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Are Pop-Up Campers Waterproof

If you’re curious about the RV lifestyle but not ready to invest in a major purchase, a pop-up camper is a fantastic, affordable alternative. 

Popup campers combine the rustic, outdoorsy feel of a tent with the modern comforts offered by a full RV. 

With that exciting blend of qualities, however, can come a few specific questions.

New pop-up campers are usually waterproof, but they may lose some of that protection with age. To keep your popup in a robust and waterproof shape, you will need to take certain precautions, including maintaining the tarp, using a waterproofing spray, and being careful during set-up.

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With proper care, you should be able to enjoy the use of your pop-up camper for years to come.

Read on to find out how to keep your pop-up waterproof and what to do when you can’t!

Can You Use a Pop-Up Camper in the Rain

A pop-up serves as a sturdier and upgraded tent.

This means that it is perfectly fine to use your pop-up camper in the rain.

Reading tip: Are Pop Up Campers Good for Winter Camping

However, you may find that the inside feels moist during significant downpours.

There are a few steps you can take to avoid mold inside your pop-up and stay comfortable during storms.

One step you can take to combat a humid, sticky feeling pop-up is to invest in a portable dehumidifier. 

This device will quietly remove the excess moisture from the air without sucking up too much valuable power.

Another step you can take involves adding a layer of protection over the pop-up camper with a tarp or tent gazebo.

While this likely won’t do much to protect the sides…

It will prevent water from pooling on top of your pop-up.

Which will help keep your camper in good shape and avoid potential leaks.

Be sure that after a heavy rainstorm, you allow your pop-up camper and awning to air-dry thoroughly.

While it’s tempting to pack up your pop-up as soon as the sky has cleared, doing so opens the door for smelly, damaging mold to develop on your canvas. 

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Do Pop-Up Campers Leak Over Time

A pop-up doesn’t always leak over time, but most experienced campers know that it is highly likely without proper care.

By being proactive in avoiding water damage, though, a camper should be able to enjoy their pop-up for anywhere between five and ten years.

A pop-up is undoubtedly more lightweight than a full camper or RV.

But that doesn’t make it a poor financial decision.

By following a few simple steps, you can keep your pop-up waterproof for as long as you and your family need.

How to Ensure a Pop-Up Camper Stays Waterproof

A pop-up camper might take a higher level of maintenance than a standard RV.

But you can keep it waterproof with some care, caution and by following a few simple steps:

Cover your Pop-up When Not in Use

While it is always a bright idea to keep any camper covered when not in use, this rule applies doubly so for pop-up trailers.

Though the cloth portion of your pop-up isn’t quite as fragile as it may look, it’s still far more susceptible to weather damage than a full RV.

Luckily, most pop-up campers are small enough that covering them is an easy task.

When possible, it’s best to park your trailer in a garage or covered driveway, but if that’s not an option, a camper cover makes a great alternative.

Just be sure to cover the camper fully and occasionally check that wind hasn’t caused it to shift.

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Use Pop-up Camper Sealer

Though a brand new canvas is waterproof, it is made so by the use of a sealer.

This sealer can occasionally be rubbed off, even by simple contact with your skin as you assemble the camper.

To keep your pop-up waterproof, you should touch up the tarp with the use of a sealer. 

When it comes to choosing a sealer, there are various options, from lightweight sprays to heavier-duty flex-seal options.

Do your research, think about the environment you’ll be carrying your camper to, and choose the option that best fits your pop-up needs.

During touch-ups, pay special attention to the seams.

As in a tent, this is the area in which you are most likely to find leaks. 

Repair Any Leaks Promptly

Whether you are on the road or at home when you spot a leak in your pop-up, you must repair that leak as quickly as possible!

Tiny leaks and holes can quickly lead to water damage, which is far harder to repair.

It’s always a good idea to keep a small repair kit in your camper at all times.

Immediate repairs will keep your camper in the proper shape until you can complete a full repair using caulk or sealant. 

How Much to Replace a Leaky Canvas 

Even with proper care, accidents can happen.

When your canvas roof has reached a point in which it has fallen beyond repair, you always have the option to purchase and install a new one!

The price of a new pop-up canvas depends on the material, size, and installation costs.

On average, a new canvas will cost somewhere between one and two thousand dollars, with installation an additional couple of hundred.

If you typically camp in a stormy area, you may want to consider a vinyl cover for your camper over the canvas options.

While canvas is made waterproof through unique treatments, vinyl is naturally a fully waterproof material in its own right.  

Vinyl is a more expensive option, but if you struggled with your cotton canvas cover, you might find the additional cost worth it. 


If you don’t already have a vehicle rated to pull a full-sized camper, a pop-up camper provides a great alternative.

This lightweight camper should keep you dry for as long as you need, provided that you give it the proper care and attention in return!

To take care of your pop-up camper and keep it waterproof, you should always use the proper sealants.

Also, protect the canvas from unnecessary moisture and mold.

And repair any visible leaks as quickly as possible.