Owning a pop-up camper comes with its upkeep costs, one of the main ones being re-canvassing. Regular cleaning and general canvass care will prolong the lifespan of your pop-up camper but eventually the time will come to bite the bullet and replace parts of your canvass or even the whole thing.
So, how much does it cost to re-canvas a pop-up camper? You can expect to pay between $900 and $1,500 for a professional re-canvassing. Pricing will come down to type of material and amount. The more windows, zippers and other specialty seamwork required on your canvas will also increase the cost.
DIY vs. Hiring a Professional to Re-Canvas Your Pop-Up Camper
If you’re the kind of person who likes to do things yourself or if you have a knack for fixing things, you won’t need to spend so much money in hiring a company to re-canvass your camper. Doing it yourself will result in significant savings.
The task itself can be tricky and time consuming, so you’ll have to have a good understanding of what you’re doing. The last thing you want to do is embark on a re-canvassing project without the required knowledge as this can cause damage to your canvas. Similarly, you’ll need to own the necessary tools to get the job done efficiently and confidently using them.
On the other hand, paying that little bit extra to have your pop-up camper professionally re-canvassed guarantees peace of mind that the job has been done properly and your camper stands up to the elements.
If it’s your first time replacing a canvas alone, you can expect to spend a couple days working on it whereas a professional could get the job done in roughly 2-3 hours.
Here’s an example of a professionally sewn replacement canvas you can buy for $1,215 from canvasreplacements.com. This will fully replace the canvas on an EZ Kamper.
Really, your decision is going to come down to a few factors – time, money and technical ability. If you’ve got the time and know-how, then there’s nothing standing in the way of a self-fix. On the other hand, if you’ve got the budget available and less time to dedicate to the project, it’s definitely worth hiring a professional.
How long does the canvas last on a pop-up camper?
The lifespan of your pop-up camper’s canvas is going to vary depending on how much you use it, the kind of climate you use it in and how well you look after it. Generally speaking though, you can expect a brand new canvas to last between 10 and 15 years.
Regular upkeep is central to ensuring a long lasting canvas. You should clean and dry your canvas after every use to reduce the risk of damage from damp or humidity, both of which can lead to mold.
After every use, it’s imperative that you inspect your canvas for any minor damages. Small rips, tears or loose stitching can lead to larger, long-term problems and should be repaired immediately to avoid further future damage.
Keep an eye out for mold and discoloration. These are often indicators that your canvass may need replacing. If you can’t clean and remove it effectively, then the time to invest in a new canvass is probably approaching.
Proper storage is also key to extending the life of your canvas. Where possible, you should avoid storing your camper outdoors where it will be at the will of the elements. Exposure to cold, wind, rain and UV rays is likely to damage your canvas so indoor storage is essential.
Keeping your camper in a garage or shed will certainly add a few years to its life expectancy and guarantee a few extra road trips before the inevitable canvas replacement.
If you’re in the market for a second hand pop-up camper, be sure that you inspect the canvas thoroughly before buying to avoid unexpected re-canvassing costs.
What kind of canvas do you use for a pop-up camper?
You’ll often see different styles of pop-up camper and their look is often determined by the materials used in their production. Some materials offer a classic look while others provide a more modern and futuristic appearance.
The two main materials used in pop-up campers are cotton canvas and vinyl and each have their own benefits. You can also find pop-up campers that incorporate both materials in their design.
Different fabrics have different properties and will be more suitable for certain seasons and weather conditions. If you’re camping in areas prone to wet weather, it might be worth investing in a vinyl-panelled pop-up camper as the material is more resistant to heavy rain and will dry much faster than traditional cotton canvas.
Vinyl is a much thinner and more lightweight material than cotton canvas so it runs a higher risk of ripping or tearing. Generally, cotton canvas is more heavy duty coming in a variety of thicknesses to offer durability and protection against the elements. It’s also treated with a water-resistant coating but be sure to let it dry out sufficiently after a downpour to avoid the appearance of mold and mildew.
How do you repair torn canvas on a pop-up camper?
Fixing a tear in your canvas is no small task and it’s essential to do it the right way to avoid the chance of further damage. It’s easy to just sew up the tear, but this won’t provide a long-term solution – simply sewing the canvass will compromise the water-resistance of the canvas and it doesn’t take much for stitches to come undone.
To repair a damaged section of your canvas you’ll need a few things. Firstly, you’ll need to acquire a piece of canvas that can be cut to match the size of the hole that you want to patch. Ideally you’ll want your canvas patch to be slightly larger than the damaged area. You’ll also need a canvas glue and a spray-on waterproof coating.
Once you have all the materials, you’ll need to measure the tear in order to cut your canvas patch to size (roughly one inch larger than the damaged area). When you have the patch, cover the damaged area on the interior with your adhesive and apply the patch to the canvas leaving it to dry for 10-15 minutes.
There are many specialty stores (like Hanna RV) that can assist you with gathering the proper supplies.
While the glue is drying, go back to your spare canvas sheet and cut another patch, the same size for the exterior. Once you’re satisfied that the inside patch has bonded with the canvas, repeat the process on the outside, patching over the damaged area.
Once both patches have been glued on either side of your canvas, leave it standing overnight to guarantee a strong fix. The final stage of fixing your canvas is waterproofing. For this, take your waterproof spray and apply it to either side. Alternatively, you can use wax.
Are there DIY pop up camper canvas repair kits for sale online?
There are a range of canvas repair kits available on the market that come complete with everything you’ll need to fix your camper yourself at home. Canvas repair kits usually include a cotton canvas patch and canvas adhesive so most of the time, you’ll want to purchase a spray-on waterproofing agent separately.
When choosing your canvas repair kit, there are a few things to take into consideration. Firstly, make sure that the kit you select includes a patch that matches the color of your canvas. It’s also essential that you measure the damaged area before ordering your repair kit to make sure that the patch is big enough to fix the affected area. It’s likely that extra large rips and holes will require professional attention.
Getting outdoors and up close and personal with nature is a breeze when you own a pop-up camper. The freedom to sleep in the wild and wake up with the sunrise is a joy that only camping enthusiasts are likely to experience.
Pop-up campers are an affordable, lightweight choice for anyone looking to spend more time in the wild. They’re incredibly easy to transport from place to place and they pack down nicely for compact storage. Another great advantage of pop-ups is that they’re compatible with a wide range of vehicles and are much more maneuverable than larger campers and RV’s.
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Erick is a freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast. Growing up in Nairobi Kenya and now calling Glasgow, United Kingdom home. Sipping on homemade spiced swahili tea and enjoying a good book is his idea of bliss.