RV slide toppers, also known as slide-out awnings or covers, are a popular accessory among many RV owners. Slide-out toppers protect the top of your RV’s slide-outs from debris and weather elements when extended.
But the question is, are RV slide toppers necessary?
While not every RV comes with slide toppers, many owners add them to their vehicles. They cite many benefits, including increased protection and reduced maintenance.
However, like other accessories, slide toppers come with their own set of pros and cons.
In this blog post, we discuss the topic of RV slide toppers and their benefits while examining any potential drawbacks.
Whether you’re a seasoned RV enthusiast or a newcomer to the RV lifestyle, our goal is to help you make an informed decision about whether RV slide toppers are a good fit for your needs.
What Are RV Slide Toppers?
RV slide toppers are accessories designed for RV slide-outs. The toppers extend in unison with your slide-outs, covering their top surfaces.
The primary function of slide toppers is to provide a protective shield over the slide-outs, safeguarding them from outdoor elements.
RV slide toppers behave much like retractable awnings. When you extend your slide-outs, the toppers unfurl automatically, stretching out to cover the entire length of the slide-out.
Conversely, the slide toppers also retract and neatly roll up when you retract your slide-outs. This feature ensures your RV’s aerodynamics and aesthetics remain unaffected when the slide-outs are unused.
Are RV Slide Toppers Necessary?
RV slide toppers are not an essential requirement for your RV.
Some RV owners choose to install them purely for aesthetic reasons, as they can enhance the overall look of your vehicle.
However, beyond aesthetics, these toppers provide a range of benefits that can significantly improve your RV experience.
Keep reading to understand more about these advantages.
Top 9 Benefits Of RV Slide Toppers?
While not essential, RV slide toppers can provide various benefits to enhance your RV experience, from protective measures to aesthetic enhancements.
Here are ten advantages worth considering.
1. Protection from Rain and Reduced Leak Likelihood
One of the significant benefits of slide toppers is their ability to protect from rain, reducing the likelihood of leaks.
Keeping the slide-outs top dry help prevent water from seeping into the RV.
2. Sun Exposure Protection
Slide toppers can protect slide-outs tops from damaging sun exposure.
Prolonged exposure to harsh sunlight can cause wear and tear over time, which slide toppers can help mitigate.
3. Debris Prevention
If you park your RV under trees, slide toppers can keep debris, such as leaves and twigs, off the top of the slide-out.
This helps to avoid any issues when retracting the slide-out because the slide topper prevents debris from getting caught in the seals, as it can cause damage.
4. Aesthetic Appeal
Beyond their practical benefits, slide toppers also add an aesthetic appeal to your ride.
They can give it a more polished and complete look, enhancing its overall appearance.
Slide toppers can provide shade over the top of your slide-outs, which can reduce heat build-up in your RV.
Regulating the interior temperature can benefit your RV, making it easier to stay cooler in the summer.
6. Reduced Maintenance
Protection from the elements and debris is a major reason people add slide toppers. Less debris buildup on the top of your slides means reduced cleaning and maintenance.
7. Increased Resale Value
Installing slide toppers can add to the resale value of your RV.
They make the RV look more appealing and show that the vehicle has been well-maintained and protected from potential damage. When it comes time to sell your RV slide toppers will be appealing to potential buyers.
8. Noise Reduction
During heavy rain or hail, the noise inside an RV can be pretty loud.
Slide toppers can absorb some of this noise, making the inside of your rig quieter during storms.
9. Extended Lifespan of Slide-Out Mechanisms
By blocking the debris and reducing direct exposure to harsh weather, slide toppers can help prolong the lifespan of your slide-out mechanisms, which reduces repairs or replacements.
Do RVs Come With Slide Toppers
While most RVs do not come standard with slide toppers, you can find this handy feature on some models, particularly those on the higher end of the spectrum, such as luxury Class A motorhomes or upscale fifth wheels.
However, their presence across different RV makes and models isn’t universal.
If you’re looking for an RV and this feature is important, inquire about it.
After all, while they may not be standard across the board, slide toppers can offer significant benefits to your RVing experience, especially if you’re aiming for that extra touch of luxury and longevity in your home on wheels.
Can You Add Slide Toppers To Your RV?
The installation involves mounting brackets at the top of an RV slide-out. Always measure your slide-out room correctly to ensure the topper fits appropriately.
However, they are also available through dealers and aftermarket sources if you prefer professional installation.
How Much Do RV Slide Toppers Cost?
The cost of slide toppers can vary, primarily depending on the size you require for your specific model. But generally, RV slide-out toppers range in price from $250 to $600.
Larger slide toppers cost more than smaller ones because of the increased amount of material used.
Aside from the expense of the slide topper itself, it’s essential to consider the cost of professional installation should you opt not to do it yourself.
Although it may increase the cost, installing the slide topper correctly can bring peace of mind.
Are RV Slide Toppers Worth It?
The worth of slide toppers can be subjective and often depends on your specific RVing lifestyle and the conditions you regularly encounter.
RV slide toppers can be beneficial because they provide additional protection for your slide-outs.
They can help prevent damage from elements like rain, snow, and debris, which could save you money in the long run if they avert costly repairs.
Whether RV slide toppers are a good choice depends on your needs, preferences, and the conditions in which you usually use your RV.
5 FAQs About RV Slide Toppers
Before purchasing an RV or considering adding additional accessories, it’s important to be informed.
One accessory that often comes into question is the RV slide topper.
Here, we’ll address some of the most frequently asked questions about this feature to help you make an informed decision.
1. Do any RVs come with slide toppers?
Manufacturers may offer slide toppers as an optional add-on or standard feature for high-end models, but most RVs do not come with them.
You should confirm with the manufacturer or dealer whether your specific model includes or has an option to add slide toppers.
2. Can I add slide toppers to my RV?
Yes, you can add slide toppers to most RVs that have slide-outs.
However, the process can be complex and may require professional installation to ensure they are correctly and securely fitted.
3. How much do they cost?
The cost of slide toppers can vary depending on factors such as the size required and whether you choose to install them yourself or hire a professional.
While specific prices vary, be prepared for investment, as these are optional accessories for your RV.
4. What’s the benefit of slide toppers?
As discussed above, there are several benefits to having slide toppers on your RV.
They serve as a protective cover against weather elements like rain, snow, and sun, as well as debris such as leaves and twigs.
Implementing this strategy can cause a decrease in maintenance expenses and minimize the need for repairs.
Some users also find that slide toppers provide additional insulation and shade, making your rig more comfortable in different weather conditions.
5. Are they worth it?
This will depend significantly on your specific needs and the typical conditions in which you use your RV.
Slide toppers can provide valuable protection and peace of mind for those frequently camping in areas with heavy foliage or inclement weather.
It’s crucial to weigh the potential benefits against the cost and decide what makes the most sense for your circumstances.
Final Thoughts About RV Slide Toppers
Investing in slide toppers largely depends on your RVing lifestyle and the conditions you typically encounter during your travels.
They offer several benefits, such as protection against weather elements and debris, potential cost savings from reduced maintenance and repair needs, and added insulation and shade for comfort.
However, they also come with their own considerations, including the initial investment cost and the potential need for professional installation.
Some RVs may come with slide toppers as a standard feature or optional add-on, but for most, they will be an additional purchase.
Therefore, weighing the pros and cons, considering your typical camping environments, and deciding based on what best suits your needs and budget is crucial.
Remember, an informed decision is always the best decision.
Take the time to research, ask questions, and think about your specific needs before deciding whether to invest in RV slide toppers.
About the Author:
Mike Scarpignato is an avid RVer and outdoorsman. He travels with his wife Susan in their Class A 2021 Thor Challenger and their Class C 2008 Gulf Stream Conquest. Mike is also the owner of RVBlogger.com, TravelTrailerPro.com, and RV Camping Magazine.