Travelling in an RV or a trailer offers you the freedom to go anywhere, with just a pinch of the most essential comforts-of-home. Rigs offer their owners a unique balance between watching beautiful sunsets all over the country and enjoying breakfasts in a fully-equipped kitchen, after a comfortable night’s sleep in a queen-sized bed.
However, if we take a bit more down to Earth view of things, the motorhome is essentially just a large automobile, rather than a house on wheels. And being such, it endures the hardships that very few other vehicles (save perhaps large commercial trucks) are bound to face during their lifetime.
Unlike most cars, these large vehicles rarely enjoy the luxury of a warm and dry garage or enclosed parking areas, although some dedicated winter-season RV parking services do exist. This usually leaves RVs exposed to all the elements, as well as abrasive actions of dust, stains from acidic rains and bird droppings, dirt build up, and even the incursions of small animals. So, it comes as no surprise, that RV covers and RV leveling blocks are extremely popular amongst motorhome and trailer owners. Choosing the best RV trailer cover, means prolonging the life of your rig, and increasing its re-sale value, in case you should ever decide to switch to a different model in the future. So how exactly does the cover help in preserving your RV?
RV Covers Review
If you own an RV and you plan to park it outdoors when not in use, then you might want to invest in proper protection for your motorhome. As hard as the bodies of these transportable homes may seem, it is good to know that being exposed to the elements will wear anything off, including your RV. Things like the sun’s UV can be lethal in decolorizing your RV and in worst cases, can cause the body to peal. Another element that you will want to keep off your RV is water. This can be in the form of rain or moisture accumulating on the surface of your RV for long. With the right cover for your RV, you should be able to keep water from damaging your motorhome. When looking for the perfect protection for your motor home, there are several factors that you will need to consider. According to many RV owners, these are some of the recommended brands that you can trust to protect your motorhome.
OOFIT Travel Trailer RV Cover
Many motorhome owners have found the OOFIT Travel Trailer RV Cover as the most suitable fifth wheel cover because it is packed with several essential features. Designed for 27’ and 30’ long RVs, this cover will ensure that your motorhome remains in good condition for long. It is designed for heavy-duty purposes with a 4-ply roof that is none woven to avoid rain from penetrating. It has multiple zippers and elastic corners to allow for the perfect fit.
Zippers make it easy to access parts of your RV without having to uncover the whole thing. The sides are single ply for protection from dust, birds, and other threats from getting into direct contact with your RV. The OOFIT Travel Trailer RV Cover is also UV proof, and this goes a long way to ensure that the paint does not fade off. Since you will want to store your RV cover in your motorhome if not in use, you don’t expect it to occupy too much space. That is why OOFIT Travel Trailer RV Cover comes with a storage bag to prevent it from getting in your way more so if you have a smaller RV.
RV Masking Heavy Duty 5 Layers 5th Wheel Cover
The RV Masking Heavy Duty 5 Layers 5th Wheel Cover will ensure that your track is well protected from water. Since it is waterproof, rainwater cannot penetrate, plus it is breathable enough so that moisture does not get trapped. The cover has ten air vents as well to enhance the evaporation of any water that has settled on the body of your motorhome. Capable of covering a 414’ length motorhome, the RV Masking Heavy Duty 5 Layers 5th Wheel Cover offers more than what you will find with most RV covers. That is because it comes with an adhesive repair patch in case it gets damaged.
However, this is unlikely because the RV consists of a 5-ply top and 3-ply sides that are none woven. It also comes with a ladder cap, six gutter protectors, and a storage bag so that it does not contest for space. To ensure that the cover stays intact, RV Masking Heavy Duty 5 Layers 5th Wheel Cover provides a custom fit that cannot be easily blown away by the wind. It is also easy to install because it has several zippers and handles to help you shift the cover into a position comfortably.
Classic Accessories Over Drive Poly PRO 3 Deluxe Travel Trailer Cover
This is yet another RV cover that is well worth your money. That is because it has been designed to be durable and protective. Accompanied by a three-year warranty, the Classic Accessories Over Drive Poly PRO 3 Deluxe Travel Trailer Cover will give you an easy time to install and uninstall. Also, you will find it convenient more so if you need to access your RV without uncovering the whole truck. That is because it has zippers strategically placed to allow for easy access to the RV doors and windows. This cover will protect your RV from water and UV light, which can be lethal to the body of your motor home. The reason why you need to cover your RV is to prevent the elements, including UV rays, from reacting with your motorhome and making it fade off-color. To ensure that your RV is well secured, the Classic Accessories Over Drive Poly PRO 3 Deluxe Travel Trailer Cover has adjustable tension panels on the front and the rear. This prevents the cover from getting displaced or blown off during strong winds. This cover is ideal for RV measuring 18’-20’ and also has an antennae reinforcement patch o secure your antennae.
ADCO 52244 Designer Series SFS Aqua Shed Travel Trailer RV Cover
If you are looking forward to protecting your RV from water, then the ADCO 52244 Designer Series SFS Aqua Shed Travel Trailer RV Cover is the better option. Designed with an SFS aqua shade top and polypropylene sides, this RV cover beads water as soon as it comes in touch with the surface. This ensures that no water gets through as all of it will slide off. Measuring 26’1’’ – 28’6’’, this RV cover accommodates all types of RV front end, slide outs, and ladders. Because there is a possibility of moisture condensing and setting on the surface of your RV, the ADCO 52244 Designer Series SFS Aqua Shed Travel Trailer RV Cover comes with air vents to enhance evaporation.
The back and rear buckle cinching and reinforced elasticized bottom corners will give you a custom fit that will adequately secure your RV. You will not have to worry about accessing your RV when covered with ADCO 52244 Designer Series SFS Aqua Shed Travel Trailer RV Cover thanks to the zippers which are strategically positioned. The zippers also make it easy for you to install the cover.
Camco Ultra-guard Class C Travel Trailer Cover
If you are living in a cold and snowy area, then the Camco Ultra-guard Class C Travel Trailer Cover should be the perfect choice for you. Designed for class C RVs, this cover will not only keep your motorhome dry but will also protect it from dust and dirt. Made from heavy-duty polypropylene, this RV cover is durable and will provide first-hand protection against light physical threats like scratches. Because it is resistant to UV rays, it will prevent your RV from pre-mature aging. The zippers around this cover will make it easy for you to access your RV when covered without so much work.
The zippers also ensure that the cover is fitted correctly, and to reinforce this, Camco Ultra-guard Class C Travel Trailer Cover comes with self-adjusting straps that hold down the cover securely into position. It also has tight interlocking seams, all these to ensure that the cover is well installed and there are no overlaps that can allow dust and other kinds of dirt to access your motorhome. Designed for RVs that fall under 28;-30’, this cover is ideal for cold places because it is heavy-duty, and the air ventilations enhances water evaporation.
Advantages of using RV covers
To put it simply, an RV cover is like a shield placed around your RV, which takes on the damage inflected on it by the elements . Each element takes a different toll on the rig, but some their effects can combine, causing an even more dramatic degradation over time. Also for protection on the nature, you can use rv anwing. Let us look at these more closely:
UV and heat damage
Perhaps the nastiest of all elements for a caravan trailer or an RV is, ironically, the one most sought after by its owners -– the good and warm summer sunshine. Specifically, the UV light from the Sun, which has several prolonged adverse effects on the various parts of an RV:
- Damage to the paintjob. Upon exposure to direct sunlight, the paint starts to fade and show signs of wear, as its chemical compounds degrade under the constant UV radiation. This kind of damage is the most obvious to the naked eye, but there are others too, which actually have more damaging effects on the whole RV.
- Drying up of sealant putty and rubber parts around the skylights, windows and doors’, deterioration of plastic fittings and oxidation of carbon fibers – all these occur under direct sunlight. As this happens, the material stiffens, shrinks and cracks begin to form. This is where some other factors come into action, like the vibration from an RV’s movement, which further enlarges small cracks, and may eventually lead to the failure of water seals.
Water and ice damage
All RVs and trailers are designed with water-resistance in mind. And as long as the water stays on the outside, it’s pretty much harmless. However, every RV design has many orifices and opening for windows, water or sewage pipelines, lights, etc. All of those are potential routes for water to find its way into the rig’s frame, once the sun-damage to water seals starts to take its toll. If left unchecked, water inside the walls can causes the wooden framework of older RVs to rot, and the metal to corrode and lose its strength.
Trapped water also allows mildew and mold to grow in the parts of the trailer that are hard to access and keep clean. Lastly, if an RV is stored outside during winters season, the freezing/thawing cycles will propagate any cracks and holes into which the water finds its way (even between the exterior metal sheets and screws) thus further compromising the rig’s ability to resist the elements.
While not much of a problemin the northern states of the US or Canada, this type of damage is well known to people traveling in the more arid areas (like much of Australia for instance). High winds give little specks of sand and dust enough kick to slowly scratch the exterior finish, plastic parts and window glass, making it bleak and matt-looking over time, and more susceptible to dirt build-up and UV light damage.
This one is a little less obvious. It comes from 3 main sources: acid rains, bird droppings and decaying dead leaves left on top during the winter. The acid residues react with the paint finishing, and leave notable matt-looking stains if not washed off in time and left exposed to direct sunlight. All three of these are virtually unavoidable for an RV that is roaming anywhere but the most arid travel routes, and pose even more of a problem for an RV that sits idle in between seasons.
All these effects can be mitigated by the timely use of an RV cover,which is appropriate for the respective climate and weather conditions. The math here is simple: every day, the cover takes on the damage from the elements for the RV -– which leads towards prolonged happy use of the RV itself. And, if you ever had to pay the bill for restoring a used RV to its former glory, you’ll agree that even the top of the-line $500+ RV cover is worth the hassle of buying and installing.
Before buying a cover for your RV
While many RV owners wish to buy the perfect RV covers, many don’t know how they should go about the buying process. What many people forget is that other than the destructive elements of the climatic condition, the climatic conditions of your area should guide you to which RV cover to go for. You will also need to consider the kind of material used to make the cover as there are some made for heavy-duty purposes while others are more prone to threats. Never purchase an RV cover without confirming its eligibility. With more RV owners getting into the picture, some con artists find it easy to sell counterfeit RV covers to the unsuspecting public.
To avoid falling victim to such tricks, ample research is essential and, if possible, place an order directly from the manufacturer or a trusted dealer. Other factors like size, color size, and design should follow suit when making any considerations to buy an RV cover.
RV covers are designed to be slightly loose. This is done to ensure that proper internal ventilation occurs, which should not allow mildew or molds to form underneath the cover itself. Having said that -– a proper cover should still have a pretty tight fit to the rig, via elasticized corners for the front and back, and assorted belts and lines to tighten it up. A snug fit ensures that no parts of the cover will be left to flap freely, and thus will not get damaged by strong winds, which can make short work of any loose-fitting fabric over. So yes, size does matter when it comes to choosing an RV cover. The best way to know what size of cover to buy, is to measure the RV’s length and height by yourself, regardless of what it says in vehicle’s manual. Most manufacturer’s measurements of an RV’s length and height do not take into account for the back ladder, external equipment and other protruding objects that must be covered as well. So, make sure you include all these in your measurements.
There are several modern materials that are used for RV covers.
- Polypropylene is widely used, and because of its high resistance to the effects of acids and water (however, on its own, polypropylene fabrics are NOT waterproof) while allowing for decent ventilation.
- Polyester offers good UV resistance. Like polypropylene, it is NOT waterproof on its own, and requires the application of a special coating for this.
- Acrylic is a good waterproof material, and with some added UV-protection using a solution-dye, it becomes a decent all-around material for RV covers made from it.
- Polyethylene is another material used for some best rated RV covers. It is heavy, offers good water resistance and is wear-durable
These materials are oftentimes used in combinations to make RV covers that excel in certain climates.
Some types and combinations of fabric and coating have been patented by specific manufacturers, and are known by their copyright names, like DuPont’s Tyvek (another term for polyethylene fabrics) or Cal Mark’s Sunbrella (a high-end acrylic fiber with some added UV protection).
As for the general durability of a cover, there is a tradeoff between the strength of the material and the cover’s total weight. It might not be a problem to install a heavy 5-layer cover over the rig for a family with a couple of strong hands,. while the same could require up to half an hour for a less beefy person to install on his/her ownlo.
- Reinforced bits. Being a BIG piece of fabric, the RV cover could to require some effort to cover a large 43-foot 5th wheel trailer. Sooner or later, it can get caught on a sharp edge of a ladder, an antenna or the corner screw, and a rip will appear. Thus, some of the best RV covers (from higher end product lines) are designed with added durability in mind. Not only do they come with the incorporated Ripstop fabrics, but also have their corners reinforced with extra thick padding, which prevents accidental damages from occurring. Light-reflective strips could be a nice hint that help whens navigating around (or towards) a covered RV.
- Ventilation design. Well-designed ventilation flaps do not just help prevent mold from building up under the covers in humid climates, but also decrease the wear and tear effect that strong winds might have on the cover.
- Clever strap system. Multiple and well-placed straps allow for a snugger fit of the cover, which ensures maximum protection from all elements. This also decreases wear from the strong winds, as no large flapping areas will be exposed to them.
Now, having discussed the essentials, let us quickly run through some ready examples of RV cover brands and products, and what they should be used for.
Best RV covers for a humid climate with lots of moisture – call for waterproof and breathing materials like polyethylene (or Tyvek) or polypropylene with waterproof coating. The popular brands and products for this climate would be ADCO SFS AquaShed or Leader Accessories Travel Trailer RV Cover. Products of the line Camco ULTRAGuard also fall into this category, but they will last pretty much as long as their warranty, i.e., just 1 year, due to being very light.
Best covers for a cold climate with lots of snow – requires strong multilayer fabrics (like polyethylene), which can withstand the tear and wear of winds, the weight of snow, AND remain waterproof during the autumn and spring seasons. The products that claim to fare well under these conditions are ones like the Classic Accessories OverDrive PermaPRO Deluxe or the ADCO SFS AquaShed, which is designed with lots of water in mind. If your expect that your RV will remain idle for a few winters, you might consider spending some extra money for a custom-fit motorhome cover, which comes with a 5 or even 6-year warranty.
Best motorhome covers for a hot climate with lots of sun – call for use of UV-resistant materials like polyester or dyed acrylic. Some specially-designed motorhome covers, with special reflective rooftops, fare best here, as they not only protect the rig from the build-up of UV damage, but also keep it cooler in hot weather. Good examples of RV cover products for this climate are the Goldline Class A RV Cover (with a solid 5-year warranty, which kind of makes up for its high price) and the custom-fit ADCO Sunbrella cover.
All-climate covers? Yes, there are a few product out there that are positioned as all-season covers. And they are considered to be quite good at resisting all types of elemental damages (meaning they are not really ideal for any specific one). These are represented by the products like the Classic Accessories SkyShield and OverDrive PolyPRO 3, or the ADCO Dupont Tyvek Designer Series.
RV motorhomes and trailer cover types
Overall, there are 3 distinct kinds of RV covers, each serving their special purpose and filling a specific price niche.
- The rooftop cover is praised for its lightweight and the way it leaves all windows and technical hatches open. Therefore, it can be installed even while people are actually using the RV (provided there are is critical equipment located on the rooftop, such as air conditioners and antennas). Its main purpose is to provide general protection from sunlight and various debris that might land on the roof, such dead leaves or bird droppings. These also keep the RV cooler during the daylight hours, especially if they are equipped with a reflective surface. As the name of this cover type suggests, all side parts of the rig are still subject to normal UV and water damages.
- Universal RV covers (also known as contour-fit) usually come in set sizes, and are the most widely used on the market, due to their good all-around protection and moderate pricing. Although these often possess zipper parts, which allow access to specific sections of an RV – they work best when fully closed and taking on all the elemental damages, instead of the rig.
- Custom-fit RV covers are tailor-made products that precisely fit onto your rig in its current state. They are manufactured after some careful measurement-taking by an expert from the seller. Custom covers are usually made using top-end materials and provide exceptionally snug fits. Oftentimes they incorporate reinforced fabrics in places where sharp or extended parts of the RV can potentially rip through the cover. Places where tension may build up under strong winds or heavy snow are also typically reinforced. Custom-fit covers also come with the longest warranties, which can stretch up to 6 years.
FAQ about RC covers
Manufacturers typically supply self-adhesive repair materials for fixing minor rips on your cover. All you need to do is cut out the desired size and shape of itthis material, peel the protective layer and attach it from the underside of an RV cover where needed. If your trailer or RV cover is still under warranty, the supplier will likely offer you a repair kit for free, should you need one.
These are self-adhesive padded materials that must be applied at points where the cover can potentially be punctured by sharp objects on top of the rig, or where stress-areas are formed. The pads are applied in the same manner as the repair materials.
Of course, this will differ depending on whether you own a 27 or 43-foot vehicle. But the general idea is that a reasonably fit person can perform a full installation removal of an RV cover within 10 minutes.
Most RV covers can be installed without the need for a step-ladder. However, if the vehicle is large, you might do better off climbing it via the roof ladder, and unpacking the cover at on the rooftop first, before fixing in around the sides and the bottom.
Most RV covers come with a free storage bag. However, it is wise to clean the cover and give it some time to dry out, before putting into the storage bag.
Most covers are easy to clean (not saying it that this doesn’t take time though). Generally, spraying it with a water-hose will keep it reasonably clean. Some heavy dirt build-up (like after a winter storage) can be removed using a soap-water solution and a soft brush. Just remember to rinse it thoroughly and thoroughly dry at the end.
Most covers have elasticized front and rear sections that fit well the caravan trailer or an RV. The rest is usually tightened by using straps and tie-downs that go under the bottom of the vehicle.
RV manufacturers recommend that you measure your RV’s dimensions (length, height and width) yourself, and not copy these from the owner’s manual. This is because the manual usually doesn’t account for the extended elements, such as the bumper, spare tire, roof ladder, rooftop equipment, etc.
Ideally you would measure the RV’s length from the front to the back bumper, using any side surface to project an imaginary straight line between the two. The rooftop equipment usually doesn’t add anything in excess of 12 – inches to the manufacturer’s specified height.
No. The covers are designed in such a way and with such materials (like plastic D-rings for straps that go under vehicle’s bottom) that cannot cause damage to an RV’s finish or paint job.
When exposed to direct sunlight and rainwater for a long time, anything can age quicker than expected, and when rust gets it there, then it is a done deal. As for your motorhome, keeping away UV and water is the first step to ensuring that your motorhome remains in excellent and sellable condition for longer. You should, however, not forget that there are other risks like the windows getting cracked or water still getting in the form of moisture.
The best RV covers are designed to provide all-round protection against any threats, including the ones that you cannot anticipate. That is why it is recommended that you get a heavy-duty cover for your motorhome because you never know when something heavy or sharp can come in contact with your RV. If you have to go with another option, which is not heavy duty, then you should ensure that the RV is parked in a safe spot.