What Kind of Battery for a Pop-Up Camper? How to Power Up your Pop-Up!

The world of RVs is vast, catering to a wide range of explorers, from those who like the comforts of home while enjoying a vacation in the wilderness to those who want to live on the road for the rest of their lives.

As a result, RVs are available in a variety of styles. The phrase “recreational vehicle” can be used to describe everything from multimillion-dollar Class A homes on wheels to modified Sprinter vans, the kind you see all over Instagram tagged #vanlife.

Pop-up campers are among the most cost-effective RVs available, and as such are very popular. But the one thing they often lack is a battery, making off the grid living tough.

That’s not to say that pop up campers can’t use batteries, they can, they simply often don’t come with them as standard. They can be added, but before you consider doing that you’ll need to know a lot more about them, especially the answer to the question: what kind of battery for a pop-up camper?

The very basic answer to that question is that ideally, you should make use of a deep cycle battery. But, if you are like many, you are probably not sure what that is, where to buy a good one and why you might need a battery for your pop-up camper at all. These, and other related questions, are what we are going to take a closer look at here.

Do Pop Campers Have Batteries?

No, out of the showroom, pop-up campers do not have batteries installed. The idea behind them is that pop-up campers offer a lightweight – they do have to be towed behind your vehicle after all – an affordable way to enjoy RV camping and, as such, are missing a lot of the things you’ll find on other types of recreational vehicles, including batteries.

As we mentioned earlier, you can, however, choose to add a battery to your pop-up camper set up.

Do I Need a Battery for My Pop-Up Camper?

Technically, you don’t NEED a battery for your pop-up camper, but you might want one.

Adding a battery to your pop-up camper is really a quality of life thing. You can use them to power electric sockets so that you can keep a coffee maker or an electric kettle in your camper, or make sure that you can keep all your essential gadgets charged – phones, game systems, laptops, those kinds of things – while making use of them in a pop-up camper and some people even use them to power small fridges (the kind designed to hold a few cans or beer or soda) or small microwave ovens.

How Long Does a Pop Camper Battery Last?

There is no single answer to this question because how long a pop-up camper battery will last varies according to a lot of different factors. The type and quality of battery you choose matters, as well as how you are making use of its power. A battery being used to charge a few cellphones and a Nintendo Switch will last longer than one that is also powering a microwave and a coffee maker as well. How well you maintain the battery, and its age, will make a difference as well.

However, if you are looking for an average, a well maintained, high quality deep cycle battery will run for around two days – or a little over 48 hours – before it will need to be charged. This is ideal for many folks, as they only undertake trips up their pop-up camper that last just about that long. A pop-up camper isn’t designed for long vacations, just quick breaks.

What Kind of Battery Does a Pop-Up Camper Use?

For the best results, you should make use of what is called a deep cycle battery in a pop-up camper.

Deep cycle batteries may appear to be similar to automobile batteries to those who are unfamiliar with them, but they are not. These are still lead batteries, but batteries that are designed to give long-term power and keep running until they are up to 80% drained. Although deep cycle batteries will still function when drained up to 80%, most manufacturers advocate avoiding discharging the battery below 45 percent to help ensure it lasts as long as it should in the long term.

The “deep cycle” discharge level is in contrast to other types of batteries, which only give short bursts of energy before needing to be recharged. A starter battery, for example, discharges only a small percentage — usually 3 to 5% — each time it is used.

This deep charge capacity is what makes these batteries so well suited to pop-up camper use. Were they not able to be run for so long between charges, they would probably need charging so often that they would stop being a convenience at all.

What Size Battery Do I Need For My Pop-Up Camper?

What size battery you’ll need, again, depends on your camper style and your intended usage of the battery. Camper batteries will need to be installed in the battery box, which the majority of campers DO come standard with, and those typically measure 24 inches.

Deep cycle batteries are sold in a variety of sizes, with the most common being 24, 27 and 31. This measurement refers to size, not amp hours (more about that in a moment) and you will need to determine just what size the battery box is in your camper before you start shopping. You can opt for a larger battery, but that will also mean switching out your current battery box for a larger model to accommodate it.

Amp hours are used to rate all deep cycle batteries (AH). The amp hour rating tells you how many amps the batteries can deliver for how long before they need to be recharged.

A group 24 deep cycle battery typically has a rating of 70-85 amp hours, while a group 27 deep cycle battery typically has a rating of 85-105 amp hours. If you do a lot of dry camping or have a lot of devices that run off your battery while you’re camping, it’s a good idea to get the biggest battery you can afford–or that your camper can fit.

The opinions about which deep cycle batteries are best in terms of brand varies wildly within the RV community.

The blue top Optima OPT8016-103 is a very popular, reliable choice, but it is not the least expensive.

Optima OPT8016-103 Batteries D34M BlueTop Starting and Deep Cycle Marine Battery

Click here to see the Optima pop-up camper battery on Amazon

The Weize 12V is another good option that is more affordable.

Weize 12V 100AH Deep Cycle AGM SLA VRLA Battery for Solar System RV Camping Trolling Motor, in Series 24V 36V 48V

Click here to see the Weize 12V PUP battery on Amazon

How Many Batteries Do I Need for My Pop-Up Camper?

Most pop up campers only have one battery box, and their size dictates that this is all they can really accommodate. Some people do choose to ‘supercharge’ their campers by installing a second battery box, but this is something that will call for some good electrical DIY skills or the assistance of a professional.

How Do You Recharge a Pop-Up Camper Battery?

Pop-up camper batteries are usually charged using standard wall plugs. The majority of batteries come with a wire that connects to AC outlets in your home, enabling you to charge the battery when you get home from your trip. You might be able to do the same at a campground, but double-check the restrictions beforehand.

The plug is easily inserted into the outlet, and the battery is connected to the other end. It’s much the same as charging your smartphone.

A number of charging modes will be available for some batteries. Modes that prevent overcharging, as well as modes that protect against the impacts of undercharging and normal use wear and tear, are examples.

Pop-up camper batteries are usually charged using standard wall plugs. The majority of batteries come with a wire that connects to AC outlets in your home, enabling you to charge the battery when you get home from your trip. You might be able to do the same at a campground, but double-check the restrictions beforehand.

The plug is easily inserted into the outlet, and the battery is connected to the other end. It’s much the same as charging your smartphone.

A number of charging modes will be available for some batteries. Modes that prevent overcharging, as well as modes that protect against the impacts of undercharging and normal use wear and tear, are common examples.

Alternatively, you can charge your battery using a generator. The procedure is the same as utilizing a wall outlet, but the generator must first be charged, have batteries installed, or be full of LP gas or propane, which is an additional cost, and a considerable hassle. This would be an option if you were heading out on a longer boondocking trip, though.

Can I Plug in My Pop-Up Camper Without a Battery?

You can, and this is just what people who usually exclusively camp in campgrounds do. As we mentioned right at the start, a pop-up camper is not designed for the kinds of ‘real’ off-road and longer camping trips that other RVs are, which is why they don’t come with batteries in the first place. When they were conceived of, they were created as fun little extras you could use to upgrade from a tent at a campground.

The RV community is a very clever and innovative one though, and known for their out-of-the-box thinking, and so if adding a battery to your pop-up camper will increase your enjoyment of it, there’s no reason not to go for it!

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