Is it OK to cover the camper with a tarp?

In this blog post, we will answer the following questions: Is it OK to cover the camper with a tarp? We will talk about the advantages of covering a camper with a tarp. We also help you choose the best camper cover for your motorhome.

Is it OK to cover the camper with a tarp?

Yes, it is OK to cover the camper with a tarp, as it must be protected from external aggressions when you are not driving it for a relatively long time. This is the best way to keep it in good condition over time.

A good RV tarp will be waterproof but breathable with tiny pores on the fabric, preventing water droplets from entering while letting any moisture inside the cover evaporate.

A good RV cover is a substitute for a roof garage. Think of a camper cover as a large, heavy-duty raincoat that wraps around your camper and protects it from the elements: rain, snow, UV rays, wind and dirt.

The big advantage of covering a camper: protecting it 

Many people think that there is no point in trying to protect your camper from the elements. In reality, unless you rarely take the road and usually opt for short trips in great weather, the combined exterior elements can quickly damage the entire exterior and roof of your camper. This can cause mould and mildew, rust on older models, or cause premature wear of parts and components.

Covering your camper will allow you to effectively protect it against several enemies:

  1. Humidity: Excessive moisture from rains and a humid climate is the breeding ground for mould and fungus. In addition, in very cold weather it can lead to cracks in the roof and bay joints.
  1. Hail: A big fall of hail can become a real nightmare as the damage can be important. On the roof of your camper are fragile elements, I am thinking in particular of the skylights. And large hailstones, as it is less and less rare to see, can mark the roof of impacts, and deteriorate the paintwork.

A tarp is a great way to protect your camper against hail!

  1. The snow: If you live in an area where it snows regularly in winter, a cover for your camper is essential. The best RV tarps will keep sleet and snow from building up on the outside, preventing cracks and leaks caused by freezing and then melting snow or ice resulting in water. that infiltrates the joints between the panels.
  1. Sun rays: UV rays are the enemy of most materials. They cause slow but inevitable damage to the vehicle’s paintwork and tarnish its colour. They can even cause cracks in the roof and it will cost you a little money to fill them.

Much like applying sunscreen to your skin daily, UV protection on hot summer days or when your camper is parked in the driveway will keep it in good condition for the long term.

  1. Dirtiness: When combined with the wind, dirt and dust will cause wear and tear not only to the exterior of your camper but also to parts and components over time. A good cover, reinforced at the corners to prevent tearing, will keep your camper clean and neat for your next outing. You can buy a cover with vents to prevent it from swelling in too strong a wind.

The indirect advantage of covering your camper: a better resale price

By limiting wear both on the outside and inside of your camper, you will have fewer repairs to do first. Plus, keeping your RV in respectable condition means a higher resale value down the road. In short, a camper cover is such a simple and affordable measure that it would be a shame to go without.

The different types of camper covers

  1. According to the material. A camper cover made from high-quality materials will be stronger and last longer. It will provide your campsite with the protection it needs. The following materials are most commonly used in RV covers these days, with different characteristics suitable for different weather conditions:
  • Polypropylene RV Tarp: Polypropylene is known to be very resistant to acid attack and cracking. Although it is breathable and thus allows the moisture under the cover to evaporate, it is not completely waterproof but only water-resistant to a certain extent. Polypropylene is usually laid in several layers to become completely waterproof.
  • Polyester camper Cover: This widely used material is ideal for use in hot climates due to its excellent UV protection. It offers some level of water resistance, but must be treated with a waterproofing product to effectively prevent moisture from entering.
  • Treated Acrylic RV Tarp: This material is treated with UV resistant dyes, providing excellent protection against sun damage. In addition, its waterproof coating makes it a versatile all-season cover.
  • Polyethene RV Tarp: Also known as Tyvek, polyethene is strong and durable. Its non-porous, high-density surface is breathable but still effective in preventing water from entering, making it an ideal RV tarp during wet seasons.
  1. Depending on the model of the camper. There are tarpaulins designed specifically for certain camper models. Others have standardized sizes, and will often be cheaper. Be careful to make the right choice.

How to choose the right camper cover

Material and protection. Among the different camper van covers made from different materials on the market, choose one according to the type of exterior elements to which your camper is regularly exposed.

For example, if you are always travelling in summer or in hot climates, you should give priority to an RV cover with superior UV protection. A polyester camper cover would be ideal for hot climates.

That said, you need to get yourself a cover that can repel all other outdoor elements, including rain, snow, and wind, so you can travel smoothly all year round in any weather. For example, while UV protection is your main buying factor, be sure to choose one that is treated with a waterproof coating to protect against moisture.

Additional features. It may be advisable to purchase a tarp that offers some useful additional features. A ventilation system reduces wear and tear from swelling in windy conditions and also allows moisture to escape.

In addition to the air vents, the zippered panels are very handy as they allow you to easily get in and out of your camper or inspect specific parts and components without removing the entire tarp.

Cut. Remember, a well-fitting waist is absolutely essential. Your cover must be adapted to the dimensions of your camper: not too loose for better protection against the elements (the wind in particular) and not too tight for easy installation.

Keep in mind the dimensions of your camper, bike port included, when making your purchase. The measurements you will need are:

  • Length: starting from one bumper to the other, and possibly a bike rack
  • Width: measure both front windshield and rear bumper;
  • Height: from the bottom of the wheels to the top of the roof.

Tips to increase the lifespan of camper tarpaulins

Even the best RV tarps deteriorate over time. However, proper maintenance will extend the life of your tarp.

  • Repair any damage as soon as visible: minor tears in the canvas can turn into huge holes if you don’t close them in time. If you notice any damage, repair it as soon as possible.
  • Remove anything that can accumulate: A lot can accumulate on the tarp in the open, straining the tissues. Thus, remove leaves, snow, dust and others regularly.
  • Fold and store your tarp: when not in use, keep the cover in its storage bag after cleaning and drying it well. Sometimes you can ruin your tarp by carelessly putting it away.

The bottom line

Camper covers are totally worth it and you shouldn’t hesitate in investing in a good one. Protective covers are particularly used during the cold and rainy seasons. Make sure to clean the camper well before putting it in the garage so that no dust can get inside. 

Please feel free to share your thoughts, comments or questions on the content. 

Other FAQs about Camper Vans that you may be interested in.

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FAQ on Is it OK to cover the camper with a tarp?

What are the best brands of camper covers?

If you know for sure that a particular tarp is perfectly compatible with your camper and wallet, buy it without worrying about its manufacturer. However, as with any other purchase, it is strongly recommended that you purchase your tarpaulins from reputable brands such as Hindermann, Roc Line, Tyvek, 1PLUS.

Do I have to follow any special rules when installing the tarpaulin?

RV cover manufacturers usually include an installation manual, so you just need to follow the recommendations. To be sure you’re doing it right, however, it’s essential that you clean the exterior of your camper to minimize chafing and scratches. In addition, it is better to add padding on the corners so that they do not tear the fabrics. Finally, it is preferable to install the tarpaulin with two people if you have a large camper

Can a tarp damage the paint on my RV?

If you follow the steps in the installation manual exactly, it is very unlikely that the tarp will damage the paint. Make sure the tarp will not move after the installation as the wind could lift it and cause scratches.

Is it necessary to wash your tarpaulin periodically?

In order to keep your RV tarp in good condition, it is wise to do a deep cleaning occasionally. The best way is to put it on the floor, rinse it with plenty of water, then scrub the stains off with a soft brush and wash up liquid.

Then let it dry completely before reusing or storing it. As a precaution, check the owner’s manual to see if the fabrics require special care when washing.


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