Pop up Trailer Must Haves
POPPY THE POP UP came into our lives by accident. We had been tent campers for years, but as we got older it wasn't as much fun anymore (and by "we", I mean me lol). My husbands Aunt and Uncle had recently purchased a large fifth wheel, and offered to let us borrow their older pop up. We took them up on it, and the next year decided to purchase it from them. It was going to be our starter trailer, but we loved her so much, we decided to keep her around and give her a facelift and some modifications to make her more functional for us.
The list below are things we recommend when you get your pop up, or add to your current pop up experience. We are not compensated for any of the items listed below! They are items that have made our pop up experience better, and hope they help you, too! All opinions are our own!
Mattress Upgrade -
The first thing we did was replace the old mattress. It was not only 15 years old, but rock hard with no support. We decided to replace it with a 5" gel-foam mattress we purchased on Amazon. We love it. Our bunk is a king, so that was the best and most cost effective way for us to replace it. Find several options for "skinnier" mattresses on Amazon. Although I am not adding this as a separate must-have, we did also purchase a full mattress cover to protect it from dust and moisture - also available on Amazon, or places like Bed, Bath and Beyond. Click HERE to find the mattress we use.
Emergency Blankets for Mattress -
We also added two "emergency blankets" under the mattress to prevent heat loss through the plywood. This was something I had seen other pop up owners mention. We purchased two from Amazon, and I strongly recommend the heavy duty ones so they last. Otherwise they will slide around and rip. These have made a real difference for us staying warm at night.
"Real" Bedding -
Another thing we did was get good bedding instead of sleeping bags. I went to Ikea and bought sheets and their "extra warm" comforter. We already had blankets at home that we can use, and we add an older, wool Pendleton blanket that we'd had for years, on top for the dog, as well as for an extra layer of warmth when needed. In the Pacific NW nights can be 40*, so its a nice option. If we are camping somewhere warmer, we just lose the blankets.
Outdoor Rug -
I cannot say enough how much we love our outdoor rug. I had wanted one from the beginning but never followed through until Spring 2019. We dont know how we lived without it. It keeps everything so much cleaner, including the dog! Ha. Its nice to kick the flip flops off and sit under the awning on the rug and just have it be clean. It keeps so much dirt and debris out of the trailer as well, which means I no longer need to sweep 14 times a day. You can find them online by searching "outdoor" or "RV" rug.
Entry Rug/Door Mat (inside the door) -
I started with an old fashioned door mat that did nothing but slide around and annoy us. One day on Amazon I found the "Gorilla Mat" and decided to try it in Poppy. O.M.G. I LOVE this thing. So much that I got one for our back slider at home. I got a small size that fits perfectly inside the trailer door. This thing grabs and holds dirt, sand, and debris better than any door mat ever. Is all I do is shake it out and toss it back down. It stays in place, and looks good, and when we get home I can machine wash it. Its also available in multiple colors to go with your decor. Highly recommended. Find it HERE.
Hanging Storage - Kitchen
I was looking for something to use in the kitchen area to maximize storage, and keep the only countertop in the place clear for cooking and prep. I tried twice and failed, until I finally ordered THIS on Amazon (see photo). It works very well for holding everything from utensils, to coffee mugs, k-cups, napkins, and the dogs "Kongs". Super useful and sturdy, and folds flat for storage when we are in route. Depending on what you want it to hold, there are several different styles and types of hanging storage for you to choose from to best fit your needs.
I hang this using flat "S" hooks from Ikea from the existing curtain rail.
Hanging Storage - Bunk Ends
In addition to the kitchen storage, I wanted something for the bed area as well. Something smaller, with skinny pockets that could hang from the bunk end rails. I needed it to hold my phone, charger, glasses, jewelry for overnight, and any other smallish items I wanted up there with me. I tried a couple of times before I found the right fit. I also ordered THIS ONE from Amazon, and it works perfectly. I removed the twine hanger, and use two of my IKEA extra large "S" hooks to hang it. Love it. If you are looking for something larger for a child, Amazon has many options of this same type of hanging storage that could hold crayons, books, etc.
USB Plugs -
During our very first trip after we had purchased Poppy, we asked ourselves why we didn't add USB outlets during the re-do. We were always sharing a mobile charger and it ALWAYS ran out of power before the trip was over. How did we miss this?! There are several ways to accomplish this.
You can also update your outlets to ones that include USB ports in them - like we wish we had done. That said, this way is cheap and easy, and you can get more than one for multiple devices. They are small and unobtrusive, and their design works very well in a pop up.
Ours is from IKEA and works great for us. Some of the larger, home models do not work well in the camper (we speak from experience!), because of either the outlet location, or the way it sits on the wall. Find the one we use HERE.
Garbage, Recycle, & Laundry - Oh my!
The best thing for pop up trailers are pop up trash and laundry bins. THE. BEST. THING.
They fold flat and store in the dining benches. They literally pop open with one twist, and close the same way. We use mid-weight versions of these. The Dollar Store ones were way too flimsy and ripped easily, and I didn't feel the need to spend $25. We purchased ours from Target for about $10 each, but you can find them anywhere. I use one outside, under the awning for trash, and I use the other one inside for dirty clothes. They are the perfect size for large trash bags, and at the end of the trip the garbage gets tossed in the dumpster, and the laundry stays in the pop up hamper until we got home. These are short enough to stay standing and shove under the dinette when you close the pop up. Five Stars! For recycle, we actually use a Home Depot Homer Bucket, with a garbage bag liner. The pop up bins are too lightweight for bottles and cans. It works well and is multipurpose if we need a bucket for anything else.
Dog Step -
This is something to consider, even with a bigger dog, and was really tricky for us. The beds are tall, and in our camper, the king size bed does not have a bench or built in step. You have to climb in, so our poochie couldn't get up there on her own without a lift.
That's fine most of the time, but she's a princess, and likes to chill in the trailer by herself sometimes, rather than in the dirt with us, so the inability for her to be able to come and go freely was an issue.
There are several great options for "Dog Steps" available from both pet stores and sports stores, as well as on Amazon. We ended up using an old tack box I had back in my dog showing days. Its actually a perfect solution because besides being her step, it holds all of her "stuff" inside it. If you are handy, I would recommend building one just like it!
Hanging Toiletries Bag -
I pack all of our toiletries in a bag I got from LL Bean HERE. We've had ours for several years and still love them. There are similar ones available out there now if you prefer to look around. I open it and hang it using my XL "S" hook, from the curtain rail over the sink. I also hang a small mirror next to it, which is perfect for getting ready, washing your face, etc.
Magnetic Strips -
During the remodel, I added a magnetic strip to the back of our dinette bench in the kitchen area. This little guy is perfect for so many things. We hang magnetic hooks on it and keep our keys there, as well as a kitchen towel. You can also hang utensils or other kitchen items, or anything else you can think of!
You can find these online pretty much anywhere; Target, Office Stores, Amazon, IKEA, etc.
Giant Throw Pillows -
So, this is a must for us because we ditched the cushion back of our seat bench after it got mangled (that's another story - ha). We now use three giant throw pillows for the back of the bench, which we actually love. It looks great, and you can move them around for extra comfort. I also have a couple on the dinette for that as well, and they can be used in the bunk ends for sitting or leaning, which is great for reading.
I got mine at IKEA (of course!) and you can too for not much money at all. Find the large 26" x 26" cushion covers and inserts HERE. We chose black, but they come in several colors. Be sure the ones you choose are machine washable and don't attract lint and per hair!
SUV Fold Up Storage Bin -
So this little gem was something I found by accident one day, but seems like a no brainer now. It fits perfectly in the front storage bin on the pop up, and holds all of the "stuff". We use it for tools, mini propane tanks, bungee's and rope, duct tape, fire starter and newspaper, the level, the wheel chocks and dock, water jug, lighters, a football and a frisbee (!) etc., etc. Its the perfect size and has tons of storage and small pockets, and even I can lift it out with its handles. Find them anywhere from Target to Amazon, to REI.
Portable Toilet Options -
This is a popular item in my post Ha! Lots of people want options for their families right now so they dont have to use a public restroom or trek to the bathroom at 2 AM.
Our pop up does not have a bathroom in it, which is the way I wanted it. Unless and until I have a hard shell trailer, there will be no bathroom inside. If I had a toddler, that may be a different story, but I dont, so no. thank. you. Typically we dont mind using a shared restroom at a State Park for example, however that changed with covid. We wanted to be self contained and feel safe, so we started looking at options for a portable restroom. What we ended up with was a tall pop up tent, a portable toilet, and a little "poo-pourri" spray! The best part of this set up was that we could use it anywhere, even off grid, which was nice.
I did a lot of research. A lot. I was not loving this idea, but at the same time if we wanted to camp during covid, for us, this was how to make that happen. I ended up ordering THIS tent from Amazon (see photo below). It is for a changing or shower tent, and works very well for our needs. Ours is actually pink, and I was worried it would be see-through in the sun. Its not. It also has small vents at the top you can prop open for ventilation, which is perfect. It fits the toilet well, is roomy enough to comfortably stand up in, and it has built in net pockets for TP and hand wipes, and your phone if you needed a spot. It does have a vented floor, which I wasn't sure about, but its actually very easy to clean using disinfectant wipes before I fold it away.
The toilet we also ordered from Amazon HERE. I have to say that when we initially started looking for a portable toilet, they were all sold out. Seriously. Everyone had the same idea. I actually started with one from Home Depot and returned it. We didn't use it, but it was smaller and very low, and it just wasn't what we wanted. I had been looking at ours on Amazon, so when it was back in stock I ordered it right away, and it sold out again in about 3 days! While I dont usually talk up toilets, lol, this one is pretty great. Heavy enough so it wont tip or move, but can be carried. Easy enough to clean, Comfortable seat and "regular toilet height" which was a big deal. This has a pipe that attaches to the RV dump, which is a must have in my opinion. We dump it, and rinse it, which gets all the solids out, and when we get home I finish cleaning it out using a disinfectant. Definitely worth it.
I also have to add that the "poo-pourri spray" works very well, and I also keep it in one of the pockets inside the "bathroom" tent. One spray before you go and there is no odor. None. We usually set up our restroom behind or adjacent to our trailer, out of site of the main camp site. That said, its still close by, so odor can be a factor. I do want to say however, that when not in use, there is zero odor from this toilet. Be sure to use the correct amount of water, follow the flushing instructions, and do NOT forget the holding tank deodorizer that breaks down paper and waste. Luckily I do not have personal experience with that, but I can tell you if you did, it would be VERY unpleasant. Really, really, bad. Funny not funny.