Pop-tops are one of the brilliant quirks of camper designs – in the search to get as much packed into as little as possible, the pop-top has proven itself as one of the most effective solutions over and over. That said, pop-tops can have some downsides too.
Here’s everything you need to know about them.
Pop-tops give you lots more room
This is the most obvious point, but it’s worth reiterating that they do actually work. If you need some more internal room – perhaps if you’re tall or a little claustrophobic – being able to stand up in your van makes a big difference.
It also helps when you’re hanging out with friends. Having the extra headroom means that you don’t have to feel cramped when sitting inside the van.
Pop-tops let you keep a low profile
One of the main desires when investing in a campervan is the ability to be mobile whenever you need to be. While you’re always going to be more mobile in a non-pop-top, low-roof van, the difference in mobility is the extra minute or so it takes to drop the pop-top and lock it.
In real world use, being able to have a low roof means that you have the option to go into dense, urban areas without being limited by your van size. Not to mention that you can always keep the roof down when you want to stay stealthy.
When you’re on the road, you’re either looking for the solitude of being on the road alone or looking for the company of travelling with friends. When you’re after the latter, you often have to compromise on mobility by travelling in a bigger van. Most pop-tops, however, allow you to fit an extra bed in the top section when the top is up. So you can actually house more people than you’d expect while also being able to easily drop the roof when you need to get going.
Be aware of climate
Now, for all of the benefits of having a pop-top roof, you need to be aware of some of their limitations. Most sides that fill the space between the roof and the body of your van are simple canvas. This is great because it’s lightweight and easily collapsible, but it can also be a poor insulator. The same goes for the roof itself; for the sake of being lightweight, many pop-tops have a plastic or fiberglass roof – which means they also don’t keep heat in very well.
If you’re planning to adventure during the Summer or in areas with generally-warm climates, this is likely a benefit. You get some natural ventilation, and you’re not worrying about keeping warm at night. But if you anticipate cold weather, bring extra blankets - as you likely would pop-top or not!
Pop-tops can let a lot of sound through
This is another point that could be a benefit or a drawback. Because the sides are canvas, you’re not going to get any sound dampening when you have the top up. This means that sleeping in a noisy area with the top up is particularly challenging.
If you’re boondocking, this is great! You don’t need to worry about all the noises of the city and the sounds of nearby wildlife are likely quite pleasant.
Follow the safety instructions
We have to note that, as with anything in a campervan, it’s important to always follow the safety instructions, and the same is definitely true with the pop-top. Never drive with the pop-top up, always make sure that the pop-top is fully raised to be securely locked into place, don’t allow anyone under the age of 18 to operate the pop-top, and never leave any unattended children inside of the pop-top.
Choose the right van option for you
At Texino, we use SCA pop-tops in our camper conversions. Their thermal insulation balanced with lightweight construction makes for a perfect extension to the vehicle. They’re flame retardant, easy-to-use and cosy - with velour interior.
Take a look at the Switchback model, which sleeps four with its double murphy bed and pop-top with memory foam mattress. The Tango model is designed with both space and function in mind, and the pop-top provides just that, with space for an extra camper!
If you’re looking for more gear and storage capacity as well as the benefits of a pop-top, you have to check out our Clipper model.
On a surf trip or when kicking back in the desert, a pop-top’s probably your best bet. See what's available for your next adventure here.