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21 Clever Ways to Increase Space in a Pop Up Camper

It’s no surprise that pop-ups can be small.  That’s the entire point!  Pop-ups are made to be light, easily portable, and easy to haul.  The trade-off for this convenience tends to be a lack of space. 

Regardless, there’s no reason that your trip has to be cramped rather than cozy.  With a few tips, tricks, and tools, you should be able to increase the amount of space you can enjoy within and outside of your pop-up camper.

1. Get Back to the Basics

First and foremost, remember that the main purpose of your trip is to camp.  This isn’t the time to pack your entire closet, pantry, and grooming kit.  Get back to the basics and bring only the necessities for a good time.

Much of our attitude about a situation boils down purely to what decisions we make about an event going into it.  As you pack for this trip, don’t tell yourself that you’re “stuck” paring down everything to fit into your tiny camper.  Instead, remember that this is an opportunity to get creative and rise to the challenge your pop-up presents!

2. Collapsible Dishware

Thin Bins Collapsible Containers – Set of 4 Round Silicone Food Storage Containers – BPA Free, Microwave, Dishwasher and Freezer Safe - No more cluttered container cabinet!

Do you know the traditional tin dishware most people associate with camping?  The type that is typically brightly painted in blue or red, speckled with white, and pressed as thin as possible to make for light luggage?  Pack those away.

While traditional dishware is great when your goal is to lessen the weight of a camper, that’s likely not a problem for your pop-up. Instead, invest in collapsable dishware. Try to select pieces that are durable enough to be useful for multiple purposes.  This cutting board, for example, can be used as a cutting board, plate, or wide bowl, depending on your needs. 

3. Suction Cup Hooks

HangerSpace Suction Cup Hooks, 1.77 Inches Clear PVC Suction Cups with Metal Hooks Removable Small Suction Cups for Kitchen Bathroom Shower Wall Window Glass Door - 12 Packs

These suction cup hooks make a great tool to turn unused wall space into potential space for yourself.  That heavy coat taking up space you need on the couch?  Put it on the wall.  The pot you’d planned on leaving on the counter?  It belongs on the wall by the stove instead!

The key to utilizing space is to think outside of the box.  If it could be on the floor, find a way to place it on the wall instead!

4. Roll Clothes Instead of Folding

As you pack, don’t fold clothes in the way you see at a store.  Roll them!

Lay all your outfits together in advance, then roll them into as tight a ball as you can imagine.  Secure that rolled outfit with a thick rubber band to keep the outfit in place.  You’ll be amazed how much space you’ll find yourself saving with this method.

5. Collapsible Baskets

Magesh Collapsible Sink 2 Pack - Outdoor Camping Picnic Basket Each 11L/2.90Gal Wash Basin, Portable Foldable Tub/Basin/Bucket with Sturdy Handle for Washing Dishes, Camping, (Yellow and Orange)

If you have the type of camper where the dining room table converts to a bed, you may consider leaving that area in the “bed” position semi-permanently to take advantage of the storage opportunities it offers.

By placing extra clothes or appliances in baskets, you can easily slide them in that extra space under your bed.  They’ll be tucked out of sight during the day, keeping your stuff ready to use when you need it.  Check out these options with their adjustable compartments!

6. Hammocks

Colel Double Hammock, 2 Person Cotton Canvas Hammock 450lbs Portable Camping Hammock with Carrying Bag Two Anti Roll Balance Beam Metal Carabiner Ropes and Tree Straps for Travel Patio Garden (Blue)

One of the easiest ways to pack as much as you can into your pop-up is to take the option of spending more time in the great outdoors itself.  

If the weather is comfortable, try sleeping outside in a hammock, keeping the pop-up instead for its bathroom and kitchen conveniences!  It’s not an untold idea.  For generations, backpackers, hikers, and cross-country cyclists have found that the ease of a light, compact hammock far outweighs that of a bulky mattress or sleeping bag anyway.

7. Magnetic Strips

If you’re lucky enough to have a full kitchen in your tiny pop-up camper, you likely fight the battle of how to store everything you need to take advantage of it.  A great way to increase space in a pop-up camper’s kitchen is through the use of magnetic strips.

A strong magnetic strip placed strategically around your oven can be used in a variety of ways: holding cooking knives, silverware, or even spice jars equally equipped with magnets!  By emptying your cabinets, you can save that space for the food you’ll need to make your delicious meals. 

8. Tension Rods

We addressed this earlier, but it serves to mention it again: anything that could take up space on the floor could just as easily go anywhere else.

By hanging tension rods around your pop-up, you open up a vast amount of space for extra storage.  Hang your clothes, towels, or anything else that might have otherwise been stuffed into drawers….

9. Outdoor Towel Hangers

Swimline 89032 Poolside Towel Rack, One Size, Multi

…Or, better yet, hang those same clothes outside!

By using a towel rack to hang clothing, blankets, or any other fabric outside, you free up more space inside for the things you use every day. This is also a great way to allow wet or dirty clothes to “air out” before packing them away for good. 

10. Store Extra Items in your Towing Vehicle

While this may seem a basic idea, it’s a valid one nonetheless.

The space inside of your pop-up camper is limited and, therefore, precious.  Reserve it only for items you use daily, and leave all other clothes, food, or appliances in the truck until they are necessary.

11. Plastic Shelving

This hack is an old one, but a good one.  When you run out of space in your pop-up camper’s build it shelving, simply add more using cheap, attractive plastic shelves and drawers. 

All across the internet, you’ll see campers showing off the towers of storage they’ve built using simple plastic drawer units.  Best of all, they allow you to pack everything you need in a way that’s easy to transport from your truck to your camper after you’ve fully extended your trailer. 

Rather than having to unpack suitcases and re-store items, these shelves allow you to pick up everything you need and place it exactly where you’ll want it to stay for the extent of your trip. 

12. Outdoor Gazebo

Pamapic 12 x 12 Foot Camping Portable Outdoor Pop-up Gazebo, Outdoor Gazebo Tent, UV Protection Screen Tent, Carrying Bag, Brown

There’s more than one clever way to increase space in a pop-up camper, and one great option is to take full advantage of your outdoor space as well.

With the addition of an outdoor gazebo, you can expand the amount of space you have to comfortably enjoy within your campground. Add a fan, string up some lights, and enjoy all the amenities of the indoor space outside of your pop-up camper as well!

13. Hanging Shelves

One of the best benefits of a pop-up camper is how it can fold into a tight, compact form for travel.  Why not utilize shelves that offer the same benefits?

With the use of hanging shelves, you should be able to turn any unused corner into a full, easy-to-use storage area. Just remember to check the amount of weight your camper roof can hold before loading it down with heavy luggage or dishes! 

14. Add a Shoe Storage Bag

While you’re in the habit of hanging shelves and other storage containers from the roof, try adding a shoe storage bag.  These handy containers aren’t just useful for shoes.  They can easily be used to store your phone, remotes, rolled-up magazines, and pamphlets, canned goods, or any other objects that could benefit from storage within immediate sight. 

15. Collapsible Trash Cans

Camco Life is Better at The Campsite Pop-Up Utility Container | 18 x 24-inch | A Compact Size for Multi-Purpose Use | Sketched RVs and Trees Pattern (42987),Large

If you’ve traveled with a pop-up camper much before, you already know that the key to storage is to take advantage of collapsible containers. As you shop around, don’t forget to pick up a collapsible trash can as well!

These can be utilized for more than just garbage.  These collapsible containers are also a great place to put dirty clothes. If you’re at a campground that offers a laundromat, these light, compact containers can help you haul those dirty clothes to a wash without even breaking a sweat. 

16. Combine Technological Devices

It used to be a point of pride to have the smallest, most compact phone or tablet.  Those days have long since passed, though, and you might be surprised to realize how much space your technological devices all take up.

When you go camping, is there any reason you really need a laptop, phone, tablet, and kindle?  Instead of packing all your toys, try to combine devices.  With the use of a compact Bluetooth keyboard, your phone can usually do almost anything a full laptop or computer can do, including showing videos, writing essays for school, or completing emails for work. 

Further reading: How to Attach a TV Mount to an RV Wall

17. Cook with Multi-Use Ingredients

You can save space by combining more than just technological devices; combine ingredients as well.

Think about your favorite Mexican restaurant.  Chances are, they’re able to bring about amazing flavor and variety, all with the same few ingredients.  Take your camping trip as a chance to do the same! There’s no reason you can’t create a diverse, delicious menu using a few stock ingredients: rice, grits, cajun seasonings, olive oil, veggies, and eggs.

18. Camping Utensils

2Pcs Detachable Camping Utensils Cutlery Set, Caudblor Portable 4 in 1 Stainless Steel Travel Utensil, Foldable Knife Fork Spoon Bottle Opener, Multi Function Eating Flatware Tableware(Green Black)

At home, you very likely have an entire kitchen drawer set aside purely for storing spoons, knives, and forks.  When you’re camping, you can’t afford the luxury of that much space.  

Instead, consider saving space by using swiss army utensils. These handy devices contain every utensil a person might need to enjoy a full meal, saving you space and dishes in the long run.  

19. Prep Meals Ahead

While you’re in the act of consolidating the items in your kitchen, consider saving even more space by cooking your meals ahead of time.  In doing so, you can make sure that your fully cooked and seasoned meals are stored in the best, most compact way possible.  You can also save yourself the cabinet room that might have otherwise gone to ingredients, seasonings, spices, and dried goods!

20. Nesting Pots and Pans

Camco Premium Nesting Cookware Set - Pots with Removable Handles, Space Efficient Excellent for RVs and Compact Kitchens, 7-Piece Set (43920),Stainless Steel

Of course, for some people, the challenge of cooking meals in your small pop-up camper is part of the trip’s joy.  If this sounds like you, invest in nesting pots and pans instead of the usual cheap, space-consuming alternatives.

This high-quality set from Camco contains every pot you might need, all packed together in a neat, compact stack. 

21. Collapsible Lantern

KIZEN Collapsible LED Solar Lantern - Rechargeable, USB & Solar Powered Camping Lights for Hiking, Backpacking and Emergency Use - Portable Outdoor Camp Light - Blue

The best way to store as much as possible is to make sure that all usable space is taken up by material, rather than empty space.  For example, rather than wasting space with bulky, lightweight lanterns, you can invest in collapsible lanterns. During the evening, when you are looking for a way to light up your space, these small lanterns pack a big punch, but you won’t be left looking for places to store them during the day.

Conclusion

With a little creativity, you shouldn’t have any issue fitting everything you need into your pop-up camper.  It’s all a matter of knowing what it is you truly can’t live without, paring down the amount of clutter, and being sure to invest in space-saving luggage.

By following these clever ways to increase space in a pop-up camper, you should be able to travel in absolute comfort.