Pop up campers (aka tent trailers, camping trailers) are without doubt a wonderful alternative to spending a night in a tent. It does give users all the inherent advantages of camping and also offers users an opportunity of not sleeping on the ground. They also have some additional and important amenities that bring on board the known comforts of home along with the attendant happenings of adventures. Replacement pop up camper parts are readily available online to the conscientious owner for regular maintenance and occasional repairs. Insurance is also available for unforeseen repair work. Accessories (pc laptop, mac laptop, tablets, tv set, phone, activity tracker, etc) are also available to make your camper feel more like home. Read on to get some pop up camper maintenance tips along with some tips regarding how to purchase one.
Here is a list of some pop up camper manufacturers:
- Chalet RV
- Coachmen (model: Clipper, Viking)
- Coleman (model: Chesapeake, Columbia, Bayport, Cheyenne, Laredo, Santa Fe, Sedona, Sea Pine, Westlake, Taos, etc)
- Columbia Northwest
- CrossRoads Recreational Vehicles
- Fleetwood (acquired Coleman in 2004, declared bankruptcy in 2009)
- Forest River (model: Flagstaff, Rockwood)
- Jayco (model: Jay Sport)
- KampaRoo Campers
- Livin Lite (model: Quicksilver)
- Palomino RV (model: Palomino, Real-Lite)
- Starcraft RV (model: Star Lite)
- Sylvan Sport
- Techno Madia
Many popup campers come with a countertop, dining table, refrigerator and standard sinks. As a matter of fact, there are high end models which include features such as outdoor and indoor showers as well. Because they don’t come cheap and are therefore a valuable asset, it is important to take into consideration some factors when looking for one. Here are some valuable tips on how to shop for a popup camper:
Pop Up Camper Shopping Tips
First and foremost it is important to confirm that the trailer hitch of your car has capability and power of towing a popup camper. Check your vehicle specifications or owner’s manual and take a note of the weights it can easily tow then use the capability of your vehicle to guide you on the type of popup camper you choose to buy.
It is important to take into consideration the chassis of the camper. The longevity of a camper depends on the workmanship and quality of material used; the chassis is basically the frame on which trailer is anchored. Take not of the thickness of the tubing wall on the chosen chassis as this is without doubt a true indicator on the strength of the frame. It is also important to get a unit that uses rust inhibitors such as zincanneal or zincseal on the chassis as this is bound to significantly reduce the instances of rusting and therefore prolong the overall life of the chassis.
One also needs to take into consideration is the canvas and awnings of the popup camper. Do this inspection once the beds have been slid out and opened up and the camper roof cracked up. Once this is done, make a point of thoroughly inspecting the awning, roof and canvas siding. The over-trailer and roof canvas must also be heavy duty and waterproofed and mildew proof. It is also important to make sure that the window flaps and fly mesh are long lasting and strong. A well sized and functional awning is essential because it allows the popup to provide shelter and shade so as to extend the living space.
It is also important ensure that the popup camper has an accessory called a stone deflector. Because the trailer is always being pulled, the stones kicked up and thrown behind most often than not hit the front of the trailer; this is bound to cause untold damage to the trailer paint and body. A stone deflector prevents this from happening by deflecting the stones. They come in a wide variety of choices such as shade cloth deflectors at the front to those horizontal mount shade cloth blinds.
Because the main aim of buying a popup camper is to get some level of comfort when you are sleeping, it is important to check on the bedding. Most of these campers provide a standard foam mattress, it is best to try sleeping on the bed during this inspection so as to make sure you are comfortable while sleeping. If you do determine that you prefer a regular mattress for additional comfort, you should confirm that the bed frame can indeed handle the thicker spring mattress.
You should also decide on whether you prefer a canvas sided or a hard sided camper popup. It is worth mentioning that they both have their advantages and disadvantages and it is therefore important to take into consideration your needs and requirements before making a purchase. Canvas sided are cheaper and lighter to tow whereas hard sided campers tend to handle the elements of weather quite adeptly and can also store more stuff inside.
Finally, it is also important to check on the rims and tires of the camper. Having good tires is bound to improve not only the ride of the camper but also the campers load carrying capacity. make sure that both the tires and wheels are readily interchangeable with those of the tow vehicle. This is bound to come in handy since you will end up having two tires; one in the trailer and one in the tow vehicle, this can come in quite handy when you are doing a long trip.
Ten Important Pop Up Camper Maintenance Tips
To keep your popup camper looking at its best and have it operate at its optimum level, there are few pertinent routine maintenance and cleaning tips which each and every owner must and should take into consideration. Here are ten (10) important popup camper maintenance tips worth taking into keen consideration, they include and are not limited to the following:
Before each trip, make sure you check the safety chains, hitch components, wiring connections, exterior lighting, LP gas components and the air conditioning ceiling assembly bolt tightness or lack of it. You should also ensure that all the interior drawers and doors are securely fastened. It is also important to check the tire wear as well as the pressure. It is also important to safely secure and lock the trailer access door.
Before any long term or winter storage, it is important to disconnect the battery and winterize the water system. Make sure you turn off the LP gas at the tank valve and check the seals of roof mounted items for any signs of possible failure. You should also angle the trailer tongue downwards so as to prevent any build up of ice or snow on the roof.
For long term storage, don’t store the trailer in tall grass, next to a pile of weeds or near a wood pile so as to reduce the chances of small rodents gaining access into the trailer. It is also important to desist from covering the trailer with any type of material since this is bound to reduce the air circulation which could lead to instances of condensation build-up.
After winter storage or after any long term storage, it is important to thoroughly sanitize all the fresh water tanks and lubricate the bed slides as well as the hitch and coupler. It is also important to have the electric brakes checked by qualified personnel. It is also important to have the wheel bearings repacked every 5000 miles by qualified personnel.
During long term storage, it is also important to make sure that all electric and gas appliances are turned off. It is also important to ensure that all the entry points and plumbing pipes in the closed campers are stuffed with bronze and steel wool so as to prevent small insects and rodents from getting into the camper. To keep the wool in place, it can be held using a painter’s tape which will not leave behind any adhesive which will spoil the paintwork of the popup camper.
For your countertops, stoves and sinks, it is important to keep them sparkling clean at all times. All these can be cleaned using the same household cleaners combined with some warm water and mild soap as well. For the cassette toilet and shower, make sure to use a non-abrasive household cleanser so as to bring the shine back.
To clean the roof, choose an appropriate cleaner as suggested by the manufacturer. This usually includes items such as Ivory Soap and water, Windex or Formula 409. Make sure the cleaner is applied to a soft and clean cloth rather than have it directly to the roof. Make sure you clean one small section of the roof at a time. Make sure you thoroughly rinse off the surface.
Make sure you periodically vacuum up any crumbs, paper scraps, dirt or dust from the camper. This is important because such dirt are bound to attract insects, rodents and other forms of scavengers, in the process this is bound to make the popup camper rather unsafe and insecure, this becomes more pronounced If you have children.
Inspect the entire canvas and all the seals of the popup camper periodically and make sure you repair all the holes and tears. One can use patches that have been designed from a similar fabric like that used in the canopy to do the repairs and seal the holes using cement or any other product as suggested by the manufacturer.
Each and every month it is important to check on the GFI (ground fault interrupter), make sure the fire extinguisher is working and placed in an open and easily accessible. It is also important to check on the terminals, cables and batteries and ensure they are in good working condition. Check also the water pump filter and have it cleaned or replaced as would be necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where can one buy a pop up camper?
A: These lightweight units with sides that collapse for storage and towing, ranging from size 15 to 23 feet when opened are readily available from both brick and mortar as well as online dealership stores. Even though there are not as many nationwide dealers of the same, there are dealers in almost every state across the country. It is worth mentioning that for brand new units, most manufacturers tend to have their own approved dealers and it is therefore highly recommended that one checks with the respective manufacturer about the nearest, approved dealership. On the other hand, used units are readily available in many online stores. Some of the sites where you can buy a pop-up camper include;
Q: Where can one rent a pop up camper?
A: There are several companies with an online presence that offer rental pop up campers with a credit card. These though are not in any way linked or connected to manufacturers. Apart from difference in pricing, these rentals also have different offers with some fully stocking their campers with pans, pots, dishes and silverware. Even though there are a few nationwide companies offering this service, most of them are state based. Some of the leading rentals include the following;
Q: Where can one purchase new pop up camper parts?
A: Just like any other mechanical device, a pop up camper is bound to break down from time to time and some parts will therefore need to be replaced. These parts such as bed slide wedges, drill cranks, door latches, tent support poles etc. Such new parts are readily available from online stores dotting the entire nation. Most of these parts are original and come with some form of warranty. Some of the stores worth checking out include;
Q: Where can one purchase used pop up camper parts?
A: At times, it may not be necessary to purchase new replacement parts when repairing your pop up camper. However, it is important to note that since these parts are used or re-conditioned parts, they rarely come with any form of warranty. Interestingly, at times it is much easier to get a used part than it is to get a new one. This is especially so if the pop up camper you want to repair is no longer been manufactured or if the company went under. Here are some of the popular used parts shop in the online market space.
Q: How can one winterize a pop up camper?
A: With flurries in the forecast, it is very important to ensure that your pop up camper is well winterized. Here are some valuable tips when undertaking this, first and foremost, you should ensure that you drain all the water out of the pop up camper water tanks; this includes both the hot and fresh water heater. Keep in mind that any water left in the pipes will freeze and expand and burst the pipes.
You should also hook up air to the city water inlet. You can achieve this by blowing air through the faucet so as to ensure that all the water has been removed from the water tank. You should also put the hand pump hose into a jug of antifreeze. You should then pump the hand pump until a small amount of antifreeze ends up in the sink, by doing this, you can be sure that there is antifreeze all the way through the pipe.
In case you have a Porta Potty, you should proceed and pour antifreeze into the Porta Potty’s fresh water holding tank and then hand pump to flush the antifreeze through the Porta Potty. Once you are through with winterizing the pop up RV, you should make sure that you clean up the camper from top to bottom; this should include the canvas and the roof of the canvas. In addition, you should leave the refrigerator door open so as to allow air flow and prevent instances of mold growth. You should also lubricate the lift system as well as other moving parts such as hitches, bed slides and locks.
Q: How much are pop up camper tires?
A: For pop up camper tires, the prices tend to vary depending on the tire size as well as the brand in question. However, when choosing a tire, it is highly recommended that you get versatile, long running trailer tire that’s going to give you extended trips. A Loadstar 4.80 by 12 Trailer tire and painted rim does cost $34.75 (https://is.gd/Z5XwIP).
A H188/ Eco-Trail 4.80 by 12 Trailer Tire and Galvanized Rim does cost $39.50 (https://is.gd/l5644f)
And a Loadstar ST175/80D-13” Tire and painted rim does cost $55.40 (https://is.gd/g4HA4O)
Q: What brand of pop up camper is considered to be the best?
A: There are several top brands of pop up campers in the market. These include brands such as Jayco, Coachmen, Aliner and Livin Lite. Some of these brands, such as Aliner make A-frame campers exclusively. However, Jayco tends to be more popular with most clients; they do offer two lines of pop up campers; the Jay series sport which is an A frame style camper and the Jay series which is a fold out style camper. With features such as swing level galley for the kitchen as well as a carry out stove combined with ease of getting spare parts tend to make this particular brand stand out from the rest. The brand simply makes camping very comfortable.
Q: What does a pop up camper weigh?
A: Pop up camper weights tend to vary greatly depending on the options you’re looking for in a camper and what your tow vehicle can manage. The large pop up campers that have a kitchen sink may easily weigh more than a ton whereas the most Spartan units may weigh 600 pounds or thereabout. Small campers are usually more manageable by a wide variety of vehicles with a hitch and wheels even though they tend to be quite problematic when it comes to capacity and cargo space. It is therefore highly recommended that you balance your needs and requirements against the available options and choose a camper that can help make your camping comfortable and enjoyable.