There’s not much disagreement about whether covering your RV is a good idea over the winter. However, how you cover your rig has several options and campfire discussions that could be had for each. There’s no arguing the fact that we need to protect our campers from the elements and if we’re not fortunate enough to own a garage large enough to coddle our RV for the winter, we’re left with a few options to protect our RVs over the off-season, each with varying degrees of effectiveness. These solutions can also change depending on the climate that you live in. A dry climate will have different challenges than a damp climate, so consider your best options accordingly.
First, you’ve already sorted out winterizing your RV and ‘turned down’ your rig for the winter, right? Good!
Next, if you’re wondering whether to cover your rig over the winter, the answer is a resounding yes! You absolutely do want to cover your vehicle when it’s going to be parked for a few months. This is the bare minimum. With that out of the way, let’s dig into a few ways that you can protect your getaway rig during the off-season from the least effort to the most effort and reward. Rain, sleet, hail, sun, storms and heat will degrade your vehicle and tires with deadly precision and speed. Consider one of the options below to help your camper live a long, productive life.
Option 1: Park it under a tree.
Now that we think about it, don’t do this. You’re going to work yourself into a frenzy hosing and scrubbing down your roof removing sap, needles, leaves, bird poop, and pollen! Pollen gets everywhere, depending on where you live. Don’t park your rig under a tree for the winter. ??
Method 2: Toss a tarp over it.
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. You can pick up a monstrous, heavy-duty tarp at your local hardware store for around $50 or so. That seems like a good deal for an RV cover, right? You’ll have full coverage over your vehicle, keep the rain and wind out and all for a fraction of the cost. Why not spend the extra few dollars and go for a vinyl tarp with good durability and abrasion resistance?
However, there’s a reason why this is the cheapest solution; it’s not really the best choice. Tarps don’t breathe and they don’t last. They’re also rather abrasive and can rub the finish off of your rig as they whip about in the wind. If you’ve lived around tarps, you’ll know how they can become ‘threadbare’ when left out in the elements. The UV rips them apart and soon they degrade into a dusty, mesh cloth, providing precisely zero protection and are a heck of a pain to manage when they start tearing. Tarps don’t breathe and this is a pretty big deal. An RV’s worst enemy is moisture. Tightly wrapping a motorhome in a standard tarp will trap any moisture in between the layers and increase the likelihood of mould and mildew, especially in the legendary west-coast humidity.
Unless you can afford to purchase a tarp every couple of years, consider avoiding the old tarp trick.
Method 3: Park under a covered pad.
This method provides a significant amount of protection with just a roof. Parking under a solid roof structure will protect the roof from raining pinecones, tree branches, pollen, bird poop, etc… while also protecting the vehicle from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV radiation. It’s an excellent plan and relatively inexpensive with the help of a few friends. It lasts as long as the quality of the build, so do it right! With the basic roof structure up and a 4-post layout, you might end up converting it into a fully-fledged garage at some point.
Method 4: Use a designated RV or Motorhome Cover
This is going to be your go-to solution forever. Using a dedicated, fitted RV cover in conjunction with a fixed roof or shelter is the best possible strategy to protect your vehicle. You’ll get all the great protective properties of the cover along with the overhead protection from rain, snow and any airborne debris that gets chucked around during a classic, west coast windstorm.
RV covers work because they’re purpose-built. They are form-fitting to your trailer, motorhome or fifth wheel. They are constructed with multiple materials depending on what is being protected. The roof section will be heavy, waterproof material with very high durability while the sides will be lighter and softer so they are less abrasive. The entire cover will provide UV and water resistance and some sets might also come with tire covers.
However, as with most things, It should be said that if you plan on going for a purpose-built RV cover, spend the extra on a brand-name solution. These are high-quality products that come with high-quality warranties. If you opt for the cheap cover, be prepared to buy a new one every year. The math (cost) will quickly catch up to you and validate a higher quality product. You’ve been warned.
Bonus: Tire Covers
It should be said that investing in a quality set of tire covers will save you a bundle. Do yourself a favour and grab a set. Go for quality; always.
There are a few ways to protect your RV or motorhome over the winter and they all offer some level of protection from the savage effects of the elements.
Galaxy RV is a fully certified RV service centre and can service your RV or motorhome any time of year in our fully enclosed shop. Ask us anything!
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