Tent campers (also called pop-ups and tent trailers) are a nice go-between for those that still love tent-camping yet want to be off the ground when they sleep. The thing is, all kinds of critters also love tent campers. Because they feature screens and fewer hard materials, they tend to be easier for pests to invade—and they love chewing through the screens. Here are a few tips for critter-proofing your tent camper, whether you’re putting it away for the winter or getting it ready for a trip.
Move the Food
Pests are attracted to food. Be it insects, mice, or something larger, the aroma of something delicious will bring them out in droves. Keep food sealed in airtight containers or zipping plastic baggies. If you’re putting your camper away for the winter, get rid of any kind of foodstuff within it, and do a good cleaning to remove aromas. Remember, plastic containers won’t stop a dedicated animal from getting into your RV.
Mind the Gaps
Nearly every RV, including motorhomes and travel trailers, will have some kind of gaps. These are used to run water lines or power, and are often larger than necessary to make installation easier. Unfortunately, these make excellent highways for mice and other pesky creatures. Wood or metal plates and a little spray foam can help create a tighter seal and prevent animals from crawling into shelter.
A flashlight underneath the camper and a partner inside can help find other gaps as well. Spray foam alone may not do the trick, as mice don’t seem to have a problem chewing through the stuff. Mix it with steel wool, though, and their little teeth won’t have a chance.
There are dozens of old home remedy techniques that seem to work for that one guy on the message board, but may not work for anyone else. For the low cost of entry for some of these, it’s worth a shot. See a few examples below.
- Dryer sheets spread out throughout the camper
- Moth balls
- Irish Spring soap
- Fresh Cab Botanical Rodent Repellent
- Rope lights
- Cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil
- Outdoor cats
Finally, depending on your view of living creatures, there’s an option to use poison. If you have pets or small children—or even if you don’t—using safe bait stations are a good idea. They restrict the size of the animal that can get to the bait.
Remove and Reinstall
For the cost of replacing a mess of chewed screens and mattress pads, it’s probably worth your time to remove the tenting and cushions and store them in a safe place for the offseason. It certainly beats repairing or replacing things later.
Do you have any ideas for pest-proofing a pop-up? Leave a comment and let us know.