If you want protection for your caravan or motorhome – whatever the time of year, but particularly if you’re putting it for rest for a while through the winter – a cover must be on your wishlist. Maybe you already have one.
In a recent poll of Caravan Guard customers, we found out over half of you – 40 per cent of caravanners, 12 per cent of motorhomers – already use a full cover. The number for motorhomes is always going to be lower, of course – for reasons such as the likelihood of it being used all year round and/or stored in a garage.
A few years ago a cover actually saved a customer’s ‘van from serious damage.
There are three types of such cover – universal fitting, part-tailored and fully tailored. As you can probably guess, prices move upwards (generally) as you head towards a cover that’s fully tailored to your specific vehicle, including allowances for roof-mounted fittings (aerials etc), and more.
Benefits of a motorhome or caravan cover
Key is, a full cover can protect from not just any bad weather, but also bird droppings, tree sap, airborne pollution, black streaking and so much more.
There are other benefits. In terms of security, a cover will hide the identity of your caravan or motorhome, to a certain degree. Or if you’ve left any items of value inside – although we’d caution you should remove such things if you’re not using your vehicle.
It also means you don’t have a major cleaning job on your hands when you do take the cover off after any extended period.
Any cover will also protect your vehicle’s paintwork – plus any rubber seals and internal fittings such as curtains – from the sun’s UV rays.
More recently, the increasing use of solar panels has seen cover manufacturers tweaking their designs to allow the panel to continue to operate. That can be crucial if you rely on solar power to keep batteries topped up that are integral to your leisure vehicle’s alarm and/or tracking systems.
Top tips for using a motorhome or caravan cover
- If you are putting your ‘van into storage for an extended period, don’t forget to let us know.
- Condensation means mould and mildew. Get a cover that uses a fabric that is breathable and allows moisture to evaporate to overcome this.
- Most covers these days are non-abrasive. That means their inner is soft so as not to cause any scratching as the cover inevitably moves about. In particular, windows, graphics and light fittings can be vulnerable to such abrasion. Lower-priced covers may come with extra pieces of softer material that you can use to stop any such scratching.
- Choose a cover that’s a good fit so it won’t flap about when it’s windy.
- Make sure your caravan or motorhome is as clean as possible before fitting a cover. If it’s free of particles of grit etc there’s less likelihood of any unwanted chafing. Some folk like to leave a layer of polish, or over-wintering fluid, on their vehicles before adding the cover.
- Similarly, keeping your cover clean will optimise its breathable properties. Generally, you can clean a cover with warm water and a cloth. Using detergents may affect breathability.
- Check for damage each time you use it to make sure it’s offering the best protection for your pride and joy.
- Go for better known makes and you’re more likely to be able to source replacement parts, such as straps and buckles etc.
Described as “top notch quality” by one leading retailer, Specialised Covers supplies its products with extendable poles to make fitting easy – you use these to literally push the cover over your vehicle.
The multi-layered fabric is waterproof (as opposed to water resistant, which will ultimately let in water) and breathable – that’s thanks to a directional membrane that allows any condensation to evaporate.
As well as Velcro, the cover has buckles and straps to fasten under the vehicle, to make sure once fitted it stays that way, whatever the weather. “Windows” can be fitted to individual needs for solar panels.
Specialised Covers says: “As official suppliers to the Swift Group, Coachman, Lunar, Elddis and Bailey, we’re the only caravan protection brand to be recommended by the industry’s market leading caravan manufacturers. All our covers are made to measure your make and model of caravan.”
Prices from £299 for caravan covers and £349 for motorhome covers
Key features Velcro door access, National Caravan Council verified, choice of three colours, free UK delivery.
For more info www.specialisedcovers.com
This specialist boasts over two decades of experience, using what it describes as the most breathable fabric available today – in a choice of three colours: green, grey or bright blue.
Pro-Tec’s prices include delivery, habitation door access and its own Easy-Fit system. Each cover also comes with a breathable bag and fitting poles (caravan only).
Pro-Tec says: “Pro-Tec caravan covers have been tested by Bailey caravans and have been approved as non-detrimental to their caravans. We’re also thrilled to have been chosen by Swift to cover and protect their Smart HD caravans as well as Auto-Sleepers, Vanmaster and Zone Leisure. We’re National Caravan Council approved and are honoured to have been awarded the Practical Caravan Accessory Award.”
Prices from £279 for caravan covers and £379/£419/£519 (van conversion/coachbuilt/A-class motorhome covers)
Key features Protex 003 exclusive three-layer fabric, three-year warranty, heavy-duty strapping, easy-release buckles, optional fitting poles.
For more info www.pro-teccovers.co.uk
Kampa brings much of its tent-making expertise to the motorhome and caravan covers sector, using a fabric that’s UV-stabilised, for example.
Universally fitting, Kampa’s caravan covers are offered across two ranges – Prestige (up to 2.25m wide) and Euro (up to 2.5m wide).
Amongst the Kampa portfolio is a cover designed specifically for campers based on Volkswagen T5 and T6 Transporter.
Kampa says: “No matter how well made a bespoke cover is to suit your caravan or motorhome, they’re still just as vulnerable to degradation as a universal cover and will unfortunately, after a few years of use, need replacing. This is why we offer universal caravan and motorhome covers rather than bespoke. It allows for our covers to be sold at a sensible and realistic price whilst still offering the same function and protection so that when that time comes, it does not break the bank.”
Prices from £124.99-£208.99 for caravan covers. £152.75 for VW camper covers
Key features Triple-layer fabric, four-ply seams, four zips, quick-release buckles, elasticated hem, two-year guarantee.
For more info www.kampa.co.uk
Over to you…
Got any advice on caravan or motorhome covers to pass on to others? Or has a cover saved your caravan or motorhome from damage? Feel free to add your comments or stories below.