Why a pop-up camper?
For the first iteration of my expedition camper, I decided on a Cummins powered Dodge Ram with a utility bed and a pop-up camper. A powerful and efficient Cummins turbo diesel engine with its legendary reliability would provide the heart and soul of my expedition camper. A 138-inch wheelbase quad cab Ram would let me carry my photo gear or up to three passengers in the cab, and still provide room for a decent sized camper. The utility bed would provide both storage space and a strong foundation for the pop-up camper.
After less than a year of use, the Cummins powered Ram had proven to be a strong and reliable base vehicle, but the pop-up camper became increasingly frustrating to me. In Denali National Park Alaska I shivered through 15 degree nights while my water supply froze. I simply couldn't carry enough propane to heat the pop-up camper. Throughout Southeastern Alaska, I struggled to fall asleep in a wet sleeping bag soaked from the my leaking tent camper. With no hot water or shower in the camper, I was in a constant search for campgrounds with shower facilities. I had grown weary continually repairing and replacing camper components shaken apart by rough roads. After a four month Alaska trip, my pop-up camper had worn out its welcome for me and I began to dream of a true expedition camper. The pop-up camper's claimed benefits of less wind drag and lower center of gravity were in my mind grossly overshadowed by its performance in an expedition environment.
Dave Fritz has a pop-up camper and uses it extensively. Check out Dave's Dodge Ram site for another owner's experience with a pop-up camper.