Many people plan to live in a pop-up camper for a whole year. Here are the pros and cons of living in a camper for a year round. We have added the list of all the necessary equipment that you will need.
Can You Live in a Pop Up Camper Year Round? Yes, you can live in a pop-up camper throughout the year with proper management. It requires arrangements of all the utilities and other essential requirements. It requires willpower and adequate planning to overcome any issues and face the harsh weather conditions, especially in winter, in a small vehicle like a pop-up camper.
Can You Live in a Pop Up Camper Year Round?
Pop up campers have limited facilities because of limited space and portable nature as compared to other RVs.
Some modern designs have hard-sided walls with fully furnished interior, while few old types have tented or canvas sides and a PVC rooftop. You can also purchase one with a customized interior according to your needs.
Living in a camper for a year is a challenging task because you have to self- rely on yourself for all routine activities and need plenty of supplies like propane, fuel, water, food items, and groceries available to maintain your lifestyle.
It is still manageable as you can stay at traditional campgrounds, where many tourists stay and have developed facilities.
You have to pay a small rent for space as compared to living in a rented house. Moreover, you can settle in this new community and develop new relationships to keep yourself socially active and stable.
This article will discuss the lifestyle of living in a pop up camper for a year, all the requirements, its pros, and cons.
We will also describe the social, psychological, and financial aspects of living in a pop-up camper and how to handle exceptional circumstances like harsh weather conditions and any medical emergencies.
People use pop up campers to enjoy the summer season at a camping site or some beautiful location to make their vacations colorful.
However, living in it consistently for a longer duration, like a year, requires proper planning and managing a few requirements to fulfill your needs.
Requirements for Living in a Pop-up Camper for a Whole Year
Pop-up campers do not have all the facilities you enjoy living in your homes. However, a few minimum requirements should be present in the campervan for a convenient and enjoyable camping experience.
The kitchen is the lifeline of all your dietary requirements during camping, and it is a must-have item. You can not get a fully furnished dedicated kitchen in this living environment.
However, a few basic things like a burner, small counter space to manage the cooking, few utensils, a sink, and a fridge in a cooking area are necessary.
Select a pop up camper having a kitchen with a multi-burner gas stove that works on propane. Moreover, you should have a smoke detector installed near the kitchen area to detect an unintentional fire.
Due to limited space, a smart sink with hot and cold faucets to wash dishes and water requirements for cooking.
It should have a small counter space to put utensils and chopping vegetables. An energy-efficient fridge that runs on both DC batteries charged by solar panels in off-grid camping and AC power when on the grid power source is available nearby.
Availability of exhaust fans in the cabin for adequate air ventilation is essential while cooking to remove oil fumes and foul smell.
Sleep is the most valuable activity to relax after a hectic long day routine and restore your energy for the next morning.
Therefore, the availability of a bed with a comfortable and softer mattress is desirable to enjoy a full night sleep. If you are going out camping for a whole year, regularly sleeping on an uncomfortable bed can get you back pain and ruin your camping experience.
All pop up campers’ designs don’t have a furnished bathroom, but it is an essential requirement for living outside.
Therefore, you should purchase the campervan with toilet and shower options with a water pump and heater for a hot water tank to take a winter bath.
In the absence of a bathroom in a pop-up camper, you should arrange for a portable toilet and shower. Few of these vehicles have options for outdoor showers.
Plugin the shower hose’s nozzle in the outdoor shower port and enjoy the bath by using a shower tent for privacy.
It is not a compulsory requirement; however, an LCD’s presence to watch movies is a plus point for entertainment purposes.
Availability of radio also helps you enjoy music and keep you updated about the news and weather forecast. You can also arrange for a sound system for partying purposes.
Due to limited space, you don’t have a gym facility in a camper. Use a pair of dumbbells or a treadmill to exercise and keep you physically fit. Availability of a gym at a camping site is also an option.
Lots of Storage
There is limited space available to store your stuff. Simultaneously, camping throughout the year requires plenty of storage capacity to keep utilities, groceries, pots and pans, food items, and other things like clothes and toiletries.
Therefore, make room underneath the bed, sitting areas, or cabinets on sidewalls to store all the essential items which are not readily available at camping sites or for emergency needs. That need further increases if you are a female and have to store more stuff.
You can also keep your stuff in bags and put them in empty spaces in corners to manage the storage of your things in a small room.
Being minimalist in this situation is beneficial, and you should adopt the same strategy of getting rid of unnecessary stuff.
Living in a camper for a year requires a stockpile of groceries and food items to have a balanced diet. You can cook your food or use tin or frozen food according to your taste and choice.
Storage of food in the fridge is a limited option not feasible for long-term stay due to its small storage capacity.
Therefore you have to stay at a developed campground with stores available, or you have to travel frequently to purchase groceries and other food items. It will also reflect in the increased fuel cost.
Continuous supply of fresh water is necessary to fulfill your cooking, cleaning, and other hygiene requirements.
Therefore you should stay at a site with the availability of water supply. Other options can be camping near areas with water sources like any pump, a lake, a river, or a stream.
Some modern pop-up campers have external points available to connect them with supply in the city.
An uninterrupted supply of propane is imperative for cooking and heating purposes. It is the primary option available to warm the cabin during the winter season.
Therefore, you should save a few extra cylinders for use in emergencies when there is no store open or any shortage condition occurs.
You require electrical energy to charge your mobile phone, to run a water pump, exhaust fan, LED lights, and other electronic gadgetry in the camper. It is essential to charge your laptop if you have to work from your RV and need an internet connection.
The primary source of power is solar panels installed on the rooftop to charge the deep cycle batteries. You can also recharge them with the turbogenerator of your vehicle. The presence of an inverter is vital for AC to DC conversion or vice versa.
Some of them have an option for connection with an on-grid AC power supply at a campground. You can also rent out a generator during the summer season to run the air conditioner.
Fuel is required for the towing vehicles to move your camper. You also use it to bring supplies and movement of the vehicle to get a traveling experience.
You require plenty of sunlight to run solar panels and also warm and bright your cabin. Allow natural light to enter the camper by removing blinds or insulation layers on windows.
It will help if you use LED lights installed that run on DC power to light up your room during the night.
Developed camper sites have medical stores or physicians available to handle any medical emergency. However, you should purchase and maintain a first aid kit. It will help to deal with basic level medical issues if you are camping alone or remotely.
Ready-made kits are available online to handle minor injuries and have necessary level medicines like pain killer tablets.
Clothes and Laundry
To stay in a pop-up camper for a longer duration, you frequently need laundry to wash your clothes. You also require a wardrobe or drawers to place your clothes and a laundry bag to store dirty clothes before washing.
Most campgrounds have laundromats available to facilitate the tourists. You can also locate the other nearby laundry services on your way if you want to stay at some quiet and peaceful site other than campgrounds. Doing it by yourself is also an option.
Repair and Maintenance of Towing Vehicle and Other Accessories
Towing vehicle is the lifeline of a camper for navigation purposes. Therefore, for its repair and maintenance, including preventive care, oil change, filter change, and troubleshooting of any other fault, the presence of a workshop and expert mechanic at a camping site is mandatory.
You can also camp at some different locations and keep the contact number of any nearby expert to help you in time of need.
Social Impacts of Living in a Camper for a Year Round
Living in a pop-up camper for full time has both benefits and drawbacks from a social perspective. You have to stay away from your family for a long time. It gives you a sense of self-reliance as you have to manage all your chores.
If you feel uncomfortable, you cannot just drive away to another place as you have to pack up and reattach it with a towing vehicle.
Consistently traveling or at a camping ground, you have difficulty in finding a partner. Therefore travel more slowly so that you get the chance to meet local people, get mingle with them and have a sense of community and have time to find somebody you relate with him.
You can use it as an opportunity to travel and camp near your friends and family circle to socialize further. Therefore, it depends on you, whether you like an introvert or extrovert experience.
On camping sites, you can feel surrounded by different people and lack privacy and comfort level. However, you can enjoy the peace and quietness of nature by camping in a lonely place.
Living on your own in an isolated area or living on a campground with a lack of privacy and quietness, you need to be mentally healthy. Furthermore, you have to face harsh weather conditions and struggle to maintain your lifestyle.
However, it has the potential for mental grooming and makes you happier as you go into the wild and enjoy the beauty of nature.
It reduces your anger and alleviates your mood when you do some physical activity like cooking, exercise, and hiking. Freedom while living on your own, surrounded by natural scenery, reduces stress, mental depression, and you feel alive.
Another psychological effect can be the sympathetic behavior of people. They think of you as homeless and take pity on you, which gives terrible feelings.
Living in a pop-up camper is a lot cheaper than traditional homes. However, there are few expenditures that you should take into consideration while planning for living in an RV.
You have to pay for campgrounds, but it is a lot cheaper than house rent. Other expenses include insurance, the fuel of towing vehicles, LPG, and internet services. However, these expenditures you have to bear anyway while living at home.
Risks Involved in Living in a Pop Up Camper
Life in a pop-up camper is full of adventure, challenges, and learning experiences. However, you have to be prepared for some unforeseen and unfavorable situations.
Life at a camping ground becomes difficult if you develop any disease and become sick. There will be nobody to take care of you until you live with a partner or your family. You can also produce any stress-related disorder or health issues due to improper food.
If you are camping at remote locations or boondocking, you are an easy victim for robbers. Therefore, keep yourself safe and camp at suitable locations or make arrangements for self-defense in case of any mishap.
Camping near forests or in the wild is prone to attacks from wild animals in the area. You should have complete information about the biological life in that area.
It would help if you camped at safe places from wild animals or take safety measures to keep them away.
Natural Disasters (storms, hurricanes, tornado)
The occurrence of natural disasters like storms and hurricanes is the most challenging time for campers.
Lightweight pop-up campers cannot withstand the gusts of stormy winds and tornadoes. You can get physically injured, and the vehicle can be damaged.
Therefore you should travel in the areas according to the weather forecast as there is a risk of life and valuable property is involved. Stay away or evacuate the areas with the prediction of any storm, rain, or hurricane.
Rain is a less disastrous situation as you install the camper above the ground, and it’s sealed. Therefore, rainwater cannot enter the cabin and usually, a camper can withstand a hurricane.
There is a significant fire risk due to flammable material like LPG, batteries, and electrical circuits. Modern vehicles come with smoke detectors and fire alarm systems installed to alert you in the event of any fire incident.
You should also install the fire detection system if you have not one in your camper. Keep DCP or CO2-type fire extinguishers to overcome small fires before they become uncontrollable.
Propane is an odorless gas, and you should install the combustible gas detector to identify any leakage.
Installation of a carbon monoxide detector is also a lifesaver to detect its harmful quantity, especially when you are sleeping in an enclosed cabin during the winter season and your LPG heater remains in an ON state.
Advantage of Permanently Living in a Pop-up Camper
Adopting a camping lifestyle gives you a new experience and enhances your skill set.
Saving Money/Lesser Expenditures
Life on the road is relatively inexpensive compared to living in a home, made of bricks. You can save money in terms of electricity bills, house rent, and water supply charges.
Other additional expenditures like fuel cost, insurance premiums, and camping rent are meager amounts easily affordable.
Plenty of Time to Relax
By living in a camper, you get rid of a few extra bills. Therefore, you have to work less to earn the required amount.
It gives you a lot of time to relax and fulfill your dreams like photography, reading, running a YouTube channel, and hiking.
Living independently gives you freedom and self-reliance. It enables you to learn new skills like cooking, washing, camping, and hiking. You are free to go anywhere, and it makes you adventurous.
A campground is a place where you find campers from different states and countries. Therefore its environment is socially rich and multicultural.
You learn to communicate with new people, make relationships, learn to give and take help from others. You also experience the diversity of human psychology during the camping period.
Finding a Suitable Camping Site
Due to the hike in house rents, there is an increasing trend of living in campers. Therefore, you will find campgrounds full throughout the year.
It becomes a critical issue to confirm reservations for space at campgrounds during the peak summer season. You have to stay at some less facilitated remote location or boondocks.
Sites for campgrounds have required facilities, but solo camping in remote areas disparate you from basic needs. It would be best if you camped at a site by researching the location and availability of necessary facilities, including gas stations, grocery stores, and food items.
Pro Tips to Handle any Emergency
● Prepare an emergency kit containing all the basic stuff, including tools, limited food items, reserve fuel, gasoline, and a first aid kit.
● Keep the helpline numbers of nearby rescue and police services.
● Inform any trustworthy person or family member whenever you switch to a new location.
● Learn new survival skills through online courses to protect yourself from natural disasters or unfavorable conditions.
● You can prefer to live at campgrounds or near populated areas instead of barren lands or forests.
Can you live in a pop-up camper in the winter?
It is good to make proper arrangements to live comfortably during the winter season.
Tented pop-up campers are more vulnerable to freezing temperatures because of poor insulation of their sides and leakage of air into the cabin.
To overcome this problem, you have to keep a large heater in a pop-up camper and an abundant supply of propane. Regular cleaning of snow piles at the roof of the camper is mandatory. Always look for any cracks or leakage in the glass windows and their canvas sides.
There can be accessibility issues like blockage of roads during snowfall. Therefore, you should keep the storage of propane, water, food items, and fuel for at least a week to manage your living.
How do I keep my pop-up camper warm in winter?
The primary source to keep the cabin warm during the winter season is a heater. You can easily purchase the one that runs on both propane and electricity. The thermostat of the heater helps you to keep the temperature of the camper to the desired level.
Windows are the primary source of cold in the cabin. The use of double glazed panels with two layers of glass with air or gas insulation will act as a thermal barrier.
Another option to keep the cabin warm is the use of multi-layered thermal insulation on walls and rooftops. In the case of a tented camper, this problem further elevates, and you have to arrange for a heater with a larger capacity and completely seal all the walls and corners of the cabin.
A better and economical alternative is the use of sleeping bags if the temperature goes below comfort level as it will save from the cold and save propane for use in other purposes.
How cold is too cold for a pop-up camper?
The temperature in the range of 20-30℉ outside the camper is the threshold limit for living in a camper.
It can cause detrimental effects like canvas fabric breakage and cracks in plastic glass windows if it goes below this. Therefore, you should avoid camping in cold weather as it can become impractical to live in a cabin.
Furthermore, they have fragile rooftops with no mechanism for snow removal. Too much accumulation of snow on the roof can result in the total collapse of the camper.
How to handle Temperature Control in Summer?
Living in a pop-up camper during summer is also equally painful if you don’t have effective temperature control of the cabin and live in a warm region.
The first option is to use fans running on DC power. Simultaneously, some latest models have DC fans installed with the direction of rotation changing mechanism. You can use the same fan as exhaust and same during summer for cooling purposes.
If you want to install the air conditioner, either you should have a grid-connected power supply available, or you should have a generator on board.
Thermal insulation of the cabin can also reduce the temperature up to an extent. The use of blinds and shades to prevent the direct impact of sunlight in the camper will also keep the room temperature within the limit.
Living in a pop-up camper for a year-round is a challenging yet manageable task. You should plan your camping trip, keeping into consideration all the pros and cons. Arrangement of all requirements will make your camping experience comfortable and convenient.