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Tips for Choosing & Caring for Your Pop Top Roof

Updated: Jul 6

Roofs are a brilliant addition to your van, and we love them, which is why we fit so many. But TBH the maintenance side we love a bit less…

Unless you're going somewhere special in it or don't want to be judged by the neighbours there's not much to motivate you to look after it the way you know you should! We’re not judging you either, we just know that the excitement of a shiny new toy wears off fast and we spend less time fawning over our van as time goes on.

So in this blog we hope to inspire you to want to take good care of your pop top with our top tips.

And if you’re on the fence about having one, share our thoughts on why they’re a good investment to help you make your mind up.

A pop top roof is basically a tent attached to a van

If you were born in the 60’ and 70’s the chances are you spent your childhood holidays camping.

So you’ll remember your dad pitching the tent in the garden to air it out well in advance, and then a whole drying out process after your (rainy) summer holiday.

Camping “rules” like “don’t touch the side of the tent when it rains” or visions of our dad digging a trench and trying to stop the tent blowing away in a storm are eteched on our memory. Probably yours too.

And they weren’t wrong.

If you want to make it last as long as the manufacturers say it should last (somewhere around 5 years depending on usage), then you're going to need to do a few things to keep it in good condition.

Here’s our 5 simple tips to get your pop top summer ready and keep it in good condition

  1. Open up the roof and all the doors to air the van and dry out the canvas. If you find signs of damp, mould or water marks this can be cleaned with a stiff brush. A very mild cleaner can also be used, but avoid anything with bleach.

  2. Treat the canvas with a layer of Fabsil. This will help maintain the water resistance of your canvas and also help the water run off so it doesn’t hang around seams and zips. The water resistance of Fabsil reduces after it’s been out in the rain so re-apply often.

  3. Check all the zips, flaps, seams and hinges for wear and tear. Be very careful when opening and closing your roof as the canvas can easily get trapped in mechanisms and damaged.

  4. If you do find any damage there are repair kits you can get online as a temporary fix, however you may benefit from replacing the canvas. Talk to us if you’re not sure and we can give you some advice.

  5. Be mindful of the weather when you're using it. A canvas is usually water resistant to a level. Marine grade canvas is marketed as 99% waterproof, but sometimes in extreme wind and rain the system may struggle, so just pop the roof down until it passes.

Choosing a Pop Top

It’s true a pop top roof can transform your space, giving you more headroom and living space and more sleeping options.

Here’s our reasons why we think having pop top makes your trips more enjoyable…

Your van will feel more spacious and airy. You can stand up without hitting your head and cooking and making cups of tea will be much easier!

Adding a scenic canvas and maybe additional windows adds to that outside in feel.

You can sleep in it. And there's nothing better than waking up to a view from your scenic canvas, or open up the whole roof and just enjoy the fresh air.

Having extra sleeping space “upstairs” gives you more room and privacy.

You can hide things up there. You can stash things like bedding, toys and clothes to free up more space in your living area during the day. And we know from personal experience that your kids will happily spend hours in the roof on their devices.

You can use the van as your daily driver and your holiday home, what’s not to love?

They just look cool. And with the vast range of colours and fabric choices available now you can completely personalise the look of your van.

You may see on forums some people reporting increased road noise or having concerns about height, but you’ll equally see people who don’t find this an issue. It really does depend on how and where you want to use your van, which is why when you come to us to discuss your project we spend a lot of time up front understanding your needs.

If you’re a self- builder a roof is one of those things we will tell you not to do yourself.

You are going to have to cut out a huge hole in the top of your van and if it goes wrong you will have a very large sun roof. Over the years we’ve seen some very interesting ways to ruin a van roof believe me….

There’s a range of suppliers and roof types on the market which cater for different vans, needs and budgets. We prefer to fit Horizon, SCA, Streamline, and Westdubs.

If you’d like a Pop Top Roof Care Guide email us on and we’ll send you a PDF.

And if you’d like a chat about replacing your canvas or installing a new roof system give us a call on 01793 200721 or email us on

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