Non-woven fabrics are the newest development in trailer RV RV covers. Made of synthetics, they can be either single layers of material or highly engineered with two, three or more layers. The outer layers of an engineered fabric are often chosen for their "hand" (the way they feel when held). Inner layers may contribute strength or watertight integrity.
One brand of polypropylene covers, for instance, has a spunbond exterior on both sides with a melt blown layer in the middle to make it water repellent. The three layers allow air to pass through, although it's still water-repellent, according to the manufacturer. The company claims that this breath ability makes it a good choice for a mooring cover.
The word "canvas" is commonly used to describe all types of materials used for trailer RV covers, but the term is really out-of-date. Old-fashioned woven cotton canvas is still available, but it now has competition from synthetic woven as well as engineered non-woven fabrics. These exotic new materials require equally exotic construction methods.
Custom covers produced by the major suppliers are cut by computer-guided lasers and assembled by computerized tabular data omitted seam welders. The result is a product superior in fit and finish to anything produced by scissors and sewing machine.
"We make an engineered product that fits each trailer RV model exactly," says Aldon's Zirkelbach. "We're trying to push technology as much as possible. All of our fabric is cut by computer. We use a dielectric welding process for the seams of our acrylic or vinyl covers. Welded seams eliminate stitch rot and leaking."
In recent years several trailer RV builders have stopped shrink-wrapping their trailer RVs before shipment. Instead, they protect new trailer RVs with a reusable fabric shipping cover. Dealers prefer shipping covers because the trailer RV can be opened for inspection and then re-covered for protection on the sales lot.
"Shipping covers are a relatively new product," says Tumac's McCall. "They're made of a vinyl-coated material that trailer RV manufacturers are buying to replace shrink wrap, which is becoming unpopular for ecological reasons. They're intended to last up to about nine months, not permanently."
Although shipping covers are intended for only short-term service, many consumers have found they make excellent winter storage covers. Some manufacturers are starting to market, or are considering marketing products similar to shipping covers for winter storage. Such covers would eliminate the disposal problem created when shrink-wrapped trailer RVs are uncovered in spring.
If there's one lesson to be learned from this brief review of aftermarket trailer RV covers, it is not to take trailer RV-cover sales for granted. Match your customers' needs to the right cover product and all will come out winners.