How To Insulate A Pop-Up Camper (10 Amazing Tips)

Congratulations, you are the proud owner of a Pop-Up pull behind a camper; this opens completely new ways to vacation. Now you don’t have to force your children to behave and stay quiet in hotels or other types of holiday accommodation. You can eat whenever you want and dress comfortably without breaking dress codes in a formal environment.

Can you use your pop-up camper to vacation in the cold or even freezing conditions? The quick answer is yes! If you take some time to prepare the pop-up camper and yourselves for the cold conditions, you will end up having a memorable vacation making a lifetime of memories.

The thin walls of a pop-up camper are usually the camper’s Achilles heel. However, suppose you start systematically insulating your pop-up camper, using a combination of specialized camping and regular household products. You will be able to make a warm and cozy place to rest after a day in the snow.

10 Amazing Tips To Insulate Your Pop-Up Camper

Some people are happy to park their camper van over Winter or when the weather becomes too cold.

We fully understand your fear, particularly if you have small children,  but think of all the sights you will miss.

Colorado has some of the most fantastic winter experiences globally and is one of the most beautiful places to visit during Winter in the USA. With its postcard-type snow-covered mountains and world-class skiing slopes, it should be on every camper’s bucket list to see in Winter.

On the other extreme, New York in Winter is a definite once-in-a-lifetime experience. With its winter-centric attractions such as a snow-covered central park or the picturesque ice-skating rinks which open during Winter.

Your camper van costs a lot of money, and to achieve the best return; you need to use it as often as possible. We urge you to consider using your pop-up camper when the weather is not great, or the snow is falling.

With their pop-up roofs and lightweight structure, camper vans will never be as insulated as a Class 3 motorhome. Despite this, there are some low-cost, simple ideas and tips and tricks that will allow you to keep the inside as snug and warm as possible.

There are two types of pull behind pop-up campers, namely.

  1. Folding tent campers and tent trailers
  2. Fixed side pop up camper vans

Our 10 amazing Tips are listed below.

1. Steal The Kids Pool Noodles For Your Pop-Up Camper!

The whole purpose of this article is to help you affordably insulate your campervan as much as possible. The children won’t be swimming in Winter, so why not repurpose their pool toys to make your winter holiday more comfortable.

If your children are very young, it is a great idea to wedge pool noodles between the bed and the camper wall.

Pool noodles can also be used as an added safety feature to stop your child from falling into the crack between the wall. It also acts as a thermal barrier, preventing the wall from transmitting the freezing temperatures from the outside to the warm (hopefully) body.

2. Install A Good Quality Skirting Material Against The Camper

RV skirts are just that – skirts that fit tightly around the whole bottom side of the RV. The skirts only need to be installed on the sides of the

Pop-Up camper, not protected by the tent.

  1. They prevent freezing air and stormy weather from circulating under the RV and potentially freezing water in its plumbing system.
  2. They act as a thermal barrier against cold air blowing around the bottom of the RV.

There are very capable commercially manufactured skirts, which include.

  1. Some companies offer skirting, which is customized to your camper van; this has the advantage that there are no gaps or joints where cold air can sneak through.
  2. A practical solution is to use an inflatable product that consists of a few inflatable tubes squashed under the camper and work very well to stop the airflow under the trailer.
  3. EZ Snap RV skirting – This self-installed skirting kit is popular with many campers.

If you want a project, even if you are not confident of your DIY skill set, it is elementary to create your skirt. Examples of DIY skirts are shown in the attached video link, or if you intend to travel around a lot, and need a more transportable canvas skirt, check out this link1.

3. Use Reflective Tarps On The Pop-Up Campers Canvass Sides

If you attach reflective tarps to the mesh portion of the wall of your camper, they will actively insulate the inside of the cabin while reflecting the cold wind.

These are easy to attach and remove, and because they fold up, they are also easy to store.

They are generally made of polyethylene bubble wrap encased in reflective aluminum foil. The bubbles provide both insulation and strength to support the reflective foil surface. You’ll want the double reflective version to keep the warm air in and the cold air out (or vice versa).

Reflective tarps have a double benefit in that they keep help keep the pop-up camper warm; in the middle of summer, the shiny outside surface reflects the sun’s rays, creating a cooler environment inside the pop-up camper.

4. Insulate The Pop-Up Campers Windows

Campers’ windows, unfortunately, are good conductors of heat energy. Windows are made with thin glass or Perspex, which is tough to insulate.

Consider fitting an insulating material to your RV’s windows to reduce heat loss. These products usually consist of insulating material and tape to attach the film to the window frame.

The material is then heated and shrunk with a normal hairdryer to create an airtight lining over the window.

This device is very effective in stopping drafts and heat from being lost.

5. Fix All Of The Leaks In The Pop-Up Camper

As the Pop-Up camper is used, the normal wear and tear it is subject to will make itself known over time.

You will get minor scrapes and dings on the side where branches may, or other obstructions have scraped against it.

Some pop-up camper materials may start to degrade and lose insulation qualities; this applies particularly to the parts exposed to the sun’s UV rays.

Seals may become brittle or damaged; canvas may lose some waterproofing, suppleness, and durability, hinges may start to “hang.”

Unless attended to, many of the natural wear and tear the average Pop-Up Camper is exposed to could become the source of cold getting in.

Check The Pop-Up Campers Body For Damage

A damaged pop-up camper’s body could be letting in the cold air.

  1. Check for rust if you live in a hot, humid, salty environment.
  2. Inspect the body for dents and scrapes which may have started to rust. 
  3. Check that nothing has penetrated the body; this could happen by reversing into a wayward branch or gate.

Check All The Seals of the Pop-Up Camper

Over time some materials used to seal pop-up campers degrade and lose their flexibility.

  1. Check the rubber seals which form the frames of all the openings. These will include the doors, windows, vents.
  2. You may need to re-caulked the seams around the windows and doors.
  3. Don’t be afraid to apply liberal quantities of sealant to ensure an airtight barrier against the freezing outside air.
  4. Check the Pop-Up camper’s sides and floor for places where electrical wires or pipes have been routed into the Pop-Up camper. Often overlooked, these can be the main culprit allowing air to get in.

Check The Canvas Fittings Of The Pop-Up Camper

The pop-up camper’s canvass sides (and, in some cases, the roof) suffer very heavy abuse. Pop-Up campers canvass sides can be damaged in many ways.

  1. If you packed up the Pop-Up camper at the end of your last holiday while it was still damp, it would not have been able to dry thoroughly; mold stains may be left on the canvass; if not treated, this can result in tiny holes appearing.
  2. In violent winds, the integrity of the canvas may be compromised and may result in tears.
  3. The window mesh may become damaged, resulting in tears.

If you find parts of the canvass structure that have been damaged, you must repair these before the damage gets any bigger. A small hole will grow bigger in a violent windstorm.

If you find damage, now is the time to repair it.

  1. If you find damage in the pop-up camper’s solid panels, you need to have these fixed. Smaller holes can be filled with sealant; however, more significant areas of damage will need to be repaired professionally.
  2. Sew up any holes in the canvass and glue a patch on any gaps in the vinyl sections.
  3. If there are holes in the window mesh material, you can sew these together, or you can purchase a new piece, cut it to a larger size than the hole and glue a piece on both sides using waterproof glue.

6. Install An Insulated Cover Over The Rood Of The Pop-Up Camper

A product like PopGizmos provides an extra layer over the bunk end tops of the Pop-up camper, providing a perfect layer of thermal protection over these sleeping areas.

As thermal protection, they take on double duty by keeping the cold out in freezing conditions and eating out when the sun is unbearable.

7. Insulate Under All The Beds And Bunks In The Pop Up Camper

An effective way to control the nighttime temperature is to ensure no cold air under or around the beds and bunks. In most pop-up campers, these areas are suspended over the ground and have thin fabric walls, making them prone to getting too cold.

Create a pile of blankets under the mattress to act as a barrier to the cold between you and the covers. You can also use foam insulation boards under the bed to create a protective layer.

8. Erect A Camper Bed End Garage on your Pop-Up Camper

These units are tents attached to the rear of the Pop-Up camper. They act as a helpful storage room for children’s toys, camping equipment, or any other items you take on holiday with you but don’t have space to store in the Pop-Up Camper.

Erecting a Camper Bed End Garage at the rear creates an extra layer of thermal insulation to protect your closely guarded heat in the inside of the Pop-Up Camper.

9. Dress Warm When You Vacation In Cold Weather

Dressing in thermally insulated clothes is essential to stay warm and not reduce your core body temperature.

Don’t leave bathing or showering until the evening, but rather try to complete all your ablutions during the day before the cold night air.

Buy warm and cuddly blankets which you can load on with as many layers as you need.

10. Use An Effective Heater To Warm The Pop-Up Camper

If you are vacationing at an RV park with mains electricity, you can use any number of suitable electric heaters.

But what’s the fun in that? Pop-Up campers enable one to go on the road less traveled (apologies to author M. Scott Peck).

If there is no AC electricity available, you need to consider alternative fuel heating systems. These could include.

  1. An alcohol heater/cookstove that uses denatured alcohol as a fuel source.
  2. A Wood-Burning Stove— although these are amazing devices, you need to check the camping site regulations to ascertain whether these are permitted.
  3. A propane heater is a very reliable way to heat a Pop-Up camper.
  4. Use a portable solar heating device. This technology has many advantages, but if you are vacationing in cold weather where the sun is conspicuous by its absence, a solar system will not be the optimum solution.

Whatever method you choose, make sure it is correctly installed and ready for action when you need it.


If you are prepared to prepare your pop-up camper to adequately meet the challenges that freezing weather will throw at it, it is possible to continue using it through the winter months.

It takes a little thought, some work, and enough time to prepare for the trip.

Good luck, and happy camping!

Check out our article on: How To Clean Pop up Camper Canvas

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