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Old 03-15-2011, 08:55 AM   #1
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donreitz
Trailer Covers

This hellacious winter has been especially tough on my í05 2499. The problem is I have no way to shelter the unit and it gets the brunt of all the bad weather Indiana is prone to. Additionally, itís exposed to various sticky and staining byproducts of the local tree population. The big problem is the roof. I figured a twice-yearly cleaning would suffice to keep the roof in reasonably good health, but itís been a losing battle.

So, Iíve been thinking of getting one of those fabric trailer covers. This shows how desperate I am as Iíve never had good luck with covers for the various boats and water toys weíve owned over the years. In my experience these things work well for about six months and then fall apart. Moreover, under windy conditions, the flapping fabric can do remarkable damage to a boatís (or trailerís?) finish. Also, the sturdier the fabric seems to be (a good thing), the less able it is to vent moisture (a bad thing). You can end up doing more damage from moisture retention with these covers than you prevent. But maybe trailer covers are different.

So Iím prevailing on the good members of the SOC to set me straight on trailer covers. Do they work? How long do they last? What material is best? What can be done to prevent damage from flapping fabric? Any suggestions on brands and dealers?

Any help is appreciated.
Don
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Old 03-15-2011, 11:43 AM   #2
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I have never had one, but have researched them some and I felt there was more cons' than pros' for me. I chose to go with an installed aluminum RV Port. I think this is the "best" solution, provided you can have one where you park your Sunny.

This is where I have purchased my 3 from:

Order at T-N-T Carports - Nationwide installed metal carports, garages, buildings, rv covers, horse barns, lean-tos and more!
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:42 PM   #3
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Hi Don,

As a rule of thumb with covers, you get what you pay for. Many covers are completely a fabric material, and they don't last long at all. There are some that have a tarp type material on the front, top, and rear with just breathable fabric sides. I've had good luck with this style and it has lasted probably four winters without any tears.

While the fabric is important, tying down the cover is just as important. My particular cover has straps that are sewn in at the seam along the roof line. There are a number of these straps along the sides, probably one every two feet. They go down and have a fabric covered metal hook on the bottom that I hook to the frame rail, or something down there. I then tighten them up and it is really secure. The fabric has little movement that way. I think the biggest reason why covers tear is that they get air under them that creates like a bubble and then flaps around in the wind. If a cover has straps along the bottom, those can be tight but the fabric can still stretch and balloon out.

Sometimes it's a good idea to cover some parts, such as gutter ends, awning parts, or anything else somewhat sharp with some pieces of foam, like pipe insulation. That can sometimes save the cover in heavy gusts. This is especially important with the fabric ones though.

Another thing to make sure of is to get a cover that's sized right for the trailer. The one I have is made for a 30-32' Class C. I haven't used it yet on the 286, but it would fit much better than the others. I used the cover on the 270SR and on the 2363, which it was huge for both. Since I removed the LP tanks, cover, and regulator/tree assembly for the winter, I just bunched up the remaining part of the cover in the tongue area and tied it up with the extra straps. The only problem with doing that is it needs to be folded as such to not create pockets where water can collect and freeze. But with a properly sized cover, you should be able to cover the trailer and have very little extra material left over up there. Maybe if you were able to get like a trash bag full of packing peanuts or something, that could provide a nice filler for the tongue area so that the cover wouldn't sink in and collect water.

Depending on how much longer you really plan to keep your coach, there are places that make custom covers. They could make one to fit the coach exactly, and probably even add in some extra canvas or something around the sharp areas so it won't tear. I think some can also add a zippered door for where you need it, because most stock covers, if it has such a feature, will probably be up toward your bedroom door. The only downside to this option is the cost, since it would probably cost at least double that of a typical Adco cover.

Kitty's Carport option is certainly the easiest and longest lasting option. These covers, regardless of the features they have, are still a royal PIA to put on and off, particularly on. So if you want something to use year-round, this is probably your best option because the covers won't last all that long in the elements all year.

I also can't say I've seen a cover with front and rear straps, but I think this would be important. Mine has elastic on the bottom of the front and rear, but it can still balloon. I'd like to tie it up good all the way around. If having a custom one made, adding rain-proof vents all the way around is a good idea too, so the trailer can breathe. Having it breathe is important, but loosening the cover to do so causes many problems.

Jon
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:14 PM   #4
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After I bought my T2499, I ended up buying the CalMark cover that the original owner had made for the Sunline. Sunbrella marine canvas. I use it primarily during the Winter. It makes cleaning the snow off quite easy and protects the Sunline from damage while removing snow. It is weatherproof but is a breathable fabric.

There are built in straps that minimize movement in the wind. They reduce the movement of the cover to "blousing" as opposed to "flapping". There are also grommet holes for additional straps, I use 2. This cover has been on the Sunline for 5 Winters and looks like new, and so does the Sunline. I have gone over the Sunline every Spring and have never found the slightest damage but rather it is as good as it was before the cover was put on.

The cover has been used for 5 Winters and it looks exactly as it did when new. The only negatives associated with it are that it is heavy and rather clumsy to put on and take off. This is for one person, if you have help it would be much easier to do this. It is expensive compared to a cheap cover but you will get what you pay for. You must tape protection over the sharp areas on the trailer edges to protect the cover. A length of foam pipe insulation cut up to cover sharp edges is all that is necessary. I personally think that in lieu of being under cover in a building, the CalMark cover is an excellent investment.
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Old 03-17-2011, 09:37 AM   #5
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KK, Jon, and Rick:
Your comments are appreciated. KK, Iíd go for a carport in a second if I had the space for it. Unfortunately, we only have the driveway to use and it needs to be free of permanent structures. Jon, you mentioned Adco brand covers, is that what youíve used and do you recommend them? Rick, the Calmark covers look very good, though I had to swallow hard at the cost. The fact that they use Sunbrella fabric is a plus for me as Iíve had Sunbrella-covered bimini tops on a couple boats and they were pretty rugged.

One big question: how exactly do you put a cover on a trailer?
Thanks,
Don
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Old 03-17-2011, 02:20 PM   #6
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Don,
I'm including 2 pics of the Cal Mark cover. First is the overall view:

http://i259.photobucket.com/albums/h...necover001.jpg

Second is the view of the cover on the roof area:

http://i259.photobucket.com/albums/h...necover002.jpg

Ok, you'll note that the cover bridges the area between the outside edge of the roof and the roof vent and AC covers. This makes it very easy to drag snow off the roof with a household roof rake and it gives some ventilation to the roof. Yo may see some droplets on the cover, it had rained earlier in the day.

My take on covers is that the cheaper Adco covers are made of vapor barrier material that does not last more than a year or two in use before deteriorating. Vapor barrier is a very bad thing with which to cover a trailer. Moisture under the vapor barrier creates mold and corrosion. Everything sweats under a cover with temperature changes, that's a fact. A plastic tarp is actually the worst thing to use since the water can get through it but the plastic is abrasive and holds the water under it.

I have never had a mildew problem under the Sunbrella, it breathes yet it repels water. It has a soft finish which does not damage paint. It is incredibly durable so it costs no more than numerous vapor barrier covers that you would have to buy and replace. I'm confident that if you are looking for a long term cover, the CalMark is the best way to go.

You mention tree sap. It would be a PITA to clean sap off any cover, the only advantage of a cheap cover is that after a while you can throw it away. I don't have a problem with tree sap, per se, because I remove the cover in the Spring. To me, it is easier to wash the trailer than the cover.

Putting a CalMark on and off CAN be done by one person, I have, but it is very dangerous to do so. I have come close to falling off the ladder many times while trying to heft the weight of the cover up or down. For two people, each on a ladder, it would not be that much of a problem. I now fold and unfold on the roof and roll into or out of the Front end loader bucket on my tractor. Much safer for one person.
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Old 03-17-2011, 02:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donreitz View Post
KK, Jon, and Rick:
Your comments are appreciated. KK, Iíd go for a carport in a second if I had the space for it. Unfortunately, we only have the driveway to use and it needs to be free of permanent structures. Jon, you mentioned Adco brand covers, is that what youíve used and do you recommend them? Rick, the Calmark covers look very good, though I had to swallow hard at the cost. The fact that they use Sunbrella fabric is a plus for me as Iíve had Sunbrella-covered bimini tops on a couple boats and they were pretty rugged.

One big question: how exactly do you put a cover on a trailer?
Thanks,
Don
I can't remember the brand. I'll have to dig out the cover and look.

Putting the cover on isn't easy. I try to get the cover up along the edge of the trailer using a ladder. Unroll the whole thing out, and then try to grab it and pull it around to get it to unfold. It's much easier with two people. I also unscrewed the roof mounted radio antenna and put it in the trailer because it was sticking up, but I suppose you could just adjust it down. Getting the roll up on the trailer isn't fun. I'd say the hardest part of the whole thing is once you get it somewhat unfolded, then you have to get it over everything, especially the AC. I usually use the end of a broom handle to help pick it up over things. Then, once you get it covering the roof, you can pull the sides down and start tying it up. Attach the straps and use them to secure the cover as best as possible.
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Old 03-17-2011, 02:25 PM   #8
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Yes, what Jon said is the general procedure, a nice long broom handle to push the roll along is you friend. LOL.
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Old 03-17-2011, 03:29 PM   #9
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Don, I realize that here in Florida we don't have to contend with the heavy snow, and I'm grateful for that, but this might be a partial solution for you. I use a pipe carport to keep my 2363 under. It is considered a temporary structure and can be placed almost anywhere. Mine has been mounted temporarily-permanent with pipes driven into the ground atleast three feet and then the carport frame inserted and screwed in place. I have also fastened six foot chainlink fencing between the legs to make it very sturdy. The overall size is 10 by 20 but I have a 20 by 20 tarp to extend down the sides for more protection. If we do get the hurricane in this area I simply remover the tarp and all is well. These frames have gone through in excess of 90 MPH winds.

This could maybe be setup so you can simply drive under it with heavy snow isn't there and then when snow falls remove this and install the other fabric cover. They do come in different lengths/sizes.

I have the port setup for our yard sale but I think you can see most of what I'm talking about.

jim



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Old 03-17-2011, 10:01 PM   #10
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Rick, that is the nicest cover setup I have ever seen. Thanks for sharing. Makes me think about one.

Does Calmark throw in the back hoe bucket along with the trap??? LOL... in my case I might just buy to get the back hoe...

Question, does it have a zipper door to get in the trailer?

That is one nice looking setup.

Thanks

John
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Old 03-17-2011, 11:15 PM   #11
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Rick, that is the nicest cover setup I have ever seen. Thanks for sharing. Makes me think about one.

Does Calmark throw in the back hoe bucket along with the trap??? LOL... in my case I might just buy to get the back hoe...

Question, does it have a zipper door to get in the trailer?

That is one nice looking setup.

Thanks

John
John, that cover is downright cheap in price compared to the backhoe! I have to jam everything together in the side driveway and the trailer is on the lawn next to these 2. I'm still working on getting an outbuilding up so I can put everything away in the Winter. Hopefully this year.

Yes, there is a zip up door on the cover back by the rear entry door. The cover actually has been used for 6 Winters and it is still in excellent condition. I suspect it will go for 6 more Winters, maybe more. I always make sure that it is bone dry before I fold it up and store it in a large plastic can.
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Old 03-17-2011, 11:21 PM   #12
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I noticed that in my first post I said that the cover had been used 5 years, that was by me. The original owner used it one year previous , so a total of 6 Winters, now.
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:35 PM   #13
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Don,

I found the box today for my cover. It is a Gold Coast RV Products MultiGuard SuperShield RV Cover. It featured a four year warranty, was designed for both Class C & TT use, and features a special 5 layer top/end material. It was available in 20-22', 22-24', 24-26', 26-28', 28-30', and 30-32'. My dad thinks he got it at Camping World, though that would have been around 2001.

Jon
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:04 AM   #14
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Thanks to all for your help. I've got some leads and will research breathable trailer covers.
Don
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:51 PM   #15
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I have an ADCO cover that we purchased when we bought the trailer new so were looking at 6 winters of use I guess. It does have some holes on the lower corners where it has rubbed against the sharp edges. I just purchased some patch material from the manufacturer so I plan on doing that soon. On and off is not that much of an issue in my opinion, but definitely easier with two people. I was looking at a portable garage as mentioned above but to get one big enough for this and my next rig it's in the $1800 ball park so I'm holding off on that for now.
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:50 PM   #16
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I'm a firm believer in soft fabric covers for RV's. It protects the rig and saves a LOT of cleaning time. When I uncover mine it is clean and ready to go. I've had very good luck with the ADCO brand sold by Camping World and others. It lasts for about
4 years (my rig is covered 11 months a year)) of wind, rain, snow and falling debris from the surrounding trees and for about $300 I feel it is a real bargain. I buy the mid line "Tyvek" model usually on sale. it is made of pretty rugged material. Even though it is heavily made there are too many "sharp little corners" on the Sunline models that can tear the material, so care must be taken. The cover is also a little heavy and cumbersome to install and usually takes two people. I have done it myself , but it is a chore to get on the roof. A large repair kit of sticky back cloth is included. Good luck, Capt. Ron
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