How to Waterproof Pop Up Camper Canvas (Easy Ways!)

Pop-up canvas campers are a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts because they offer a lightweight, compact, and convenient way to explore the great outdoors. However, one major concern for camper owners is ensuring their canvas stays waterproof. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of waterproofing, the different types of waterproofing solutions available, and how to waterproof pop up camper canvas.

Without any further ado, let’s dive in.

Table of Contents

    Why Waterproofing Matters

    Waterproofing your pop up canvas camper is essential for several reasons, including protecting the canvas material from water damage, mold, and mildew. These can weaken the fabric and lead to costly repairs. If you’re wondering how to waterproof pop up camper canvas, there are a few steps you can take.

    First, it protects the canvas material from water damage, mold, and mildew, which can weaken the fabric and lead to costly repairs. Second, it ensures that you stay dry and comfortable inside your camper, even during heavy rain or snow. Finally, a well-maintained, waterproof canvas camper will last longer and maintain its value, making it a wise investment for any outdoor enthusiast.

    Types of Waterproofing Solutions

    If you’re still confused about how to waterproof pop up camper canvas, there are several types of waterproofing solutions that can be used on canvas campers, including spray sealants, waterproofing paints, and brush-on sealants. Each has its pros and cons, so it’s important to choose the right solution for your specific needs.

    Spray Sealants

    Spray sealants are an easy and effective way to waterproof your canvas camper. They are typically applied using a spray bottle or aerosol can, allowing for even coverage and quick application. Some popular spray sealants include 303 Fabric Guard, Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarproof, and Starbrite Waterproofing Spray.

    spray sealants for camper canvas

    Waterproofing Paints

    Waterproofing paints, such as Aquatight or DryKor, are another option for protecting your canvas camper. These paints are designed to create a waterproof barrier on the canvas and can be applied with a brush or roller. They may require multiple coats and longer drying times, but they offer a more permanent solution compared to spray sealants.

    waterproofing paints for camper canvas

    Brush-on Sealants

    Brush-on sealants, like Canvak or Iosso Seam Sealer, are applied with a brush or sponge and are specifically designed to seal seams and stitching on canvas materials. They can be a bit more time-consuming to apply but are ideal for focusing on problem areas and reinforcing the waterproofing of your camper.

    Brush-on Sealants for camper canvas

    Preparing Your Canvas Camper

    To learn how to waterproof pop up camper canvas, you’ll need to start by properly preparing the canvas before applying any waterproofing solution. This includes cleaning the canvas and checking for any damage.

    Cleaning the Canvas

    Thoroughly clean the canvas with a mild soap and water mixture, using a soft brush to gently scrub away dirt, dust, and debris. Rinse the canvas with clean water and allow it to dry completely before applying any waterproofing products.

    Checking for Damage

    Inspect the canvas for any signs of damage, such as tears, holes, or frayed seams. If you find any issues, repair them before proceeding with the waterproofing process. You may need to patch small holes or tears, or even re-stitch seams if necessary. Ensuring your canvas is in good condition before waterproofing will help the solution adhere properly and provide the best protection.

    Applying Waterproofing Solutions

    Now that you’ve learned how to prepare and waterproof pop up camper canvas along with the types of waterproofing solutions,  it’s time to apply your chosen waterproofing solution. Follow the specific instructions for each type of product to ensure the best results.

    Spray Sealants

    When using a spray sealant, make sure to work in a well-ventilated area, and wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves and a mask. Apply the sealant in a thin, even layer, covering the entire surface of the canvas. Pay special attention to seams, corners, and other areas that may be more prone to leaks. Allow the sealant to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and consider applying a second coat for added protection.

    Waterproofing Paints

    When applying waterproofing paint, use a brush or roller to apply a thin, even coat over the canvas. Make sure to cover all seams and any areas where water may penetrate. Allow the paint to dry completely between coats, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended number of coats. Keep in mind that the drying time may be longer for these types of products, so plan accordingly.

    Brush-on Sealants

    For brush-on sealants, focus on seams, stitching, and any areas where water may be more likely to enter. Apply a generous amount of the sealant with a brush or sponge, ensuring that it fully covers the targeted areas. Allow the sealant to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and consider applying a second coat if necessary.

    Caring for Your Waterproof Canvas Camper

    After knowing how to waterproof pop up camper canvas, it’s also essential to maintain its condition to ensure long-lasting protection.

    Regular Maintenance

    Periodically check your camper for signs of wear or damage, and address any issues promptly. Clean the canvas regularly to prevent dirt and debris from accumulating, which can weaken the waterproof coating. Reapply waterproofing solutions as needed, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.

    Storage Tips

    When storing your camper, make sure it is clean and completely dry to prevent mold and mildew growth. Store it in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight, which can cause the waterproof coating to break down over time.


    Waterproofing your pop-up canvas camper is a crucial step in ensuring its longevity and your comfort during outdoor adventures. By following the steps mentioned above on how to waterproof pop up camper canvas, you can protect your canvas from water damage and enjoy a dry, comfortable camping experience even in harsh weather conditions.   

    Don’t forget to maintain your waterproof canvas camper through regular cleaning, inspections, and storage practices to keep it in top shape for years to come.

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    How often should I reapply waterproofing solutions to my canvas camper?

    The frequency of reapplication depends on the specific product used and the conditions your camper is exposed to. Generally, it’s a good idea to reapply waterproofing solutions annually or as recommended by the manufacturer.

    Can I use household waterproofing products on my canvas camper?

    It’s best to use products specifically designed for canvas materials, as they are formulated to provide the best protection and adhesion to the fabric.

    Is it possible to over-apply waterproofing solutions?

    Applying too much product can cause it to build up on the canvas, which may lead to issues with breathability and appearance. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate application amount and technique to avoid over-application.

    How long does it take for waterproofing solutions to dry?

    Drying times vary depending on the product and environmental conditions, such as humidity and temperature. Generally, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days for waterproofing solutions to dry completely. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions for specific drying times.

    Can I waterproof my canvas camper while it’s set up or should I take it down first?

    It’s best to waterproof your canvas camper while it’s set up, as this allows for better access to all areas of the canvas and ensures that the material is properly stretched out. This helps to achieve an even and thorough application of the waterproofing solution.

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