Looking for tips on choosing the best motorhome or caravan cover? Inside this article, you’ll find everything you need to know to make the right choice for you- including if you even need one!
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Are motorhome covers a good idea?
It’s that time of year again. It’s now dark at 4pm, if the temperature goes above 10degrees it’s newsworthy and everything is an interesting shade of grey with some dead yellow leaves on the ground.
It is, in a word, winter.
For some, this is a time to get out on the road in their motorhome, campervans or caravans and enjoy some epic winter road trips, others flee as far south towards the Equator and winter sunshine as they can, but for many it’s time to close down the van for the season.
Whilst you might have your winter shutdown list sorted, know how to manage your battery and have even protected against mice and other unwanted guests, have you considered a motorhome cover?
What are the pros of a motorhome cover?
There are many reasons a motorhome cover is a good idea.
- For a start, they protect against the weather and elements, especially hail, snow, ice and even the sun’s UV rays.
- They also prevent dirt buildup and scratches from debris which might hit the van
- Can reduce rust
- They can also protect against water damage, which in turn could help to prevent mould and mildew (although not always)
- They help keep the van paintwork looking tip-top and means less work when you come to use it again. This also helps preserve the value in your vehicle for re-sale.
However, it’s not all sunshine and roses…
Cons of using a motorhome cover
- They are a NIGHTMARE to put on, especially if you’re on your own and you have a motorhome. Trust me- i tried it!
- They can actually cause some scratches to the van if you get it wrong or in high winds
- They can block out sunlight to the solar panel, meaning the leisure battery won’t get a trickle charge.
- If your van is in storage, you need to carry them with you in the motorhome (or remember to leave them in your car before you go.)
- Keeping the van inside an enclosed space can actually encourage mould and mildew, so you’ll need to air it more regularly.
- If you get a cover without a side door, getting into the van to do winter maintenance can be a pain in the backside!
Shutting down your motorhome/ camper for winter?
Grab your FREE winter shutdown checklist here
When should I use a motorhome cover?
The flippant answer to this is that you should use a motorhome/ caravan cover whenever you’re not using the vehicle for a week or more.
However, it can be a complete faff to put on, so you might decide to leave it for longer than that.
Bear in mind that some storage units demand a cover to be on every vehicle at all times, so you might have to do it after every trip!
Do you definitely need a motorhome cover?
Nope. I’ve stored motorhomes outside throughout the year with no cover on whatsoever. I got mice in the van a couple of times, but otherwise there were no adverse effects.
Having said that, my motorhomes have always been second-hand and I’ve not been too worried about the odd scratch or hedge, so they’ve not been pristine. If you have a new/er van and want to keep the value, you’ll definitely want a cover to look after it better.
Remember, if you’re lucky enough to have undercover or indoor storage for your van, you probably won’t need a cover at all.
What size motorhome/ caravan cover do you need?
If you’re buying an off-the-shelf cover for your van, just choose the one which fits your dimensions (length, width and height). You don’t need to add on extra unless you have a bike rack/ back box fitted- in which case use the total length of the van with extras.
Don’t forget to account for your awning/ satellite dishes/ aerials etc.
Are all camper covers the same, or are there different types?
There are different types of motorhome, campervan, RV and caravan covers, including universal fit and custom-fit covers.
Covers also vary in material, with options designed for specific weather conditions, such as heavy snow or strong sunlight. You can also get some with solar panel windows and side door access.
What features should I look for in a high-quality motorhome cover?
When choosing a cover for your van, look for :
- covers made from durable, breathable, and UV-resistant materials.
- Reinforced corners
- Long straps
- zipper access / side door panels
- Good fit – ideally made for your chassis or van
- Is the side door panel on the correct side for your van?
How do I install a motorhome cover?
Ahhhh, now this is the tricky part.
I’ve gotta be honest- I thought it could do it alone. Turns out… it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be!
- My advice is to start from the front (which hopefully has a label or some other clear marking.
- Spread the cover out in front of your van if possible, with the top side facing the sky (so it’s the right way around, not upside down). Unzip the rear panel
- Starting at the front, put the cab section on. This bit is fairly easy, although you might prefer to use steps
- Grasp the cover at around the halfway point and try to pull it up over the top of the cab. If you have an awning or over-cab bed, this can get REALLY tricky. You’ll find a broom can help, or using steps.
- Once it’s over halfway on both sides, it gets much easier. Use the long straps to help it along the van and down the back.
- Zip up the rear panel (you might need steps)
- Use the brush handle to feed the straps underneath the van, secure and tie off (don’t leave long straps flapping in the winds) and you’re done.
How do I clean and maintain my motorhome cover?
Every cover is different and the different materials used can require different care. Generally, use mild soap and water to clean the cover, and avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, but please follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Where to buy decent motorhome covers
This is something worth investing in, as a cheap motorhome cover can cause more damage than not using one at all!
I got my motorhome cover from That Leisure Shop. You can see the one I got here (and get 10% using the code on the page.)
They have a huge range of pre-made covers. If you want something custom, check out the motorhoming magazines as there are several companies who advertise in there- but they’re are not cheap!
Some more FAQs about motorhome covers:
Can I travel with a cover on my motorhome?
Uh, no. You won’t be able to see out of it…
Will a cover protect my motorhome from hail damage?
Some motorhome covers are designed to provide protection against hail damage, but not all covers will. Look for covers specifically labeled as hail-resistant for better protection.
Are there covers that provide extra security against theft or vandalism?
While covers primarily focus on protection from the elements, some models may have additional security features like reinforced panels or locking mechanisms to deter theft or vandalism.
Shutting down your motorhome/ camper for winter?
Grab your FREE winter shutdown checklist here
How long can I expect a motorhome cover to last?
The lifespan of a motorhome cover depends on factors like usage, material and environmental conditions.
A high-quality cover, properly maintained, can last several years.
Are there covers designed for specific motorhome models or brands?
Yes, there are custom-fit covers designed for specific motorhome models or brands. I have one designed for a 7m Fiat Ducato.
Can I use a tarp or generic cover instead of a specialised motorhome cover?
While a tarp or generic cover may provide some protection from the elements, a proper motorhome cover is designed to fit better and offer superior protection.
Can I use a cover for a caravan, travel trailer or fifth wheel?
Yes, there are covers designed specifically for caravans and towable RVs. Ensure you select the appropriate size and type for your specific vehicle type.
Do motorhome covers come with warranties?
Many motorhome covers come with warranties but note not all conditions and weathers are covered. Check the warranty information provided by the manufacturer.
Can a cover be customised for accessories like air conditioners or satellite dishes on the roof?
Yes. You can either pay for a custom cover to be made to your specifications (motorhome shows are a great place to find deals) or you can take your cover to a seamstress and ask them to alter it as needed.
Are there any specific considerations for storing a motorhome in extreme temperatures?
In extreme temperatures, consider covers with features like extra insulation for cold climates or reflective properties for hot climates. Ventilated covers can also help prevent condensation.
I hope that helps you choose the right sort of motorhome cover for you.
Want more tips for motorhoming?
Here are some more ideas you might find useful:
- Essential Motorhome accessories every van should have
- Best Sat-nav for motorhomes or campervans
- Motorhome Security– tips for at home and on the road
- How to get Internet & wifi in a motorhome
- Europe- essential gear for travelling to Europe
- Best gift ideas for motorhome and campervan owners
Want FREE checklists, eBooks and additional tips to help? Visit our resource page
Kat never planned to buy a motorhome. She also never planned to quit her job as an air traffic controller, go touring around Europe in said motorhome, start one of the UK’s largest motorhome travel websites… or get a cocker spaniel.
If you’d like to connect with Kat, send her an email or follow her adventures on social media.