What is better: vinyl or canvas tarps?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: What is better vinyl or canvas tarps? We will describe the main differences between the vinyl and canvas tarps. We will also help you decide which type of tarp would suit you best. 

What is better: vinyl or canvas tarps?

It is difficult to decide whether a vinyl or canvas tarp is better for your camper or trailer. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages. The vinyl tarps can cause condensation in the tent trailer because it does not let it air properly, and the canvas tarps last less. The ideal in our opinion is a tarp with canvas edges and vinyl bottom.

When comparing vinyl and canvas tarps, you must pay attention to a few key elements:

Vinyl vs CanvasDurabilityMaintenance
Vinyl tarpsThese tarps are generally heavier with stronger borders than canvas banners. This makes them able to withstand longer outdoors, even in rough weather. 
While it’s not the best idea to keep your vinyl tarp in the rain, it will be able to withstand all types of weather. Some vinyl tarps are explicitly designed for the outdoors. 
Therefore, they are made with UV resistant inks to fight the sun’s rays and prevent the tarp from sun damage.
If you plan to use the vinyl tarp less than once a week, you should be able to deal with it. This type of tarp is not necessarily attractive if you hope to use it constantly on your trip and for long periods of time.
Using it for the suggested amount of time will be incredibly easy to clean and maintain. All you need is to clean the tarp with a cleaning solution and clean it after every trip.
Canvas tarpsIf you only travel during summer and keep your tent trailer in a garage or storage space, the canvas is the best choice. A canvas tarp provides better insulation, is overall more resistant and looks better. 
It is also easier to clean, maintain and repair. 
However, make sure you keep it out of the rain!
This tarp will be perfect if you plan to use it frequently and it will be easy to clean. Be sure to have it professionally dry-cleaned several times and be careful with the use of specific detergents, as this may damage the canvas!

How to choose between vinyl or canvas tarp?

Now, after knowing the differences between vinyl and canvas tarps, it is important that you know what are the characteristics that you should consider before buying yours.

  • The most relevant aspect to consider is undoubtedly the size and shape of the cover since as you could see there is a great variety of sizes and shapes on the market, so you should know what the size of your trailer is before choosing one.
  • The height of the flange to be sure also has to do with this point, because as shown some canvases have only 2” of flange while others have more than 30”, so the height of the sides of the trailer is something that you should consider.
  • You should also check if the trailer has enough hooks to secure the tarp. As you will see, some models include a set of screws and hooks that you can adapt to the trailer to facilitate the tarp installation.
  • The adjustment rope is a necessary accessory if you want to secure the tarp in place and prevent the wind from moving it while you drive, some manufacturers include one with the cover, but others do not, so you should check this aspect.
  • If it is not included, we recommend you purchase an elastic rope of good quality and resistance so that it does a proper job.
  • The density of the material is related to strength and durability, so it is an aspect to consider as well. Environmental conditions can have a harmful effect to a greater or lesser extent depending on the type of material from which the tarp is made. Make sure you buy one that will withstand the conditions where you are.

How much does a trailer tarp cost?

The price is another of the determining factors when buying a vinyl or canvas tarp. So it is important to be clear about the aspects you want in a trailer tarp.

Variables such as size and manufacturing material can be decisive on the final price of these products, which can be found from $22 to $49. To avoid buying a canvas that does not work or simply not spending too much on one that exceeds your needs, verifies the considerations of the previous point very well.

You can find various vinyl and canvas tarps for your trailer with competitive prices and amazing offers on Amazon.

You will also be able to know the opinion of other people about these products and how they value them. This advantage will help you know aspects about the performance of the products when it is exposed to a great variety of contexts. This will help you make a smarter decision.

We also recommend it for the good after-sales service which offers you the possibility of refund or exchange of the product in cases where they come with factory defects or malfunctions.

Tips to increase the lifespan of your vinyl or canvas tarp

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: keep the cover in its storage bag after cleaning and drying it well when not in use. Sometimes you can ruin your tarp by carelessly putting it away.
  • When buying your tent trailer, it is important to inspect the seams well and check them regularly before use. In general, before any purchase in-store or upon receipt of your items ordered online, check their condition.
  • Holes: Set up your tent trailer and water it with a hose to check that there are no holes in your canvas. If so, call a seamstress or you will have to get on with the sewing. If this happens during your vacation it is best to be well equipped before departure.
  • When you travel, remember to take repair material / first aid kits such as self-adhesive tape, sleeves or cylindrical aluminum rods which allow a tent frame to be repaired inexpensively and on-site.
  • To avoid mould stains, be careful not to bend it while it is still damp, or just after cleaning it.
  • You can also repair your hoop with a thin cord. (This is a fisherman’s trip if there are any who recognize it!).


Trailer 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. 

FAQ on What is better vinyl or canvas?

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, you must 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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