RVs are a big investment! Whether you have spent a few thousand dollars on your new RV or have sold your home and spent a small fortune on your new home-on-wheels, you’ll want to protect it. The best way to take care of your RV when it’s not in use is to cover it. The size and type of your RV will help determine what kind of cover you should look for. Whether you tow a 19’ travel trailer or a 40’ fifth wheel, there are plenty of RV covers to choose from that will help keep your investment looking newer longer. Choosing the right RV cover is an important step in owning an RV and we are here to help you decide which one is best for you!
Why Cover Your RV?
Whether you store your RV in an outdoor or indoor storage area, it should be covered if it’s going to sit idle for a period of time. Indoor storage is ideal, as it shelters the RV from all weather-related elements, such as UV rays, acid rain, snow, ice, wind, fallen tree limbs, dirt & debris, and more. However, even if your RV is parked inside a building for the winter, critters and bugs can still find their way into it and do infuriating damage that takes time to repair and can cost you hundreds, maybe even thousands, of dollars in repairs. If your RV is parked outside when not in use, covering it with a high-quality RV cover is essential. On top of tiny critters and bugs that might want to nest in it for the winter, your parked RV is a sitting duck for damage from anything that Mother Nature throws its way.
UV rays cause the most damage to RVs of any weather-related element. When an exposed RV sits for weeks and months on end and bakes in the sun, it suffers from UV degradation. The UV rays eat away at its painted exterior and rubber seals. The exterior starts to take on a lackluster appearance. The once-vibrant graphics can fade to an almost unnoticeable design that looks old and weathered. By looking at the outside of it, you’d never guess it was only a year or two old. Additionally, as the exterior shell starts to break down under the intense UV rays, the elements underneath it do as well. The metal and plastic components become exposed and are subjected to the same weathering process as the fiberglass shell. Rubber seals suffer harm from UV rays, too. They dry out and crack when exposed to the sun’s rays for a lengthy period of time. Replacing rubber seals is expensive and time consuming.
Acid rain can do horrible damage to an RV. The acids in rain (and in fog & snow) don’t evaporate. So when the water they’re in evaporates, the acids remain, forming a lasting ring on your RV’s exterior. The intensity of the acid increases as it dries.
We’ve all come out to our newly washed car in a parking lot and been maddened to see one side of it covered with bird poop. Especially since it only sat there for an hour! Imagine if it sat there for 3 months without moving! It’s a disaster waiting to happen! The same goes for your RV. After months of sitting uncovered outside, your RV would look like an entire flock of birds perched above it, ate berries all day long, and never moved. Bird poop can dull the finish of an RV and cause stains.
If your RV is parked under tree limbs, chances are it may end up with tree sap dripped on it. Talk about a sticky situation! Avoid this headache by covering your RV.
I don’t know how they do it, but critters and bugs manage to squeeze into the tiniest of places, even when it’s secured like Fort Knox. The warm, dry interior is very attractive to little creatures during the winter months. An RV cover provides a layer of protection that helps keep them outside (where they belong). It covers the otherwise exposed doors, windows, storage compartments, slide outs, and other areas where tiny rodents can squeeze through.
The Anatomy of a Cover
Normally made of polypropylene or polyester, RV covers are durable and rugged. You’ll want to choose one that is suited for the type of weather your RV is going to be exposed to. If you live in a southern climate, you can choose a cover that is made specifically for dusty, rainy, and windy conditions. If you live in a northern climate, you’ll want to make sure the cover you choose is heavy duty enough to protect your RV from snow and ice. Most covers are treated with UV repellents and water repellents, making them water resistant, durable, and long lasting. Many also have vents built into them to allow for moisture to escape. This reduces the possibility that you might find an unpleasant mold or mildew problem when you open up your RV in the spring. In order for a cover to fit well, it should have straps or elasticized corners. These help the cover fit snugly over the RV. It also eliminates the chance of it billowing in a strong wind. Lastly, just because you’ve sealed up your RV for the winter doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to get into it. That fun board game your kids are dying to play right now? It’s still pack away in the RV from the last camping trip. Or that cool kitchen gadget you bought out west and wanted to try out at home? You left it in the utensil drawer. No problem! A lot of RV covers are equipped with zippered openings that correspond to your RV’s doors so that you have easy access to the inside of your stored RV.
Ordering Your RV Cover
In order to get a good fit with an RV cover, measure your RV from end to end, taking into consideration bike racks, ladders, bumpers, etc. Include these in your measurement. Getting the right size is important! If your cover is on the small end, it will be very hard to get on. But if it’s too big, it’ll lose its effectiveness in protecting your RV and could cause damage to your RV by whipping around in a heavy wind. Custom ordering a cover is one way to ensure that you get the best fit. Companies that make custom RV covers will ask for your RV’s measurements, make, model, and year. Custom ordering is a more expensive way to go, but if you plan on owning your RV for a long time, this may be a good option for you. A couple brands that we recommend for either factory or custom covers are ADCO Products Inc. and Empire Covers. Whether you go with a pre-made cover or a custom-ordered cover, any protection is better than none. An RV cover not only protects the exterior of your RV and helps it stay looking sharp, but it’s also protecting the resale value of your investment.