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 (end-beds are not included in "box size").

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

An 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

A 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

(A 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 of this:

A 10' camper with a storage trunk uses the same frame as a 12' camper. Compared to the 10' camper the 12' camper has two feet of extra floor space and the 12' camper has longer beds on each end.


10' with storage trunk example


12' box example

So, 12' frames for both campers (same overall length), but much different living 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 knowing your camper's overall length is helpful, but when comparing 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 are set at Queen and Camper King sizes (the same size as the 12' campers).

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

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