater, cassette toilet system, accessible under-bed storage without the top up, insulated lines with heat tape, extra insulation in camper walls & floor, extra insulation in the roof and pop up, 30 Lb propane tank, Rhino-lined interior floor to easily clean up the snow, generator, two 6 V batteries and solar panels to keep the heater fan blowing.

How I solved my issues:
I do not run the water pump or fill the in-camper water tank in the winter. That pesky direct heat/tank less water heater stopped working regardless…. after replacing three of them and the latest conking out this winter. I have not got around to adding a hot water intake line cut off. Now I use a Scepter 20 L can with a manual pump that fits on the pour spout. I actually like this because its simplicity and I can keep the water cans in the cab of the truck to insure they don't freeze while I'm travelling (it's a 4 door Tundra). My cassette toilet is used rarely as I'm generally in the bush and use the bush, or on a ski hill I use the facilities available during the day. I mix in RV anti-freeze in with the cassette toilets water for flushing or pour some water/RV anti freeze into the bowl of the toilet and it works as required and I can still pour out the contents when I get to sani. dump or a toilet to pour it out. For showering I use a Hot Juggz shower system and homemade bio-degradable eco-friendly type soap and let the tank drain into another 20 L scepter or onto the ground depending where I'm at. I can get roughly 2 showers out of/into a 20 L can.

I keep a collapsible snow rake I bought from Costco in my under-bed storage.

You get lots of condensation so wiping down camper many times a day is required as well as running de-humidifier such as a Dri-Z.....no way around this.

Now maybe it doesn't sound like much but those few changes make a world of difference if you plan on using a pop up camper year-round.

Good luck and get out there!
 
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Romero

New member
#6
If you want a pop up

I agree with moveinon. If you still want a pop up type the Alaskan camper hard side pop up is the best insulated. I had a FWC Grandby with the artic pak and camped in the winter around Yellowstone and Flagstaff and the heater kicked on(6 times)more often in the FWC with over night temps in the teens. Last weekend I was camping in our AK and it was 18 degrees F outside all night with alot of wind and the heater only came on 2 times early in the AM. We had it warmed up from dinner and turned the thermostat to the lowest setting. Also the noise from the wind was minimal inside, we hardly knew it was 30 mph gusts outside. Pop up in general as you know more moving parts more gaps. I am impressed so far with our AK insulation from the cold and the heat. It hasn't snowed alot on our trips so far, so not sure if we will get snow blowing in the cracks but I like it much better than our canvas/vinyl popup. The pistons can take quite a load of snow on the roof but I would want to brush off the 2 feet that fell overnight for sure. Quieter than a tent and tighter, but not the same as a closed sportsmoblie/sprinter in a storm.

If you go hard side all around there are many good choices. I like the Tiger (Bengal smallest model) that way you still have the maneuverability, ground clearance to wander through small roads, but you do have to worry about height and bit of top heavy.

http://forum.expeditionportal.com/threads/188289-First-Alaskan-Flat-bed-side-door-entry-A-dream

Alot of the choices depends on what base truck or van or chassis you want to start with
 
#9
Thanks for all the responses. Hallmark, Outfitter, and Phoenix are just two hours away from where I live and FWC will be coming to my town in June and have truck campers on display in June. I will have a look at all of them.
 
#10
If there are only one or two of you, when it's very cold, you can always unpop the camper before bed and sleep on the dinette.
 
#11
We've had our XP for about six months.
We're snowmobilers. We've camped at 9,000ft+ elevation for about 16 nights now. Overnight low temps have ranged from single digits to right about freezing.
We've been very impressed with this as a winter rig. Windows are double pane. The heat loss through the tent area around the bed has been less that we thought. Furnace is real strong and we've yet to even turn it up to half way... Everything runs on diesel, and we use about one gallon per 24 hrs in those conditions. The fiberglass sides are thick and insulate the heat well. With the heat ducted to the storage areas (preventing freezing of the water system and anything you have in there), we walk around in just socks....

Chuck
 
#12
We've had our XP for about six months.
Furnace is real strong and we've yet to even turn it up to half way... Everything runs on diesel, and we use about one gallon per 24 hrs in those conditions. The fiberglass sides are thick and insulate the heat well. With the heat ducted to the storage areas (preventing freezing of the water system and anything you have in there), we walk around in just socks....

Chuck
What brand of furnace do you use? Does the smoke bother you much around the campsite? Any back drafting on windy days?

Thanks
 
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#13
What brand of furnace do you use? Does the smoke bother you much around the campsite? Any back drafting on windy days?

Thanks
The XP camper comes with a diesel fired Webasto Dual Top.
If it's warm enough to be outside around the campfire, the furnace isn't running....
:)
The exhaust for the furnace (and the cook top) is on the opposite side of the camper from the access door. While I haven't had the camper long enough to do summer camping, I wouldn't expect it to be a problem.

Chuck
 
#15
I've winter camped in tents, winter camped in the Scouts in old canvas tents with a wood stove and as of last month winter camped in my new FWC Hawk, and I'm sorry but their is no comparison between winter camping in a tent and something like my Hawk, none whatsoever. We spent a weekend up in the mountains, in the middle of a snowstorm, and we were cozy toasty warm, and comfortable inside for the evening. We sat at our table playing card games, sipped on chilled drinks, slept in our queen size bed, were able to get up in the middle of the night and use the porta-potti, all while winter raged outside. Got up in the morning, made a coffee while relaxing in our jammies in our heated little paradise. None of these things would have been near as enjoyable in a tent. Each to his own, but I'm 110‰ sold on my Four Wheel Camper.


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