Everything A-Frame Campers And Six Good Brands To Choose From
By Kelly Beasley
An A-frame camper is a unique type and style of travel trailer.
Ever go camping and see a trailer shaped like a capital 'A?' That's an A-frame.
They exist, and you might be interested in getting one because they have a few unique benefits that most traditional travel trailers lack.
So if you want to learn more about these uniquely styled pop-up campers and figure out they are right for you, read on.
What Is An A-Frame Camper?
An A-frame camper is a pop-up trailer shaped like a big 'A' on the exterior when opened into living mode.
It 'pops up' when you want to use it and is much smaller when it's closed for storage or towing.
A-frames often comes with most amenities of a regular (non pop-up) travel trailer, like a microwave, sink, and sometimes even a bathroom or just a cassette toilet.
They can be powered like a travel trailer using the 30-amp plug, but if you want to go off-grid, you'll need solar or a generator to recharge your house batteries.
An A-frame pop up trailer is an excellent choice for weekend camping excursions.
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How Much Do A-Frame Campers Cost?
A-frame pop up campers range in price from $11,000 to $35,000 new.
However, you can find them for less if used.
Currently (2022), the pop up A-frame camper is in demand because it is small and compact, so used prices are still on the higher side.
This goes for all RVs at the moment.
Positives Of A-Frame Campers
There are positives and negatives to anything we encounter in life.
An A-frame RV has both as well.
Let's look at what you may like and may not like about these popular campers.
An A-frame travel trailer is not going to be more than about 20 feet long, making these campers easy to take off-road.
The longer the trailer, the harder it is to get it in certain places.
They are also light, so there is less chance of getting stuck in the mud.
More Protection Than Canvas-Walled Pop-Ups
Most pop-ups have canvas walls.
Most popup A-frame campers come with hard walls and no canvas.
Canvas doesn't protect you from bears and offers zero sound barrier.
Most Are Lightweight
Again, an A-frame pop-up camper doesn't weigh much compared to most traditional travel trailers.
There's not much to them as they are pretty short.
Most weigh under 2,200 pounds, meaning you can tow with many more vehicle choices than you can with something heavier.
Compact/Easy To Fit Into A Garage
When stored or in tow mode, these trailers are MUCH shorter than a regular trailer.
You'll get better gas mileage, and it's easier to tow since you can see behind you, and you can fit most pop-up A-frame trailers into a decent-sized garage or driveway.
No storage fees!
Negatives Of An A-Frame Camper
Nothing has ONLY positives, so here are a few downsides of having an A-frame camper trailer.
Leaks Are Common
There are many places for water entry with these trailers as there are so many seams.
They may leak less than pop ups with canvas, but they still have the RV problem of having leaks that can be hard to find.
Best For Weekend Getaways
This may not be the type of recreational vehicle you want to spend a ton of time in. This is especially true if you want to live in one full-time and travel because there's a bit more setup and breakdown than a 'normal' RV.
(Learn what to look for in a trailer to live in.)
RV sewer tanks aren't very big, and many don't have a bathroom, we could go on.
Thin Mattress-Can't Go Thick
With pop-ups, you must watch where you put things before you travel.
They can't go or be above the 'line' where the top stuff folds in. Or else the camper won't fold correctly.
This might mean you cannot get a super thick mattress to replace the icky one that might have come with your A-frame (or an RV mattress topper might not fit).
The mattress could be as thin as it is because it won't fit otherwise (don't forget to factor in the thickness of your travel trailer bedding).
Measure well before you order a pop up camper mattress replacement!
OR, you may have only a dinette with cushions that fold down to become the 'mattress' and you can't replace it if you ever want to use the dinette.
A small A-frame RV trailer doesn't have much room inside.
It's the nature of the beast; pop-ups are fairly small campers.
Therefore, you can't fit a whole bunch of people comfortably.
If you have a family bigger than four, or even three, you might have to look elsewhere for a family camper.
Things To Consider Before Purchasing
As with any pop-up camper, you must do some soul searching to figure out if a triangle camping trailer works for you.
- Know how you'll mostly camp. Boondocking? Campgrounds?
- If so, are the tanks big enough to sustain how long you want to camp?
- Will you need a kitchenette?
- Will you be mostly in campgrounds? If so, can you back up a trailer with confidence?
- If you're not confident, do you only need to find campgrounds with a pull-through spot?
- Is there enough room inside for the whole family?
- Can it fit in your driveway? Would your HOA allow that?
- Do you need a rear receiver for a bike rack?
As you can see, there's a lot to consider.
Try to think of as much as possible before you decide to buy one.
How Big Are A-Frame Trailers?
An a frame camping trailer is usually 20 feet long or less.
The box (living area) size is even shorter.
Typically, when a trailer states "X" length, it includes the tongue of the trailer.
How Much Does An A-Frame Camper Weigh?
A small A-frame camper weighs, on average, about 1,900 pounds.
A large A-frame camper weighs, on average, about 2,500 pounds.
Many are light enough to be towed by a small SUV or a small truck.
How Many People Can Sleep In An A-Frame?
Most A-frame campers sleep 1-4 people. The only way to add more people (kids are easiest) is to add an air mattress on the floor.
Are A-Frame Campers Worth It?
Whether or not an A-frame camper is worth it is a question only you can answer.
You must factor in things like:
- What amenities it comes with.
- How badly you want to store your trailer in your driveway or garage.
- If you can tolerate having to set it up at every campsite.
- If you don't mind not having access to it while you're on your way to your destination.
- Is the cost worth the hassle?
- How often will you use it?
- And many other factors.
They are worth it if enough works out for YOU.
Do A-Frame Campers Have Bathrooms?
Sure, some of these campers have small bathrooms.
Some have a little wet bath, while others only have a toilet.
Then others have no bathroom amenities whatsoever.
They are small, so having a bathroom takes away room for other amenities and sleeping areas.
Choose wisely if you would prefer to have a toilet!
What Is The Lightest A-Frame Camper?
The lightest A-frame camper on the market is the Chalet LTW.
It weighs in at only 990 pounds dry!
What Are The Triangle Campers Called?
A triangle-shaped camper is what is known as a pop-up camper.
It's also referred to as an A-frame camper or A-frame trailer.
What Are The Best A-Frame Pop Up Campers?
Ok, so this is a trick question. What we mean is that what is the 'best A-frame campers' is subjective.
What's best for your family won't be what's best for the Joneses.
They have three kids, and you only have one.
They only go out on weekends, and you like to go for a week at a time.
They boondock, and you want campgrounds, and the list goes on.
You immediately have different needs. Therefore, we aren't claiming any particular pop up trailer is the best pop up trailer.
Instead, we're showing you every A-frame camper trailer manufacturer currently on the market.
Then you can make the 'best' decision as to which layout/brand is YOUR 'best.'
There aren't many manufacturers making this camper style, so there's not a huge selection.
As far as quality goes, MOST of these are decent as they are still privately owned.
Let's start with them, the most unconventional A-frame camper!
The Antishanty sells a flat-top trailer and an A-frame.
The A-frame is called the AS1 series. Antishanty does not collapse down the way a traditional a frame does. But it does pop-up.
This sucker has queen-size bunk beds, believe it or not! It's tall and spacious inside.
Closed, it is much taller than your typical a-frame pop up, so it's not as easy to store in a garage.
Still, it's a privately owned company that takes pride in every camper they pop out.
You also have to order it custom, so you'll get it exactly how you want.
To top it off, you can use it as a toy hauler.
They offer four models:
Aliner is a well-known builder of the A-frame pop up camper. In fact, they claim they are the original maker of the design.
They are still a privately-owned company, so the quality remains good. They offer 8 models, and five different floorplans categorized as simply:
- Small (13 feet)
- Medium (15 feet)
- Large (18 feet)
They offer equipment 'levels' in three categories:
All models have a standard front dormer and have a bed, dinette, a little storage space, and good headroom. Here's what comes in the packages they offer:
- City Water Hookup
- Pre-Wired for Solar
- Fully extendable drawers
- LED Interior Lights
- Fantastic Fan
- Premium Curtains
- Alloy Wheels
- 120 volt/12-volt Electrical System
- Electric Trailer Brakes with Break-Away Safety Switch
- It comes with an 11-gallon freshwater tank, a compact refrigerator, and two burner stove
- Larger refrigerator with a freezer
- Hardwood cabinets
- More windows for a panoramic view
- Cable connection
- Front utility light
They have dealers throughout the country and are a very well-known brand.
Some people even incorrectly call any triangle camper trailer an 'Aliner.'
Forest River also makes A-frame campers.
If you go to THIS page and then click on Rockwood or Flagstaff, you'll see what is currently being manufactured.
There are currently two models with two different floorplans.
Both floorplans have the basics such as the bed, stove, fridge, fire extinguisher, tank monitor, front storage, microwave, and an outside griddle.
If you order their 'package' you also get:
- 10K BTU Cool Cat Heat Pump (A/C & Heater)
- Create-A-Breeze Roof Vent Fan
- 12-volt Refrigerator with 100 Watt Roof Solar Panel
- Heated Mattress on Master Bed (N/A A213HW)
- Spare Tire w/ Carrier & Cover
- CO Detector
- Water Filtration System
- Stereo w/ Outside Speakers
- Wi-Fi Booster w/ LTE Prep
- ProRac Permanent Crossbars (150 pound rating)
Chalet, based in Oregon, sells six different hard sided pop up A-frame campers. Here are the models:
- LTW (12 feet 9 inches, the shortest trailer on this list)
- Classic Alpine (15 feet 6 inches)
- Classic Arrowhead (15 feet 6 inches)
- XL 1920 (18 feet 7 inches)
- XL 1930 (18 feet 7 inches)
- XL 1935 (18 feet 7 inches)
The XL line is the largest and most suitable for families, while the LTW is the shortest hard side A-frame currently in existence.
It's also the only one with a bathroom.
The Classic is a little larger than the LTW and is about 600 pounds heavier. It's got two dinettes vs. just one in the LTW.
The LTW is only 990 pounds dry.
It's the smallest a frame you can find. Great for solos or couples.
Keep in mind there's no bathroom. This camper sleeps two.
The company is proud of its patented Lever Lift System, which makes opening the top effortless (no lifting or reaching up).
This is another company that only builds a frames and is privately owned, so the quality remains decent.
Note: It appears that Chalet was a victim of the pandemic and is no longer in production.
Used A-frame Campers No Longer In Production
Above, we listed the best A-frame campers currently in production.
There are not many.
So, here are two you could find used instead.
They aren't made anymore, but they do exist.
Coachmen Clipper C12RBST
There's nowhere to find specs on this camper that we can find.
But we found a video so you can check out the walk-through on one of them.
The Clipper seems to have the electric roof mechanism, which is nice.
Coachmen is a well-known brand, but it's owned under a publicly owned company (Forest River), so you will have to be the judge on the quality.
We believe most Thor-owned products to NOT be the best in quality, but you must use your own judgment.
Also, no specs are available for this, but here's a video so you can see see what one model has.
There aren't very many manufacturers making the Aframe camper these days.
And there is no 'best Aframe pop up camper' out there because 'best' is in the eye of the beholder.
The triangle travel trailer, as it's sometimes called, is convenient for many families, especially if they like camping on the weekends at campgrounds.
These triangle pop up camper trailers typically fit easily into a driveway or even a garage.
They usually have a minimal dining area, appliances, a hot water heater, air conditioning, an electric RV water pump, and all the other typical comforts of home.
They are less expensive than a regular travel trailer and are light and easy to tow.
This makes them popular for adventurers who need a small, light camper to play with whenever possible.
Author: Kelly Beasley
As a seasoned and passionate RVing expert, I have dedicated myself to living the full-time RV life for over 5.5 years, immersing myself in the unique quirks and joys of the boondocking lifestyle and gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience along the way. In December 2020, my business partner and I made the transition to part-time RVing, but in January 2023, we hit the road once again, this time in our trusty vans. My mission is to help others embrace the RVing lifestyle with confidence and excitement, armed with the knowledge and resources needed to make the most of their adventures. I believe that the more you know, the more you can truly appreciate and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of the open road. Join me on this journey and let's make some unforgettable memories.