If you recently purchased or own an older pop up tent trailer, pop up camper repair knowledge is a must. Pop up campers, also known as tent trailers, are small, lightweight travel trailers that fold down while traveling and, through a system of cranks and pulleys, pop up when you are camping. Due to the multiple different mechanisms and materials at play in these pop up campers, make sure to prep yourself for some of the common types of repairs you might need to make while on the road over the course of your camper's life.
Common Pop Up Camper Repairs
Many things can break on a pop up trailer, especially if it's an older model. The following is a list of the most common problems you may encounter:
- Ripped canvas
- Canvas separating from the body of the trailer
- Broken zippers around windows
- Rips or tears in windows or screening
- Broken crank
- Flat tire
- Broken awning
- Leaks in roof or canvas
- Torn, dirty, or flattened upholstery cushions
- Lifted linoleum
- Appliances do not work
- Broken cabinet latches or doors
- Water pump breaks
- Broken rooftop vent
- Trailer lights do not work or are broken
Repairs You Can Do Yourself
Most pop up camper repair jobs you can do yourself, depending on your skill at repair jobs. Some repair jobs should be left to a professional, such as replacing all the canvas or problems with the electrical or gas system. If the trailer was in an accident, a professional should do structural repairs. However, that doesn't mean you can't take your camper's health into your own hands. Take a look at how to complete some of the day-to-day repairs you can do at home.
Repair a Tear in the Canvas
Pop up campers are most often made of canvas, which can tear, develop holes, or rot from exposure to the elements. To repair a hole or tear you can't just sew it. You have to patch it with another piece of canvas, or the waterproof qualities of the canvas may be ruined. You want to repair the canvas as soon as possible so the problem won't get bigger. Steps to repair the canvas are:
- Purchase a patching kit.
- Measure the tear, hole, or rotted out area.
- Cut out a piece of canvas from the patching kit that is similar to the original color of canvas.
- Cut it 1 inch larger than the problem area all the way around.
- On the inside of the camper coat, the area with canvas adhesive from the patching kit.
- Cover it with the piece of cutout canvas.
- Wait approximately 10 minutes until it dries.
- Cut another piece of canvas for the outside of the camper.
- Apply the adhesive and the canvas, and wait 10 minutes until it dries.
- Keep the pop up camper erect for 24 hours so the repaired area will dry completely.
- Spray the patched area with a waterproof silicon spray or wax.
Waterproof The Camper
Occasionally, the canvas of the pop up camper may need to be waterproofed. You can rub a waterproof wax or use a fabric waterproofing spray on the canvas. Similarly, the seams along your camper might need to be resealed with a quality sealant to keep any moisture from getting inside the cracks and brewing mold and mildew. If it looks like you'll need to replace the sealant, make sure you remove the old sealant first, and then proceed to replace it with new sealant.
Fix the Crank
If the crank on your pop up stops working and you're not sure what the problem might be, check out these troubleshooting steps to get to the bottom of it:
- The first step is to lubricate the crank and pulleys with grease. Don't use a spray solvent such as WD-40 to loosen up your crank. Rather, use an actual lubricating grease instead, which you can find in spray bottles.
- If your crank still isn't working, check the cables for breaks or slips off the track.
- If you find any cracks or breaks, you'll need to replace the broken cable.
- Newer campers may have more complicated mechanisms, for which you'll want to seek professional assistance.
Repair the Screen
General wear and tear is to be expected on any vehicle that you're spending a lot of time in. You might find your window screen has a small tear in it. To fix this, apply clear nail polish if the tear is small enough. However, if the tear is larger, you'll need to find a screen repair kit for a long-term solution. Yet, you can use weatherproofing tape as a quick fix if a tear appears during your adventures and you don't have the opportunity to get the necessary supplies.
Perform Tire Maintenance
You want to make sure you're checking your tires regularly, especially if you use your RV frequently and travel long distances. Always be sure to bring along a spare tire on long trips. Remember to lubricate wheel bearings with heavy grease regularly during scheduled maintenance. Be careful if you're forced to replace your RV's tire on your own. If you're operating a car jack, make sure to have your RV secured so that it is in no danger of falling on you or rolling away.
Replace Linoleum Flooring
If the linoleum is lifting or in disrepair in your pop up camper, you can easily replace it with new vinyl flooring. Here are some quick steps for switching out the current flooring in your RV:
- Remove all the old flooring and dispose of it.
- Vacuum and sweep the base floor, making sure it's completely cleared of all dust and debris.
- Measure the specifications of your flooring and cut pieces in whatever type of vinyl you've chosen to ensure that you'll have a perfect fit.
- Lay down the vinyl tiles or wood slats and secure them in place.
Take Care of Your Pop Up Camper Yourself
If you own a pop up camper, chances are high that you're not in the RV or camper business and might not necessarily know exactly how to go about making repairs on your camper, or know when something is an at-home fix versus when something needs to be addressed by a professional. Thankfully, most damage that happens to campers can be addressed at home or on the road, and choosing to complete these simple repairs yourself can save you a lot of money as well as extend the life of your camper in the long run.