Reflectix Insulation

March 30, 201515
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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.

Reflectix insulation for a popup camper

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.

Comparison of bunk end canvas with and without reflectix

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.

Reflectix insulation still allows you to open the window for breeze

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.

Reflectix stored under the bunk mattress when traveling

And when you’re done camping, simply slide the Reflectix panels under your mattress for convenient storage.

Reflectix installed on popup camper bunk ends

From the exterior, you can hardly tell the product is installed – a nice attractive and stock look.

Extra Credit

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.

 

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Scott

Scott

I've been camping regularly since I was a kid, from quick Cub/Boy Scout trips to week-long backpacking trips and everything else in-between. We got a popup camper when our kids were 1 and 3 years old to enjoy more time outdoors together alongside a few conveniences like heat and running water. Since then, we've spent over 75 nights together as a family in our popup camper. I've learned a lot about the intricacies of a popup tent camper during this time and love to share those lessons here for the benefit of others.


15 comments

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  • Heather

    March 23, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    How much of this Refltix Insulation did you buy? There are many different size rolls. Thank you.

    Reply

    • Popup Camping 101

      March 23, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      Don’t recall exactly, but you should be able to estimate the amount needed based on your bed end sizes, and if I recall – it was relatively cheap so I just bought extra to avoid a return trip to the store.

      Reply

      • chris

        March 28, 2018 at 6:21 pm

        I see 24 inch and 48 inch by 25 foot rolls are available. My pop up is currently at the trailer shop for axle work, so can’t measure. Did you go with the 4 foot wide rolls?

        Reply

  • Solhim Lohan

    April 23, 2018 at 1:25 am

    This is great product. I used it to the window in my RV while boondocking in my property in the mountain.

    Reply

  • maria

    June 7, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    Sorry if this question is redundant. Does shinny side face the outdoors? Also if I were making a cover for our cooler, would the shinny side face out to reflect the sun?

    Reply

    • Popup Camping 101

      June 8, 2018 at 5:48 am

      Reflectix is the same (shiny) on both sides.

      Reply

  • mario solis

    July 3, 2018 at 3:02 am

    where can I buy this product? exactly what i’m looking for to block the Texas heat off the tops of my popup

    Reply

  • Nicole Tittiger

    July 16, 2018 at 1:44 am

    It looks identical to the material I bought at a big hardware box store. It was for garage insulation that you cut the desired length and slide it into the roll top garage door panels. I do not know if there are different qualities to the one I got and this “Reflex”, but really looks EXACTLY the same from the picture. Wish I remembered what brand I got- for all I know it may have been the same. At the store I purchased, they offered different lengths and widths. I really like this post, because I was thinking about other ways to use the scraps I have. My point was to check out the insulation isle of your local hardware/home improvement stores, as they could duplicate this method also.

    Reply

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  • Jeff

    October 18, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    What about permanently having a layer of it under the mattress cushions as well? I know a lot of cold can come from below.

    Reply

  • Scott Bideau
    Scott Bideau

    October 19, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    Jeff – I never found this was needed under the mattress (which in combination with a wood platform, was pretty well insulated).

    Reply

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