By Chris Dougherty
Chris Dougherty is a certified RV technician. Here is a question he received from several readers while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor.
To cover or not to cover? That is the question. I’m often asked if it’s a good idea to cover an RV during the winter.
There are a number of commercially available RV covers. Some are better than others, as the better ones allow for evaporation of moisture and are tear resistant. Some even have zippered doors which allow entry to the coach while covered. In some cases, the cover is made specifically for the coach it is going to cover.
There are pros and cons to covering an RV during the winter, and here are a few.
On the pro side, a cover will certainly keep environmental fallout from coming down on the coach. In the snowbelt, accumulated snow won’t have an opportunity to melt and come into seams on the coach. Leaves, pine needles, branches and so on won’t find their way onto the coach. When you remove the cover in the spring, the coach is, in theory, as clean as when you put it away.
On the opposite side of the scale, covers can be difficult and, indeed, dangerous to put on, requiring climbing all over the coach and on the roof. Tarps, especially, can hold moisture underneath them from condensation, which can lead to mildew if the cover is left on too long in the spring. Tarps can be difficult to keep on the rig through the winter: they often blow off, or shred, unless tied down very thoroughly.
If you are going to use an RV cover, here are a couple of suggestions. First, make sure your coach is clean and dry before applying the cover, including the awning(s). Second, make sure the cover is secured properly. Protect the cover from any sharp corners, like from solar panels, brackets, etc. Put any antennas down flat against the roof. Keep roof vents open a crack to allow air exchange. I know some folks who use chemical dehumidifiers inside their RVs with good success.
If you’re using a commercial RV cover, be sure to follow their directions for securing the cover to the coach. Don’t leave the cover on too long, so mildew doesn’t form underneath. In the southern climes, I definitely recommend purchasing one of the commercial covers with the breathable fabric to help eliminate the mildew factor. Perhaps even put an electric dehumidifier in the coach to help keep it clean and dry.
So, to cover or not to cover is basically up to you. Armed with a few facts, you’re sure to find the best way to protect your RV when you’re not using it.