The absolute best upgrade you can make to a popup camper is by installing Reflectix. For less than $100 and fifteen minutes of your time, you’ll stay warmer on cold nights and cooler on hot summer days.
But before I discuss the actual Reflectix product, here’s the story of how I discovered the importance of adding “insulation” to your popup camper’s bunk end.
On the first night in our new popup camper, I became disappointed. Despite the heater running and several heavy blankets on top of me, I was still cold! It wasn’t just the temperature but also a strong draft coming through the bunk end. I managed through that trip by using a stocking cap and even more blankets, but quickly Google’d the problem once we returned home. That’s when I stumbled upon Reflectix.
The Reflectix product is essentially polyethylene bubble wrap encased in reflective aluminum foil. The bubbles provide both air space insulation and strength to support the reflective foil surface. You’ll want the double reflective version to keep the warm air in and the cold air out (or vice versa).
By cutting several Reflectix pieces to fit between the screen and canvas in the windows of your slide out bunk (as shown in the top picture above), you’ll upgrade from a thin and drafty canvas to an amazingly well insulated sleeping setup.
As you can see above, the aluminum foil surface also does a great job of reflecting sun rays to help keep your camper cool during hot summer days. This also helps our kids sleep in a bit later since the bright sun doesn’t wake them up as easy.
And the canvas can still be unzipped a bit for letting in some breeze.
All of this really helps conserve battery power when boondocking since your furnace fan won’t need to run as often.
And when you’re done camping, simply slide the Reflectix panels under your mattress for convenient storage.
From the exterior, you can hardly tell the product is installed – a nice attractive and stock look.
An additional benefit of the Reflectix panels is that they help keep your canvas dry. When packing up after a rainy evening, you can pull the panels out and either dry them separately before storing or simply throw them in your tow vehicle. The canvas behind them will be dry and ready to pack up. On the other hand, having non-breathable insulation installed can cause condensation to collect inside the camper. For this reason, I always crack a window on our last night of camping unless we’ll have time to air out the camper before packing up and leaving.