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Should You Cover Your RV in Winter?

You’ve spent all summer creating memories in your RV, but now winter is rolling in, and it’s time to store it until spring. A lot goes into preparing for winter. One suggestion you’ll likely see is to use an RV cover to protect your rig from the harsh winter weather. Is this essential or maybe even a bad idea? Today we’re going to look at what an RV cover is and what benefits it can offer.  

What Are the Benefits of Covering Your RV in Winter?

You’ve likely driven by covered RVs parked in their owners’ driveways. But have you ever considered why? Here are a few of the reasons you might want to cover your camper.  

Morton's fifth wheel and truck covered
We covered our fifth wheel and truck before we headed to Canada and Alaska to film our Go North adventure.

UV Protection

Even in winter, the sun can take its toll. It can fade decals and make seals brittle, reducing their effectiveness. Having an RV cover that offers UV protection can help reduce the sun’s effects.

Keep Moisture Out

Rain and snow can’t make their way into your RV if you protect it with a waterproof cover. Many RVers fear leaks, especially in winter when they may not enter their RV and notice them. An RV that lets water seep in all winter will give its owner a horrible surprise come spring. 

Weather Protection

An RV cover will protect your RV from inclement weather. It protects from rain, snow, and wind. It may even reduce the damage should a hail storm blow through.

Less Clean-Up in Spring

A camper you covered all winter will be cleaner come spring. When you’re excited to get out there at the start of camping season, you don’t want to deal with having to wash the RV or have it detailed. Quickly removing a cover is a lot easier. 

Airstream trailer in snow
An RV covered in snow looks dreamy but come spring, when the snow melts, it might be a nightmare.

What Are Your Options for Covering Your RV?

The type of cover you choose will be based largely on your coverage preferences and available space. Here are the two main options. 

Fabric Cover

You can cover your RV with a fabric cover. This option is a bit like tucking your RV in for the winter with a nice protective blanket. You’ll attach the fabric directly to your RV. 

Roofed Structure

A roofed structure is an open-air garage for your RV. These carport-like structures protect your RV without you attaching anything directly to it. This option allows you to easily gain access to your RV any time you’d like with no additional effort. This is especially helpful when loading your camper for an upcoming trip. 

Roofed structures also wont move or rub on the RV directly.

fifth wheel parked under RV port
Some people park their RVs under roofed structures for year-round protection from the elements.

Did you know there are entire neighborhoods where each house has its own RV garage? Take a look: RV Port Home: The Perfect House for RVers

Do You Need to Cover RV Tires in Winter?

Covering your RV tires any time they’re stationery is a good idea. This will protect them from the effects of the sun, which can prematurely age them. Tire covers can also keep the rain and snow off them when your rig isn’t in use.

Do you have doubts about using tire covers? We’ve written an in-depth article to guide you towards the right decision for your camper: Does Your RV Really Need Tire Covers?

Small RV with tire covers
No matter the weather, if your RV is parked for a significant period, you need tire covers.

What to Look for in a Fabric Cover

If you’ve decided to go with a fabric cover, you may be wondering what you need to consider when making your selection. Let’s take a look at what aspects to keep in mind before you buy.

Material

Not all covers are made from equally effective material. Throwing a standard tarp over your RV isn’t going to provide the protection you’re looking for and could do more damage than it prevents. Polypropylene fabric is one of the most commonly used materials for RV covers. 

Vents

A cover with vents is very helpful for allowing some airflow under the cover. A non-breathable cover can trap any moisture against the RV and actually cause mold or mildew to grow. Vents can also help relieve wind stresses if large gusts get under the cover.

travel trailer with fabric cover and tire covers
A polypropylene, multi-layer fabric cover with a water-resistant coating is your best option for protecting your RV.

Fabric Layers

on edges or sharp corners its best to get a cover with multiple layers. Movement of the cover can wear through a single layer quickly so having multiple will provide more protection.

Water-Resistant Coatings

Choose a cover that keeps moisture away from your camper to avoid water damage. For this, you’ll want one that has a water-resistant coating.

SHOULD YOU USE AN RV COVER?

The Disadvantages of Covering Your RV in Winter

Using an RV cover for the winter isn’t the right choice for everyone. There are a few downsides and things you should be aware of. 

If your cover isn’t correctly attached or fits poorly, the wind can make it rub the sides and damage the finish. A cover can also lead to improper airflow. This is a problem, especially in high humidity areas. Without proper airflow, RVs quickly become a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

We learned the hard way when covering our RV in the desert that wind and blowing sand can actually cause the cover to act like sandpaper. Our finish was very dull and had marks where the cover had rubbed the RV.

RV covered for winter
RVs are subject to damage if not covered with high-quality, breathable material.

Is Covering Your RV in Winter Worth It?

Protecting your rig in winter is worth it if you use a high-quality good fitting RV cover. Choosing the right cover makes all the difference. A low-quality cover could leave your rig worse off than using nothing at all. If you want to protect your rig, invest in a good cover, put it inside, or under a solid structure.

Do you cover your camper in winter? Drop a comment below.

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Dalton Bourne

Tuesday 15th of February 2022

We keep our travel trailer in our backyard, and unfortunately, it has to be parked right under the overhanging branches of the neighbor's mature willow tree. Bird droppings, tiny willow leaves, and lots of thin branches come down on it all of the time, and we get plenty of snow in the winter. This PermaPRO travel trailer cover was the answer! Although it is inherently awkward to handle something this big, this cover makes it very easy to identify the front. The straps hold the cover in place very well, and since our trailer is on the smaller end for this size cover, it not only covers the trailer but the propane tanks and motorized hitch as well. The side and back zippers make it easy for us to get into the trailer and the outside kitchen if we need to, and the vents allow air circulation. So far we have been really happy with it, and it looks like it will be easy to clean up on the spring before storing it.

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