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Leaving up a pop-up camper can cause long-term structural wear and tear. Pop-up campers are designed to stay open for a while, but the support bars need a break eventually. Wind, rain, snow, and other weather conditions can cause excessive damage to your pop-up camper if it’s open for too long.
You can leave a pop-up camper open for one to two weeks before the support bards start to take wear and tear damage. Close your pop-up camper every few days for a couple of hours to let the bars rest and prevent unwanted harm to the canvas. If it’s open for too long, the material can dry and crack.
In this post, we’ll explain how often you should put your pop-up camper down, what happens if you leave it open permanently, and how you can make it last longer. You’ll also learn a couple of tips for avoiding damage to the support beams.
How Often Should You Close a Pop-Up Camper?
You should close a pop-up camper every two to three days to prevent wear and tear. However, the support bars and canvas can stay open for a long time without breaking completely. Closing them for a short period of time will prevent overstretching and bending of the bars and fabric.
According to I Went Camping, the canvas on your pop-up camper is supposed to last up to two decades. That being said, leaving it open all of the time (especially when it’s in long-term storage) will inevitably shorten the lifespan of the material. Furthermore, it can cause the ink to fade away, making it look older than it is.
Before you put your pop-up camper in storage, clean it, let it dry, and tighten all of the nuts and bolts on the support bars and awning.
If you’re still tempted to leave your pop-up camper open when it’s in storage or during a multi-week camping vacation, read on.
What Happens if You Leave a Pop-Up Camper Up?
If you leave a pop-up camper open, the support bars, fabric, and awning will stretch and warp. They’re made to hold the weight of the slide-outs and ceiling for a long time, but they don’t last forever. The canvas will crack or peel, the bars will bend or rust, and the screws will loosen or corrode.
Here’s a list of what could happen if you leave a pop-up camper up for too long:
- Critters could make their way into the pop-up camper. As the fabric wears away, bugs and other pests can walk right into your camping setup. The mesh windows can get porous from being stretched for too long. These cracks and holes are perfect for flies, mosquitoes, and gnats to get inside.
- Wind and rain will cause rust on the support bars. This is especially true if you have a used or low-end pop-up camper. They’re not designed to withstand strong winds like motorhomes. In fact, some pop-up campers are less supportive than tents because of their high center of gravity.
- The bars will bend and yield under the constant pressure of the camper’s roof. While the sidewalls aren’t too heavy, many pop-up campers have a fiberglass roof that weighs quite a bit. The support bars can only hold it up so long before they start to bend and succumb to the pressure.
- Mesh windows and canvas walls will crack and break apart. Michigan RV and Campgrounds states these materials are the most affected ones of the bunch. They need to be closed and cleaned to return to their original condition. If they’re open and dry for too long, they’ll become brittle.
Leaving your pop-up camper open for too long is never a good idea. There are some tricks you’ll find in the following section that will allow you to keep it up longer, but it’s still better to close it every so often. Always store your pop-up camper closed and dry.
Related Article: Are Pop-Up Campers Easy To Break Into?
How to Keep a Pop-Up Camper Open Longer
To keep a pop-up camper open longer, follow these instructions:
- Use additional interior support to hold the camper open. You can use anything from 2 x 4’s to actual customized support beams to hold the inside or outside of the pop-up camper. This process will limit the weight placed on the support bars, giving them a break and limiting the wear and tear.
- Wash the canvas and keep it as clean as possible. Planet Campers recommends cleaning the whole pop-up camper since each part will deteriorate if it’s too dirty. For example, rust can corrode the screws, hinges, awning, and support bars. Mold and mildew will also become an issue if you don’t wash the materials.
- Clean the mesh windows to prevent them from tearing or deteriorating. The windows are typically covered with plastic or polyester. Those materials need to be cleaned since they can become old and brittle. If you want to leave your pop-up camper up for longer than a couple of days, this process is an absolute must.
- Don’t park the pop-up camper in the wind, rain, or snow. As we mentioned earlier in the post, extreme weather conditions can cause long-term damage to your camper. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, park the camper toward the wind rather than against it. This will prevent the camper’s support bars and canvas from getting too damaged.
As you can see, it’s quite easy to support your pop-up camper if you want to keep it open longer than a couple of weeks. That being said, nothing beats closing it for a few hours to give it a rest. Remember to wash the material and consider using screw glue to prevent loose nuts and bolts on the camper.
Now that you know how long you can leave a pop-up camper open, you don’t have to worry about ruining yours. The canvas, mesh windows, support bars, and other components should be cleaned and closed to keep the camper lasting as long as possible.
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