Are RV Covers Worth It? (Ultimate Pros and Cons List)


RVs fare better when they are protected from the elements. But if you don’t have a garage big enough for your RV, an RV cover could be an option. But are RV covers worth it?

As a general rule, a good quality RV cover can extend the life of an RV by protecting it from snow, wind, ice, and UV rays. Those can damage seals and allow leaks to form on the roof of the RV. While RV roofs are often resealed annually, using a cover can extend the need for that by 6 or more months.

Just avoid inexpensive ones that can trap moisture and lead to mold.

They might not fit properly and won’t last very long. They can actually hold moisture, which can lead to mold and mildew growth.

But that’s not all there is to know about RV covers. In this article, we’re going to dive deep into everything RV cover related.

Just keep reading!

Are RV covers a good idea?

RV covers work well to keep the rain off while also allowing moisture to escape. They can also prevent sun damage and paint fading.

They can also be hard to put on.

Each season represents a new way to damage the exterior of your RV. Spring, with its bird poop and tree sap. Summer, with its heat and UV rays. Winter, with its snow and ice. Even fall joins in the fun with dead leaves piling up and making a mess.

They are cost-effective and easy to store away when not in use.

So RV covers undoubtedly sound like a great idea. But there are some drawbacks.

Putting the cover on

First, and most obvious, is that you have to figure out how to put the thing on your RV. Typically, you need to climb up on the roof of your RV to put the cover on. Getting on an RV roof without hurting yourself or damaging your roof can be a little challenging.

Taking the cover off

Once the cover is on, it gets even more difficult. Because once it’s covered, you have to walk around over the cover to get off of the rig. Since you can’t see where you’re putting your feet, you can end up hurting yourself or breaking roof vents.

Ventilation

Of course, once it’s covered, you can’t open any roof vents, which can lead to sweating inside your rig. If your cover doesn’t breathe well, it can become a breeding ground for mold.

Challenges with generic covers

Additionally, rig attachments like antennas or mounting brackets can poke holes in covers.

So if you don’t have a building to park your RV in, a cover can be better than nothing. But you may want to consider having a custom-made cover. A custom cover can be made to work around antennas and brackets.

They can also be made so you can open your door without pulling the cover loose.

Do RV covers cause mold?

RV covers that don’t breathe well can cause moisture to build up between the inside of the cover and the outside of your RV, which is a great environment for mold and mildew to develop. But most high-quality RV covers are waterproof yet breathable to reduce the chance of mold.

Water is one of an RV’s worst enemies, especially when it’s trapped under an impermeable cover. If condensation collects under the cover, it can’t escape. This provides a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

In more extreme circumstances, like freezing weather, the trapped moisture can freeze and cause the roof to crack. Good RV covers have small pores in the fabric. These pores allow moisture to evaporate without allowing water droplets in.

You can even get RV covers that include UV or water repellents.

Water repellents actively repel water, allowing it to evaporate rather than seeping through the cover. While it may be tempting to purchase the cheapest RV cover you can find, it’s worth the expense to purchase a good quality, name-brand cover.

Name brand covers are long-lasting and often come with warranties lasting anywhere from one year to five years. You paid a pretty penny for that RV.

Take care of it by giving it adequate cover.

Do RV covers cause damage?

A good, quality RV cover won’t cause any damage, but wind, rain, ice, and sun will. A good cover keeps your RV clean and ready for its next use. Just ensure you purchase a high-quality cover with good reviews.

One way to protect your RV is to put it in a garage.

But RVs can be huge, and putting it indoors isn’t always feasible. In this case, an RV cover is the best way to keep the elements off of your RV when it’s not in use.

So really, every RV needs a cover. Pop-up campers, towable campers, Class A motorhomes, and everything in between should have a cover.

But it has to be a good cover because cheap covers are one of the leading causes of RV damage. Discount covers that are poorly made can blow in the wind, scratching your rig. They can break apart, let natural elements in, and hold moisture, allowing mold and mildew to grow.

It can actually be worse than not covering your rig at all.

A good cover, made of quality materials like Tyvek, is soft enough to limit damage on your RV but strong enough to take a beating, even during the harshest winter weather.

Should you cover your RV in the winter?

Covering your RV during the winter should be a priority. Harmful weather like snow, sleet, and rain can leave your RV vulnerable to leaks if left uncovered. As the snow melts when the weather gets warmer, it can leave water on top of the roof, causing water damage and leaks around the seals.

You know by now that covering your RV during the summer helps keep the inside cooler and protects the outside from fading and cracking.

But it’s just as important to cover your RV during the winter, too.

Harmful UV rays bead down all year long, not just during the summer. And if heavy snow builds up on your RV, it will melt as the weather gets warmer. Puddles of water left on top of the roof can cause a backup.

If dirt and debris are allowed to pile up on your roof, it can leave black streaks when it’s finally washed off. It can also cause your paint, graphics, and trim on your RV to fade, crack, and deteriorate faster than it would if covered.

Of course, if you live in your RV during the winter, you won’t be covering it.

But can you live in a Class A motorhome during harsh winters? In most cases, you can. But you want to take into account the temperatures, the amount of snow and ice, and how well insulated your RV is.

Check out this recent article where I talk about RV living, winter tips, and how to know if it’s a good idea for you to live in your Class A motorhome during the winter season.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Do I need a cover for my RV if it’s parked under a roof?

If the RV is under a roof, even a partially enclosed one, there is less need for a cover. But depending on how well it is covered, it could still be exposed to wind and sun.

A roof is a great way to keep the rain and snow off, but it might not be enough protection.

For the most comprehensive protection, you can cover your RV while it’s under a roof. But that’s not always feasible, especially if your roof is just barely high enough to put your RV under.

Ideally, you’re storing your RV in an enclosed building. Some buildings are partially enclosed, keeping wind, sun, and snow off of your vehicle. 

If your RV is just under a roof, it can still be exposed to the elements. The only thing a roof does is keep debris and snow off the top of the RV, which is an excellent step in the right direction.

However, it will still be exposed to the wind and sun.

Being exposed to wind and the sun’s UV rays can dull and damage your RV’s finish. These elements don’t just damage the finish. They also damage the lifespan of your RV’s tires, weather-stripping, and gaskets.

So if your RV is stored under just a roof, consider extending the side walls at least halfway to the ground.

This will provide much better protection than a roof alone. If you aren’t able to do that, and there is enough room under your roof to stand up, put a cover on your RV.

This may be inconvenient or sound like overkill, but your RV is a huge investment. It deserves to be taken care of.

What’s worse for my RV, sun, or winter weather?

Harsh winter weather can damage an uncovered RV more than the sun. While the sun’s damaging UV rays can cause damage, ice, snow, and freezing temperatures can cause worse long-term damage.

But both summer weather and winter weather are bad for your RV.

Hot summers can cause fading, dry rot, and deterioration of seals. Harsh winters with a lot of snow and ice can cause freezing of pipes and seals, leading to leaks.

So they are both bad, just in different ways.

If you live in an area with mild winters, where you don’t get a lot of snow, you don’t have to worry so much about snow building up and then melting on top of your RV.

But even places with mild winters can freeze.

Freezing can be just as bad, if not worse than snow. By covering your camper, even in climates that don’t get much snow, you are keeping it warm inside. By keeping it warm, you can help prevent frozen pipes and gaskets.

Even with mild summers, your camper will still be exposed to harmful UV rays.

UV rays are very harmful to the finish of your RV. They can cause fading and peeling of your paint. They can also cause seals and gaskets to break down. And UV rays don’t go away just because it’s snowing.

So no matter what climate you live in, you should really consider covering your RV. It should be protected against the elements.

What are the best covers that protect your RV from the sun?

King Bird RV covers offer the best protection from the sun and UV rays compared to many other brands of RV covers. They are made with an Extra-Thick 5 Layer Anti-UV Top Panel to keep UV ray damage to a minimum.

With so many choices, it can be hard to know what cover to get for your RV.

You can take your RV to your local dealership and get a custom cover made. There are tons of options online, too. But don’t worry, I’ve done all of the leg work for you.

Here are some of my top picks for RV covers. These are not just excellent protection from the sun, but they are all water repellent, wind-proof, and tear-proof, too.

CLICK ON ANY OF THESE LINKS TO SEE THE CURRENT PRICE ON AMAZON

KING BIRD DELUXE 5TH WHEEL RV COVER

This KING BIRD DELUXE 5TH WHEEL RV COVER is a complete set with the RV cover and wheel covers. It fits RVs from 26 feet to 29 feet long.

The top panel is extra-thick to be strong and rip-proof. The top layer is composed of 5 layers, and the side layers are three layers.

It provides excellent protection against UV rays, rain, snow, dirt, nicks, and scratches.

It’s also wind-proof. The corners are reinforced to protect the whole cover from damaging the RV in the wind.

The straps consist of 2 pieces that are specially designed to hold the cover on in high winds.

This cover has vents on both sides. This ventilation can help reduce wind stress while keeping it from retaining moisture. Rollable zippered doors allow access to the RV doors and engine area. This makes it easier to ensure things are working properly in the RV without having to fight the cover.

Almost 200 reviews and almost all are 5-star.

It also comes with a two-year warranty and a storage bag.

CLICK HERE to see this 5th Wheel Cover on Amazon

KING BIRD DELUXE TRAVEL TRAILER RV COVER

The young family and mother-in-law in family issues concept

Yes, even your tow-behind travel trailer should be covered. This TRAVEL TRAILER RV COVER by King Bird is another great cover. It fits RVs between 18 and 20 feet long.

And they have lots of other size options to choose from as well.

Just like the 5th wheel version, it is tear proof, wind-proof, and has copious amounts of ventilation.

It’s made with an anti-UV composite fabric, composed of 5 layers on the top and three layers on the sides. It also has reinforced sides to protect the cover from getting damaged or damaging the RV itself.

The straps consist of 2 pieces that are specially designed to hold the cover on in high winds.

This cover has vents on both sides. This ventilation can help reduce wind stress while keeping it from retaining moisture.

Again, outstanding reviews and well over 400 of them!

Rollable zippered doors allow access to the RV doors, making it easier to ensure things are working properly in the RV without having to fight the cover. The quick-dry system keeps your RV nice and dry. Just like the 5th wheel version, it comes with tire covers and a storage bag.

CLICK HERE to see this Travel Trailer Cover on Amazon

KING BIRD CLASS A RV COVER

This CLASS A RV COVER, also by King Bird, fits Class A RVs from 30 feet to 33 feet long. But they have options to fit all sizes up to 43′.

Like the others, it’s made with anti-UV fabric.

The top panel is made of 5 layers of heavy-duty, extra-strength rip-stop.

The sides are made of 3-ply non-woven material that protects against UV rays, rain, snow, dirt, nicks, and scratches.

It is wind-proof, with adjustable front and rear tension panels. The cover fits snugly on the RV with reinforced elasticized hem corners. It has adjustable wind-proof straps and buckles, making sure the cover fits snugly over your RV.

Al outstanding reviews just like the other from King Bird.

It has six air vents on both sides, which reduce wind stress and keep the RV dry, preventing mold and mildew growth. It also comes with a 2-year warranty, tire covers, and a storage bag.

CLICK HERE to see this Class A Motorhome Cover on Amazon

KING BIRD CLASS C RV COVER

This CLASS C RV COVER by King Bird fits a 20 foot to 23 foot Class C RV. But just click the link to see all size options up to 32′.

It’s tear-proof and made of extra-thick, extra-strength rip-stop.

It’s got five layers on top and three layers on the sides. It protects against snow, rain, wind, dirt, nicks, and scratches.

It is wind-proof with tension panels that help keep the cover in place. The elasticized hem corners are reinforced with adjustable wind-proof straps and buckles.

The snug fit will make it seem like it was made specifically for your RV.

Six air vents on both sides allow wind through while keeping your camper dry and mildew free.

It is waterproof, wind-proof, and tear-proof. Like their other covers, it comes with a storage bag and a two-year warranty. And of course, excellent reviews as with all King Bird products.

CLICK HERE to see this Class C Motorhome Cover on Amazon

Should I cover my RV in the summer?

Arguably, nothing is worse for your RVs exterior than the sun’s damaging UV rays.

Now a really harsh winter with a lot of snow and ice can cause damage too. But if you will have your RV parked for a lot of the summer, it would definitely help to put a cover on it.

Between the heat and the sun, things tend to expand.

Then when it cools back down, that can create cracks around doors, windows, seals, vents, and the AC roof units. Anytime that happens, a leak is possible.

How long do RV covers last?

On average, RV covers last about 2.5 years.

However, parking a covered RV in a carport or RV garage can definitely extend that lifespan. Also the amount of sun, snow, ice, and heat your area gets will impact the lifespan.

The total range for RV cover lifespans is 1 year to 5 years. Many brands of RV covers come with a 2-year warranty.

Do RV covers protect against hail?

As a general rule, RV covers will only offer minimal protection from hail.

This is because the material used to create them is fabric. Now the best covers will often be multi-layered fabric. But it would still be the equivalent of using a thick shirt or sweater to keep the hail off your car.

It may protect against pea-sized hail, but the larger the hail, the less protection any cover will offer. In areas prone to hail, investing in an RV-sized carport or paying for nearby covered parking would be a better option.

SHOULD YOU USE AN RV COVER?

Final thoughts

RV covers are absolutely worth the cost. But if you skimp and buy a cheap one, it could cause more damage than just leaving it uncovered.

RV covers protect against rain, wind, sun, and snow. But if it’s a cheap one, it can scratch your RV or hold moisture.

So if you want to keep your RV nice, you should cover it with a good, quality cover.


Photo which requires attribution:

RV Cover Installation by RVWithTito.com is licensed under CC2.0

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Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell travels on and off with his 3 daughters in a Newmar Baystar Class A Motorhome. He writes extensively on both RVs, campgrounds, parenting on the road tips, remote learning & schooling, and much more!

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