I would definitely go with the Eternabond on the top but you need to fill in the hole with something to give the Eternabond support underneath it. Fill it with two-part epoxy or something so you end up with a surface relatively level with the roof.
Some people use white caulk (nothing found in a hardware or big box store, use dicor or similar from RV dealer) to go around the edges of the Eternabond to dress it up. Personally, I don't care as I know it's doing its job well.
If you do much cleaning, you'll need to reapply waterproofing products, depending on exactly what fabric you have. 303 High Tech Fabric Guard sold me the first time I tried it and sprayed water on it after it dried. Works for all fabrics without attracting dirt. Not for use on vinyl (newer PUPs' tenting material).
I've simply used a steam cleaner with brush attachment for seat cushions. Most cushions I've run into have a plastic liner between the cover and the foam. This is not always the case. Regardless, you don't want to let much water soak in before sucking it up with the hose attachment.
As stated, wash the curtains in cold, hang to dry. There's no need to store them special. Mine are always attached when I close up the PUP so they just crushed wherever they end up.
Not that camper/RV envy is a new thing and most wrestle with it, you and/or she will probably always be checking out the neighbors and comparing. It's human nature, especially when something BIG is next to you. Who cares - you've got what you've got and it doesn't matter what others think about it. I recently got a tour of a 5th wheel designed to sleep two people with just about every foot of both sides being slide-outs. The media center up over the hitch area was awesome with leather couches and a large LCD that rises from the cabinet. Too bad they didn't have the washer/dryer installed yet - they were just trying it out. Great. Not why I go camping. To each their own.
My Explorers only had 3,500 pound bumpers but weren't Sport Tracs. If I added the tow package, then I could get to 5,300 pounds tow capacity but it involved more than just adding a receiver hitch. The transmission on the more recent of the two also choked pulling a similarly sized PUP (a Jayco 1007) and THEN I did research on the history of Explorer transmissions and found out it was a matter of when, not if, the transmission would die when towing anything.
BTW, your Sport Trac is 4,135 pounds curb weight. It has a gross weight of 5,660 pounds when loaded up with 1,525 pounds of people and cargo.
DavidP is right in that the rear of the Explorer is too soft. There are ways of fixing that. I went with air bags for the rear coils of my 4Runner and that has made a huge difference. Again, get the tongue down close to level. And shift more weight inside the PUP to in front of the axle to add more pressure on the tongue. Most people will always quote the 10% they've heard over and over. That can be just fine. I found that I need 15% to 20% of the weight of the PUP on the tongue for mine to tow well. I use a pair of same model bathroom scales to weigh my tongue, which comes in around 470 pounds. That's pretty much on the nose for the 3,100 pounds when loaded up. My scales go up to 290 each so I am comfortable enough with those measurements. So, how you load up can affect things as well.
From what I remember of the awning on my former Jayco, you're looking for something like this that telescopes and has a pin at the top to fit into the horizontal support pole at the end of the awning, correct?
$11 each and you might find them cheaper elsewhere but this is a pretty good price, IMO.
Let us know if that works or not.
For cleaning mold or mildew stains, do NOT use bleach or bleach-based products. This will hasten the deterioration of the canvas as hand-washing and rinsing canvas in place will not be able to remove all of the bleach.
Use something designed to remove mildew on canvas such as Iosso Mold and Mildew Stain Remover.
It is non-toxic and specifically designed for woven materials. It works well on vinyl, too. I have used it and am glad that it really has no odor which means you can use it in enclosed spaces, such as inside your PUP. Just cover everything with plastic and towels where it might run down then clean it with this. It is also biodegradable so whatever does rinse away won't be a problem.
Bathroom cleaners that use bleach and other products are designed for use on non-porous surfaces like tubs and counter-tops. Canvas is porous and mold spores are smaller than where these cleaners will penetrate to. Sometime down the road, you will likely get mold again at the slightest provocation of moisture as you never removed all of the mold with the bathroom cleaners. Often, you become paranoid enough to keep the canvas dry, or dried out afterwards, but one slip up and mold can grow back faster than ever. Plus, with the deterioration of the canvas sped up by latent bleach still in it, you're looking at replacement canvas sooner rather than later.
Long story to say please use the right product. I did have to use a little elbow grease but knowing I wasn't harming anything was well worth it. $1000 for new canvas is a steep price to pay for learning that one the hard way. No thanks.
As for waterproofing the canvas, if it is indeed canvas, is outside of my personal experience. I have vinyl and Sunbrella (which is a synthetic canvas of sorts) for my tenting materials. I do know that 303 High Tech Fabric Guard will add water repellency to most any woven fabric. It is safe to use on canvas. I know some other canvas owners have mentioned what they used but can't recall at the moment what it was.
I do know that you should NOT use the silicone sprays found in most camping sections of most big box stores. It is very short term, does not really penetrate the fabric and attracts dirt which worsens the problem of water repellency in the long run.
I have used the elastic "garter" sheet holders to keep the fitted sheets in place.
You can find them just about anywhere that sells sheets.
No one sells (or if they do, you wouldn't want to pay the prices) sheets fitted to what you find in PUPs so you make do.
I recently acquired a sewing machine at Goodwill for another project and decided to try my skills (HA!) out on a stupid simple task with the straight sheets.
I folded the bottom end over about 8 inches and sewed the edges together along the sides. This made something of a pocket at the bottom of the sheet. I just tucked it under the mattress and we no longer have a top sheet that pulls out sometime in the middle of the night. We do use sleeping bags as blankets over us and should the cold overcome our heating abilities, we can turn them back into sleeping bags. The kids just sleep in sleeping bags at the other bunk end even though there is a fitted sheet on the mattress there.
Those smart alek responses are why fewer and fewer PUP owners frequenting this site. I would always welcome helpful suggestions from any person on this site but it seems like owners of other styles of RVs are always looking down on PUP owners and providing answers that are unhelpful at best and often just condescending. I'm not sure why someone like that would take the time to even respond like that.
PartyMarty, here are a few sources to look at regarding some of the leaks encountered with Chalets. Most leaks are with older models but something to be cognizant of regardless of manufacturer, model or year.
Three different areas of leaks:
Leaks causing full floor replacement:
Both of these are older models and it sounds like the company has taken steps in subsequent years to address the problem. The long and the short of it is that every camper can leak. I would not have a problem looking at a recent model Chalet at all as they corrected much of the causes. However, I don't care who makes a camper - if the owner(s) has not kept up with maintenance, inspected and corrected any caulk or seam failures, then that camper is going to have a problem.
It comes down to you doing a great visual inspection and interview of the seller if you are buying used. If you are buying new, then try to do research on the specific, recent years' models.
You could help us out by letting us know if you are looking at new or used and possibly if you have some specific models in mind.
It would appear that by your location in your profile that you are right to be concerned about leaks. Most leaks can be avoided or greatly reduced by proper storage when the camper is not in use - breathable covers or completely covered by a garage of some sort. If your camper's only exposure to the elements and UV is when you are actually camping, you will keep a "mint" looking camper for quite a long time. That's one of the benefits of having a collapsible format.
Good luck and let us know what else you think about.
Here, here, Roy!
The great news is that since you don't have a water system, you can camp as long as you want into winter until it just becomes unruly. I lived in northern Wisconsin right at the edge of the snow belt so 143cm of snow is typical. That made for some fun camping.
Without water, your biggest concern with dropping temperatures would be how the vinyl is going to react. Everything stiffens up and I get a little nervous about the clear window vinyl as it approaches water freezing temperatures. There's nothing magical about 0 degree C for vinyl but it really gets stiff and I'm afraid it will break on me the older it gets. Some folks will turn the furnace on high for a while right before closing up the PUP to keep the windows as pliable as possible. I haven't ever gone there.
Anyway, if you keep your tenting mindset but also don't go crazy on loading up all of the accessories you can get your hands on, you'll really like the PUP life.
The add-ons you have listed are great additions. I don't have proper Reflectix for my windows but use the silver-tinted automobile sun shades. Otherwise, I've got the rest and know them to all be helpful in keeping the temperatures inside I want. I'm about to head out right now and facing highs around 34 C. Come on air conditioner and PUGs!
I just realized I never addressed your second question. Sorry.
For this, we need to know that you know what material you are actually dealing with. When you say canvas, do you mean the cotton cloth that is woven from thick thread (duck) and is 100% natural, or is it a Sunbrella cloth that is also woven but uses synthetic materials, OR do you really have vinyl that looks like plastic on the outside and woven material on the inside?
Each one of these materials needs different waterproofing treatments. Also, if you could put your PUP's model and year in your profile or signature, that would lend a clue to us for many different questions you might have in the future.
Please respond with this information so we can get you an appropriate answer. And I would categorically say to NOT use the silicone spray from most camping departments at the big box stores. If the original waterproofing method from the manufacturer was chemically based, silicone sprays are almost always incompatible with the original product and will cause very inconsistent protection and ultimately will fail. Additionally, silicone attracts a lot of dirt which can hasten the growth of mold. No thanks. Silicone sprays have their place but on a PUP's exterior is not one of them.
It's not a matter of voting. It's a matter of understanding what you're dealing with.
The issue with using a standard tarp is that it is a moisture barrier on purpose. However, moisture in the form of humidity, mist, etc will find its way between your PUP and the tarp. If you have done a good job and pulled the tarp snug, you have just made a green house environment where water will stay and during the warmer months before and after winter, will promote the growth of mold as well.
If you keep the tarp off of the surface and allow airflow between the tarp and PUP's exterior, there is no problem using a tarp. Most people can't or won't do this. They will just strap it down nice and tight, even just across the roof. That's where problems begin. Some are lucky and have no problems but I have read too many accounts here and elsewhere when an owner has pulled the tarp off in the Spring only to find standing water on the floor inside the PUP, ceiling and roof damage and no clue how it got past the tarp.
A breathable cover is designed to let water vapor escape and reduce trapped moisture. It has a way of getting out across the entire surface of the cover instead of a few little spots where the tarp makes a gap. With PUPs, it is inevitable that moisture will always find a way in. It is how easy it is for it to get out that can make or break your PUP.
So, you see that there is science behind those recommendations in the manuals from the PUP manufacturers warning against the use of tarps. I have seen people make custom-built frames for tarps to go over their PUPs, much like a mini-shed or simply as Beer Belly suggested, a commercially available "instant garage".
And on page 96 of the 2006 Jayco owners manual, you will find the following information:
Store your RV indoors, under a roof or purchase a tarp to cover your RV during storage. Make sure you invest in a good tarp that can "breathe".(I added the emphasis.)
In my opinion, Jayco did a disservice to owners by using the word tarp instead of cover but the last sentence is the critical part regardless.
You're talking about a presumably several thousand dollar expenditure for this PUP. I would not recommend going cheap on protecting it.
Also, if you get much snowfall, you will want to periodically clear the snow off of the roof so that it does not collect too much weight. My manual states a maximum of 250 pounds should be on the roof. Ninety eight pounds are already eaten up by my air conditioner unit and it doesn't take long over that amount of surface area to accumulate 150+ pounds of precipitation. Northern Wisconsin was a tough place for me to have a PUP outside during winters. The same page of the owners manual has the following:
Remove snow loads from the top of your RV to prevent damage to the unit's structure.
Caution: Excessive snow, 8" or more, or ice, 2" or more, places excessive weight on roof. Remove excessive snow or ice as needed. Care MUST be exercised to not damage the roof material when removing snow & ice. Excessive weight can damage the roof, seals, etc. Water leaks and poor fit or operation are the results of this damage.(I did not add the emphasis.)
Here is a link to your owners manual if you don't have a copy already.
By the way, that's a really nice camper. I loved our Jayco. It was light, easy to move around by hand and reasonably well-built. A front deck would have been awesome. I hope you get lots of enjoyment out of yours.
Please do not use bleach and bleach-based products on your PUP's material surfaces.
Bleach is great for getting rid of mold and mildew on non-porous surfaces but not so for surfaces like canvas and vinyl.
I can point you to a number of resources that explain this in greater detail but the short technical reasons are:
- Mold spores are smaller than bleach molecules. Mold gets into the fabric and bleach does not penetrate as far into the fabric as all of the spores are. The result is that it appears to be clean but in fact the next time that area is exposed to moisture, mold is already present and will return with less incubation time than previously.
- Bleach will hasten the deterioration of the canvas if not completely and thoroughly rinsed. Most people cannot adequately remove all of the bleach from the material, especially if it is on the inside of the PUP. Stitches will become weakened and results in seams coming apart. The material weakens over time and either thin spots or holes will form.
This is not an immediate effect but will develop slowly over time. This process is inevitable with any PUP but it will be sped up significantly when bleach products are used.
There are a number of products out there that are not bleach-based but the one that I've found (and I am not tied to nor compensated in any way) is Iosso Mold and Mildew Stain Remover here on Amazon.
It is non-toxic, has no odor, is safe to use indoors and is purpose-built to remove mold from fabrics, canvas, vinyl, etc safely. It's not as cheap as a gallon of bleach but it won't harm your PUP in any way nor will it overpower you with chlorine odors when you're using it inside the PUP.
Unfortunately, I have a partially used jar of the stuff that just sits on my shelf at home because it did the job right and no new mold has happened since - partly because I'm very careful to make sure everything is dry and that there are no more living spores in the treated area to quickly return.
I generally just post responses to questions but I read everything in the sub-forum. I have mostly run out of questions at this point but certainly don't mind helping out where I can.
I see about at least 15% of RVs in the areas that I camp are PUPs. It's just about 1 out of 5 are PUPs.
We use our fridge even for the return trip home so it's actually in use. I can access the fridge when when the PUP is closed up although I do have to crank the roof up a few inches to open the exterior door.
I then leave it propped open to dry out.
As others have said, if you're going to empty it at the campsite, then just prop the door open.
This is on a pop up camper. Different set up than TT awnings. The longest roof that was produced in the last 20 years on a PUP is 16 feet, meaning you can only put a 15' awning on it. And it has to be of lighter construction that what goes on TTs as it is now part of the weight that gets cranked up when the roof is raised. That's why the awnings generally look anemic by most standards.
One of the more expensive places to get a replacement awning for aa pop up camper is direct from Carefree of Colorado. For $345 plus shipping, you can get a 9ft. wide awning, found at http://www.carefreeofcolorado.com/products/campout.html. Just get one that is 1 foot shorter than the length of your roof.
There are also other options such as a "cabana" bit I can't find specifics right now on my phone.