RV skirting is invaluable if you are #rvliving in the winter anywhere but the west coast or the deep south. We purchased our skirting in October of 2014 while we were in North Dakota and couldn’t imagine surviving winter there without it. We came across a company out of Idaho who were advertising in the area for custom skirting. We gave them a call and ended up being extremely lucky. Our skirting is some of the best we have seen and has held up wonderfully. The company was great to work with and we just had a great experience overall. Since we love it so much and have had such great luck we wanted to tell you why we love ours and things you should look into when researching skirting for your rig.
- Intro & Updates: 0:17
- Tips: 3:07
- Who we used & experience: 16:28
- Conclusion: 20:02
Custom skirting suggestions:
- Durability – look for all around durability. Winter weather can be harsh and you want a product that is going to last many years. Look for a thickness around 18 ounces, fasteners that a meant for the outdoors, zippers that are heavy duty, stitching that is thick, and fabric that is reinforced where necessary.
- Fasteners and connectors – Our fasteners consist of a combination of turn locks and buttons and our connectors are a combination of velcro and zippers. We have turn locks around the entire rig to attach the skirting to the sides, front, and rear. They used buttons to attach the skirting to the sides of the slides so they would still easily slide in and out. They used zippers to attach the front and rear pieces to the sides at all four points as well as our access points and door. The velcro was used in certain areas where zippers didn’t make sense like around the fifth-wheel hitch and at the connection of the front piece to the nose piece. Some people really like the track system instead of the turn locks. We have heard of them getting bent and then not working well so ask around for other peoples experience to see what you would like best.
- Length – Length is extremely important and something that often times gets overlooked by companies and customers. Most companies will measure at the site you are in at the time of measurement and only add a short length to that for the overall length. The company we used adds a minimum of 12 inches and offers an add-on of six inches for a total of 18 inches of length. We opted for the upgrade to 18 inches and have been very glad we did. Every campground is different and if you move around the country it is important to think ahead. For such a small upgrade fee compared to the total investment we strongly suggest a length of 18 inches extra from the original ground measurement.
- Tie-downs – Tie-downs as we call them are the points where you secure the skirting to the ground. These normally come in the form of a D-ring or ring that can be used to stake the skirting sung to the ground so that minimal air enters underneath. We suggest multiple rows of tie-downs so you can continue to get a snug fit at every location you park. Our skirting has three rows which allow us to use all 18 inches of length to our advantage depending on height and terrain. These tie-downs should also be reinforced well with good stitching and extra fabric to ensure they won’t rip during high winds and heavy snow.
- Access points and doors – Doors and access points are what make skirting user-friendly and manageable. We have an access point where we pull our galley tank valve and a door under the nose to access the front compartment and to use the space as covered storage. If you have a generator or other valves it would be a good idea to have zippers or velcro there so it is easy to use with your skirting installed.
- Pieces, storage, and foldability – Our skirting consist of 5 pieces. There are two sides, a front, rear, and nose piece. We really like having as few pieces as possible because it makes insulation fast and easy. Folded up our skirting would be about a 4’x4′ square and 18″ high if it was all folded and stacked together. The longer pieces may make it a little harder to fold, but since you site is as long as your rig we find it pretty simple to lay it out and fold it up. In the winter when we are moving from place to place we normally just throw the skirting on the bed of Austin’s truck out of speed and ease, but in the warmer months, we store it in the lowest compartment of our under storage. This way it is out of the way of our other storage and we don’t have to shuffle around it when we don’t need it.
- Cost – Cost is the biggest downside to custom skirting. We paid between $2,000 – $2,500 for ours, but we believe it was well worth it. In fact, we love ours so much that if we were to get a different rig I would strongly consider taking it to Salt Lake City to get another skirt just like the one we have. We have wintered in the north every year since hitting the road and see great value in the ease and warmth it provides. We don’t have to retro fit different skirting every winter and then have to worry about moving during those cold months. We know we can easily keep warm and save on propane when it starts getting cold. If you have an RV you love and plan on keeping we truly thinks the skirting is worth it, especially if you move around and find yourself in temps below freezing.
Our experience and who we suggest
Sharp’s Tarps • Salt Lake City, UT • Ryan at 801-972-3232 • www.sharpstarps.net • Tell them we sent you
We used Sharps Tarps out of Salt Lake City and had a great experience. They came on site twice. The first time was to measure, pick the color, and decide length. We agreed to a quote and put down a deposit. The second time was for insulation and final payment. They came to us and installed all the skirting and fasteners. The only thing left for us to do was to find stakes and secure the bottom of the skirting. We ended up finding metal stakes at the local farm & home store. Our only complaint about the whole process and company was one error during installation. One of the fasteners ended up being installed where the front cap and side of the fifth-wheel meet. It was cringe worthy to see and we have worried about water damage in that area. So far we haven’t had an issue, but if I was to do it again I would make it a point to ask them to skip that fastener even if there was a grommet on the skirting. With all the other fasteners being so close together the fabric stays plenty snug and it would have prevented any water damage worry. It was an honest mistake, but if we did it over again we would make sure to ask that nothing is installed in those areas.
Other skirting options:
- Insulation bubble wrap – This stuff is wildly popular in the RV world mostly for insulating windows inside the rig. I have seen this used as skirting on multiple occasions and we even tried to create a wind block with it in Colorado during on our winter on the road. FAIL! Even with the stakes purchased it still didn’t hold up to the wind and hardly met the ground because it is a fixed length. Plus we had to tape it to the bottom of the fifth-wheel. Yuck. I think this stuff is a waste of money as far as skirting goes.
- Straw bales – This is probably the most inexpensive option out there, but there are three main problems with it. It is ugly and many campgrounds don’t allow it. It is not mobile. And it worries me because of fires and potential mice issues.
- Plywood – This is probably the second cheapest option after the straw bales as far as an option that could actually work. This could be painted to look nice and for that reason many campgrounds will go for it. However, it isn’t mobile so if you ever need to move you will have to leave it behind.
- DIY vinyl or EZ snap kit – This can be a good option for someone who is great with DIYs and is extremely patient. There are many kits out there and others ways to piece together a kit if you are willing to do all the measuring, cutting, and installing. I knew this wasn’t the option for us because I didn’t find a thickness I was happy with and I figured we would have pulled all our hair out by the time the project was complete and I really like my hair so….
- Foam insulation board – This is my favorite DIY skirting. It doesn’t cost much for how well it insulates and it is light enough to become mobile if you have the extra room for it somewhere. The trick is to cut the boards so that you have to shove them under the rig making the fit snug enough to make them durable against the wind. Don’t forget your access points, though!
If you find yourself needing RV skirting before you have a chance to research custom skirting companies I would suggest going with the foam insulation boards for the first winter. After that, I would really look into custom skirting companies near you and make an informed decision using the tips we talked about here. Custom skirting is a huge investment for your rig, but one that we have found invaluable to have with the way we travel and live in our fifth-wheel. If you have any questions, please let us know.