If you store your caravan outdoors when it is not in use, then it is subject to the adverse effects of winter weather conditions.  While caravan and camper-vans are things that are meant to be outdoors the winter months bring harsher conditions which may impact adversely  on them.  A caravan cover therefore may be something that you would like to consider having.

Rain in some places is more common than others.  In Ireland where I live everybody expects it to rain more or less constantly & most times it obliges.  As I write this in August 2012 we have had the wettest summer on record while other places including part of the US have had prolonged drought conditions.

Rain generally shouldn’t have to great an impact on your caravan apart from normal degradation of the surface due to aging.  I’m not up to speed with atmospheric pollution but I imagine that what is said about rain these day containing more than just water is accurate to some degree.  So called acid raid for instance will cause damage to some surfaces and some protection is helpful.

We are all very familiar with the black streaks that appear on the side of caravans.  These are caused in as far as I can tell by rain washing over rubber seals on windows, doors and elsewhere on the van.  This causes small amounts of these compounds to de-stablise, before re-stabilising on the nice white sides of our clean vans a black streaks.  I’ll go into detail about these, their causes, removal and prevention on another page, however using a cover, especially during winter storage should go a long way to avoiding them.

RV neatly parked underneath a lean-to shelter at home

If you live in a sunnier place than I do then damage that may be caused by direct sunlight can often be avoided by making a carport type shelter for your unit.  Sunlight damage can result in the reduction in intensity of the colour of graphics and it can reduce the quality of the finish on your travel trailer or motor-home.  These shelters are often made from powder coated metal sheeting and they can be free standing or attached to your house or other structures.  As well as protecting your caravan or RV from damage caused by sunlight these shelters will keep it dry and help against the impact of freeze action around seals and places where one material joins with another.  Hail damage can often impact on your unit and you should take the likely and expect impact of this, and other weather conditions into account when you commission the design and installation of your RV port.

Modern materials ensure that you easily find a cover that protects your caravan and prevents the buildup of condensation between the cover and the surface of the van.  This is a good thing as no condensation means that the surfaces can remain dry and no mould can occur.

Like most other things, when buying a caravan cover you get what you pay for.  Some of the best covers these days guarantee that they won’t cause scratches to the surface of your caravan.  More importantly they wont cause scratches or other damage to the windows without the need to add extra protection between the cover and the outside surface of the window.

When setting out to buy a cover look for one that:

  • Is either ready made or made to order to fit your caravan or motor-home make and model.
  • Will allow access to the door during storage as you will need to get in there for something essential.
  •  Includes a breathable bag or other storage facility that will keep your cover dry and in good condition when it is not in use.
  • Includes any tools needed to make it easy, or indeed possible, to fit you new cover.
  • Does not cause damage to windows, the corners of your van or to fittings like television and radio antennas.
  • Integrates or includes a separate a-frame cover to protect your tow-hitch, stabiliser and electrical connections.
  • Includes adequate ties and strapping that is easy to use and which will hold the cover in place as required.
  • Protects against ultraviolet damage.
  • Keeps rain off without causing condensation.
  • Keeps weather or other stains at bay, such as those that may occur if you store you unit near industrial areas.
  • Can have snow on the surface for a while with damaging the cover or the van.
  • Can get wet and the icy without causing damage to the cover or to the van.
  • That keeps dust at bay.
  • Is not damaged by and protects your unit from bird droppings.
  • Protects against tree sap.

You may find that a one-size-fits-all cover will meet your needs but do read this page carefully, and do some further research, before committing.  A tailor-made solution from a reputable manufacturer with a proven track record is more likely to be successful than other solutions.

Look out for recommendations from happy users and in particular from reputable caravan manufacturers that are happy to endorse or to recommend a particular brand of caravan or motor-home cover.

RV port by: dave_7