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Ask Dave: Should I cover my RV when stored outside?

Answers to questions about RV Repair and Maintenance from RV expert Dave Solberg, author of the “RV Handbook” and the managing editor of the RV Repair Club. This column appears Monday through Saturday in the RV Travel and RV Daily Tips newsletters. (Sign up for an email reminder for each new issue if you do not already receive one.) Today Dave discusses whether or not to cover an RV when stored outside.

Dear Dave,
We are storing our 2018 Coachmen Prism at home and outside in the usually wet Issaquah, WA, area. Do you think buying a cover for it is a good idea? And what type of cover would you recommend?

And if we are to cover it or some portion of it, when should we do it – after all the leaves are down? Does it have to be dry to cover? I’m not sure how that is possible. All suggestions will be very much appreciated by this newbie. —Stephanie

Dear Stephanie,
I have always been a huge fan of covering the rig while it is in storage, as it will help protect the materials from UV degradation as well as keeping the sealants pliable. The rubber roof of your rig can get very dry fast and start to chalk, which is actually the material breaking down. The fiberglass sidewall material has a clear gelcoat outer finish that will start to fade when exposed to UV rays which can become cloudy. And vinyl decals will start to not only cloud but crack and peel, as well.

My choice has always been Adco. They not only build a superior product, but also have customized sizes to provide a perfect fit that has less flapping in windy situations.

Features to look for when buying a cover for your RV

Whatever cover you choose, here are some features I would recommend:

• Whatever brand you choose, look for material that is tear-resistant, waterproof, and will withstand most weather conditions. Some brands are designed for short-term storage or moderate climates.

• Find a brand with reinforced corners and stress points. Certain areas such as roof air conditioners, slide out rooms, and roof to back wall trim can be tough on material. Also, the wind will whip the material around when it is not fitting snug at these points.

• Lighter fabric color reduces heat build up and specifically designed vents help reduce condensation. Some even have zippers for occasional entry. And don’t forget to cover the tires!

Read more from Dave here

Related:

RV covers on Amazon

Dave Solberg worked at Winnebago for 15 years developing the dealer training program, as marketing manager, and conducting shows. As the owner of Passport Media Creations, Dave has developed several RV dealer training programs, the RV Safety Training program for The Recreation Vehicle Safety and Education Foundation, and the accredited RV Driving Safety program being conducted at rallies and shows around the country. Dave is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.

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J J
9 days ago

If you use a cover, be certain to NOT allow any part of the cover, including straps, to get close to or touch the ground. That provides an easy path for critters to climb up and get to shelter between the cover and your RV. I’d also put some type of shield of cover over any vent openings on the outside before installing the cover. You don’t want to find that a mouse has climbed up the inside of your cover, gotten into a vent, and chewed up wring or even gotten inside the RV.

Remember that critters can climb up tires and then get inside the cover so try to prevent that as well.

Bill Coady
13 days ago

This is another “Bill”. I’m not disagreeing with the other Bill since he could store his trailer in a much different micro-climate in the Pacific NW than Where I live. I’ve covered my various trailers over the years in the Snohomish WA area with good success. Each location was fortunate enough to have a place where the trailer could get sun some or much of the day (when it did shine 🤪) and enough breeze to move things around without destroying the covers. The only time I had any mildew/mold issue was when I stupidly covered a small teardrop trailer with a blue tarp. I intended for it to be “temporary” but it stayed on all winter. My fault.

I have been using an ADCO breathable cover on my current trailer since 2018 when we bought it new. Haven’t had issues with mold/mildew inside or out and it is holding up well. I expect I’ll get another 3-5 years life, perhaps more. I do run a small EvaDry Petite dehumidifier inside when ever the trailer is parked and not in use.

Bill
14 days ago

Here in the Great Northwet covering an RV can lead to both exterior and interior mold and dreaded mildew odor. I’ve used ADCO covers and others advertised as breathable .. but after 4 or 5 months (usually November through March) all have failed to prevent moldy exterior vinyl trim, especially around doors and windows. Interior odors were evident even with the vents and windows open an inch or so.
Since my latest purchase of an open sided metal ‘RV port’ (maintenance free metal roof) I have not experienced any of these issues.
I realize not everyone has this option but just a non-contact ‘roof’ over the RV would most likely work.

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