RV covers are a great way to protect your vehicle from harsh outdoor elements.
But, before investing in a cover for your RV, you need to consider the pros and cons of having one.
Let’s look at whether RV covers are good or bad for your camper and the benefits and disadvantages of using one to help you decide if a cover is right for you.
Pros and Cons of RV Covers
The pros and cons of using an RV cover can be summed up in this simple chart. This will help you decide whether an RV cover is good or bad for your situation.
But, this is just a high-level overview. It’s important to understand the why of each pro and con. So, let’s look at each of these in more detail.
Pros of Using an RV Cover
There are many pros to using an RV cover, some more obvious than others.
Each pro offers a unique type of protection for your recreational vehicle, whether that be from the natural elements, from vandals, or protecting your pocketbook!
One of the main advantages of using an RV cover is protection from UV rays. Excessive sun exposure can negatively affect your RV in multiple ways:
- Harmful UV rays can cause seal damage due to high heat accumulation on the surface of the camper.
- The interior temperatures of your RV can reach as high as 144° F causing interior damage.
- Paint, decals, trim, the roof, etc. on your RV may crack, fade and deteriorate.
An RV cover can be a great way to protect your investment from the damaging effects of the sun when not in use, during both the summer and winter months. Though there’s a bit more controversy to using them in the summer months (see Should I Cover My RV in the Summer? for more details).
Snow, sleet, rain, hail, even high winds can all cause damage to an unprotected RV. And unless you store your RV indoors, it’s going to be exposed to these damaging elements.
A quality, waterproof RV cover is designed to repel moisture from snow, sleet, and rain and keep it from building up and leaking into your camper.
The thick, rugged material of the cover also protects your RV from damaging hail and strong winds.
Keeps RV Clean
The longer your RV sits uncovered, the more dirt and debris will build up on it. To make matters worse, the dirt will start to streak down the sides of the RV as it rains and snow melts.
An RV cover will equal less washing, waxing, and caring for your camper’s exterior when not in use.
Helps Resale Value
Covering your RV will protect your investment and help retain its resale value by keeping it looking newer for longer.
The minimal investment upfront for an RV cover may mean thousands more in your pocket when it comes to selling it.
More Affordable Than Covered Storage
An RV cover is typically far cheaper in the long run than storing your camper in an indoor RV storage facility.
It costs on average $135 per month to store an RV in an indoor storage facility. With some rates at $250+ per month!
Related: How Much Does It Cost to Store an RV?
Compare that to the cost of an RV cover, and you’ll see how, in most cases, it’s cheaper to use a cover (unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, as you’ll find out below).
RV covers can also provide a certain level of protection against vandalism, especially if your RV is parked out on the street or is visible to those passing by.
Obviously, it’s not going to stop all threats, but your typical vandal or burglar will likely choose the path of least resistance, and a quality, rugged RV cover will make it harder for them to access your camper.
Cons of Using an RV Cover
With the good… comes the bad!
It’s important to read through the cons below as some may not pertain to you and your camper. But, the ones that do, you need to take into account to truly figure out whether an RV cover is good or bad for not only your camper but for your unique situation.
Covering and Uncovering Large RVs Can Be Difficult
Covering a small pop-up camper is a fairly easy process. But, covering a large Class-A motorhome, travel trailer, or 5th wheel, some of which can be up 45+ feet long with a heavy cover, can be an incredibly daunting task.
Not to mention trying to cover a large RV when it’s windy outside. You can just imagine standing on the roof of your RV holding a cover, and along comes a wind gust… it’s extremely dangerous, to say the least.
Related: How to Install an RV Cover Without Getting on the Roof
With that said, the more you cover your RV, the more you’ll fine-tune the process and the easier it gets. And if you can enlist the help of family or friends, it makes this difficult task a lot easier.
Constantly Covering and Uncovering Can Be Tedious
We just learned that covering your RV can be a difficult process. Now imagine having to cover and uncover it on a regular basis.
It becomes very tedious, very fast!
Keep that in mind before buying a cover for your RV. If you only plan on covering your camper once a year to store it for winter, it might not be a big deal. But, if you regularly store your RV and want to cover it every time, this process will get annoying quickly… trust me.
Yet Another Maintenance Task for Your RV
Maintaining an RV is already a lengthy process. Especially if you own a motorhome as you are essentially maintaining a house on wheels and a vehicle, all in one.
From all the daily cleaning and maintenance tasks to monthly maintenance like checking the batteries and fluid levels to semi-annual maintenance like checking filters and waxing your vehicle to yearly maintenance and inspections, having to cover and uncover your RV is just another task to add to your maintenance checklist.
Some Covers Don’t Last Very Long
Of course, the life of your RV cover will vary wildly depending on its quality, amount of use, and the conditions it’s exposed to. In my experience, RV covers last around four years before needing to be repaired or replaced. However, I’ve heard horror stories of those having to replace their expensive cover after only one year.
This is why it’s extremely important to do your homework and only buy a high-quality cover from a reputable brand that backs their work with a good warranty.
Might Make Accessing Your RV Difficult
If you need to access your camper’s inside while it’s covered, this can often be tricky as their “universal” doors don’t always line up correctly.
This isn’t always an issue, but something to consider before purchasing a cover for your RV.
Near Impossible to Remove if Snow Covered
If you ever plan to remove your camper cover when it’s snow or ice-covered, forget about it! The weight of the snow and ice makes it virtually impossible to get off.
Oh, and the straps that hold the cover on, if they are left hanging down, will often freeze to the ground, making cover removal that much more difficult.
Trapped Moisture Can Cause Mold Issues
Condensation that builds up below the cover creates a favorable environment for mold and mildew growth.
To stop this, manufacturers design covers with small pores in the fabric to allow moisture to evaporate while preventing water droplets from entering.
Waterproof yet breathable should be on the top of your list of features when looking for an RV cover.
In Windy Conditions, Covers Can Cause Damage
Poorly fitted RV covers can actually cause damage to campers in windy conditions. Essentially, the cover flaps in the wind causing it to rub against the RV’s exterior. Not only can this cause damage to your RV, but it can create holes in your cover. Double-whammy.
You often see this when RV owners use tarps instead of a fitted RV cover. Getting a properly fitted cover for your recreational vehicle will help alleviate this problem.
RV Cover Tip: Check out our guide on how to measure for an RV cover to ensure you get the right-sized cover for your RV.
So, Are RV Covers Good or Bad?
RV covers are a good and relatively inexpensive way, compared to indoor storage, to protect your camper from harmful UV rays, inclement weather, and dirt. But, they’re not without their downsides, as they can be hard to install on large motorhomes, can cause mold issues, and other damage to your RV.
Whether it’s better to cover your camper or not simply depends on whether the pros outweigh the cons. If you purchase a high-quality, breathable, and properly fitted RV cover with a solid warranty, then most of the cons will be mitigated.