As your slides extend, they open up floor space in the RV for you to enjoy! They also open up a space on top of them for things like branches, acorns, sap, dirt, pinecones, and other debris to collect. These materials that collect on top of the slideouts have the potential to get jammed up in there causing issues with the movement of the slide, and potentially causing damage to the slideout seals! Getting a slide topper will cover up that area and allow debris to just fall off as the slide is retracted. Finding the perfect slide topper is a cinch, as long as you know what you’re looking for.
What is a Slide Topper
A slide topper looks and works much like an awning that sits above the slideout. In fact, they are sometimes even called slideout awnings. They roll up when the slide is retracted and then pull out when it’s extended. It works like a blanket to keep things off the top of the slide and keep it free from damaging-causing debris. Both Domestic and Carefree of Colorado make these toppers, and they can be found in a number of stores or online.
What to Look For
There are a few different types of slide toppers but for the most part they look the same. One of the biggest features you want to look for when you purchase a slide topper is an anti-billowing mechanism. This keeps the topper from filling with air and swelling while you’re traveling. Most toppers will come standard with these mechanisms, but it’s always good to make sure.
The main difference you will find when comparing like products of different levels are the case that protects the cover when it’s rolled up. Some, like the Elite slide topper from Dometic, will have a metal weather seal that protects it from the elements. Others, like the Full Cover topper, will have the entire cover in a metal case until the slide is extended. Some of the cheaper toppers will come with a vinyl weather seal, or sometimes with nothing at all. Make sure you have at least a metal weather seal to protect your fabric from damage. If you do end up with damage to your topper, you may not have to replace the entire thing. You can order new fabric to replace it through online sites like Tough Top Awnings.
Replacing the Fabric
If you’re simply looking to replace the fabric of the covers you already have, you will need to take some measurements. To do this, extend the slideout that needs a cover, and grab yourself a ladder. Once you’re eye level with the topper, measure from the inside of the end cap on one end to the inside of the end cap on the other end. Next, you want to measure from the outside wall of the RV to the outside of the slideout. This will give you the width and length to order your fabric. Tough Top Awnings has a great reputation for not only getting the proper size and color, but for unbeatable fabric quality.
When you visit toughtopawnings.com, click on “ordering” at the top. You will choose between the original 15oz. heavy duty fabric, or an 18oz. coated vinyl. Once you have selected your fabric, go through their checklist and ensure you have all the info they will need. Then click “Get Pricing and Buy Here!” This will take you to the order screen where you can fill in your information and get your order started. Replacing the fabric on the topper will vary depending on the type of topper you have. Thankfully, Tough Top Awnings has DIY videos that will walk you through how to replace it on your own. If you don’t feel up to doing it yourself, just make an appointment to bring in the fabric and the RV to the nearest service center and they can do it for you!
Finding the perfect slide topper will help to extend the life of your slideouts and their seals. Damaged seals can let in water that can then cause further damage to your RV. Don’t take the chance and end up with a hefty bill to replace the slideout. Get some toppers today and get your slides protected!