Do all Pop-Ups leak?


New Member
Jan 24, 2009
Hello everyone. We are new to Pop-Up camping and just bought a 2007 Fleetwood Sun Valley with the new roof design (previous models had significant problems with leaking). One of the service reps at a local RV dealership said to us that "All PoP-Ups will leak eventually".

Is this true? Do we need to worry about weatherizing (sealing, etc)our relatively new PUP? Also, is the tent material over the beds enough to keep us "dry" during a rainstorm? I've seen some pics where campers use a tarp/canopy over the bed sections.

We haven't taken it out yet but want to be prepared should mother nature decide to show her power. Camping in the rain is no fun if waters gets in!

Mike & Cristina
2007 Fleetwood Sun Valley
2007 Odyssey


May 21, 2007
Tigard, OR

Do they all Leak.... I'd say no.... Most of the stuff I see leaking is caused from another source other than caused by the Pup.

Then again, there are design issues that cause problems. I'd say with the vintage that you have, and that it was taken care of, you should have no problems....

Most roof leaks on the Filon roofed rigs are from loose ac units allowing the gasket to leak.

Ray Cooper - Tigard OR
<img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle"> 2007 Hummer H3 - <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp"> 2007 Fleetwood Evolution E3
The boys & one Girl... Katie, Buddy, Toby, Ralphie, Sammy, & D.B."Cooper"


Van, PA - Near The PA Wilds
Jul 31, 2004
Van, Pennsylvania
Roofs will leak if the caulking is not maintained and goes bad. All caulking, regardless of whether it's latex or silicone, will deteriorate over time. Mainly because of UV rays. It's a good idea to visually inspect your roof a couple of times a year. If you see areas where there are gaps or pinholes in the caulking, get 'em sealed.

As far as bunk ends leaking? If you are in a torrential downpour, you may get some leakage. But, we have weathered some mighty wet conditions and only ever had our bedding get wet once. Condensation on the other hand, is another story.

Run a fan, your AC or heat. Just something to get the air moving. There's nothing more shocking or irritating than having a big 'ol drip of condensation hit you in the head while you're sleeping. I speak from experience on that one !!

David, Betsy, Elizabeth, Olivia & Robert
'01 Rockwood Freedom <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp">


Super Active Member
Jul 5, 2007
High Point, North Carolina
Welcome Mike & Christina,

I'd expand the comment from the dealer to "all campers will leak" in terms of their ability to leak at some point due to a lack of maintenance and/or old age. PUP's may be prone to leaking a little more due to their materials.

Your 2007 should be dry for some time to come. In a few years, you may need to retreat the canvas, reseal the seams, etc. Sometimes you will get condensation inside your PUP from an abundance of humidity, not from a leak.

The 'tarps' you have seen on bunkends are usually Gizmos or other solar blankets that help keep the heat from the sun out during the summer, or keep the heat in during the colder months. They do have a secondary benefit of adding a layer of protection from rain and tree sap.

As Ray mentioned, one area to keep an eye on is the AC - it needs to be snug to the roof for its gasket to keep water out.

Happy Camping,


Wife, 3 Kids, 2 Dogs, 2 Cats
'88 Palomino TXL hardsider
'93 Ford E-350 Van

Edited by - dupreet on February 14 2009 15:47:09


Eastern, Pennsylvania
Jun 24, 2006
Eastern Pennsylvania
I had an 84' Coleman with no problems and now have a 2000 and it has never leaked in the 8 years I've used it. That saleman stinks!

Go over everything on your camper each spring and you should be fine.

<font color=maroon><i>Rally Moderator</i>
<img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_cowboy.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Cowboy Camper"> <b>Joe</b> '71, <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_happycamper.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Happy Camper"> <b>Ashley </b>'97 <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_bike.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Bicycle"> <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_kayak.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Kayak">
'00 <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_jeep.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Jeep"> & '00 Westlake <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp"> </font id=maroon>

Mark Jones

Feb 9, 2009
My 2005 hasn't leaked yet and I have been out when it rained real hard.

2005 Fleetwood Niagara
2004 Ford F-150 Lariat 4x4


Active Member
Nov 14, 2008
I had an 82 Starcraft with no leaks. That sales man you talked to obviously was an idiot, or he wanted your money.

2005 Dodge Ram 1500 HEMI - Tow Vehicle
2005 Fleetwood Utah - Pop Up

Cowboy Camper

Super Active Member
Jun 17, 2007
I'm not so sure that I'd go off on that Salesman so quick here. Campers WILL leak eventually... if not taken care of or maintained.

I had a 1975 Palomino just last year, (well, two years now) and the canvas was in good condition, and did not leak even though the Thunder was a Boomin' one night, and the rain was a comin' down hard!

The Roof Vent (on the other hand) had problems. It was bad when I bought the camper, and evidently I did not repair/seal it up enough before the last winter. It dripped a little in that heavy rain, and the Snow Melt was enough to kill the cabinets over the winter.

So Todd and Ray are both right. Keep an eye on ANY opening that goes through the roof. Keep the camper in good maintenance and you should be just fine.

<hr><center><img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_cowboy.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Cowboy Camper">~ Scott.</center>


Active Member
Sep 7, 2008
Northern IN
We have an a/c unit on the top of our pop-up we bought last fall. How can I tell if it is sealed tight around it so that it doesn't leak?


May 21, 2007
Tigard, OR
<BLOCKQUOTE id=quote><font size=1 face="Verdana,Arial,Helvetica" id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote> zinger60: We have an a/c unit on the top of our pop-up we bought last fall. How can I tell if it is sealed tight around it so that it doesn't leak? <hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face="Verdana,Arial,Helvetica" size=2 id=quote>

Good Question...

Every year at the beginning of the season. I drop the AC cover off. There are 4 bolts that hold it together. I check and tighten as needed. Just don't over tighten. The spec on mine when I installed the ac was 15 to 20 ft lbs of torque. If the gasket has shrunk the torque will be less. If you over tighten the gasket will break.

At the same time I have the cover off, I clean both filters. Your unit may or may not have filters. I added them to mine because of my Asthma.

Ray Cooper - Tigard OR
<img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle"> 2007 Hummer H3 - <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp"> 2007 Fleetwood Evolution E3
The boys & one Girl... Katie, Buddy, Toby, Ralphie, Sammy, & D.B."Cooper"

Edited by - grcooperjr on February 14 2009 18:06:31


Active Member
Dec 11, 2008
I beleive the OP said a "service rep" not a salesman mentioned this....

and it is kinda true....

MOST pop ups usually do develop some type of leak over their lives....

Try it in a Toyota!
'74 Coleman Yorktown under construction......
Tow Rigs =99 Toyota 4runner and 93 Pickup (Rockcrawler)


Super Active Member
Apr 26, 2006
Long Island, New York
I seam seal and waterproof my canvas areas each spring just like I used to do with my tents, and when I follow my own advice - I have no problems.

Also refer to your owners manual for how to clean, as harsh cleaners can remove the waterproofing...then it's back to seam seal and waterproof!



2006 Pony 283*2008 Liberty* Reserved 2009: 14 days


Super Active Member
Apr 17, 2005
Granger, IN
4 pop ups - 20 plus years, never had a leak yet. Maybe none of them were old enough to leak. We have had condensation problems, but that's not a leak.

I think what the service rep should have said was ALL RV's leak eventually. Why else do RV stores carry rubber roof repair materials and sealers? Any vehicle traveling down the road is subject to the stress brought on by motion. Add sun and winter (at least for us northerners) and any RV is going to have problems if proper maintenance isn't done.

Steve & Deb (boys are grown & gone)
Aspen & Riley (the 4 legged children)
05 Fleetwood Sequoia & lot's of bikes! <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_bike.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Bicycle"><img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_bike.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Bicycle">


New Member
Jan 24, 2009
Wow, thanks for the great information. We have an AC on our roof, so we'll definetly keep an eye on the seal each spring. Sounds like we need to worry about condensation more than anything else.

When do you notice most condensation - Summertime in the rain, or Fall when it is colder outside? Thanks for the advice on running a fan - any fan. Does that do the trick?

On an unrelated matter (not to change the subject of the email string) -- we're curious to know how many PUP owners have sway control installed on the trailer? ..... Maybe I should start a new thread on that subject.

Mike & Cristina
2007 Fleetwood Sun Valley
2007 Odyssey

Edited by - FantasticFive on February 14 2009 23:48:10


Super Active Member
Jul 5, 2007
High Point, North Carolina

I have found condensation tricky to predict. Usually opening a window or two and having some fans running will fix things. If its cool and it develops, you can run the AC and heat at the same time....the AC acts as a dehumidifier.

In regards to a sway bar, I have a $60 Reese model on my rig. Since my van is HUGE compared with the PUP, I probably don't need it, although I can tell a difference when I have it on at freeway speeds.


Wife, 3 Kids, 2 Dogs, 2 Cats
'88 Palomino TXL hardsider
'93 Ford E-350 Van


Active Member
Feb 17, 2008
We used a sway bar with a 2300 lbs. GVWR Fleetwood Rio behind a 5570 lbs. GVWR Toyota 4Runner, 110' wheel base, 9600 lbs. GCWR.

We loved the added stability so much that we wouldn't dream of towing without one now.

We tow up and down I-95 and I-81, east and west on I-64, up and down curvy mountain roads, in all sorts of weather. We try to camp for most of the year.

The sway bar helps keep the PUP tracking behind the tow vehicle in crosswind conditions, when big rigs blow by, on winding roads.

Love the sway bar. Love it.

We had our 2007 Rio out in some heavy, heavy rain and stayed bone dry inside. Granted our Rio wasn't old but we did have it out in some absolute torrential downpours without a problem.

Do a little simple preventative maintenance. It's easy. Just develop a maintenance routine and follow it.

You'll be dry and good to go for years. Stress not- enjoy your new camper! <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Smile"> <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Smile">

Him/Her Late Boomer Vintage
Two Wonderful Sons, Grown and Out!
One Non-Camping Cat <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_cat.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Cat">
2008 Fleetwood Westlake <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp">
2006 Dodge Durango <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle">


Morris County, NJ
Sep 11, 2008
Morris County, NJ
Just remember to take care of the a/c unit on the roof and when you get home from a trip clean the canvas. I use a small dustpan brush to brush the canvas off. I also clean the vinyl on the bunk ends with a light solution of simple green. I push the bunk ends in and let the canvas/vinyl hang so I can clean it and let it drip dry. You would be surprised how much sap and bird you know what gets on the vinyl. The dealer advised us to brush the canvas off so as not to get a buildup of dirt which could cause the canvas to wick sometime down the road. Also check your owners manual to see how to care for the canvas. Good luck and have fun camping!!

Forgot to mention that we use a reese anti-swaybar and would not travel without it.
2005 Honda Ody
2002 Ford F150 Supercab 4X4
2008 Fleetwood Seapine

Edited by - silvermickey2002 on February 15 2009 07:56:04


Super Active Member
Nov 1, 2007
Brampton, Ontario
33 year old camper with original canvas, and still no leaks.

I will say that I have no AC or vents on roof, which to me is probably the mosts suspicious spot.

The previous owner did recaulk all the seams on the roof. I might have to do it again soon.


1976 Lionel LPL 80
2002 Mazda MPV, 16' Canoe
Wife/3 Kids/Black Lab

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