Advice, Caring For Your Caravan

Should I Get a Caravan Cover? Are They a Good Idea?

So you have spent anywhere between £5,000 to £30,000+ on your caravan and like any investment you want to make sure you look after it the best you can. Just like a mobile phone you don’t want the screen to get damaged so you get a phone case and a screen protector. So why not do the same with your caravan to protect the bodywork by purchasing a cover?

It is worth bearing in mind however, that sometimes when you think you’re doing good it can end up being a bad decision.

There are a lot of mixed reviews when it comes to getting a caravan cover. Some say they are a must have, while others say that you should steer well away from them and that caravans are made to be outside so leave them be.

With this we breakdown the pros and cons of having a full coverage caravan cover so you can make your own choice on whether you should opt for a cover or not.

To cover a caravan or not to cover, that is the question

The Pros – Why you should get a caravan cover?

1. Protects from rain, dirt, tree SAP and animal droppings

Like any cover the purpose of one is to cover the item or property to prevent it from dirt or damage and this is exactly what a caravan cover is built for as well. You may have heard that bird droppings on your car can damage your paintwork, well that is not different to a caravan. This is one of the main reasons why caravanners purchase a cover to protect the exterior from any unwanted scuffs and it keeps it clean.

Many carvanners opt for a cover as they believe it can prevent damp due to the cover preventing water from contacting your caravans exterior. Although there are views and scenarios where this may not be totally true.

2. Protects From UV fading.

UV rays can fade paintwork on your caravan and intense sun rays can also damages the seals on the windows and doors. Not just this it can also cause your paintwork to flake or crack if exposed to severe heat, so having a caravan cover can protect against these harmful rays from damaging the exterior bodywork. On the other hand there is also an argument against this and that a cover causes more damage due to the UV rays than actually prevents it. We will discuss this in more detail later on in the article.

3. Prevents scratches while travelling.

While driving it can prevent damage from any debris on the road flicking up on to your caravan while travelling on the motorway or any roads with loose surfaces. However, again there is also an argument against having a cover due to the cover actually causing scratches and scuffs itself, this is something that we will also touch on later on in the article.

4. Security

One added benefit by having a caravan cover is that potential thieves can’t easily identify what caravan model you have and neither can they see what you have stored within the caravan., preventing thieves from easily targeting your caravan on your drive.

Full Coverage Caravan Cover

The Cons – Why you shouldn’t get a caravan cover?

1. Causes the caravan to overheat and in extreme cases cracks.

As mentioned earlier on, the theory of having a cover is to protect the caravans bodywork from harmful UV rays. However, there is also a negative to caravan covers. Many caravan covers don’t use breathable materials causing a greenhouse effect within the caravan. This leads to damage to electrical components within the van such as the leisure battery. Not only does heat cause issues to electrical components it can also damage to the caravans exterior causing cracks to the bodywork.

2. Pain to get on and can cause damage in the process

The average caravan height is just over 8 and a half feet, this is well over the average person. So trying to get a full coverage caravan cover over the top of your caravan can be no short of a nightmare to get on if you don’t have the correct equipment or poles to help you. Even more so if you’re doing it by yourself.

Not only that if you’re not careful you can easily pull away exterior items from the caravan such as the TV aerial or solar panels, and trust us this has happened more times than you might think.

3. Causes scratches.

As much as a caravan cover is made to protect the caravan from scratches and scuffs, if you opt for a cheap cover this actually causes scuffs and scrapes. This happens when the cover flaps during heavy winds.

However, you might think that by getting a more expensive and high quality caravan cover will do the job, right? Wrong, actually even the most premium covers can cause scratches if you’re not careful. Before fitting any caravan cover it is vital that you wash the outside completely and remove any grit that could be trapped between the caravan and the cover. This is because it can have a wearing effect on the caravan finish if there is any movement in the cover.

Seems to defeat the object if you ask me.

4. Known to cause damp. 

There are mixed arguments to whether this is true or not however, many say that their caravan cover has caused their caravan to have damp due to the cover not having breathable material and not being water resistant. This happens when the water manages to penetrate through the cover and then the condensation can’t escape and left stuck in between the cover and the caravan.

5. Mouldy caravan

Similar to point 3 where the cover can cause scratches it can also cause the caravan to have mould and mildew problems. This can happen for multiple reasons; the caravan being moist and not clean before putting the cover on, the cover does not have breathable material to allow the moisture or condensation to escape, and finally similar to what we’ve just mentioned with the condensation, if the cover isn’t water resistant it will trap the water between the caravan and the cover leading to mould over a period of time.

Coachman VIP No Caravan Cover

How much does a caravan cover cost?

The cost of a caravan cover can vary from £70 to £300+. The more expensive covers tend to be ones that are custom fitted to your van. As much as they are more expensive they are generally easier to fit and have higher quality material.

If you was to opt for a cover we would always recommend the tailor made and bespoke cover as the material used allows for a greater degree of breathability, durability and water resistance.

How to choose the right one?

If you have read the pro and cons and it hasn’t put you off getting a caravan cover then what next? Choosing the right one is the next necessary step.

There are different types of covers such as full coverage cover, towing covers, hitch covers but as we are talking about full coverage covers we will go through the types of full coverage covers.

Now broadly speaking there tends to be 3 types of full coverage covers. Other than the different makes and models there is; Ready-made covers, Semi-tailored and made to measure caravan covers.

The key to all caravan covers is to get the correct sized cover so it is important to make sure you measure your caravan correctly.

Ready-made covers: 

Also known as universal caravan covers. If you was to opt for a caravan cover we would recommend steering away from these. They do come in a varied amount of sizes and tighten with a strap underneath and an elastic skirt at the bottom.

These do tend to be cheaper and around the £70 – £150 price bracket but this is where you’re most likely going to damage you caravan rather than prevent damage. Due to the fact that the cover isn’t tailored to your caravan it can be prone to scratches when putting the cover on or when flapping in the wind. Not to forget if you pay for a cheap cover it is most likely going to be poor quality material causing water to penetrate through the cover.

If you were to opt for this however, go for the smaller size cover if your caravan falls in the middle of the range of sizes. If you go to baggy you will find that the cover will tear in wind if it is flapping.

Semi-tailored covers: 

Semi-tailored covers are more than likely built for a particular make of caravan. This won’t fit perfectly to your caravans model as it will serve a purpose for multiple variations of caravan models but you can find one more suited to your caravans profile, thus reducing the likelihood of damage to your caravan.

Made-to-measure covers: 

Finally, made-to-measure. If you are sold on the idea of a cover we recommend going nothing less than a made-to-measure caravan cover. They maybe more expensive but it does reduce the negative factors of having a caravan cover by having one that is tailored to your caravans profile.

You can spend anywhere upto £350 and above for a good quality one. However, the most important factor of having a caravan cover is that it needs to be breathable in order to allow moisture and condensation to escape from the inside.

Towing Caravan Cover

Conclusion

When it comes to caravan covers there is always going to be a difference of opinion on the question of using a caravan cover. You’re either the caravanner who believes that caravans are built to be outside or you are the carvanner who firmly believes that covering their caravan is the only safe haven to protect it from the weather, bird droppings and general wear and tear.

If you’d like to know what our opinion is well… we would likely opt out from having a caravan cover.

If you’ve damaged your caravan due to a cover then we do offer caravan repair service at our workshop in Retford.