A well-kept caravan is a wonderful investment and will cost you relatively little for every year of amazing holidays that it delivers during your ownership.

A cover is one of those caravan essentials, providing one of the best ways to keep your tourer in tiptop condition – and boost its residual value. They come in various styles, shapes and sizes, with the best of them being bespoke – tailored to fit your tourer precisely, right down to contouring of the roof panel for features such as your caravan TV aerial, a satellite dish or air conditioning.

Here’s how to choose and use the best caravan cover.

Are caravan covers worth it?

It’s all about protection. Even the best caravan will soon lose its shine if left to sit for months on end exposed to the weather, bird droppings and tree sap.

Indeed, while the first is likely to cause hard-to-remove black streaking, which will need a good caravan cleaner to remove, the latter two can result in permanent damage to the panel or paint finish. A cover will also minimise UV damage, which can cause glass fibre panels to develop an unwelcome ‘dried out’ chalky finish, and van tyres to deteriorate more quickly.

Material matters

Premium caravan covers are made from heavy-duty, breathable, waterproof material that keeps out rain and snow, but also lets any moisture underneath escape.

That way, you’re far less likely to find damaging water ingress or superficial annoyances such as mould or streaking, caused by pools of condensation sitting on panel surfaces for months on end.

Car towing covered caravan
The Tow Pro+ towing cover from Specialised Covers

The cheapest universal-fit covers are available for a fraction of the cost of purpose-made ones. These are often made from that ‘crinkly’ heavy-duty polythene that’s great for tarpaulins, or for covering barbecue and garden furniture, but it’s really not the best material to protect your beloved (and expensive) tourer, and is unlikely to last as long as its pricier, made-to-measure competitors.

This material could also damage the surface of your tourer’s panels if it is constantly buffeted against them by the wind. That’s why the standout options have a soft lining – to prevent abrasion.

Are caravan covers waterproof?

The level of waterproofing is measured using a rating called hydrostatic head. A material is considered waterproof if it can withstand 1500mm hydrostatic head. To picture that, imagine the pressure of a column of water 1500mm (1.5m) high sitting on the material, and no moisture seeping through.

The best manufacturers use a material with a hydrostatic head rating of 2500mm, so their products are more than up to the job of repelling huge downpours or deep falls of snow. And remember, despite that effective waterproofing, it remains breathable, thanks to a special membrane, which prevents ‘sweating’ under the cover.

Of course, if you cover a rain-soaked tourer, the water won’t evaporate until there is a source of heat to make it do so – normally the sun.

Strength and longevity are also key factors in choosing a suitable material. The best will meet numerous British and EU standards for tensile strength and abrasion resistance, but are also lightweight and flexible for their size.

Fitting a cover
Protec’s Easy-Fit system in action

Finally, the fewer seams the cover has, the better, because all seams are potential waterproofing or ripping weak spots. Clever design by leading manufacturers minimises the need for lots of seams.

Full covers

Basically, there are three types of cover to consider.

This style of cover is the best option for medium- and long-term storage, because it will protect the entire caravan. A full cover typically takes about 20 minutes to fit, but it will provide the best 360° protection and security for your tourer.

The better-quality ones, from the likes of Protec and Specialised Covers, are made from thick, durable materials that are waterproof and breathable. The latter is important – it means moisture can escape from under the cover, minimising risk of accelerated corrosion or oxidation.

Good-quality universal-fit full covers are available. The Crusader Cover Pro is just one example. It features a four-ply material and is available in a range of sizes, 12-25ft long and up to 7ft 7in wide. The RRP is £140, but shop around, as there are great deals to be had online.

Although they are obviously more expensive, you should consider buying a made-to-measure cover for your tourer. These are designed to fit your caravan’s proportions exactly, so there’s no excess fabric flailing in the wind, slowly rubbing the finish off your panels. They also come with door, locker and grab handle access (in all the right places!), and they are custom-made to accommodate any roof furniture, such a caravan solar panel. Prices start at £399 from Specialised Covers, and £349 from Protec.

Full cover
A top-spec full cover from Specialised Covers provides a door aperture for easy access and wheel covers for complete protection

Full covers are large, so they do tend to be quite heavy. You’ll ideally need two people to fit them, one on each side.

These covers fix in place with adjustable straps, which typically go around the A-frame and the corner steadies, and right under the van. Once in position, they ain’t going anywhere!

As these covers don’t reach the ground, you might want to purchase separate wheel covers, to protect your rims from splashing dirt and your tyres from damaging UV light. Expect to pay from £20 for a pair of wheel covers.

Some of the better full-cover designs now feature a ‘quick-release’ back panel, which makes fitting and removing the cover a little easier. The panel fixes in place with hook-and-loop strips.

With Protec, they are fitted as standard, while Specialised Covers charges a £45 premium to have this factored into your bespoke cover design.

Both of these custom cover makers have hundreds of caravan models listed on their systems, with precise dimensions, window and door positions, and so on. You just need to add any after-market additions to your spec sheet.

Roof covers

These covers come in various styles, and are designed to keep the caravan roof clean while it’s being stored.

They are a cost-effective alternative to full covers. Also, because the caravan’s two sides remain uncovered, they allow easy access if, for example, you use a van parked on your drive as occasional extra accommodation.

The cheapest options are little more than roof tarpaulins, which are secured in place with straps; but spend a bit more and you’ll get a universal-fit cover that stretches all the way from the front panel, up and over the roof and down the back panel. This offers excellent protection from sap and bird droppings when the van is parked under trees, and from the elements, and muck or grime in general.

Top cover on caravan
Maypole 9264 Caravan Top Cover fits caravans that are 19-21ft in length

Budget roof covers simply attach with long straps. Maypole’s reasonably priced Caravan Top Protective Cover (MP9261) is made from 150-denier, waterproof polyester and costs from £58 to £85, depending on size. It has an easy-clean silver polyurethane exterior, which helps to reflect UV and heat.

The more bespoke designs, such as the tailor-made ones from Specialised Covers, slide into the awning rail on either side, creating a tight and secure fit that won’t abrade the caravan panel finish with repeated flapping in strong winds.

Specialised Covers’ roof cover (from £399) is custom-made for each make and model of tourer, and if you have any extra roof furniture (for example, a satellite dish or air-conditioning unit), that can be incorporated into the design, too. They’re available in grey, blue or green.

Roof cover
A bespoke roof cover from Specialised Covers

If you use a roof-mounted solar panel to keep leisure batteries charged and the alarm and tracker powered in storage, transparent panels can be added to the cover for an additional £75.

Towing covers

Towing covers are specifically designed to protect the front of your caravan while you are out on the road, for instance driving to the best caravan park for a getaway.

They are often padded, and will shield your front panel and window from stone chips, road debris damage and general dirt and mud that can be thrown up by the tow car’s wheels.

The best covers are custom-made for a specific van and might feature zippable access to the window and the gas locker.

This design is an excellent solution for one-night stopovers on longer journeys, because you can quickly unzip and fold down the window section, letting light into the van for the duration of your stop.

You then just zip it back up when you are ready to tow, eliminating the need to remove and refit the entire cover.

Often, these designs will incorporate detailing to allow for access to the grab handles and ensure road lights/reflectors are visible when driving.

Some universal-fit designs are provided with built-in LED lights, and many have reflective panels, too.

Towing covers should always be fitted to clean vans, to avoid abrasion, which damages panel and window surfaces.

Budget, universal-fit towing covers start from as little as £14.99 on eBay. These basic models are available in black or grey, and fix into the awning rail at each side with adjustable straps.

A securing strap loops around the van’s A-frame, and they feature reflective strips and two integral LED lights.

A-frame cover
Shielding the A-frame, for example with a Specialised Covers protector, is essential

For about £60, Royal makes the W369 premium universal towing cover, which scores a solid 4.5 stars, with 80% of reviewers giving it the full five stars.

It’s designed for caravans measuring 215-250cm wide, and features a soft inner lining to protect your van’s finish. It’s also breathable and features reflective strips and two LED lights.

Premium cover maker Specialised Covers has a universal-fit towing cover for caravans up to 2.50m wide, priced at £149. Tow Pro Universal is manufactured in Yorkshire and is NCC-verified. It’s ideal for many pre-2012 models, where tailored options might not be available, and comes with adjustable side straps, plus A-frame and corner-steady fasteners.

Specialised Covers’ Tow Pro series also features Lite (£199), Pro (£199), Pro+ (£299) and Elite (£399) versions. These covers are all precisely tailor-made to fit your caravan, so they are correctly contoured and provide apertures for the tourer’s own lights.

The Elite is made with 8mm foam body armour, offering the ultimate protection for your tourer’s front panel.

Protec Covers offers its Tailored Towing Jacket for £245. Made to your van’s exact specification, it’s easy to fit and is available in black, blue, green and grey. Grab handle access is a £20 add-on, and the design features clear windows for your lights, plus a central zip to allow speedy locker access and for the front window to be easily uncovered.

Hundreds of different designs are available, dating back to 2006 tourers.


There are two schools of thought about whether a full cover offers any caravan security benefit. I happen to think that the annoyance of having a full cover in place, and a darkened interior, is a far greater impediment to the chance-thief than the fact that you won’t be able to see them once they’re inside.

I imagine that it would be pretty nerve wracking for such a thief, being inside a caravan and having no view out.

Prepping for the cover-up

Before you fit your cover – especially if you’re laying up your van for long-term storage over the winter – give your tourer’s exterior a good clean (see: cleaning a caravan, where we talk you through the process), removing any sap, grime or bird droppings.

Ideally, you should use some caravan polish, too, because this will maintain its finish and add a further layer of protection.

Next, give the window seals a rub down with silicone spray or even some olive oil, to stop them drying out and cracking.

I always dress the tyres with Meguiar’s Endurance Tire Gel, or Autoglym’s UK equivalent, to prevent cracking.

Finally, I oil and grease the moving parts: corner steadies, handbrake, jockey wheel and so on. With all of that done (I allow a day), you know your van will be in pristine condition when you come to uncover it again in the spring.

Ordering your cover

For non-bespoke covers, you simply need to measure the length of your tourer and then order accordingly.

To order a cover that is tailor-made for your caravan, the makers will need more information. The main manufacturers hold a vast database of the sizes and specs of most popular caravans from the past two to three decades, but if your tourer has any special features or is a dealer special, you might need to take a few measurements to ensure the perfect fit. Another point to bear in mind is that they might need to know the position of the door, and if you have fitted any roof-mounted accessories, you’ll also need to sketch a plan of the roof, with positions and measurements marked.

Design team at Specialised Covers
The design team at Specialised Covers use an extensive database of specifications

‘Measure twice, cut once’ is the old carpenter’s adage, and applies just as keenly to this process. You might also want to send some photos of the roof, taken from a ladder or upstairs window.

Once the manufacturer has your full details, they will typically take around 14 days to deliver a bespoke cover.

The cost of a cover

You can purchase universal-fit, multi-ply polyester covers in a range of sizes, with prices starting at around £60-£100.

Andes Camping, for example, offers a selection of sizes from 12-25ft in length, priced at £80-£110. Even at this relatively modest price, these covers promise to be both waterproof and breathable.

Always take care where you see the term ‘water-resistant’ used, because it’s possible that anything other than a light shower will penetrate the cover.

Big names such as Towsure, Maypole and Olpro all offer waterproof caravan covers in this price bracket, too. Do bear in mind, though, that cheaper covers are unlikely to have a zippable door aperture.

If you decide on a bespoke cover, the cost rises, with, for example, full caravan covers from Specialised Covers and Protec Covers starting from around £400.

How to put a caravan cover on

When you unpack your cover, it will feel as though you have acres of fabric to deal with. Ideally, you want two people to fit a large cover, and your secret weapon will be a pair of extending telescopic poles from your local DIY store.

The best covers have reinforced vinyl receptor pouches on each side, into which the ends of the poles will slot. You then simply extend the poles and lift the cover up and over the roof of the caravan.

Fitting full cover
Full covers, such as this one from Protec, need two people to fit them

Don’t force it if it snags – you could damage your aerial or rooflight, or tear the cover. There’s no doubt it’s an awkward manoeuvre, but with the right kit and technique, you’ll be able to fit and secure your cover in less than 15 minutes.

If you don’t have extending poles, you’ll need two tall stepladders and a generous helping of elbow grease to fit your cover.

Extendable pole
Extendable poles can be used to lift the cover up and over your tourer

In summary

A well-chosen cover will more than pay for itself when it comes to selling on your van, by ensuring it is in the best condition, with a significantly higher residual value.

We recommend buying the best cover that you can afford, with waterproofing, breathability and a non-abrasive lining as the absolute minimum. And if you prefer to buy British, Specialised and Protec both manufacture their covers in the UK.

  • Are you interested in finding out about the items that could give you a more comfortable touring experience? Then take a look at our luxury caravan accessories guide.

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