slide-in, flatbeds and trailers, Coyote RV

Common Pop-Up Camping Mistakes

At Phoenix Pop-Up, we love pop-up campers, and think that truck camping is the absolute best way to camp, travel, and see the world,, so we’re sharing the six most common mistakes new pop-up campers make when first starting out, and how to avoid them so you can begin your adventures in your pop-up camper a little easier.

Overthinking Your Pop-Up Camper Setup

There are seemingly a million pop-up camper setups, each with its own pros and cons.

Start Simple

Once you have your pop-up camper on your pickup, we recommend starting with one of the more basic setups, and taking a couple smaller trips to find out what works for you and what doesn’t.

Too Much Weight

pop-up campers in Phoenix
Confortable sleeping gear is essential.

With any pop-up camping setup, weight is a crucial consideration, and there’s a delicate balancing act between having the camping gear you need, the pop-up camper you want, and the weight limitations of the truck.

Excessive weight not only will slow your truck down but it is potentially a safety risk if the weight of your pop-up camper and gear exceeds your truck’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.

Keep the Weight as Low as Possible

When selecting a pop-up camper, your sleeping platform will affect the weight of your overall pop-up camper setup:

  • Pop-up Camper Materials – depending on if your pop-up camper is built with plywood, fiberglass, aluminum, or composite materials will impact the total weight.
  • Complexity – items like long drawers, a fridge,  power or solar setup, etc, all come at a cost of additional weight. The more you add, the more weight.
  • Size – the bigger your pop-up camper, the more weight your truck must be able to safely accommodate.

Being Disorganized

Without a system for keeping your pop-up camper organized, your already limited interior space will quickly become a claustrophobic mess. So finding some ways to keep your pop-up camper organized will go a long way in improving your overall truck camping experience.

Using Built-In Storage in Your Pop-Up Camper

Consider including a long drawer under your sleeping platform to store your kitchen gear – this will be some of the most used gear in your pop-up camper, so making it as organized as possible will make your life WAY easier. 

Weather Sealing

An improperly sealed pop-up camper can allow water and dust into your camper. And nothing can ruin a camping experience faster than having your clothing, food, or other gear soaked or dirty. While it’s not possible to completely seal a pop-up camper, there are a number of ways to help keep the elements out.

Weather Sealing Your Pop-Up Camper

Install a high-quality pop-up camper seal. This seals the contact surface between your pop-up and truck topper. Leaking windows in a pop-up camper is another common weather sealing issue. So if you’re installing a used pop-up camper, be sure to pull and reseal your truck canopy’s windows. A professional can properly install your camper and ensure any windows are adequately weather sealed.

Inadequate or Uncomfortable Sleeping Gear

You can’t put a price on a good night’s sleep. Not having good sleeping gear in your pop-up camper is an easy mistake to make that can absolutely ruin your sleep while camping.

  • Get a High-Quality Mattress: Selecting the right mattress for your camper is step one
  • Choose a Quality Sleeping Bag: A high-quality sleeping bag can make a huge difference in your pop-up camper experience. There are two options to consider when looking for a sleeping bag for your pop-up camper. Down-filled sleeping bags have a higher insulating value than synthetics, but they will lose their insulating ability if they get wet. Synthetic-filled sleeping bags retain their insulating properties when wet, but can be bulky to store. 

Also, check the temperature rating. Select a sleeping bag that has a comfort rating that meets your needs for the climate.

Insufficient Camping Power Setup

If you’re planning to work remotely, or hoping to include things like a fridge or vent fan in your setup, you need to make sure your pop-up camper power setup is up to the task. Calculate your power needs and select a power supply that meets them. Everyone’s power needs are different depending on what type of camping they do. 

Poor Campsite Selection and Setup

The biggest advantage of camping in a pop-up camper is the ability to get to more remote than more commercialized campsites. Poor campsite selection, pop-up camper positioning, and improper setup can be a major mistake while camping.

Selecting a Site for Your Pop-Up Camper

Know where flood zones are – don’t drive through them during heavy rain, and never set up camp in them. A vehicle can be destroyed by less than two feet of flowing water. Know the area’s fire danger levels, restrictions, and advisories. Make yourself aware of local hunting seasons before selecting a site so you don’t set up camp in a popular hunting spot.

Pop-Up Camper Positioning & Leveling

Try to arrive at your campsite during the daytime so you can see any hazards or obstacles. Check for tree limbs or leaning trees that could pose safety hazards before parking your pop-up camper. Shade can make a significant difference when camping during the summer. Properly leveling your pop-up camper is crucial to make sleeping comfortable and cooking easier.