Camping in a camper, RV, or trailer has so many positive aspects that it’s understandable why so many people are passionate about this type of camping. It gives an added level of comfort because you can travel with everything you need and stay out in nature for an extended period of time.
However, owning a camper also comes with a lot of responsibility. Not only do you need to know how to make repairs to the various components of the camper, but keeping it cleaned and maintained can be time-consuming.
Just like a tent, a camper can get moldy inside. In this article, we will explore ways to prevent mold from building up in your camper while you are using it as well as when you inevitably put it into storage.
Preventing Mold While Camping
Each season comes with its own challenges regarding mold. In the summer, hot, humid conditions can cause mold to develop while sealing up the camper in the winter means condensation can build up inside.
Condensation can damage almost every part of your camper, from the floors and walls to the furniture and cabinets. It can cause mold or rot the wood and rust or corrode the metal components.
In the winter, make sure the interior of the camper is kept at a warmer temperature. This warms up the various surfaces, such as glass windows, and slows the build-up of condensation inside the camper.
For camping in any season, it’s a good idea to get a dehumidifier to pull moisture from the air and keep the camper dry inside. If you are boondocking and need to conserve electricity, use a desiccant dehumidifier that just requires crystals to absorb moisture.
Another way to keep things dry is to refrain from hanging wet clothes or gear inside the camper to dry. Of course, if it is raining outside, you may not have a choice about this. But should moisture build-up inside the camper, try to dry it out as soon as you can once the weather permits.
Always use your vents when you are camping to circulate the air and keep the camper dry. When cooking, run the vent located above the stove and run the fans in the roof several times a day.
When you are not in the camper, leave the vents open if the weather allows so that air can keep circulating through the camper. In addition to using vents, crack open the windows so the internal moisture can leave the camper and be replaced by dry air from the outside.
Propane furnaces can also cause a lot of moisture compared to electric heaters. If you have a choice, opt for an electric one instead. However, be cautious if you need to keep your water system from freezing.
Another cooking tip is to avoid using the stove in your camper as much as possible. Using pots and pans to cook or boil water will release moisture in the air through steam. Instead, opt for the oven or bring a slow or pressure cooker like an Instant Pot along.
If you must use pots and pans to cook on the stove, keep them covered so the least amount of steam possible is released into the camper. Try to cook during good weather so the windows, doors, and vents can be opened to ventilate the cooking condensation out.
You can refrain from cooking in the camper at all by using the outdoors. Bring a portable grill, use the one provided at the campground, or bring your hot plate, electric, or gas grill outside to cook on it instead.
If the campground where you are staying offers bathrooms with showers, take advantage of this to create less moisture. Although having a shower right inside the camper is surely convenient, hot showers are one of the biggest causes of moisture.
When the weather is colder, open your cabinets and drawers to let them air out. Moisture can often build up inside small spaces when there is no air circulation, causing mold to grow there.
Windows are a big culprit when it comes to mold because moisture often builds up there and then can reach inside the camper. Cover up the windows with plastic, insulation, or any other barrier that will stop the condensation from reaching inside the camper.
Anytime you see condensation building up on any surface, wipe it up and dry it completely. Get a meter to check humidity levels inside the camper so you’ll know if there’s an issue before mold develops.
Pipes and plumbing in the camper can also cause leaks that you might not be aware of. Do a regular inspection of all the plumbing to make sure none of the pipes are cracked or leaking and causing a problem that will be much more difficult to fix later on.
Although it may not be possible, avoid camping in hot, humid areas whenever you can. Humidity levels of 50% or more can make it especially challenging to prevent mold and keep your camper dry inside.
Preventing Mold During Storage
It’s much easier to prevent mold while your camper is being actively used. This is because you are in the camper every day and can keep an eye on what is happening. If there is an issue, you will see it quickly and can stop it from getting worse.
However, many camper owners encounter problems when they put their camper into storage in the camping off-season. For many, this happens during the winter months when campgrounds close down. The camper is usually sealed up and won’t be inspected for several months and, without ventilation, mold could easily grow.
But it’s also possible that something could come up that prevents you from using your camper during the spring and summer. This means the camper into storage during the hottest months of the year when heat and humidity can build up.
As you can see, each season presents its own challenges and it’s possible to get mold in both hot and cold weather. Many of the same principles apply when it comes to preventing mold but the techniques may be different because you won’t be in the camper checking on things regularly.
The first thing to keep in mind is to keep the camper as dry as possible. This means doing a thorough inspection for water leaks both inside and outside.
Make sure the pipes are not leaking and that there are no cracks or damage to the exterior of the camper where water could get inside through the roof, doors, or windows. All the components on the roof and doors should seal tightly and properly to keep moisture out.
The plumbing system is a major culprit when it comes to leaky pipes or damaged equipment. Make sure it is working properly and nothing will break or leak while the camper is in storage.
Although it is not necessary to remove all the water from the camper’s systems, you should feel confident that nothing will leak, crack, or break when they are not in use.
The next component of mold prevention is ensuring there is adequate airflow through the coach. This is especially important in the summer. Just because the camper is not in use does not mean to keep it completely closed.
Instead, leave some vents open or some windows cracked so air can circulate. However, be mindful of the weather and park the camper under an awning or use something to shield the open windows from rain getting inside.
Keeping the camper dry and circulating air is meant to prevent moisture from building up. Moisture and heat are surefire ways to get a mold problem inside the camper.
You can leave a dehumidifier running periodically inside the camper to pull moisture from the air. Try putting a small fan on inside to circulate the air as well so things don’t become stagnant.
Another option is to leave desiccant containers throughout the camper. These will absorb moisture in the air and do not require electricity or monitoring. Just make sure to replace them once they have absorbed all they can or are no longer functioning optimally.
Many camper owners like to get a cover for their entire camper when they put it into storage. This keeps it clean and dry while also minimizing the risk of damage to the exterior components and paint.
However, a coach cover can be restrictive and might not allow the camper to breathe. You can try to get a cover that allows air circulation and does not completely enclose the camper.
If you live in a location with a lot of humidity, think about storing your camper in a different area. Perhaps you can drive it out of state to camp and then put it in storage there and return home so it can be stored in a dry area.
Although it is tempting to put the camper into storage and forget about it, try to check in on it every few weeks. Do regular inspections to see if any mold is developing so you can determine the cause and clean up the area before it spreads or gets worse.