Can a Popup Camper Blow Over? How to Stay Safe!

Popup campers are an excellent lightweight alternative to traditional camper trailers, with many of the same amenities.

Because of their low weight, they’re super easy to pull around and won’t take a big hit on your fuel costs. However, are they strong enough to stand up against strong weather conditions like wind and storms?

A popup camper can blow over at winds of around 40 mi/h (64 km/h). You can stay safe in windy weather by being aware of weather conditions, choosing a sheltered location, using anchors and turnbuckles, using stabilizers, and securing the awning. 

In this article, we’ll cover the factors that influence whether your popup camper can blow over. We’ll also outline several techniques that you can use to stay safe and avoid this from happening. 

At What Speed Do Vehicles Blow Over?

A 2003 study found that taller vehicles like trucks, trailers, buses, and high-profile trucks may be tipped over at just 95 mi/h (153 km/h). 

It also suggests that a travel trailer 18 ft (5.5 m) in length can be turned over at wind speeds of 53 mi/h (86.4 km/h). 

Therefore, based on the different areas of research, we can see that wind speeds as low as 53 mi/h (86.4 km/h) could potentially lift or blow over a popup camper. However, there are not yet specific studies on popup campers. 

At What Speed Does a Popup Camper Blow Over?

Because the above studies are considering travel trailers that are heavier than a popup camper, we need to adjust the calculations. 

The average travel trailer of 18 ft (5.5 m) weighs approximately 2900 lbs (1315 kg). Popup campers usually range in weight from 800-2000 lbs (363-907 kg). 

Therefore, a small popup camper is in danger of blowing over at less than 53 mi/h (86.4 km/h). 

However, the exact number is not known. So, it’s important to take extra precautions to protect your popup camper from blowing over if you are expecting winds of higher than around 40 mi/h (64 km/h). 

How to Keep a Popup Camper From Blowing Over

There are a few methods you can use to secure your popup camper from strong winds. However, these strategies are always a million times easier to do before the winds actually hit. 

Therefore, you should do your research and have strategies in place before you even get to the campsite. 

Be Aware of Weather Conditions

If you’re going on a short camping trip, you can keep abreast of the weather conditions from home. Listen to the radio, watch TV, or just use Google to check the predicted wind speeds for your camping location.

If you’re already on the road with limited internet or phone reception, we recommend traveling with a weather alert radio like the Midland WR120B. It picks up multiple channels and has emergency alerts to let you know of any storm conditions. Make sure to take plenty of backup batteries. 

Choose a Sheltered Location

Parking in the shelter of trees can protect your popup camper from strong winds. 

Trees are often used in natural windbreaks because they reduce wind speed from both directions. They do this by pushing air up and over their structure. Natural windbreaks are often made with strategically placed groups of trees that usually protect properties from damaging winds. 

While it’s unlikely to find a purpose-made windbreak in a camping spot, keeping in the cover of trees can achieve the same purpose. It won’t stop the wind completely, but it can slow it to a speed that your popup camper can withstand. 

Use Anchors, Turnbuckles, and a Stabilizer Bar

Anchoring and using tie-down straps on your popup camper is one of the best protection against strong winds. 

This is a suitable anchoring system if you have a popup camper that attaches directly to your truck. It ensures overall stability and is particularly necessary for extreme weather conditions. 

To do this, you will need the following products:

  • Camper anchor tie-downs
  • A turnbuckle set
  • A stabilizing bar

Here are the steps on how to install an anchoring system: 

  1. Put together the guide plates and stabilizer bar by aligning the holes and screwing them together with a ratcheting wrench.
  2. Use your hands to attach the frame braces to the guide plates with thread bolts and nuts. 
  3. Align the guide plates and stabilizer bar with your truck bed.
  4. Put plywood between the cab and truck bed to avoid any damage.
  5. Use a drill to drill holes through the guide plate holes.
  6. Remove the bolts that secure the guide plates. 
  7. Screw the guide plate assembly to the wall of the truck bed through the guide plate holes. 
  8. Use screws to put together the backing plate and the front anchor plate.
  9. Use a drill to drill through the guide plate holes that align with the front plate wall.
  10. Use thread bolts to fix the thread bar and front anchor plate to the front truck bed wall. 
  11. Screw the backing plate onto the front truck bed wall.
  12. Use a drill to drill through the truck frame and metal floor.
  13. Use a carriage bolt, reinforcing plate, hex nut, lock washer, and flat washer to secure the frame brace.
  14. Put together the centering guide lock.
  15. Put a bar nut in the slot for the guide plate and stabilizing bar and align everything. 
  16. Use a tape measure and record the width of the camper.
  17. Take note of the center of the front anchor and align it with the centering guide lock.
  18. Use a bolt to secure the bumper and lock it into place.
  19. Use a drill to drill the final holes through the bumper and stabilizer bar.
  20. Screw everything together. 

This video gives you a detailed visual guide on how to install it: 

Secure the Awning

It’s essential to secure the awning of the popup camper tightly. This stops it from picking up the wind and further destabilizing your camper. 

With a heavier popup camper and lighter winds, you might be able to get away with anchoring the awning to the ground. However, with heavy winds and a light camper, you should completely roll up the awning and strap or bolt it in place.

Aside from decreasing stability, awnings are notorious for succumbing to damage in the lightest of winds. Not only can your awning get damaged, but it can also damage the exterior of your rig.

Use Stabilizers

Stabilizers are essential to keep your popup camper secure against movement inside and outside of the camper. They come equipped with stabilizer jacks, which you need to install properly.

Here are the steps:

  1. Use a hand crank or drill to extend the stabilizer jacks at the front and back of the popup camper. 
  2. Allow them to touch the ground and double-check that each jack is fully extended. 

Some newer campers include automatic stabilizer jacks, which extend by themselves with the push of a button. Even if you have manual jacks, the process is super simple and essential to keep your camper safe in the wind. 

Summary

In conclusion, popup campers can blow over at high wind speeds. 

Although there is no definitive wind speed that will blow over a popup camper, studies have shown that heavier travel trailers can be flipped at 53 mi/h (86.4 km/h). Therefore, it’s a good idea to be extra cautious at wind speeds over 40 mi/hr (64 km/h). 

You can stay safe by keeping updated on the weather situation, parking in a sheltered space, and using various anchoring methods. Remember—it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your popup camper. 

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