The British weather leaves a lot to be desired, and owners of caravans and motorhomes know only too well the impact of adverse weather on a holiday.

But what about the times when you are not on holiday? If your caravan or motorhome isn't under shelter (and most aren't), the weather will do its worst to your portable holiday home, 24/7.

The best option is to contact your nearest caravan equipment store and enquire about a caravan cover which can provide fantastic protection against the elements.

Caravan covers have come a long way in design and quality since the old fashioned plastic covers which earned a negative reputation for not allowing moisture to escape from underneath. And as the material was often tough (especially with ageing), these covers would damage bodywork and windows when fitting and removing.

Modern covers are constructed of material of up to three layers, allowing moisture to escape, but preventing water and dust from penetrating the fabric. These covers are usually UV resistant and less hard wearing on paintwork laquer.

Caravan covers and motorhome covers are fairly similar in design but do differ in some ways; for instance, in shape and measurement. Ultimately though, they are all designed with the same features that protect external bodywork from weathering.

Protection from the rain

A waterproof caravan cover will offer the best protection from wet and damp conditions. As summer months are now just as wet as winter months, a caravan or motorhome cover is an essential accessory all year round.

Caravan covers which are waterproof not only protect from driving rain, they also protect bodywork from other forms of weathering such as a build-up of grime and mould.

If you're looking for a high-quality waterproof caravan cover, choose one which is "air-breathable". This means that water vapour can escape, but water is also prevented from penetrating the cover from the outside. Air-breathable covers will also help prevent staining and discolouration of paintwork.

The shell of your caravan or motorhome will take enough battering when out on the road, so it's nice to know that after a long journey you can simply clean your portable home down, cover it up, and that it will remain clean and ready for the next adventure without worrying about weather damage.

UV protection

Do remember also, that the summer sunshine and warm weather can be just as damaging to your caravan as rain and wind, and a good quality caravan cover will offer advanced UV protection.

Protection against ultra-violet rays means that the external bodywork of your caravan or motorhome will remain free from discolouration and fading.

Covers with UV protection will also help protect internal furnishings and materials from the effects of the sun's rays, including fading and warping. Heat build-up can warp even the strongest of materials and a good cover will help to reduce this.

Snow, ice & dust

It's not just rain and sun which your caravan needs to be protected from either. By using a weather-resistant breathable cover, snow, ice and hail will be kept safely away from the bodywork.

Dust, tree sap and airborne pollutants can also play havoc with bodywork. The UK often sees deposits of Saharan 'desert sand' which is carried by storm clouds from the Middle East. While this is not neccessarily bad, if it becomes baked onto bodywork it can be quite difficult to remove and is slightly abrasive when cleaning off.

Bird deposits

One of the biggest problems for caravan and motorhome owners is bird droppings.

Previously it was thought that the acid in bird lime was the cause of discolouration of paintwork after removal. However this appears not to be the case.

The damage caused to paintwork on motor vehicles by bird droppings actually happens as a result of the cooling paint lacquer as it contracts and hardens around bird deposits.  

When paint warms up in the sun, it will soften and gradually expand, which means that the heat will also bake and harden any bird deposits onto the surface of any exposed bodywork. The paint cools as temperatures drop in the evening, contracting and hardening around deposits causing a fatigue and discolouration effect.

To prevent bird droppings causing damage over a long period of storage, a caravan cover is a simple solution.

Things you need to consider

To ensure that you purchase the correct cover for your caravan or motorhome you need to know the make and model, plus have the exact dimensions at hand to ensure you invest in a snug fitting cover.

Certain brands of caravan cover are designed and fitted for the specific make and model of your vehicle, however others will be a universal fit and may need a little bit of adjusting using straps and adjustable buckles. If in doubt, discuss your requirements with a knowledgeable sales person before making a purchase.

Don't forget that you will need to take into account bike racks and other external fittings to your caravan or motor home when measuring up.

Good quality covers have strengthened corners to provide extra reinforcement. Zips allow fast access to caravan doors meaning that you don't need to remove the whole cover. You may also wish to consider a non-abrasive cover to fully protect paintwork when fitting and removing.

Most covers come with straps which pass beneath the vehicle, so it is well worth considering a lightweight cover which will be much easier to handle when fitting.

Useful features:

  • Breathable material - allows moisture to escape and reduces mould.
  • Corner zips - makes fitting easier and provides easy access to doors.
  • UV protection - helps prevent fading and discolouration inside and out.
  • Lightweight material - this will make for easy fitting and storage.
  • Non abrasive - helps reduce scuffing and scratches on paintwork and windows.
  • Quick release buckles – buckles offer easy installation and removal.
  • Storage bag – this is useful for convenience and safe storage when not in use.
  • Waterproof material – most covers should be water resistant. The highest quality covers are three-layer breathable.


If you value your caravan or motorhome, then a good quality caravan cover is essential. A very wise investment which will pay dividends in the long term.

Article supplied by Nick Byng, writing on behalf of Camping Online, where you can find a great selection of caravan covers and caravan equipment.

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