Your pop up camper may have been cheaper than a travel trailer or an RV, but it still deserves care and protection.
A pop up camper cover can safeguard your vehicle from the effects of acid rain and other environmental pollution, mold and mildew, and damaging UV rays. You want a cover that’s waterproof, UV-resistant, and has breathable fabrics to keep out bacteria.
With the covers I linked you to in this article, you should be able to get your pop up camper ready for the winter season ahead stress-free.
Our Top 3 Picks for Pop up Camper Covers
Here are my 3 favourite pop up camper covers (all available on Amazon) that I think are great picks.
1. Camco ULTRAGuard Pop up Camper Cover
The ULTRAGuard from Camco is up to 12 feet long. It comes in a single color, plain gray, but it includes vented flaps. These control moisture within the cover and your pop up camper. The flaps lessen wind impact, too.
If your camper is at least 87 inches wide and 46 inches tall, then this cover is a good fit. With its polypropylene fabric along the sides, you get added protection. There’s also the top panel, which has three layers to repel snow and rain moisture.
The self-adjusting strap system is included so there’s no need to go out and buy bungee cords. You can get the ULTRAGuard for less than $100.
2. PolyPRO3 Pop up Camper Cover
Another inexpensive pick (it’s also less than $100) is the PolyPRO 3. This comes in a variety of sizes to accommodate bigger and smaller pop up campers alike.
Why is the cover called the PolyPRO 3? That’s due to its three-ply top layers. The side layers are only one-ply but are still adept at preventing scratches, nicks, dirt accumulation, and damage from rain and snow.
You can store cords, zippers, or bungees in the stuff sack, already making the PolyPRO 3 convenient. The rope attachment system that comes with the cover secures it in place. There’s even a toss bag for wrapping the ropes around the bottom of the cover. No more crawling beneath your pop up camper!
The PolyPRO 3 boasts tension panels in the rear and front. These fit exceptionally well due to their hem corners, which are held tight with elastic. The sides of the cover are known for drying quickly, but you also get an air vent system just in case.
3. Goldline Premium Folding Pop up Camper Cover
My last pick for pop up campers is the Goldline cover. It’s a little more expensive than the other two we’ve covered, as it hovers closer to $200. It can stretch up to 14 feet, though, so that’s probably why.
Your camper must be at least 85 inches wide and 173 inches long to use the Goldline cover. That should include any spare tires and the bumper of the vehicle. This 30-pound tan cover is durable, as it’s made of filament polyester yarns that are 99 thread count and 600×300 denier.
With its specialized finish, you don’t have to worry about UV damage with the Goldline. The Tru-Weave fabric also repels mildew and mold. Included anti-scratch sleeves ensure you never have to come back to a scratched-up camper in the spring.
If by chance you have any issues with your Goldline cover, it’s protected under a warranty good for five years.
What Can Happen if You Go without a Cover
While you don’t want to personally find out what can happen if you leave your pop up camper unprotected, we figured I will talk about it anyway. This section can act as a cautionary tale to always add a cover to your winterization process.
Acid rain occurs more often around lakes and forests. When fossil fuels and coal are burned, they generate nitrogen oxides and sulfurs in their gasses. As the acids combine with the atmospheric water that makes rain, you get acid rain. The high acidity of this rain can damage buildings, animals, plants, and people. It will definitely ruin your pop up camper.
You might think that the cover of a large, shady tree is enough to keep your pop up protected for the winter. What you might not have considered is the sap within that tree. Every species of tree will make sap, but some make much more than others. If your camper is under a particularly sap-heavy tree, then you could come back in the spring to a very sticky vehicle.
It’s not easy to get sap off at all. If it’s the awning that’s suffering from sap, you’ll have to buy a special cleaner. Using anything you have around the house can degrade the acrylic or vinyl of the awning to the point where it becomes brittle. You then need a new awning.
If your camper roof is sticky with sap, you can try soap and water. You might have to use diluted bleach for the job otherwise. Other areas of your pop up camper, such as painted surfaces, require chemicals to rid them of sap. Trying to the scrape the sap off manually will often leave the camper scratched.
Bird droppings are easy enough to clean with soap and water, but come on, do you really want to? They say it’s good luck to be pooped on by a bird, but a camper covered in droppings is no way to start a fresh season of RVing.
Dirt is also not hard to remove unless it’s seriously hard and caked on. Still, it’s an extra job you have to worry about, and no one wants that.
Unlike bird dropping and dirt, ultraviolet rays can do some serious damage to your pop up camper. Not only will your vehicle look faded, but the plastic and metal components within your vehicle can start to degrade with enough UV light exposure. Most campers, trailers, and RVs have a UV-protective coating included with them, but this won’t last forever. When that coating fades, the sun is free to wreak havoc on your precious pop up.
Wind, Rain, and Snow Damage
Finally, there’s the damage that can occur from wind, rain (normal rain this time), and snow. Too much snow atop your camper could threaten the stability of the roof. If we’re talking about a tent camper here, then it probably won’t survive a severe snowstorm. Wind too can potentially knock the camper over unless you have a bigger vehicle that weighs thousands of pounds.
What Should You Look for in a Cover to Protect Your Pop Up Camper?
Now that I discussed all that, we think it’s safe to say you definitely need a cover for your pop up camper. Don’t just browse around for covers and pick the first one that fits your camper. You want a cover that possesses certain qualities. This ensures the cover is more durable so you can use it for the next couple of years.
Here are some qualities to be on the lookout for.
1. UV Protection
I already talked about how much UV rays can devastate a pop up camper. It doesn’t matter if you live in a sunny area or not. Even in cloudy weather, UV rays still permeate through. Your cover must have sufficient UV protection to prevent fading and other wear and tear from the sun.
Dry rot is not a pretty sight. While it can happen internally if you have a leak in your plumbing system, it can occur externally, too. External dry rot is most often caused from exposure to too much rain or snow. A cover that is rot-resistant will be able to handle wet weather without the cover soaking through and getting the camper wet.
3. Mildew and Mold-Resistant
Wet or even damp surfaces provide enough moisture to grow mild and mold. If a camper cover gets wet from rain or snow, it could develop a mold or mildew issue. You’ll want a cover that’s mildew-resistant and mold-resistant then.
Make sure your cover has a vent cover, too. This allows warm air to travel out of the camper, keeping humidity down and mold and mildew out.
4. Fade-Resistant Colors
Although not as important, getting a cover with fade-resistant colors will keep it looking nicer for longer. These covers are designed not to fade after sitting out in the sun.
5. Strong, Breathable Fibers
The strength of the fibers of your cover is another consideration to make. Whether your cover is built with acrylic fibers or polypropylene, you want something that’s going to last. If the fibers are breathable, that means air can travel through the woven material. That can go a long way in halting mold and mildew growth.
6. Environmental Pollution-Resistant
Tree sap, bird droppings, and acid rain all count as environmental pollution. If these are threats in your area, then make sure you search for a cover that is environmental pollution-resistant. It will keep your cover and your vehicle cleaner and in better condition.
If a manufacturer says their cover is water-resistant, that’s not enough. Water-resistant covers have a finish that lets water slide off the cover, not permeate through. That said, if the finish gets worn off, you’re out of luck. The cover no longer protects your camper from the rain or snow.
Waterproof covers, on the other hand, have no such coating. The fibers are designed with special technology that keeps water out of the vehicle. This is a much better choice than a water-resistant cover.
How to Put Pop Up Camper Cover on
The good news is that putting a cover on a pop up camper is much simpler than doing the same job on a lengthy travel trailer or a tall RV. You’ll still need another person, maybe even two, to help and oversee the task. And yes, you still need to climb on the roof (most of the time). It just won’t take as much effort.
Here’s how you do it:
Step 1: Begin by parking your pop up camper in the desired location. Make sure there’s plenty of room around you.
Step 2: If this is your first time using your cover, then remove it from the box it came in. Unfurl it completely. Undo any zippers and hooks.
Step 3: Next, climb aboard the roof of your pop up camper. Again, make sure you have someone else supervising this.
Step 4: Once you’re on the roof, lay the cover flat. With the zippers, hooks, or even bungees, secure the cover in place.
There are a few considerations to keep in mind as you put your cover on:
- Don’t do it on a windy day. Not only will the cover be blowing around all over the place, but you could fall off the roof of your camper.
- Make sure your camper can support the weight of a human adult on top of it. If not, then climb up near the roof but work on the top few rungs of a ladder.
- Never climb on the roof of your camper if you’re not comfortable with it. As mentioned, there are other ways to secure your cover.
How to Remove Pop Up Camper Cover
Step 1: You might want to climb up to your roof or close to it. Weigh the cover down with something heavy that won’t damage the roof of your pop up camper.
Step 2: Then, climb back down and undo all the cords, zippers, hooks, and bungees. The cover is now free to fly around, which is why it was smart to weigh it down.
Step 3: Climb on the roof and pass the cover down to someone else who’s helping you out. Do not try to wrestle with the cover on the roof, folding it down or rolling it up. Just get it off the roof and come down.
Step 4: Once you’re on stable ground, lay the cover flat.
Step 5: Then roll it or fold it. Put the cover in a storage bag or container and stash it somewhere safe for next year.
Pop up Camper Cover Maintenance
Depending on the type of weather in your area, you might get two to five years with your cover. Since most camper covers are fairly inexpensive, it’s not a big deal to have to replace them. No one wants to spend money unnecessarily, though, which is why we thought we’d end this article with some cover maintenance tips:
- Although camper covers can block out mold, mildew, and UV rays, one thing they can’t block out is critters. From rodents to insects, no cover can repel these unwanted pests. You’ll have to use your preferred animal-repelling measures instead.
- When securing your cover on your pop up camper, take your time. There are antennae, vents, and other roof parts that your cover could catch on. You don’t want to rip the cover right after taking it out of the box. To prevent that, outfit ladders in pool noodles or pipe insulation. Put a tennis ball in your gutter spouts as well. This should reduce the potential for prematurely ripping your cover.
- If a warranty is offered on your cover, take advantage of it. This can pay for rips and tears as well as other damage.
- Always ensure your cover is totally secured before you leave your pop up camper for the winter. If there’s even a flap that can blow around, it could scratch up the sides or roof of your camper.
Hope this article helped you in choosing your pop up camper cover!