They’re all over Pinterest. Pop-up campers that are tricked out with trendy chevron seat covers, laminate floors that look like real hardwoods and cabinets finished in high-gloss with pulls that could grace the drawers in a Manhattan high-rise kitchen.
But I won’t be pimping my pop-up anytime soon.
We bought our pop-up used. It’s sixteen years old, but it’s in great shape. The previous owners must have never used it. It is, however, decorated like it’s 1999 with beige laminate counter tops, fake wood paneling and a lovely teal and mauve color scheme. (Remember when that was all the rage? Every doctor’s office and church built in the 90s was decked out in that color combination.) It even has textured wallpaper!
Here are some interior shots from my cell phone. They’re not the best photos, but high quality photography won’t improve the weird pattern on the upholstery.
It’s not exactly ugly, but it isn’t pretty either. It’s definitely not a design choice I’d make in my own home. But honestly, I don’t care. Not enough to drag out my sewing machine, paint rollers and flooring tools, anyway.
It’s a CAMPER for Pete’s sake!
We are camping. In the woods. With two boys.
By the end of a week-long trip, there’s more sand in that camper, in spite of daily cleanings, than there is on the beach we’re staying near. It smells like wood smoke and grilled hot dogs. (A strangely pleasant aroma, actually. It should be a candle scent. It would be huge at Cabella’s.) Someone left their wet swim trunks on the dinette seat overnight, and at least once someone opened the refrigerator door too fast, causing the ketchup to fall out and splatter everywhere.
Our pop-up is well-used and well-loved. It will not be in the pristine condition it was when we purchased it by the time we’re finished. I’d rather ruin the ugly, teal, tweed cushions than new polka-dotted Waverley fabric that I spent three weeks tailoring at my kitchen table.
We don’t spend much time in the camper anyway. It’s mostly for sleeping. Usually we’re out exploring, swimming or sitting around the campfire. That’s why we go camping. Not to lounge inside and admire the bamboo grass coverings on the walls. If we wanted to do that, we’d book a room at the Hilton.
And it’s not like we’re going to have company inside for dinner, when the four of us barely fit around the tiny dinette. If you come to our campsite, you’ll have to sit outside in a camp chair and eat your hamburger from a paper plate on your lap like everyone else. So who’s even going to know if we replace the laminate counter tops with granite? I’m not giving tours before we roast marshmallows.
Nope. We’re just going to enjoy our vintage 1990s pop-up as-is until we upgrade to a bigger travel trailer in few years. That will probably be used also, and we’ll enjoy its outdated millennial decor too.