Camper Size Explanation

The most common measurement used for pop-up campers is box size. Box size is the camper interior length before sliding out the beds.

Historically speaking pop-up camper boxes came in three sizes: 8', 10', and 12'. Recently 14' and 16' campers have been added to many brands. Also, there are variations in overall length due to extra features such as storage trunks or storage decks but generally the box size is a good measurement to use since it indicates how much living space you'll have inside a camper.

Most tent campers expand to roughly double their box size once set-up:

8' box when down example

8' box set-up example

8' box example
8' box opens to 17' (16' of actual space; the bunk ends angle outward 6" on each end, thus the 17' total)

10' box down example

10' box example
10' box opens to 20' (19' of actual space; 20' total with bunk end angles)

12' box down example

12' box example
12' box opens to 23' 10" (22' 10" actual space, 23' 10" total)

For A-frame campers the box size remains constant.

12' A-frame example
12' A-frame box stays at 12' when open.

Box size, not frame length

Overall length isn't as helpful a measurement as box size because two camper frames could be the same size but offer different amounts of living space. Storage trunk units are a good example:

A 10' camper with a storage trunk uses the same frame as a 12' camper. Not only is there 2' of extra floor space in the 12' camper but the 12' camper has longer beds on each end.

10' with storage trunk example

12' box example

12' frame for both campers, much different overall space:

10' with storage example

12' example

Overall length is helpful when reserving a campsite; sometimes the camp manager needs to know how long a space you need when the camper is open. So know your own camper's overall length once you have a camper, but don't worry about it when shopping for campers--box size works best.

Box-size caveat

Keep in mind box size doesn't account for slide-out units, storage trunks, bike haulers, or toy-haulers. For example, all three of these are 12' boxes but vary greatly in their features:

12' basic camper example

12' bay window example

12' back road example

Quick note on the larger box sizes:

The "double-the-box-size-when-open" concept doesn't apply to the 14' and 16' campers because the beds on the end can only grow so big. In this example the HW29SC has a 16' box but is only 27' 9" when open:

16' box when down example

16' box when open example

Back to Articles & Tutorials

Top of Page