Winterizing your pop-up camper is essential if you want it to survive and remain damage-free through the winter. The snow, winds, and brutal temperatures can cause metal parts to corrode, tires to pop, and tent fabric to rip. Fortunately, winterizing your camper trailer isn’t as difficult or time-consuming as it sounds. Use these eight winter maintenance tips to keep your camper in shape and prevent the worst of winter’s wrath.
Clean the Interior
In the winter, insects and other pesky critters look for warm, safe, and enclosed areas to hang out in. Guess what meets those criteria? Your camper.
Dirty campers are even more likely to suffer an infestation in the winter or early spring because pests typically equate begrimed places with food. Pests don’t just eat food crumbs. They also eat soil particles and paper products. Some, like moths and beetles, like to feast on cloth, including your tent fabric.
Pests can wreak havoc on your camper if they find their way inside. So, give your camper a thorough cleaning to deter them from entering. Wash the tent material using a non-abrasive sponge, cool water, and mild soap. Hose down the trailer to remove caked-on mud. Remove any trash from the inside and dispose of it properly. And store your camper in a garage or covered area with a cover on top for extra protection.
Cleaning your camper doesn’t just deter pests, however. It also prevents corrosion, odors, and mold growth, ensuring your camper is sanitary, safe, and intruder-free the next time you use it.
Lubricate Moving Components
Another winter maintenance tip to keep your camper in shape is lubricating all moving parts, including hitches and locks. Proper lubrication prevents binding and freezing and helps these parts operate smoothly. Just squeeze a small amount of performance grease onto a rag and rub it evenly across the surface of these components.
Use Parking Blocks
During cold weather, the ground freezes and turns rock solid. But when the weather warms, the ground thaws and can become soft and muddy. If you park your camper on hard, cold dirt, then that dirt thaws, your camper could sink into the loose, wet soil or start to roll. Place parking blocks in front of your trailer’s wheels to prevent this. These raised bumpers will stop the tires and prevent your camper from slipping and sliding on mud.
Check Tire Pressure
The cold weather can do a number on your camper trailer’s wheels. For every 10-degree Fahrenheit change in temperature, your trailer’s tires will lose roughly one to two PSI (pounds per square inch). Low tire pressure can result in a rocky driving experience. It makes it harder for you to corner and steer the trailer. It also increases the rate of wear and tear and makes flats, failures, and blowouts more likely. The last thing you want is to blow a tire and get stuck on the road in freezing conditions. Checking tire pressure before you hit the road and inflating tires as necessary can help prevent blowouts. But to be safe, you may also want to carry an inflator and a spare tire in the camper.
Adjust the Tongue Hitch
Our next maintenance tip is to adjust the tongue hitch, the rail or rails that stick out near the cargo area. Put the rail(s) in the lowest possible position. This way, snow and rain will slide off it rather than pool. You can keep corrosion at bay by preventing moisture from lingering on the hitch.
Patch Holes in the Tent & Awning
If there are cuts or holes in your camper or in add-ons like awnings, the cold winter air and pests can creep inside your camper. You’ll need to patch the damage if you want to keep these unwanted visitors out. To repair ripped tent material, follow these five simple steps:
- Identify damaged areas.
- Use scissors to remove any loose threads or fibers.
- Use a rag doused in rubbing alcohol to clean the area surrounding the rip.
- Cut and apply a piece of repair tape to the rip; if repairing mesh netting, use a mesh patch instead.
- Let the tape or patch cure for 24 hours before storing or using the camper.
Tent patches can make your camper look a bit disheveled, but functionally, they make the tent material work like it was never ripped in the first place.
Crack Open the Vents
Unless you enjoy the bitter cold, you should close any entrances in your tent to prevent brisk air from getting in. There’s one exception to this rule: the vents on your camper tent’s fly or roof should remain open. Why? Because they prevent condensation from forming.
As you breathe, the warm, humid vapor you emit floats to the top of the tent. There, it meets the cold material of the tent and condenses. This condensation can fall down on you or freeze, lowering the temperature of you and your tent. Leaving the vents open prevents condensation by providing adequate ventilation for vapors to escape.
If you don’t like how chilly your camper feels with the vents open, don’t close them: turn on a tent-safe heater or bundle up in a blanket instead. Closing your vents will make your camper warmer initially, but as condensation builds up, it will turn cold again.
Inspect the Lights
Before you head off on your next camping trip, take the time to inspect your camper trailer’s running lights and brake lights. These beaming lights make your trailer visible to other drivers on the road. If they aren’t working correctly, you’ll be at higher risk of getting into an accident. This is especially the case in winter, when it’s darker for longer, the road is slick and slippery, and snow can create dangerous whiteout conditions. If you test your lights and discover they’re dim or not functioning, replace them.
The bitter winter can be unforgiving on your camping equipment, but a bit of TLC here and there can help it make it through the cold season. At SylvanSport, we carry all the tools you need to take care of your GO camper trailer. Find replacement parts, pieces, and components to keep your camper ready for the road and campgrounds.