Are RV Slide Toppers Worth It?

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An RV with slide toppers parked outside

There are a few hot-button topics that RVers often debate with each other. Should you travel with your propane on or off? Can you travel with a full freshwater tank? You typically fall on one side of the argument or the other. 

We recently saw some RVers debating about RV slide toppers and whether they were worth it. As you can imagine, the conversation went south fast.

We’re stating our position on RV slide toppers and whether we think they’re worth it. Let’s dive in!

What Are RV Slide Toppers?

RV slide toppers are vinyl awnings attached to a camper’s slides. Because they are attached, the awnings automatically extend and retract when the slides open and close.

They cover the roof of a slide and protect it from objects falling onto it. In addition, they provide increased protection from Mother Nature and whatever she might throw your way.

Pros of RV Slide Toppers

There are many benefits to RV slide toppers. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you need them, here are a few reasons you might want to consider them.

Protects the Roof of the Slide

One of the benefits of RV slide toppers is the protection they provide to the slide. When you have slide toppers, you don’t have to worry about climbing on top to clear off any debris from your slides before closing your slides.

Closing your slides with sticks and other debris on your roof can cause serious damage to your seals.

Luckily, these toppers keep the debris and the sun from causing damage to your slide’s roof. This means less maintenance and more time spent doing the things you enjoy most.

Keeps Rain or Snow from Sitting Directly on Slide Roof

Another benefit of slide toppers is that they provide an additional layer of protection from rain and snow.

While some rain and snow may still get under them, you don’t have to worry nearly as much about anything sitting on your slide roof. 

Keeping your roof safe from the weather means you don’t have to worry about damage nearly as much. However, you still need to do routine maintenance on your seals to be safe.

A couple standing next to their RV in the snow with slide toppers

Provides You With Peace of Mind

Whether you use your RV to travel full-time or for weekend adventures, there’s a lot you have to worry about.

Luckily, slide toppers give you peace of mind that your slide roofs are as safe as they can be. It’s one less thing that you have to worry about during your travels.

Cons of RV Slide Toppers

While there are many things people love about RV slide toppers, they’re far from perfect. There are cons you need to consider before investing in slide toppers.

Noisy When Flapping in the Wind

One con of RV slide toppers is while they provide increased protection for your slide, they make a ton of noise. On particularly windy days, the noise can be overwhelming.

Some RVers with slide toppers end up placing a beach ball or other object under the vinyl covering to help keep them tight enough that they don’t blow in the wind. For being an expensive and premium upgrade for an RV, a beach ball seems like an incredibly cheap solution.

They Make It Tricky to Clean the Slide Roof

Just because the toppers cover the slide roof doesn’t mean you don’t have to clean it.

Unfortunately, slide toppers can make it challenging to clean your roof and do routine maintenance. You’ll need to come in from the side instead of being able to access it from the roof.

A man cleaning his RV slide toppers

Can Tear Over Time

No matter how much you paid for your slide toppers, they’re not invincible. High winds can rip through the fabric and cause tears in them. If this occurs, the fancy slide topper will be out of commission, and your slide roof will be unprotected until you can fix it. 

RV Slide Topper Buying Guide

When you’re shopping for slide toppers, there are a few things that you need to consider. You’re not paying a large sum of money for a premium upgrade to not get a premium product and results.

So let’s look at a few things you need to consider specific to your unit when selecting your RV slide toppers.

Material and Durability

You want to get material that’s incredibly durable and pre-stretched. If not, you could find yourself with toppers that quickly stretch, which increases the noise level when they do their job.

Typically, slide topper materials are either vinyl or acrylic. Vinyl is typically thicker and more durable. It’s also waterproof and prevents almost all water from getting onto your RV’s roof.

On the other hand, acrylic toppers use airier fabrics that are more durable and breathable. Because they can breathe, you reduce the chances of mold and other bacteria growing on them. However, acrylic’s downfall is that since it’s breathable, any moisture that gets through drips onto the roof. While it’s typically minimal, it’s not waterproof.

Size for Your Specific RV

If you’re working with a manufacturer, you want to ensure the slideouts are sized specifically for your rig. If you’re measuring, measure multiple times to confirm your accuracy.

Make sure you know exactly where you’re supposed to be measuring and provide the measurements to whoever is manufacturing your toppers. Measuring wrong could be a costly mistake!

Color to Match the Exterior of Your RV

There’s not a lot of diversity regarding RV awnings; they’re typically either black or white. However, you can find slide toppers in a variety of colors.

You can work to find material that matches the other awnings on your rig, or you can pick out a different color that gives a look or feel you can appreciate.

Keep in Mind: New RV Fear Unlocked: Slideouts Moving on Their Own! Learn how to prevent this and how to fix it if it happens to you.

The Best RV Slide Toppers

If you’re shopping for RV slide toppers, here are a few of the best options we think are worth considering. We’re not only providing our choice but also the best rating and a budget-friendly option with great reviews.

Our Pick: Suncode RV Slide Topper

The Suncode RV Slide Topper uses a thick 16-ounce vinyl to protect the roof of your slides. It’s tough enough to withstand -25 degrees without cracking or experiencing any issues.

Suncode makes slide toppers for various-size RV slides and has toppers that range from 67 inches to 169 inches. The kit comes with the awning rail and mounting brackets. All you need to do is install them to start protecting your RV slides.

Suncode RV Slide Topper Awning Black RV Slide-Out Protection Slideout Cover Connect Design for RVs, Travel Trailers, 5th Wheels, and Motorhomes 6'1" (5'7" Fabric)
  • AVAILBALE SIZE CHOICE: 6 feet 1 inch awning, Fabric size is 5 feet 7 inch length X 51 inch wide.Fit for your travel...
  • Keep interior of RV cooler —Our slide-out awning frame assembly also helps keep the interior of your RV cooler. It...

Highest Rated: Solera Black Slide Topper Awning

Solera is one of the largest names in the RV industry regarding RV awnings. Many of the most popular and respected RV manufacturers use their products, and it’s easy to see why.

Solera has slide topper options for slides ranging from 66 inches to 192 inches, and they use a tough 13.5-ounce vinyl reinforced with heat-welded seams, which means you can worry less about cracks and leaks with these slide toppers. 

The kit comes with roll brackets, hardware, and mounting rails, everything you need to install the toppers yourself.

Solera Black Slide Topper Awning - 13'6" (13'1" Fabric)
  • RELIABLE PROTECTION — Slide Toppers help prevent dirt, bird droppings, debris and more from falling on your RV’s...
  • MULTIPLE SIZING & COLOR OPTIONS — Fitting slide-outs ranging from 66” to 192” and available in black or white...

Budget Friendly: RecPro RV Slide Out Awning

Unfortunately, these awnings don’t last forever. Eventually, you’ll need to replace them. However, you don’t have to break the bank to replace the awning.

RecPro offers a fabric-only option that comes at a budget-friendly price. These range from 110 inches to 200 inches wide, and you can easily cut them down to size. 

They can withstand a tension of 140 PSI, so you don’t have to worry about them flapping in the wind from not being tight enough. Whether you’re looking to protect your RV from the weather or UV rays, the RecPro RV Slide Out Awning can get the job done and is easy to keep clean.

Keep in Mind: If you’re thinking of purchasing an electric awning, you may want to reconsider. Take a look at these 5 Reasons to Avoid Electric RV Awnings

RecPro RV Slide Out Awning | RV Slide Topper | Slideout Awning | Fabric Only | Size Options Available | Black or White Version (46" x 160", Black)
  • Our largest replacement slide topper fabric can be easily cut down to fit slide-out rooms ranging from 160” to 200”...
  • With a tensile strength of 140 PSI, you can be sure that it’ll stand up to the test of time. Once trimmed to properly...

How Do You Measure an RV Slide Topper?

Measuring for your RV slide topper is incredibly easy. All you need to do is grab a tape measure and head to the slides you’ll put toppers on. You want to measure from the outside flange of the T-molding to the outer edge of the opposite side of the T-molding.

Don’t make the mistake of measuring one slide and providing that measurement for all of your slides. There’s a good chance that all of your slides are different widths.

So make sure you take the time to measure each slide you’ll be putting slide toppers onto. Write down and label each measurement so you know which slide topper goes with which slide when they arrive.

Can You Adjust Slide Toppers?

If your slide toppers are too loose, the water will pool, and they’ll flap aggressively into the wind. This can increase the chances of damage, especially if you’re experiencing severe wind guests.

Luckily, most slide-topper systems allow for some adjustment. However, due to the tension involved with the springs and other mechanisms, it can be challenging and potentially dangerous.

Each slide topper system is different, so there are many different ways to adjust them. Check the owner’s manual for your slide topper system to make sure you follow the proper steps and process to adjust your slide toppers. If not, you could end up causing more harm than good to your slide toppers.

Protect Your Home on Wheels with RV Slide Toppers

RV slide toppers are inexpensive, but they provide additional protection for your slideouts. However, if you’re not willing or unable to get on top of your RV to clean off your slides when packing up your rig, they’re an essential purchase.

They can pay for themselves if they help you avoid causing damage to your slide a time or two. However, we don’t blame people for not paying the premium price to upgrade to them. 

Where do you fall in the debate? Are slider toppers worth the cost to you?

Last update on 2023-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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2 comments
  1. We have slide toppers. Yes, in windy conditions they are noisy. We sometimes close the slides due how bad the noise is. However, we primarily camp in warmer climates & really like how the toppers help to keep the slide cooler. Think we will continue to have toppers when our current ones are worn out.

  2. We have Solera Toppers on both our slide outs and have been very happy with them. We’ve been through high winds and with the braces have had no problems. They definitely catch the falling trouble and the rain is tossed off before there’s any trouble. They were easy to install and we’re very happy with thrm

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