How Long Will a Pop Up Camper Last?

pop up camper

There is a concept known as the sunk cost fallacy. This is when you buy an item, usually an expensive one, thinking more about its projected value than its current value. When, in several years, the value stays the same or decreases, you’re reluctant to admit it because you already put so much money into the item.

No one wants to find themselves the victim of the sunk cost fallacy, but it does admittedly happen. The smartest way to prevent it is to keep a level head about the items you invest in.

[box type=”info”] That brings us to today’s topic, your pop up camper. How long will your vehicle last from the day you buy it? That’s a question that deserves more than a blanket answer. In this article, I’ll break down the amount of time on average you can expect to have your camper as well as delve into the signs your vehicle might need to be replaced.[/box]

How Long Will a Pop Up Camper Last?

From the day its first owner buys it, a pop up camper is expected to last between 10 and 15 years. If you buy a used camper that’s five years old, then you can expect to get at least a good decade out of it.

You may be surprised by this answer, but this lifespan is actually quite generous. Most cars are built to last for about eight years. Trucks have a longer life on par with pop ups, between 10 and 12 years.

What about other trailers and RVs? Most travel trailers are expected to run for 10 years on average. RVs are projected to have the longest life. You may have one of these vehicles for up to 20 years. This is likely due to the expensive materials that are used in the construction of the vehicle. RVs are built to last.

Reviewing the above information then, a 15-year lifespan for a pop up camper is not too bad. More than likely, you’ll have to replace your towing vehicle sooner than you would your pop up.

Is There Any Way to Expand That Longevity?

Of course, just because the projected lifespan of a pop up camper is 15 years doesn’t mean that on your vehicle’s 15th birthday it will fail completely. It’s possible to use your vehicle for 20 years, sometimes even longer.

Some pop up owners have campers from the 1970s and even the 1960s that still run. How do they do it? Here are a few pointers:

  • From the day you become the owner of your pop up camper, regular maintenance is key. This goes for all parts of the vehicle, especially the important ones like vents, pipes, tanks, and electrical systems.
  • Know that certain parts will go way sooner than 10 or 15 years. If you have a tent-side pop up, for instance, the canvas might rip after five or so years. Instead of letting it sit and worsen, you should fix this issue and others as they crop up.
  • Proper winterization is key. We may be having a mild winter this year, but the season has also delivered some of the lowest temperatures we’ve had in a while. If your camper is sitting outside with just a cover, the cold will break your vehicle down with time. Parking your pop up in your garage or even springing for heated, indoor storage is worth it for the longevity of your pop up.
  • Clean your camper often. This might seem like a common-sense tip, but grime and messes that accumulate can gunk up important systems and cause more trouble than you’d think.
  • Don’t drive your pop up camper all year long. Most of these vehicles aren’t designed for continuous camping. It’s okay if you enjoy your pop up in the warmth of spring and summer or even through the autumn, but wind it down when the weather gets cold.

Signs You Might Need a New Pop-up Camper

If you’re careful and conscientious with your pop up camper, then you could have it for years to come. What if you weren’t so careful? Are there any indicators your pop up may be on the fritz? There certainly are. Keep your eyes out for the following in your own vehicle:

  • Rust or corrosion damage. While there are products like Motorti-Rust Sprayex An on Amazon that can treat and prevent this damage, if you ignore it, you could have a huge problem on your hands.
  • A poorly-maintained interior can be just as bad. Old, musty carpeting and upholstery, dinged and rusted kitchenware, and a nasty bathroom are not livable, even for weekend camping trips.
  • Mold or mildew growth. If your camper vents aren’t working properly, then they can’t move humid air out of high-heat rooms like the bathroom or kitchen. This leads to the growth of bacteria like mold and mildew, which can take over the whole camper.
  • Consistent electrical failure. If the parts of your camper are breaking down all the time and costing you tons of money each time to get them repaired, then it may be time to call it a day.
  • Water damage. This is the biggest killer of pop ups, trailers, and even RVs. You must be sure that your camper does not have any leaks. Whether these are the floor, the ceiling, or the walls, water damage destroys the structural integrity of your vehicle. It’s not safe for you or anybody else to be in the camper at that point.

Depending on the severity of the damage described above, it may not always be possible to resell your old pop up camper. You might have to junk it for scrap metal and buy a completely new vehicle.


[box] Pop up campers are projected to last about 15 years. Considering that the average lifespan of a car is eight years, 10 years for a trailer, and 20 years for an RV, this isn’t so bad. By doing regular maintenance and taking loving care of the vehicle, you can lengthen a pop up’s lifespan even more.[/box]

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