13 Tips on how to maintain a pop up camper (checklist)

13 Tips on how to maintain a pop up camper (checklist)

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Boondocking in a pop up camper is a very popular way among Rvers. Pop up campers are low cost RV types that need very less investment. Even then the maintenance on them shouldn’t be neglected.

You need to store the tent trailer in roper way else you may have difficulties in getting it on the road next season. Lets look at the checklist that one can follow for maintaining the camper in good conditions.

1. Clean and Maintain the pop up canvas

If there is one thing on pop up camper that is more important that another, then it is the pop up canvas. You need to clean and maintain it regularly else you may end up replacing it.

Canvas can accumulate dirt and result in mildew and molds if not taken care. Thus clean it regularly with cleaner that is recommended by the manufacturer. Its best to follow the manufacturer recommendation then to try products yourself.

If you not know or are not able to figure whats recommended then try getting products that best suits the canvas. One can also use household products like detergent. But, be sure the detergent isn’t harsh, choose a milder one. Mix it with proportionate amount of water and use the mixture to clean the canvas.

While cleaning the canvas make sure you aren’t doing it in a harsh way, else you may end up damaging the canvas. It may also loose it waterproofing capability. So be gentle and don’t scrub hard.

If you see mildew on the canvas then use mildew spray and get it cleaned before it becomes a major problem. Mildew or mold if neglected can get worse and difficult to remove. Ignorance is bliss is a nice saying but it doesn’t apply here in case of mold or mildew.

2. Interior Cleaning

Cleaning the interiors in case of pop up camper is easier as compared to cleaning and maintaining the canvas. But still, you need to take preventive care just to make sure mildew doesn’t start growing inside.

Any condensation inside the camper can result in molds and you need to prevent that. Make sure the pop up camper has good air circulation when its in use. Temperature difference inside and outside results in condensation. With good air circulation condensation can be avoided.

Also, makes sure the interior is cleaned with recommended products for the material and do not use harsh products. For mildew or mold you can get the mildew spray and clean it thoroughly but not harshly.

3. Allow the camper to completely dry

A lot of times when you clean the camper it gets wet and should be dried completely before you put it in storage. Just allow it to dry completely. It may take some time but be patient with it. Storing the camper wet can result in mold on the canvas.

4. Use vinyl cleaner for windows

For vinyl material make sure you are using recommended product for cleaning, get a vinyl spray that suits it and clean it to make it look like new. Using wrong one here can result in loosing its waterproofing quality so be sure on this point.

5. Do preventive maintenance

This one is a great tip everyone should follow. Do not wait for the pop up camper to get damaged, make sure you are taking all the care beforehand. Doing preventive maintenance can save you a lot of money and will save your camping trip from spoiling. Would you like to have a leaky canvas while you are camping?

6. Battery needs to be properly stored

Pop up campers are best suited for dry camping. While dry camping you will not get electrical hookups and that time your power source can either be generator or DC battery. Batteries are a must for dry camping. My next maintenance point therefore is related to batteries in the camper.

You need to be taking good care of the batteries else it may just fail when you need it the most. Some of the things that you need to take care include storing the batteries in good conditions, charging them properly.

You should charge them fully but not overcharge them. Although most batteries have automatic system to stop overcharging make sure you don’t ignore it. Also while in storage make sure the battery isn’t discharging below 50-60 %.

When kept idle the batteries start loosing its charge. And this can be as high as 5-8% per month. Thus check the batteries for its charge during storage regularly.

7. Drain the tanks before storage

Pop up camper will have tanks for fresh water as well as grey/black water. Before you put the camper for storage make sure the tanks a emptied out. Fresh water should not be stored too long as it may start the growth of algae and bacteria.

So, just make sure you drain all the tanks if you aren’t going to camp very soon. If you are one of those who keeps camping every now and then, then it may make sense to continue with the water. Cleaning or sanitizing the tanks once in while is also recommend. So be sure you are on top of this.

Check out these 24 practical tips for camping in pop up camper.

8. Checking on tires

Pop up campers are small and have smaller tires. But still you need to be checking on them on time. Keeping them properly inflated is very much necessary. Get a tire pressure regulator and do check the pressure before the journey.

A wrongly inflated tire can burst and it can be very bad. Make sure the tires neither have too much nor too low pressure.

A high weight on the pop up camper can put pressure on tires. Thus make sure you pack the camper properly and do not exceed the weight limit. Uneven weight can also be bad for the tires so spread the weight uniformly as possible.

9. Air circulation while storing the pop up camper

Covering the pop up camper with tarp or cover can be bad as they need good air circulation. Hence make sure the camper is stored inside the garage during winter or rain time. Most RV’s need bigger storage however with pop up camper you can also manage with normal car garage.

10. Maintain Towing hitches

A towed RV need to be checked or inspected thoroughly every time before starting the traveling. Make sure all the towing components are perfectly fine and there shouldn’t be any doubt. Cleaning the towing hitch every time after the trip can keep it in good conditions.

11. Check on Air conditioner

Pop up camper being small may not always have air conditioner on them. Many of them do have and you can get one installed as well. If you have one on top of your pop up camper then you infact need to be more vigilant.

A leaking AC can make the canvas smell and even mold can start growing. Check AC for any such leaks and do preventive repair on it as soon as possible.

Read : Pop Up camper air conditioning Guide

You also need to do other regular maintenance with the air conditioner as you would normally do. AC can have clogged pipes, drain pipe, filter and you need to check on these regularly.

12. Clean Floor and look for water leakage

Floor on the camper is another important aspect after the canvas that can get damaged very quickly if neglected. Soft spots on the floor are clear signs of water leakage and you should figure the leaking source and fix it immediately.

A soft floor due to high traffic too can get damaged and thus you should be careful when putting pressure on it. With time the floor gets damaged or looses its strength. So if you are looking to buy used old camper then be sure the floor is in proper condition. Fixing or replacing a camper floor is tedious and costly job.

13. Check interior electrical operation

Inspect all the electrical points, lights for proper functioning regularly. Using surge protectors for your devices can also help a lot and prevent any costly damage.

Tips for putting the camper for long storage

Winter can be harsh on any RV type if its not stored properly. You really need to follow a checklist before putting it under the storage.

  • Make sure the battery is disconnected and stored separately
  • Turn off all electrical and LP appliances
  • Clean the interiors thoroughly and do not leave any food items inside
  • Clean the refrigerator and remove any food items
  • Make sure the camper is well placed and there is proper air circulation
  • Make sure the water systems like pipes, tanks are winterized before the long storage

What to do after the storage is over

Once the winter is over you are all set to camp again but remember you should follow certain things before getting your pop up camper on road again.

  • Sanitize the fresh water tank
  • Check all electrical appliances
  • Clean the camper and check for any damage done by rodents or insects
  • Check and clean the roof
  • Lubricate moving parts like slides, hitch
  • Check LP gas items for any leaks or damages.

Conclusion :

Maintaining the pop up camper should be your priority. A low-cost tent trailer is always neglected while in storage. Taking good care of all the items right from the tires to the roof will keep it in good shape. A lot of things we discussed above not only applies to pop up tent trailers but also to travel trailer, fifth wheel, class A or C motorhomes as well.

G. Yoganand

A RV enthusiast who spends countless hours researching and learning various things related to RV camping. He believes in spending time doing Outdoor activities.
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