How do you store a pop-up camper for the winter?

In this short guide, we will answer the following question: How do you store a pop-up camper for the winter? We will share with you our top tips on how to prepare a pop-up camper for the cold weather. 

How do you store a pop-up camper for the winter?

Storing a pop-up camper for the winter is no different than storing a caravan, fifth wheel or travel trailer. Summer is already drawing to a close and it’s time to get your pop-up camper ready for winter. Here are our essential tips for winterizing your camper to protect it against bad weather.

  1. Empty the tanks and the water heater.
  2. Close the water inlet.
  3. Pump the antifreeze with the water pump.
  4. Empty the antifreeze.
  5. Move to caulk.
  6. Remove the batteries and shut off the propane.
  7. Clean the camper and store it.

Pop-up camper winterization: Empty the tanks and the water heater

The most important thing is to remove the water in all the pipes and tanks of your camper to avoid ending up with cracked pipes in the spring. You must therefore empty the water heater and the tanks of your pop-up camper. Rinse well to make sure there is no waste in the tanks.

To make it easier for you when you empty the water from the water heater in your camper, open the safety valve located at the top of the tank. It is important to remove any lime deposits and to rinse well.

It is also strongly recommended to empty the water lines before winterizing your pop-up camper. Under your camper, you will find two pieces of pipes protruding with a plug or valve at the end. In most cases, there is a blue pipe for cold water and a red pipe for hot water. Remember to replace the caps before circulating the antifreeze.

We also recommend that you relieve the pressure in the city water inlet of your amper(main outdoor water connection). Thus, the water trapped in the non-return valve will come out. To do this, you must remove the filter from the water inlet, if present, and then gently push it on the tip of the non-return valve.

Pop-up camper winterization: Close the water inlet

It is important to close the cold water inlet of the hot water tank and open the bypass (that is to say the “bypass”. This will allow the antifreeze to flow directly into the hot water circuit without entering the interior of the water heater, which could damage it. 

This is in fact the one and only use of the bypass (of the “by-pass”) of the trailer. be in the “open” position to winterize your trailer and in the “closed” position during the summer so that the water circulates normally through the water heater.

There are various bypass models: with one, two or three valves:

  • The single-valve bypass model has a T-valve at the intersection of cold water and by-pass, in addition to having a non-return valve for the valve. ‘Hot water. The valve is therefore rotated in the direction of the pipe to circulate the water to the water heater or perpendicularly to divert the water directly to the hot water circuit.
  • The two-valve bypass model contains a non-return valve at the outlet of the water heater. There is therefore only one valve for the water entering the water heater and that of the “by-pass”.
  • The three-valve bypass model includes a water inlet valve to the water heater (cold), one at the outlet of the water heater (at the top, hot water) and one between. the two. The one between the two is therefore the “bypass”.

Pop-up camper winterization: Pump the antifreeze with the water pump

If you don’t already know where it is, you need to locate your camper’s water pump. Just turn it on and listen to the sound that will take you to the water pump. It can be inside in a cupboard, under a bench, behind a screwed panel or even outside your camper in a box.

The water inlet hose must then be disconnected from the pump and an auxiliary hose connected to it to pump the antifreeze directly from the gallon of antifreeze. 

It is recommended to use a non-toxic antifreeze specially designed for RVs. If you don’t know the difference between RV antifreeze and car antifreeze, we have written a series of articles on this topic, check them out. 

Pop-up camper winterization: Empty the antifreeze

When the bypass is open and the water pump is connected to the gallon of antifreeze, you must activate the pump and open a faucet to create a demand. Go one tap at a time (hot water, cold water) starting with the farthest from the pump. 

Wait for the antifreeze to flow out of the faucet before shutting it off and moving to the next faucet. Don’t forget the toilet bowl, shower head, outside head shower, or another faucet, if applicable.

Once the winterization of your camper pipes is complete, turn off the pump and open a faucet to relieve the pressure inside the pipes.

Then empty the rest of the antifreeze into the sink to remove the remaining water. Then, to avoid any stains that may be caused by this product, it is advisable to wipe off any dripping antifreeze.

Pop-up camper winterization: Proceed to caulk

Now is the time to caulk the exterior access to the refrigerator, the “wind” from the refrigerator on the roof, the furnace chimney or any other access that may let in snow during the winter. 

Caulking your camper is done simply by sticking polythene or a plastic bag in these places to protect them from snow and ice. When the good weather returns, the accumulated snow and ice melt and water can seep inside, hence the importance of properly caulking your camper while it is wintering.

Pop-up camper winterization: Remove the batteries and shut off the propane

We suggest that you remove all batteries (marine and alkaline) in order to store them in a warm place. During winter it is also best to charge (2 bitter / hour) and let your marine battery discharge a few times. And don’t forget to turn off your unit’s propane tanks, if you haven’t already!

Pop-up camper winterization: Clean the pop-up camper

The very last step – and not the least! – consists of washing the inside of the camper: cupboards, refrigerator and nooks. The idea is to leave your unit clean to avoid bad smells and unpleasant surprises when de-winterizing your trailer in the spring.

 You can also wash the exterior of your pop-up to remove all traces of dirt after the camping season is over. We have written a detailed article on how to clean and repair your pop-up camper, check it out.

Final thoughts

Now that you know the essentials about storing a pop-top caravan, you just have to make the correct decision and take good care of the vehicle, to be able to use it in the next season or when a new occasion arises.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know.

FAQ on How do you store a pop-up camper for the winter?

Do you store a pop-up caravan with the top up or down?

The correct way to store a pop-up caravan is with the top down to prevent sun and wind damage. Extreme temperatures and adverse weather will affect a pop-top caravan more than other RVs and campers. 

Should I store my camper water tanks empty or full?

You should store your camper with empty water tanks. If you leave water in the tanks for a long period, your tank is likely to fill with viruses and bacteria that can affect health. 

How do I prepare my camper for wintering?

Here are a few tips to prepare your camper for wintering:

  1. Empty the water heater. 
  2. Empty and clean the toilet tanks. 
  3. Remove the gas cylinder (s). 
  4. Put the windows in the ventilation position. 
  5. Open the bathroom door. 
  6. Do not unscrew the feet. 
  7. Do not put plastic sheeting on the caravan. 
  8. Put the clean trailer in the garage.

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