Monday, May 20, 2013

Does your RV need a slideout topper?

While Hamlet of old labored with the question, "To be, or not to be," many RVers have their own soliloquy, "Slideout topper, or no slideout topper?" Ah, that's the question, we'll help you with the answer.

First, what is a slideout topper? Imagine an RV awning that extends itself, not over your "patio area" but over the top of your RV slideout. Most are constructed of heavy gauge vinyl, but unlike standard RV awnings, these automatically deploy and retract as you deploy or roll in your slideout.

What's the purpose of a slideout topper? Basically the topper is an added layer of protection over your slideout room. For a certainty, your slideout should be engineered and manufactured to take care of itself, that is, keeping the rain out. But the topper can give a bit of help. Camp in an area where there are trees? The topper keeps leaves or tree needles, and tree sap, from getting onto the slideout roof. Without a topper, when you reel in your slideout room without cleaning debris off, you run a good chance of pulling some of that debris right into your rig.

Perhaps you don't spend much time camping out in the great forests. A slideout topper will keep your slideout a bit cooler in the hot sun, as it provides shade over the often-not-well-insulated slideout roof.

With all this "good" stuff that comes from a slide topper, why would you not want one? A couple of things come into play. First, if your RV didn't come to you with a slide topper, you'll find out in a hurry that they aren't inexpensive. Even a small slideout, say one that's less than eight feet wide, can run you close to $400 plus installation. Have several slideouts, multiply the expense.

Others have found that slideouts can produce a lot of noise on a windy day. If you have trouble enough sleeping on a windy night, a flapping slideout can really add to your misery.

If you decide to add slide toppers to your present rig, a common comment from those who have them is this: Make sure they're wide enough. That translates to a bit wider than the slideout itself, NOT only as wide as the slideout. This will help ensure that the purpose of the topper really works out for you.


  1. The toppers on our fiver were so noisy in the wind we had to pull in the slides to get any sleep. During one windy day in Wyoming the toppers were causing the slide outs to bounce up and down. Soon after I took them off. I can do without them....

  2. These toppers are a God send for those of us who cannot just climb high to remove debris and bird droppings off the slides. And who wants these droppings inside their rv anyway. If there is a lot of noise from the toppers in windy conditions it likely means the toppers are not tight when the slide is extended or the topper has stretched and will likely collect water and debris. As the slide comes in the "stuff" should drop off and the top of the slide should be relatively clean. I now have one to replace and will order a replacement this week. I figure I can replace the topper in about an hour and save $125.

  3. For wind noise control, I use a lenght of dowel like heavy broom handle longer than the awning is wide. I tie a rope to both ends then tie it under the slide itself. This keeps the awning from flapping. I WOULD NOT be without one as when it rains, you don't get the "I'm in a drum" sensation.

    1. Instead of broom a handle I use 1" pvc pipe with a rope strung thru it. For a long 15-20 ft slide you can cut the pvc pipe in half and string the rope thru it. Then you can fold it in half for storage. I carry the pole and rope tied up with bungee cord in my truck bed under the lip of the side wall. Cut the pipe 2" longer than the awning for a 1" overhang on each side.

  4. I like George's idea of the dowel and rope. We HAVE been just tossing a pre-measured length of thick rope over the slide in extremely windy conditions, but the the dowel (or maybe PVC) sounds like a better solution. It would hold the topper more evenly. Thank you George!

  5. I have a topper only on the bedroom slide but not the other two. I'm still able to climb up on top, but prefer not to if possible so I bought a small electric Mighty Pro Blower on Amazon- and attached some pvc pipe with angled elbows so I can reach up above the slideouts to blow off debris and water. Works like a champ. It has 2 five foot sections with a 45 deg adapter in the middle and a 90 deg adapter on the end directing the air flow down onto any spot on the roof or slideouts of my fifth wheel. It has a powerful motor and breaks down easily for storage.

  6. For those who have mentioned noisy slideout toppers I would state that they are not adjusted correctly and require tightening. We have slideout toppers on our motorhome and have never had any noise associated with them even in high wind situations.

  7. 2009 Entegra Aspire 42 quad slide,
    The wind blew the Colorado Care Free slide cover off the side of the buss brackets and all as we were bringing in the slide because it was getting too windy. Pulled the screws out of the side of the buss.
    Thanks Entegra for the no backing material to put screws into.


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