Thursday, January 3, 2013

Duck And Cover - Which Cover Is Best For Your RV?

Yes, I Need A Cover!
    OK, I'll admit it. I'm a procrastinator. Living in a region where cold weather and snowfall are the norm it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out a cover isn't a bad idea. Of course, I try and use the RV until the very last day above freezing so it's pretty cold when it's time to cover it up. Last year I noticed a few rips in the deteriorating fabric of my cover. Truth be told, the year before that it was staring to come apart, but with some judicious sewing, I managed to get another year out of it. Well, not so much this time. The cover is in good shape....mostly. It's the front, near the windshield, that is ripped. And ripped badly. More like shredded, actually.

The Old RV Cover In Better Days
I've been looking for a new cover for a while now, but never seem to be able to "pull the trigger" on one. Either I cannot verify whether it will fit; (My RV is 23'8" long and 99" tall) so would the smaller one fit?? or should I get the one for a travel trailer instead? Well, you begin to see the issue. Now that I've put it off and the weather is cold AND the snow has already covered the RV AND I have a makeshift patch on my storm smashed skylight, do I try and make due with what I have, bite the bullet and order what could be the wrong one or forego the cover completely this year and take my chances. Quite the conundrum.

Sample Fabric Types
Covers come in several basic flavors.

1. Polyester fabric
2. Polyester fabric with a Tyvek top
3. Sunbrella (layered proprietary mix)

Each has its' upsides and downsides. To select you've got to figure out what you are trying to repel. If it's the UV from the sun and you're in a hot climate without much rain you'll want one that is as close to 100% UV resistant as possible and will "breathe" a bit to keep up some airflow underneath. If you're expecting heavy rains and lots of moisture mixed with some Sunshine, a heavier cover that is water repellent is much more useful. If you are going to get snowed on, you have to make sure the melting snow will not saturate the cover and trap the moisture next to the skin of your RV.

Thankfully, most RV covers fall into these three major categories.

Self Explanatory?
Next is the Fit. Covers come in many standard sizes and are usually equipped with some way of cinching down the excess material so it doesn't blow off or flap in the breeze potentially damaging your RV's finish, or worse. You could go the full custom route and have one sewn to fit your specific RV, but I believe that's a waste of money for most folks. You will still need to measure your RV to figure out which of the stock sizes is closest. You can always make something smaller, but adding material after you bought it will be next to impossible. My Aero Cruiser RV is 23'8" long but only 99" Tall. A short class A cover will work, but a lot of extra material hangs down past the wheels. I would be better served with a travel trailer cover of the same length. Be wary, don't believe that the cover will have "a little bit extra" automatically. The 24' cover I bought JUST fit.

Yes, That's Through A Window Screen!
When you receive the cover, make sure you are able to get it up onto the roof. If you need help...GET IT! You could experience a pretty nasty fall and some severe injuries just for trying to protect your RV. IMHO...not worth it!  I like to wrap some bubble wrap or spare heavy cloth around the top of the ladder and any other sharp and pointy protrusions on the roof. If you don't you WILL either puncture the cover right away or it will abrade over the winter and fail the next time you use it. I know. I have lots of abrasion holes to patch. Well..I did. Now I won't make that mistake again!

Remember, covers are HEAVY. If you order one online, make sure you figure in shipping (if it isn't free) or you may be in for a pricey surprise when you click on the "shipping" box.

You've likely spent a good penny on your RV and want to keep it in tip top shape. A cover can go a long way toward that goal.

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"


  1. I am on my second cover from National discount covers. I bought the Expedition model which is for the full height rvs, and after the first year of the last cover, I cut 24" off all around the bottom. This fits just below the bottom of the body of our '87 31' Southwind Eagle, and eliminates the heavy lufting we had before, during high winds. I also have three nylon ropes over the top that are weighted at the base to cut down on movement. The expedition is waranteed for three years and we got that out of it ,but I did have to replace a couple of the zippers which I did with #10 marine grade zippers. They are much stronger that the ones tat came with the cover and if you go in and out as much as I do during the winter it's a good idea. These covers are the same material you'll find on car covers with a double weight top panel. I wish i had started using these years ago. Their address is

    1. Jerry,
      I will absolutely look into those. Since my RV is only 99" tall I may have to cut off a lot more than 24"!


      Rich "The Wanderman"

  2. I think the average life span of most RV covers is roughly 2-3 years tops, and they unfortunately, don't the water off the rig, just the dirt.

    Until I started full-timing I used a combination of three tarps to keep the rain off during the winter times.

    1. Matt,
      That's terrible. Manufacturers should try and make products that last. I know, they won't! But they should!

      Rich "The Wanderman"


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