Should I Cover My RV in the Summer?

Table of Contents

Deciding whether to cover your RV in the summer can be tricky. Covering your RV can protect it from weather, dirt, and sun damage. This helps maintain its appearance and prevents wear and tear. However, it can also cause issues like mold if not used properly, which can lead to costly repairs.

Understanding the benefits and drawbacks will help you choose what’s best for your RV. By making an informed decision, you can keep it in great condition all summer long and enjoy your travels without worry.

The Need for Covering Your RV

Covering your RV helps protect it from various elements, keeping it in good condition and extending its lifespan. It prevents damage from weather, dirt, and sunlight, ensuring your RV stays in great shape for longer. By using a cover, you can reduce the need for frequent cleaning and maintenance. It also helps maintain the RV’s appearance, preventing issues like fading paint and cracked interiors.

Additionally, covering your RV can save you money on repairs. It’s a simple step that makes a big difference in preserving your RV. Protecting your RV with a cover also adds to its resale value by keeping it looking newer for longer. Plus, it provides peace of mind knowing your RV is well-protected when not in use. Using a cover is an easy and effective way to take care of your RV.

Pros of Covering Your RV in the Summer

  1. Protection from Rain and Moisture

Rain and moisture can cause rust, mold, and mildew on your RV. A cover acts as a barrier, keeping these damaging elements away. This helps maintain the RV’s structure and prevents costly repairs. Keeping moisture out also helps prevent unpleasant odors inside the RV. Additionally, it can protect sensitive components like electrical systems from water damage.

  1. Wind and Dirt

Wind can blow dirt and debris onto your RV, causing scratches and damage. Using a cover helps keep your RV clean and safe from these elements. It reduces the need for frequent washing and cleaning. Additionally, a cover can protect your RV from minor impacts. Over time, this can help preserve the RV’s paint job and exterior finishes.

  1. Bird Droppings

Bird droppings can harm your RV’s paint and surfaces. An RV cover protects against these corrosive deposits. This keeps your RV looking new and maintains its resale value. It also saves you time and effort in cleaning off the droppings. Consistent use of a cover can prevent long-term staining and etching of surfaces.

  1. Protection from UV Rays and Sun

The sun’s UV rays can fade and crack your RV’s exterior and interior. A cover blocks these harmful rays, keeping your RV looking good. It protects the interior furnishings and upholstery from sun damage. Over time, this can help preserve the RV’s overall value and appearance. A cover also helps prevent the drying out and cracking of rubber seals and tires.

  1. Maintaining Cooler Interior Temperatures

An RV cover provides shade, helping to keep the inside of your RV cooler by reducing the heat that gets in. This makes the RV more comfortable and can reduce the need for air conditioning, saving energy. A cooler interior also helps protect electronic devices and appliances from overheating. Moreover, it can create a more pleasant environment for pets and passengers during hot weather.

Types of RV Covers

Custom-fit Covers vs. Universal Covers

Custom-fit covers are designed to fit your specific RV model perfectly. They wrap around your RV snugly, covering every part and preventing any area from being exposed to the elements. This tight fit also stops wind from getting underneath the cover, which can cause it to flap and possibly damage your RV. Custom-fit covers provide the best protection because they are tailored to your RV’s exact dimensions.

Universal covers, on the other hand, are cheaper but may not fit as well. They come in standard sizes, so they might not cover your RV completely. This can leave some areas exposed to dirt, rain, and UV rays. While they are a budget-friendly option, they may not offer the same level of protection as custom-fit covers. Custom-fit covers are ideal if you want maximum protection, whereas universal covers are a more economical choice.

Materials and Durability

RV covers are made from different materials like polyester, polypropylene, and vinyl. Each material offers various levels of durability, breathability, and protection. Polyester is tough and can handle harsh weather, making it a durable choice for long-term use. It is resistant to tears and can protect against heavy winds and rain.

Polypropylene is a breathable material that allows air to flow through, reducing the risk of mold and mildew by preventing moisture buildup. This makes it an excellent choice for areas with high humidity. Vinyl is great for keeping water out, making it perfect for rainy areas. It also offers excellent UV protection, shielding your RV from the sun’s harmful rays. When choosing a cover, consider the typical weather conditions in your area to select the best material for your needs.

Cons of Covering Your RV in the Summer

  1. Potential for Mold and Mildew

If your RV cover isn’t well-ventilated, moisture can get trapped underneath. This can lead to mold and mildew, which can harm your health and damage your RV. Proper ventilation is crucial to prevent this problem. Always check for any signs of moisture and address them immediately. Keeping the interior dry is important for long-term use. Regularly airing out your RV can help avoid these issues. Investing in a breathable cover can also reduce the risk of mold and mildew.

  1. Wear and Tear on the Cover

RV covers can wear out over time due to exposure to the weather. This means you might need to replace them more often. Additionally, the cost of frequent replacements can add up. Regularly inspect your cover for any damage. Taking good care of it can help it last longer. Ensure the cover is securely fastened to prevent unnecessary movement and wear. Using protective padding at stress points can also extend the cover’s life.

  1. Inconvenience of Regular Removal

Taking the cover off and putting it back on can be a hassle, especially if you use your RV a lot. This process can be time-consuming and may deter you from using your RV spontaneously. It can also be physically demanding. Having an extra set of hands can make the task easier. Planning your trips in advance can help manage this inconvenience. Consider the effort required for cover removal when deciding how often to use your RV.

Factors to Consider Before Covering Your RV

Climate and Weather Conditions

Think about the weather where you live. If your area gets a lot of rain or is very humid, using an RV cover can help protect it from moisture damage. In hot, sunny areas, a cover can prevent sun damage. Covers can also protect from snow and ice in colder climates. Always match the cover material to your local weather. Additionally, consider seasonal changes and how they might affect your RV. It’s important to choose a cover that can withstand the worst weather conditions your area experiences.

Storage Location

Consider where you park your RV. If it’s under a tree or out in the open, a cover can shield it from leaves, sap, and bird droppings. Parking in a garage or covered area might reduce the need for a cover. Also, check for any sharp objects nearby that could tear the cover. The storage area should be clean and safe. Look at the surrounding environment for potential hazards like falling branches or heavy winds. A well-chosen storage spot can extend the life of both your RV and its cover.

Frequency of Use

If you use your RV often in the summer, taking the cover off and putting it back on can be a hassle. Decide if the extra effort is worth it for you. If you use your RV occasionally, a cover might be more practical. Frequent users might prefer easier, alternative protection methods. Less frequent use means more protection benefits from a cover. Consider how long it takes to cover and uncover your RV each time. Also, think about how often you go on spontaneous trips and how a cover might impact that.

Your Specific Needs

Think about what you need most for your RV. Are you more concerned about sun damage, keeping it clean, or preventing wear and tear? Choose based on what matters most to you. Consider your budget and how much protection you want. Think about the time you can dedicate to maintaining the cover. Your RV’s age and condition can also influence your decision. If you plan to resell your RV, keeping it in top condition with a cover could increase its value. Consider any specific features of your RV, like custom paint jobs, that might need extra protection.

Tips for Using an RV Cover in the Summer

Choosing the Right Cover Material

Pick a cover made from breathable materials. This helps prevent moisture from getting trapped and allows air to circulate, reducing the risk of mold and mildew. Breathable covers also help keep your RV cooler. Look for covers labeled as “breathable” or “ventilated.” Make sure the material is also durable and UV-resistant to protect against sun damage.

Proper Installation Techniques

Install the cover securely but not too tight. Make sure it’s fastened well to prevent it from blowing off or causing damage to your RV. Check that all straps and ties are properly secured. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best fit. Regularly check the cover’s fit to ensure it hasn’t shifted or loosened over time.

Regular Maintenance and Checks

Check the cover regularly for any damage or wear. Fix any problems you find to keep the cover working effectively. Inspect for tears, holes, or worn areas and repair them promptly. Clean the cover occasionally to remove dirt and debris. Store the cover properly when not in use to extend its lifespan.

Additional Considerations and Tips

Ventilation and Moisture Control

Choose an RV cover with good ventilation to avoid moisture buildup. This helps prevent mold and mildew. Proper airflow is essential to keep the interior dry and free from damage. Make sure the cover has vents or breathable fabric to allow air circulation. Regularly check for any signs of moisture and adjust the cover if necessary. Good ventilation also helps maintain a fresher smell inside your RV.

Cost vs. Benefits

Think about how much an RV cover costs versus the protection it gives. Make sure it’s worth the investment for your RV’s longevity. Consider the savings on potential repairs and maintenance if your RV is well-protected. An RV cover can extend the life of your RV and keep it looking new longer. Compare different covers to find one that fits your budget and offers the best protection. Investing in a quality cover now can save you money in the long run.

Alternative Solutions to Covering Your RV

Building or Renting a Covered Storage Space

Instead of using a cover, you can build a carport or rent a storage space to protect your RV. This provides shelter and eliminates the hassle of putting on and taking off a cover. Covered storage keeps your RV safe from sun, rain, and dirt. It also helps prevent damage to the paint and exterior. This option can save you time and effort in the long run. Additionally, a covered space can also provide some security against theft or vandalism. Having a dedicated storage area ensures your RV is always ready for your next trip.

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Keep your RV in good shape by cleaning and maintaining it regularly. Even without a cover, regular care can help protect your RV from damage and wear. Wash the exterior to remove dirt and bird droppings. Check for any signs of wear or damage and fix them quickly. Regular maintenance ensures your RV stays in good condition year-round. This also helps catch small issues before they become big problems. Taking the time to clean and inspect your RV regularly can extend its lifespan and keep it looking great. Regular upkeep makes sure your RV is always ready for use whenever you need it.


Covering your RV in the summer has its advantages and disadvantages. Think about your local climate, where you store your RV, and how often you use it. Covering your RV can prevent damage from sun, rain, and dirt. However, it might also cause issues like mold if not used correctly.

Assess your needs and choose what works best for you to keep your RV in great condition. Taking the time to make the right choice will help extend the life of your RV. Remember, a well-protected RV means more enjoyable trips in the future.

Consider the benefits of added protection against harsh weather and the peace of mind it brings. On the other hand, evaluate the effort and costs involved in maintaining and using the cover. With careful consideration, you can make the best decision for your RV’s care and longevity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a tarp instead of an RV cover?

A tarp can protect your RV somewhat, but it may not fit well or allow the RV to breathe. An RV cover is better for fit and durability. Tarps can also tear more easily and might not offer the same level of UV protection. RV covers are designed specifically to protect against the elements and are often more secure.

How often should I replace my RV cover?

Check your RV cover regularly. Replace it when it looks worn out or damaged. The lifespan depends on the material and how much it’s used. Generally, a good cover should last a few years if maintained properly. Regular cleaning and proper storage can extend the cover’s life.

Can covering my RV cause any damage?

Yes, if the cover isn’t ventilated properly or is too tight, it can trap moisture or scratch the RV. Make sure the cover fits well and has ventilation features to prevent moisture buildup. Proper installation and checking the cover regularly can help avoid these issues.

Are custom-fit covers worth the extra cost?

Custom-fit covers fit better and offer more protection. They can be worth the extra money if you want the best protection for your RV. They are designed to match your RV’s dimensions, providing a snug fit that prevents wind flapping and reduces wear. Custom covers also often come with better warranties and higher-quality materials.

What is the best material for an RV cover?

It depends on what you need. Polyester is durable, polypropylene breathes well, and vinyl is great for water resistance. Consider your climate and how you use your RV to choose the best material for your cover. Each material has its advantages, so choose one that best fits your specific needs.

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About Author

Schuyler has been working and playing outdoors his entire adult life. As a ski-bum in his early 20’s, he began building campers in the beds of pickup trucks to pursue a life of freedom and adventure. After a decade of experience as an artist and carpenter in Washington State, he moved to Colorado to work as an RV technician, converting vans into luxury campers. Now he is traveling the world, using writing as a way to continue his passion for creativity and artistry.

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