Today’s RV review is of the 2022 Rockwood Tent 1940F, one of the smallest pop-up tent trailers on the market. In fact, while most of the industry abandoned pop-up trailers completely, Rockwood and Flagstaff (same product, different name) continue to build them. Now they are the leaders in the industry by a long margin.
Camping is in tents
While a lot of people who might have a big, fully outfitted RV might not really think of this when shopping, there is a whole swath of the population for whom these make tremendous sense.
They’re very affordable, with a base MSRP under $15,500. That’s less than the down payment some folks are making on larger rigs—and that’s before any discount is applied.
They fit into a garage, which can make all the difference in some places where there are limitations of what you can park and when.
The Rockwood Tent 1940F is easy to tow
Further, with a gross weight of under 3,400 pounds, they can easily be towed by many SUVs and other family-oriented vehicles. Further, the fact that these would easily sit within the envelope of the tow vehicle means they won’t put a big hurt on fuel economy the way a traditional travel trailer would.
While they don’t come with power tongue jacks, I don’t know if that’s a necessity as it would be with a travel trailer. I could see this working without a weight distribution or sway control hitch. Normally I wouldn’t recommend towing without one, but these are so small and light you can probably get away without one.
That means you won’t need the power tongue jack to overcome the weight of the Rockwood Tent 1940F when hooking it up. Did you know you can raise the back of your tow vehicle with the power tongue jack to take the weight off your weight distribution hitch and make it really easy to put that on and off?
There’s your tip of the day, if you didn’t know.
More conveniences in the Rockwood Tent 1940F
These trailers are the simpler and more basic models, to be sure. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some niceties. One of those is a heated mattress on both ends of the trailer. This could be a nice touch on fall nights when the weather is starting to chill out but you still want to enjoy camping.
Before I switched up to a Ghost Bed in my own trailer, I had one of the heated mattresses. It can definitely make things toasty. Another nifty thing is the cargo slings over the bed so you could put your noisy toys or whatnot up there at night.
There is a curtain that draws over each end of the trailer to offer sleepers some privacy. Those curtains have mesh tops for air flow.
There is a three-burner stovetop and a very small refrigerator here. So you have the basics for making a great camp meal. Further, the stovetop is removable and you can use it outside if you choose to.
There’s also a four (skinny) person dinette.
What’s missing in the Rockwood Tent 1940F
Let’s be honest. These don’t have all the conveniences of a traditional trailer.
Of course, you have to put the top up and down, first of all. There is the option of a power top lift mechanism, though I put the top up numerous times on the one I had years ago.
There is no toilet, nor is there a shower. The drain system is a “direct dump” system, so you would have to have a catch vessel in most camping situations. I found this to be actually very convenient when I borrowed the pop-up camper earlier this year.
And there is a cabinet where you can put a cartridge toilet—if it’s that big of a deal.
We all get accustomed to all the fancy features we take for granted in even small trailers, but these offer camping at its purest form.
These have soft sides so they’re not going to be quite as well-insulated as a more traditional trailer. And Rockwood and Flagstaff do make hard-sided pop-up trailers—if this is important to you.
There are also some locations where they prohibit soft-sided campers like this due to bear activity. So you might check some of your favorite places before you plunk down your hardly-earned money.
An interesting implementation on these is the door. As part of opening the trailer, there is a door that swings up and latches to the ceiling. When that is up, there’s a half-door that slots into the space for when the top is down.
The swing-up full door also has an insert built into it that can be slid down or up to provide air flow.
In fact, every wall of this camper has a zippered piece that reveals a clear plastic window. Those windows, as well, can be zippered open for air flow. I’ve been complaining about the lack of camp-side windows in RVs in general and, perhaps, these small campers are the reason why. They have the corner on the market in terms of visibility.
I used to camp in a camper shell on the back of my pickup truck for years. On one of those camping trips some friends brought their rather well-used pop-up camper and had forgotten to put down the stabilizer jacks.
The wife, who displaced quite a bit of water in the pool, wanted to take a nap and the whole camper flipped on its back end. The group I was camping with wanted to assist her, but we couldn’t recover from laughing to the point where we could barely breathe. Meanwhile, from inside that pop-up camper is a string of foul language that might make even a seaman blush.
There are real advantages to this type of camper and real disadvantages. You can opt-in air conditioning, but it’s not standard. You can also fit in solar systems and a few other things. But the beauty of these, to me, is the sheer simplicity and the incredible towability.
There are definite qualitative differences that Rockwood brings to the table such as torsion axles and a general high build quality. They’re also among the last holdouts making this type of camper, which could be a great place to be as some buyers become ever more interested in electric cars.
You see, weight isn’t as much of a challenge when you consider towing as aerodynamics. These fitting within the envelope of a tow vehicle means they’re not nearly as big a drag as a regular travel trailer.
The trailer that my friend flipped up ended up being my first camper as an adult, and it saw a lot of use. We hauled that thing all over, including to lots of car races in the desert. These bring back lots of fond memories, and so I like them for that reason if none other.
But I think these make a lot more sense than some campers give them credit for.
More from Tony
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Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. He also works closely with a number of RV manufacturers to get an inside look at how things are done and is a brand ambassador for Rockwood Mini Lite with his wife, Peggy.
You can also check out his RV podcast with Peggy.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.
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