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Caulking / Covering

Keep your camper safe from water & the sun

Water damage is no fun. Water damage in a tent camper is even less fun. Replacing the entire tent in a camping trailer costs about $1200 so let's try to avoid that with a few simple tips:

Caulking

Check the caulking around major body panels and the roof joints once a year. If a crack develops or if the caulking has peeled loose from a body panel re-caulk as follows:

  1. Remove any loose caulk that might get in the way of the new caulk.
  2. Clean the area to be caulked with a damp washcloth/paper towel and allow the area to dry.
  3. Caulk the area with either Geocel Proflex RV, Geocel All-in-One, or GE Silicone II. (We carry the first two, home improvement stores carry Silicone II. Proflex is best for the roof, All-in-One and Silicone II are best for side body panels and storage trunk units.)
Powered Roof Vent

Pay particular attention to the powered roof vent. The base of the powered roof vent is plastic while the roof exterior is Fiberglass. Because these two materials expand and contract at different rates the seal between the vent base and the roof is where 90% of all caulking issues occur. We recommend checking the seal around the outside of the powered roof vent twice a year.

If a split or crack occurs in the caulking between the roof and powered roof vent base, it must be repaired.

roof vent caulking split

To repair cracked/split powered roof vent caulking please see: Roof Vent Caulking Maintenance

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Covering

Camper Cover

Camper covers help keep dust and sunlight from aging the camper prematurely. Not all covers are good for all campers, though. For campers with a Fiberglass roof, like Flagstaff, do NOT use a solid, water-proof tarp like the common blue moving tarp. Solid tarps trap the sun's heat and will "cook" the roof. Using no tarp at all is better than using a solid tarp on a Fiberglass roof.

We used to recommend a breathable cover (like the Adco polypropylene cover) if someone wanted to keep the sun from yellowing/drying-out the Fiberglass prematurely. However, we have had several incidents where campers covered with a "breathable" tarp still warped in hot, sunny conditions as if the camper was covered with a solid, non-breathable tarp. In light of this, our current recommendation is to NOT cover the camper at all. If yellowing Fiberglass becomes a problem later on, it can be painted with a Fiberglass paint (like the one made by Dicor) to restore the bright white finish.

Lastly, using a camper cover does not negate the need to properly maintain the camper's caulking. Do not trust a camper cover to keep water off/out of the camper.

Tire Covers

Tire covers keep the sun's rays from drying out and eventually cracking tire rubber. As such we recommend covering the spare tire at all times. Spare tire covers in Parts.

Tire covers that fit loosely over the tires on the ground are also available when the camper is not in use. These are less common but can be special-ordered from us here: Ground tire covers in Options.

Propane Tank Cover

There are two types of propane tank covers: soft vinyl and hard plastic. We find both types not very useful when it comes to the propane tank. For a spare tire a cover makes sense, keeping the sun off the rubber prolongs the life of the rubber. Keeping the sun off a metal tank does little except preserve the sheen of the tank's paint. In fact, a vinyl cover will deteriorate in the sun and weather long before a propane tank shows the same signs of age. For hard plastic covers, they are generally a nuisance to remove (which must be done every time the tank needs refilling) and still leave the question of, "why cover a propane tank in the first place?"

To be fair, some propane attachments are made of plastic that weather in the sun and keeping the sun off these parts would indeed prolong the life of that part, so we're not completely dismissing propane tank covers. However, the added nuisance of taking covers on and off for tank refilling and the need to open a plastic hatch or unzip/un-velcro a vinyl cover every time the tank needs to be turned on or off is not worth the minimal benefit a cover provides, in our opinion. That being said, we're still happy to special order them here: propane tank covers in Options.

Summary:

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