When I purchased my first RV, a Flagstaff 228 popup camper, the fine folks at Roberts Sales really helped educate me on how to choose the best floorplan for my needs. I have tried to capture a bit of what I learned below for the benefit of others. (RETROACTIVE EDIT: after owning our popup for about 5 years, I revisited this post and appreciated the information even more after enjoying over 100 nights of camping in our popup!)

Trailer Weight and Truck Payload Capacity

This is probably the most important topic to consider before purchasing any travel trailer, from a popup camper to a hardside unit. Learn more in my separate post titled “RV and Vehicle Weight Considerations.”


The same manufacturer or even the same length popup camper can come in drastically different floorplan options. There are several things you probably want to consider to determine which is best for your needs.

Box Length

Popup campers typically come in 8-foot, 10-foot, 12-foot, and 14-foot “boxes” – meaning the part which is dedicated to sleeping space, not including the trailer tongue and other items.

The longer your box, the longer your fully extended popup can be since a 12-foot box could technically extend two 6-foot bunks to equal a total interior space of 24-feet (although in practice it is typically less due to some overlap in the bunk slides).

A longer box also provides more interior space outside of the slide out bunks for things like dinettes, bathrooms, and kitchen space.

A shorter box length means a shorter overall trailer, which can be easier to tow, navigate around tight corners, and allows for camping in smaller spaces.

High Wall or Classic

Most manufacturers have a “high wall” category with taller exterior walls. This provides several benefits, including:

  • No swing down galley required
  • More storage space from taller cabinets
  • More bathroom privacy due to hard wall pieces (top portion assembles when popped up)
  • Some have more traditional RV features, such as grey/black tanks

These high wall units are typically longer and more expensive. They are also taller when popped down and can sometimes block your view from the rearview mirror.


Different floorplans can behave quite differently in:

  • Weight distribution: heavy items like a swing down galley, oven, and fridge will impact hitch weight based on where they sit in front of or behind the camper axle.
  • Blocking access: a swing down galley can block access to anything behind it, an especially important consideration when the swing down galley is right at the front door.
  • Dinette: placed on the side means a small width, placed in the front/back provides more space but must be crawled over to get to the bunk (see also Not All Dinettes Are Created Equal)
  • Wheel Wells: every popup camper has them, it’s just a matter of if they are hidden by cabinet storage, encroach on your legroom under the dinette, or simply stick out.
  • Slide Out: creates more space but also adds to the amount of time for camp setup/takedown.
  • Exterior / Passthrough Storage: great to have for storing certain items, but takes away from interior cabinet space and forces cargo weight to tongue weight
  • Shower/Toilet: some women (and perhaps some men) won’t camp without them (see also Bathroom On Wheels)

Even certain exterior choices can have a big impact, such as:

  • Roof Rack: great for carrying bikes, kayaks, and other cargo on top of your camper instead of burdening the tow vehicle, but you must remove everything before popping up the camper (which can be annoying when you’ve rolled into camp late at night or need to transport the boats to a lake which isn’t near the campsite)

Dinette Configurations

The size, placement, and shape of a dinette can have a dramatic impact on your personal useability and comfort.

For example, slideout dinettes are very popular in popup campers. I used to think this was ideal, creating more space inside the camper. Not necessarily. A slideout dinette can sometimes be only 64″ long whereas a dinette located at the end of the popup box, near the slideout bed, can be 80″ in length. A family with long legs could find a 64″ dinette to be quite cramped when everyone sits down.

Similarly, if you’re planning to convert the dinette to a bed at night, this can be a major difference, especially if the person sleeping there is taller than 5′ 4″.

You must also consider the location of the dinette. Do you want two small and separate dinettes located at each end of the camper? Do you want to crawl over the person sleeping on the converted dinette when getting in and out of the slideout bunk.

I choose what is an optimal setup for our family – a non-slideout dinette with a guachobed/sofa right next to it. This provides us with a very comfortable mealtime seating for 4 people, especially when the table leaf was installed and we could spread out around both the dinette benches and sofa. It also works well when hosting friends, such as this photo from a rainstorm that kept us comfortably inside of the camper all day.


Some people won’t go camping without a shower and toilet either inside the camper or at a nearby campground restroom. We almost skipped getting this option built into our popup but ended up being very glad that we had it. Here are a few of the pros and cons we found.


Our popup camper has a shower + cassette toilet combo. We didn’t initially use either because of relatively short, extended weekend trips that didn’t really necessitate a shower while vault toilets that we didn’t have to clean were found nearby, even at the dispersed camping areas we visited. However, as our trips have grown longer and more remote, having this onboard toilet is quite convenient, especially when someone needs to use the bathroom at night or in the middle of a rain storm as well as in certain desert areas where regulations require all human waste be packed out rather than buried.

The use of proper chemicals seems to keep any odor contained, even in the small space of a popup camper, and the cassette configuration is extremely easy to pull out for dumping at a vault toilet or even in our toilet at home. Smaller portable aftermarket toilets can also be purchased, but we really appreciated the 5 gallons of waste and 4 gallons of fresh water (for flushing) capacity that our built-in unit provides. You simply open the valve with a lever and hit a blue button to flush some water with an LED even indicating how much water remains.


We started to use the built-in shower around the same time as we discovered the toilet convenience. Not really for a full-on shower, but for washing feet or freshening up a bit. Whereas the cassette toilet captures its own waste for proper disposal at a late time, the shower simply drains underneath the camper, so we either avoid soap or use a limited amount of a biodegradable version. If you visit campgrounds with full hookups, you could likely make an adapter to drain the shower water into the sewer pipe at your campsite. You’ll probably want to have a water heater in the popup camper for anything beyond a quick splash.

Indoor/Outdoor Kitchen

Our popup came with a fridge and cooktop, but we never use either since we regularly camp in bear country.

We do regularly use an outdoor gas grill, which you can see in this photo if you excuse the rust (I had just ordered a new grate that hadn’t yet arrived. The grill conveniently slides into a bracket that attaches to a rail mounted on our sidewall. A propane quick-connect port came pre-installed on our popup alongside the convenient side table that also attaches to the wall rail.