How to Install an RV Cover Without Getting on the Roof

Whenever you climb on top of your recreational vehicle, for example, to install an RV cover, there’s a possibility of injury or even death.

But, what if I told you there was an easier way to install an RV cover that doesn’t require you to put yourself in a dangerous position. And you can even do it yourself (without a helper).

Let’s break down step-by-step how to install an RV cover without getting on the roof, along with some important tips to make the process easier than ever!

How to Put On an RV Cover Yourself (Without Getting on the Roof)

The best way to cover a camper without getting on the roof is to fold the cover down to a manageable size, unroll the cover down the center of your camper’s roof, unfold the cover, and secure it.

Of course, that’s a high-level overview that deserves a lot more detail on how to complete the process quickly, and more importantly, safely.

Each step is detailed in this video, and we included step-by-step written instructions below, along with the materials needed, to ensure you get the job done right.

Let’s start!

Warning: While these instructions should work for almost any brand of RV cover (ADCO, Gold Shield, Wolf, Budge, etc.), be sure to refer to the installation instructions that come with your specific model of cover. Do not perform any task you feel uncomfortable doing, and ask for help if needed.

RV Cover Installation Video

Fitting Caravan Cover version 2
Credit to Gary Thorn for demonstrating this cover installation procedure.

What You’ll Need

  • RV cover
  • Step ladder – You won’t need to get on the roof, but you’ll still need a step ladder to place the cover on the roof and to unroll it.
  • Stick – Roughly 2.5 to 3 feet long
  • Rope – Twice the length of the RV and with a knob/handle on one end

Step 1: Lay the RV Cover Out on the Ground

Timestamp: 4:29

We first need to lay the RV cover out on the ground, fully stretched out. You’ll want a large area for this, preferably near your RV.

Step 2: Fold the Sides and Ends In

Timestamp: 4:47

Next, we need to fold the sides of the cover over each other. I like to fold the stretched-out cover into thirds. Start with one side of the cover, which will be the long side (the side of the cover that drapes down over the sides of the RV), fold into thirds, then fold the other side over on top of that.

Once the sides have been folded over, fold just a few feet of the ends (the parts that cover the front and rear of the RV) over on top.

Step 3: Fold the Sides Over Again

Timestamp: 5:30

We are now going to fold the cover into thirds again. Like before, start with one side of the cover, fold into thirds, then fold the other side over on top of that.

Tip: Thirds is a rough estimate. Your cover size might require you to fold it down even more (or less). Essentially, you want the cover to be about the length of the stick we will be rolling up in it in the next step. And more importantly, you want the cover to be rolled up into a manageable size.

Step 4: Roll the RV Cover Up With the Stick Inside

Timestamp: 7:19

Now, be sure you have attached the rope to the stick before performing this step!

Place the stick down on top of one end of the cover and roll the cover up like you would a sleeping bag, with the stick in it. Be sure to keep the rope centered in the middle of the cover as you roll it up.

Step 5: Place the Cover on the Roof of the RV

Timestamp: 8:26

Prop your step ladder up on one end of the RV and carry the rolled-up cover placing it on the roof. You do not need to get on the roof. We are just climbing high enough up the ladder to place the cover on the roof. Make sure it’s placed directly in the center of the roofline.

Important: Be careful lifting the cover onto the roof of your RV. Enlist the help of another if your cover is too heavy to lift alone.

If your RV cover has a fitted front and back, be sure you place the cover on the correct end so it unrolls properly (the front end of the cover is on the front, and the backend of the cover is in the back). You don’t want to unroll the cover and have it backward!

Lastly, take the end of the rope with the handle or knob and throw it down over the opposite end of the RV.

Step 6: Unroll the Cover Down the Middle of the Roof

Timestamp: 9:43

Move your step ladder to the other side of the RV and climb partway up. You only need to be high enough to see the roof and the cover on the opposite side.

Grab the rope and gently pull it towards you, thus unrolling the cover down the center of the RV roofline. The cover should roll easily over any protrusions like the air conditioner, roof vents, antenna, etc.

Step 7: Unfold the RV Cover

Timestamp: 10:25

Once the cover is completely unrolled across the roof of your rig, you can begin unfolding the cover.

How you do this is up to you, but I like to unfold the cover on the ends first and then work on each side.

Tip: You can use a stick with a hook on the end if you don’t like the idea of climbing up a step ladder to unfold the cover

Step 8: Secure the RV Cover

Once the cover is completely unfolded, it’s time to secure it.

How you secure your RV cover will depend on the model. Some covers zip down the sides, while others have long belly straps that loop under the RV and connect to buckles on the other side of the cover, and so on.

Every cover is different, so check your owner’s manual for specific instructions to secure your RV cover.

Once that’s done, your RV cover has been successfully installed!

RV Cover Installation FAQs

Is It Better to Cover Your Camper or Not?

RV covers are an excellent and inexpensive option for protecting your camper from the sun, rain, and other harmful elements. They are, however, not without drawbacks as they may be difficult to install on big motorhomes and 5th wheels, can create mold problems, and cause other harm to your RV.

Check out our guide titled Are RV Covers Good or Bad? to learn the pros and cons of covering your recreational vehicle.

If you decide a cover is not right for you, RV storage facilities (indoor and covered) or using a garage, carport, pole barn, or large shed to protect your RV are all effective alternatives.

How Do You Keep an RV Cover From Ripping?

Your RV roof might include a few obstacles like the TV and radio antenna’s, gutter spouts, and other sharp corners that can rip your cover.

To keep your RV cover from ripping during installation or when the cover flaps in the wind, you’ll want to cover these sharp edges with cut pool noodles, bubble wrap, foam, tennis balls, etc., before installing your cover.

How Do You Remove an RV Cover Without Getting on the Roof?

Fortunately, taking off an RV cover is a bit easier than putting one on.

The best way to remove an RV cover is to unfasten any straps or zippers used to secure it, lift the ends and sides up to the top of the RV, and pull it off. A stick with a hook on the end can be useful if the cover gets stuck on any protrusions on the roof.

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