Preparing the family camper, one crack at a time


A few new cracks can be seen in the roof of the Zaktansky camper before sealant is applied.

It was a bitter battle all winter, and one I constantly was losing.

Mother Nature battered our old camper roof with a constant barrage of snowflakes, rain and ice. The slushy slew of precipitation was aided by winds that tore through numerous plastic tarps I used like they were made of egg shells.The camper survived the season, but not without numerous battle scars.

As the days became longer and warmer, the camper was left wearing a shroud of blue and gray plastic strips – remnants of the tarps I had hoped would keep the camper safe and dry.
Inside, there is some water damage. A few ceiling tiles have warped and there are a few stains that serve as footprints left behind by water seeping into the ceiling and dripping onto the wood floor. Fortunately, it wasn’t as bad as it could be – and the repairs should be minimal.

Throughout last summer, the old camper withstood numerous rain storms thanks to a cool product called Black Jack Roof Patch. The elastic crack sealer is sold at Lowes and costs just $19.99 a gallon.

Not sure what to use heading into last camping season, my wife and I researched various options. The local camping stores sold a similar product, but it cost nearly three to four times what the Black Jack crack sealer did.

It comes out of the can looking and like a less sticky version of marshmallow fluff – and can easily be applied with a simple paint brush. It hardens to form a rubberized barrier that fills cracks and coats non-damaged sections without a hitch. The bonus is its color – a pure white helps reflect sunlight and keep the camper from getting overly hot during the dog days of summer.

So last year, I gooped on two gallons of the crack sealer across the entire aluminum roof of our camper and it worked very well. The key is that once the sealant is applied, the camper really shouldn’t be moved. Small shifts while in tow can lead to new cracks forming in the compound.

We had to move the camper late in the fall before winterizing, and therefore the roof wasn’t as water-tight as I would have liked. We recently moved the camper back to its final resting spot in our campsite and I climbed back up the trusty Werner ladder to apply a new coat of the Black Jack crack sealant.

So now, we’re one step closer to another spring/summer/fall of family camping. We can work on creating new, happy family memories and hopefully avoid the soggy ones.

What have you done so far in preparation for camping 2013? Our family has a few more projects lined up with the camper, and I’ll share some of those updates in the near future.

~ by zaktansky on April 25, 2013.

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