A pop up camper is a convenient towed RV that is expandable during use and collapses back down before transit. Space is always at a premium with any camper, so it’s worthwhile asking how to increase space in a pop up camper.
There’s always a compromise or trade-off with how to pack a pop up camper. It’s a battle between its size, convenience, and having sufficient storage space for your needs. In this article, we provide 17 tips for making the most out of the space with your pop up camper.
How to Increase Space in a Pop Up Camper – 17 Helpful Tips
You love that it’s light and easier to tow, but is space at a premium in your pop up camper?
If so, then it helps to be a little on the minimalistic side. Also, avoiding clutter and being organized are two powerful concepts to follow with campers of any size. To get you started, here are 17 helpful tips for finding more space:
#1 – Storage Containers are Your Friend
To keep organized and avoid wasting space, using storage containers is best.
To ensure that they’ll fit perfectly into the spaces that they’re needed, use a tape measure to verify and note down all the dimensions. Then order containers that best fit the available space.
Also, consider getting stackable containers to avoid ending up with a series of single containers that don’t play well together. Whether storing keepsakes, clothing, books, or bedding, consider your needs carefully.
All containers should come with lids. This keeps out dust, hair, dirt, and germs in the air too.
Read Also: Should I Run a Dehumidifier in My RV?
#2 – Install Shelving in the Pop up Camper
Shelves are a simpler solution to get something off the ground or chest level, and out of the way.
Shelving is useful for quick access to items that you’ll need often. They avoid having to pull out several plastic storage boxes and rummaging through them to find what you’re looking for.
Be careful with shelving and the items on there though. Because a pop up camper is lighter, it’s prone to bouncing around more,. So, bumps can dislodge what’s on the shelves. You’ll either need a raised lip at the front and sides of the shelves to prevent items from jumping enthusiastically off the shelf or use a bungee cord to do the same thing.
An empty wall is usually the best place to situate a new shelf. Make them streamlined, so they don’t jut out too far and impose on the interior space (long and slim beats traditional short and deep shelves in a house). Also, if the shelving isn’t working out, then an enclosed cabinet or a case that lifts up and down will help to keep everything inside and organized.
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#3 – Try Elastic Cloth
It’s a bit of a DIY solution or you can purchase one pre-made that will hang neatly.
The idea is a backing board of some kind, and elasticated cloth (so it’s got some ‘give’ to it) that’s stapled or sewn into the board. Each piece of cloth creates a convenient pocket to store a selection of items.
While self-contained RVs and even some travel trailers are more expansive, campers and especially the pop up camper variety are quite compact. This creative hanging storage holds many smaller items that might otherwise slide around in a drawer.
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#4 – Use Convenient Hooks
Hooks are very usable in a pop-up camper to create more space.
Hooks can be metal, sturdy affairs that get secured into doors and other spaces. Or they can use suction cups to secure them temporarily to a door or wall.
For dry items and things of value, using permanently positioned hooks is best because they’ll stay in place. Do remember that a bumpy off-road journey can cause a coat to become dislodged and land on the camper’s floor.
For wet items, suction cup hooks can be added to the outside door to hold wet items to let them dry out before bringing them into the camper. Moisture is the enemy of a small camper, so this is particularly useful.
Note: The suction can suddenly fail, so when RV camping, don’t be surprised to discover your coat has fallen to the ground along with the suction cup hook (they don’t hold as much weight as a sturdy permanent hook).
Read Also: How to Stay Warm in a Camper Shell
#5 – Make Use of Caddies
Not everyone has heard of Caddies.
Caddies are made of cloth and go around your bed on all sides. They’re helpful to store items useful at bedtimes, such as a night light, a power bank, sleeping masks, a Kindle e-reader, and other items.
These are excellent extra storage places that you wouldn’t normally think about. There are standard ones and waterproof caddies as well. If you have access to a bathroom, then a waterproof caddy can hold soaps, shampoo, shower gel, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and other personal toiletries.
Slimline caddies can be utilized inside wardrobes too. They’re usually seen over the door and are perfect to hold socks, stockings, boxers, briefs or knickers, and belts or shoes sometimes too. Additionally, they can store a brush, shoe polish, and other related products.
#6 – Baskets and Unconventional Hammocks
Baskets are a great all-on-one storage solution to make better use of space beneath the lowest shelf.
Wicker baskets work fine as do wire mesh baskets. The more useful ones will slide back and forth with ease, so consider that when choosing them.
Unconventional mini hammocks can hang overhead and provide ad hoc storage for smaller, loose items that move around a lot. That may hold small games for the kids, fruit, or golf balls if you’re an avid golfer.
#7 – Collapsible Items are Handy
It’s not just the pop up camper that is collapsible!
Take advantage of products that can collapse to a small size when not in use.
Such products include portable toilet solutions, drying racks for wet clothes, buckets, trash bins, and even a pet’s food or water bowl too. You’ll be amazed at how many you can find when you start looking for these items.
#8 – Tension Roads to the Rescue
As storage tools go, the modern tension rod is an adaptable one.
Tension rods are mostly added once the pop up camper is organized and ready to use. They can fit either vertically or horizontally. In a living space or the bathroom, these rods are highly adaptable.
The traditional use is for a shower curtain rail with hooks that the shower curtain clips onto. However, some people hang their clothes there. They’re a great way to squeeze in more storage space without needing a dedicated wardrobe or extra space hog.
#9 – Learn How to Compactly Store Clothes
Folding clothes into neat piles isn’t efficient from a space standpoint. Folding and later hanging everything eats up available space quicker than you’d think.
Switch to rolling many clothing items. It’s far more space-efficient and allows you to store them in clear plastic storage bins. You can see what you have and label each bin by the type of clothing items too. This works for leggings, t-shirts, tops, sweatpants, and other casual or sportswear.
For items that must be hung up, ensure the hangers are strong enough to support their weight.
#10 – Use Velcro for Temporary Storage Solutions
Sometimes, you’re wanting to avoid screwing a new hook into the wall or otherwise damaging the interior structure of your pop up camper. Perhaps you’re worried about water ingress later on or the resale value of the camper? Either way, we got you…
Using Velcro is an excellent option. Look for versions designed expressly for indoor use. They will expect the material to be used to secure items to desks and other flat surfaces. It can certainly prevent loose items from flying around that won’t conveniently fit in other storage options.
#11 – Add Some Spice and Herbs to Your Life
If you cook in the pop up camper, then you’ll appreciate a reliable way to store dried herbs and spices.
Creating a miniature rack or purchasing one that locks each spice bottle into position safely protects them on trips. These spice and herb racks should be near the cooking area, but also be protected from unhappy accidents on the road too.
#12 – Don’t Ignore the Tow Vehicle Too
We wanted to pause at this juncture to point out that you shouldn’t ignore the storage potential of the tow vehicle either.
There will be plenty of space such as getting a roof rack, rooftop cargo box, or cargo box.
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Strapping heavier items to the roof rack is ideal. This can include a telescoping ladder, a surfboard, bike, or something else. The rooftop box is especially useful to provide extra storage beyond what the trunk can already store. They’re secure, and lockable too.
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In the trunk, organizers allow for the separation of different types of items to stay better prepared and reduce the time to find things.
#13 – Pack Lighter!
The usual traveler brings far too many carry-ons and other luggage with them. This is especially true when not needing to fly because you’re driving cross country and towing a pop up camper behind your car or truck.
Pack light. Lighter than you’d think. Avoid the tendency to overpack and bring everything and the kitchen sink. It’s just not necessary. This means less to store and more free space inside the camper to move around too. A win-win.
#14 – Rethink the Appliances
Any appliances installed in the pop up camper should make the best use of the kitchen area.
Whether using a pop up camper or tent trailer, rethink the appliances if they’re household versions and take up too much space. Switching to compact ones that accept multiple fuel sources like 12-volt, gas, or campground hook-ups and sacrifice some features for a smaller footprint works well.
Also, smaller household appliances, like a blender, kettle, or coffee maker all have more compact options available that also draw less power too. They’ll also take up less storage space.
#15 – What About a Dish Cradle?
Instead of storage dishes and plates vertically stacked one on top of each other (this adds weight and a balancing issue), switching to horizontal storage is better.
Using a dish cradle allows a pop up camper owner to dry plates or bowls and provides more convenient access too.
#16 – Don’t Be Afraid to Reuse Items
Reuse items to put them to better use, so they’re not lying empty.
For instance, don’t just throw away items that aren’t being used for their original purpose. Find a new use for them. So, hang cooking pots securely on rods instead of putting them in cupboards or find innovative ways to reuse something differently than before.
Doing this cuts down the cost of storage containers and teaches your kids about being creative to save money.
#17 – Create Your Garage
Every RVer needs a garage. It can be at the back of the tow vehicle or inside the pop up camper.
Get a sturdy toolbox to keep all the smaller supplies organized and easy to put your hands on them. Spare batteries for portable hand tools should have a designated place that they go.
The power tools need to be easy to access but not a tripping hazard too. So, use a toolbox or storage box that’s large enough to fit these items even if it requires a couple of irregularly shaped boxes to get it done.
As with all compact travel situations, less is more.
While making effective use of all storage opportunities is sensible, it won’t make up for overly cluttering your camper. So, avoid doing that if at all possible otherwise your pop up camper will feel cramped even when it’s fully extended.