Unless you've camped in both, it's hard to imagine all the subtle differences of hightop vs poptop, or even specific cabinet placements and couch placement, etc. Your needs on a sunny trip vary greatly from a rainy one. Stealth vs campsite. Do you sleep a few hours in a truckstop occasionally? Do you like to cook inside or outside? Do you hang out inside or outside? Are you a road tripper? Or a week in one spot? For us the questions keep changing over the years.
We had a VW poptop, which I loved, EXCEPT, when camping a lot of stuff had to move to make out the bed. Our favorite trips are road trips where every night is spent in a different spot, and that constant shuffling of bags of stuff became tedious. Add in our Doberman camps with us and she's underfoot while moving stuff around.
Our current van is now a hightop, and everything has a permanent place with no need for shuffling stuff around at all. Setting up for sleep means parking the van semi level. No more pulling off the highway because I'm tired only to be wide awake by the time the van was ready to sleep in.
But I will admit, if we were to do more camping where we didn't move for days, I did love the air flow of having that top popped. And I haven't found a drive through I can fit in any longer.
The best thing to do though is find out what you
like. If you get a chance, go to some shows where vans are available to check out. Ask if you can get inside and get the feel for it. Some floor plans feel open and airy, others cramped and claustrophobic. At a recent show I was in, every person looking at my van that didn't have one yet was invited to step inside and set on the couch. See if van life was a tolerable compromise.
My daughter and her husband just bought a Jayco 26' slideout travel trailer this past weekend. Lady Shadetree and I were standing inside it marveling at how much room they would have when camping. Then we stood outside of it shaking our heads at the size of it when travelling. We'll keep our van.
It's really about which compromises you
can live with. We each have different criteria for what we prefer to put up with. The trick is finding what that is for yourself without buying one of each. Over the years Lady Shadetree and I have camped in a tent, a tent trailer, a travel trailer, a pop top van, a low roof van, and now our high top van. Each of them had their advantages. Each of them have their compromise. The succession of Shadetree Dogs never seemed to care one way or another...