Have you been wondering if you really need an RV Cover? The answer is … probably. Here's what you need to know:
Because your RV motorhome, 5th Wheel or Towable Trailer camper is one of the most expensive investments you can make, protecting its roof and finish from unnecessary damage is a top priority for many of us. And an RV cover just may be the best way to do that.
Choosing the right RV cover and knowing when to use it can all be very confusing.
In Episode 346 of the RV Podcast, we talk with Scott Shemtov of Empire Covers, one of the leading manufacturers of RV covers, to learn what to look for in choosing an RV Cover, what they protect from and how and when they should be used.
Click the player below to hear the entire episode. Scott's interview comes on about 20 minutes in. And keep scrolling down for an edited transcript of the interview with specific tips and resources.
Why is an RV cover necessary?
Here is an edited version of our interview with Scott Shemtov of Empire Covers.
Mike Wendland: Let's start off with the real broad question. Why is an RV cover needed for today's RV-er?
Scott Shemtov: A cover is a very inexpensive way to keep your RV in fresh conditions season after season especially when you store it away in the off-season when you're not using the RV on the road.
A lot of people will want a cover. A cover protects from so many things beyond just the sun, which beats on the RV. It helps protect the paint. You have, obviously, precipitation that you want to keep off, but there are tons of other things throughout the seasons, such as, right now in springtime we're kind of dealing with a lot of pollen.
If you're going to an RV park or a place like that, or parking under a tree, there's a lot of things that can go on. You got debris from the tree, you got leaves, you got pollen, like I said, and you also got the inevitable birds that'll kind of take a toll on your RV rooftop.
Mike Wendland: Now, a lot of people say, “Oh, the rain's going to wash that pollen off.” I don't think people realize how damaging pollen can be to a painted surface like on an RV.
Scott Shemtov: Yeah, it gets in all the cracks and crevices. If anything rubs against it while the pollen dust is on the RV, it'll create micro-abrasions on the paint. So, a cover in general just is like your first layer of protection against everything that's outside.
I mean, none of us would last too long outside completely unprotected. So, think of it as like a jacket or a coat for your RV.
Bonus related material: Click the video below for our epic roundup on all the different ways to winterize an RV video
Is an RV Cover needed in the summer?
Mike Wendland: You mentioned putting it away at the end of the season, but is an RV cover needed in the summertime when people are using their RVs, you recommend them then?
Scott Shemtov: It depends on how long you're going to be parked in an area. So, let's say you're on the road and you're going cross-country, or cross state and you stop at a campground, right? So, when you're at the campground, you don't want to have to clean the RV if a storm rolls through or birds go to town on your RV. So, our premier line of RV covers also includes zippered panels.
So, you can basically cover the RV while you're camping. And then you can unzip the panels when you want to access the cab, which is a really great feature of our premier RV covers. So, a lot of people do that.
What are the different types of RV Covers?
Mike Wendland: What are the different types of RV covers? Are there things that you recommend you just put, for example, on the roof alone?
Scott Shemtov: Well, I'm glad you asked that because we just came out with a new product that we're calling an RV rooftop cover, and we're kind of pitching that as a more on-the-go protection. It's more lightweight and much easier to take on and off.
Essentially, it's like a heavy duty tarp that goes over the roof of your RV, and then you tie it down with bungees, through grommet holes. For me, that's what I would take with me while I'm on the road during the road season, because then you can just easily, put it on and off at a moment's notice when you're camping out.
Scott Shemtov: Whereas, other covers are a little bulkier because they're more designed for heavy duty longer term protection and cover the entire RV from roof to the sides and everywhere.
Those are kind of more geared towards off-season storage.
Think of it like when you're done RV-ing across the country in the spring and summer, fall time is coming. You want to kind of put the RV out of service or the rest of the season. At that point you would want to put one of our heavy duty RV covers on, and that'll keep you protected throughout the winter.
What about an RV Cover over solar panels?
Mike Wendland: I can hear a lot of our viewers pushing back on the summer cover, because many of them have solar panels on their roof. So, that cover would make those pretty ineffective at that point.
Scott Shemtov: Yeah. If you're using solar panels, obviously, if you cover it up you're not going to get the sun. So, in that situation, it would not work if you're relying on that for electricity.
What RVs can be covered?
Mike Wendland: What RVs should have a cover? We're talking about motor homes, trailers, pop-ups, all of them? Are there some that are not suited for a cover?
Scott Shemtov: No, absolutely not. So, if listeners would go to our site, empirecovers.com/RVLIFESTYLE, you'll be taken to our RV page where we pretty much cover all types of RVs from class A, class B, class C, travel trailers, fifth wheels, toy haulers, pop-ups, folding campers, and truck camper covers.
We basically cover them all. At the end of the day a cover will keep you from constantly washing and cleaning the outside of your RV.
Should an RV Cover be breathable?
Mike Wendland: What about moisture when the covers on and mildew? Is that a problem that you have to be aware of when you have a cover on? Are they breathable? What kind of material are we talking about?
Scott Shemtov: That's a great question. This moisture problem is prevalent pretty much on anything you cover. The cover itself is not going to let rain in, but what happens is condensation builds up under the cover.
And that's the moisture that you want released.
Our covers are breathable. We have two types of materials, a polypropylene non-woven material that has a waterproof membrane that allows the moisture and gas to seep out through the cover. And our ripstop cover are also breathable as well.
Tarps do NOT make for a good RV Cover
So, having a breathable cover… I've seen some of these covers at Walmarts and catalogs, and basically, it's just like a tarp that you throw over there. And this is not a good solution for an RV putting a tarp on it?
Scott Shemtov: Tarps are not breathable material. Tarps are meant for a pile of logs and wood you just chopped. Basically, anything you don't really care too much about.
I've seen prices on RVs. Some of these class As go up to like $500,000. You're not going to want to put a tarp on that.
Even if you're spending, 20 to $50,000 on a smaller RV or camper, you're not going to want to put a tarp on that.
The RV rooftop cover that I talked about, that's not for long-term storage, right? That's just when you're on the go and you just want to keep the roof nice and clean. And the other benefit of that is it also keeps the sun from beating on the roof. It will actually keep the inside of your RV much cooler while you're relaxing at the campgrounds.
How hard is it to put an RV Cover on?
Mike Wendland: How hard is it to put on and take off an RV cover? It's a two person job, right?
Scott Shemtov: Generally, it depends who's doing it. So, many of our customers kind of tend to be on the older end of the spectrum. So, they generally could use two people. And what happens is depending on which type of RV you have, you have to kind of climb up the ladder, get on the rooftop, roll it out across the RV, and then kind of flop it down the sides.
The most difficulty that we hear about people having is getting up the RV with the cover. Most of the effort is the person who's helping you is kind of just helping you hold the cover up while the other person gets up on top of the roof.
What other features should an RV Cover have?
Mike Wendland: Features that people should look for? You mentioned breathable material, but what are a couple of other things that is important about an RV cover?
An RV Cover should be waterproof
Scott Shemtov: You're going to want to make sure that it's waterproof that the seams have excellent construction. That's usually the point at which water will start seeping through.
An RV Cover should have UV Protection
You also want a good UV protection.
An RV Cover should have reinforced corners
There's a lot of things on top of the RV, edges that might be sharp. So, over the years we've kind of figured out where the most vulnerable parts of the cover. We kind of reinforce those as well.
An RV Cover should be lightweight
We just came out with a new line of RV covers as well, our premier ripstop, and this is a much lighter weight polyester than our premiere. And it also has a ripstop weave that makes it extremely durable to terrace.
I also wanted to mention that as well, because it's much more lightweight and much easier to install than our premiere cover. That's something that we're excited about and that people have been asking us for.
Mike Wendland: We'll send them to the site empirecovers.com/RVLIFESTYLE . If they follow that link they will get a 15% discount
What is the average costs of an RV Cover?
And that takes to the last question, Scott. It varies, I know, between unit, but average costs of an RV cover what should people expect that they're going to cost?
Scott Shemtov: They start from about $150 on the lower end for our protector material depending on class of vehicle. Our premier covers range anywhere from $300 to about a high $400, and then our new premier ripstop can get upwards of close to $600.
Mike Wendland: Well, as we have noted, the RV is the second most expensive thing most people will spend next to their sticks-and-bricks house.
So, a cover will extend its life. I appreciate you spending some time and giving us kind of a good education and why an RV cover is important.
And again, I want to point out if they go to empirecovers.com/RVLIFESTYLE they will get a 15% discount So, Scott Shemtov from Empire Covers, thanks for educating us today on RV covers.
Scott Shemtov: Thanks a lot, Mike, for having me.
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