You love camping, so the tent pop up camper naturally appealed to you. You get all the stability of camping in a vehicle yet all the freedom of a tent with the spacious pop-out sides.
[box] What do you do when it starts raining? You’re not one to be deterred by a little rain, but you have to admit, you have your concerns. Primarily, you’re curious if your pop up camper will leak if exposed to a steady drizzle. [/box]
That’s a great question! In this article, I’ll give you the answer and delve into everything else you need to know about weatherproofing your pop up.
Do Pop up Campers Leak When It Rains?
Most pop up campers don’t leak when it rains, but it certainly depends. If yours by chance has a hole in any of the tent sides or even the roof, then of course leaks can occur. Also, a poorly-designed or older camper could be more prone to leakage than one that’s airtight and newer.
Today, most camper tents are made of one of several different materials. These include canvas, vinyl, and what’s known as Hypalon. Canvas is malleable, soft, and gives you that authentic camping feeling when you sleep under the stars in your pop up. It is prone to ripping, tearing, and getting holes, though. If this happens, then your pop up will indeed leak when the rain starts pouring.
Pop ups with vinyl sides have the malleability of tent canvas but with more strength, kind of like hard-side campers. They’re not made of steel or fiberglass, but they’re sturdy nevertheless. Water rolls right off the vinyl sides. That makes vinyl less likely to develop mold and mildew. These surfaces also dry exceptionally quickly.
Finally, there’s Hypalon tent sides. Hypalon is made of synthetic CSM rubber and chlorosulfonated polyethylene. DuPont Performance Elastomers created this unique material. It’s especially adept at blocking ultraviolet light, temperature highs and lows, and chemicals. It’s also used for folding kayaks and inflatable boats as well as pop ups and other trailers.
There is sometimes a misconception, especially among those who don’t own pop ups, that these are leaky vehicles that are not worth having. Most pop up owners balk at this, because leaks are truly uncommon.
What to Do If Your Pop Up Does Leaks
That said, pop up campers are not invincible. If yours is more than 20 years old, then outdated design measures could cause the vehicle to leak when the rains start coming in. Undiagnosed holes and tears in the tent fabric could also cause an unpleasant sprinkle in your trailer.
[box type=”info”] What do you do if you’re dealing with a pop up camper leak? The first and most important thing is to find where the leak is coming from. You can’t plug it up without knowing that. Once you diagnose the source of the leak, you can determine what your next steps are.[/box]
There are several ways to go about fixing a pop up camper leak. If the tent canvas or other material has a hole or rip in it, then you’ll have to patch this up. You can either order spare material from the manufacturer or buy it at any home improvement store. Granted, if you go with the latter, the new fabric might not match, but that’s okay.
If the tear or slit is slim enough, you can stitch together the tent sides or awning with sewing thread and a needle. If that’s not feasible for you, then you can always get RV awning repair tape on Amazon for less than $30.
Perhaps it’s not the awning or tent sides themselves that are damaged but other gaps and holes in which the rain comes in. In that case, then restoring the camper sealing can make a big difference. Flex Seal is a favorite product on Amazon, and you can get two 14-ounce cans together. The sealant sprays out and has a rubberized coating that will prevent leaks. You can also use it around the house for foundational damage, ductwork, chimneys, and gutters.
If, after you put all that hard work in, you’re still noticing leaks and you have an older camper, it might be time to put it out to pasture. Long-term wear and tear can get so expensive to fix that you’re better off buying a more recent pop up, even if it’s a used one.
Awning and Tent Maintenance for Wet Weather
Once you get your tent walls all patched up, you still have to worry about the weather, just in a different way. Your goal now is to keep the awning and tents as dry as possible.
That doesn’t mean you have to scurry away in your pop up at the first sign of rain. Hopefully, though, you invested in a camper with waterproof tent siding. Waterproof is different from water-resistant. The latter has a coating that can come off with time, while waterproof fabric has special weaving to keep water rolling right off. It will almost never get soaked through.
This is good news for you, because prematurely rolling up your awning or retracting your tents if they’re wet can cause mold and mildew problems. The bacteria prefer moist environments, after all. If you can catch a case of mold or mildew quickly enough, you can scrub it away by hand. Once the mold propagates, you will have to use heavy-duty cleaners. Sometimes you have to replace the awning or tents altogether.
If you do get stuck in a rainstorm then, make sure you can dry out your camper somewhere before you retract all the awnings and tents.
[box] Pop up campers, even those with tent sides instead of hard walls, should not leak. If yours does, it’s either because it was faultily designed, it’s gone through wear and tear, or it’s very old.Patching up awning holes or sealing up gaps is a quick fix. For long-term care of your awning or tents, always let them dry completely if they get wet. This way, they’ll never have any mold or mildew. Good luck![/box]