Chances are one of the last things you do when closing up your RV before hitting the road is bringing in the slides. If you’re like most RVers, you have a system to remove sticks, leaves, and other debris to prevent damage to your slide seals.
To skip this step, have you considered slide toppers? They’re the small awnings you see over the slides on some RVs. Most RVs don’t come equipped with them, so you may wonder if they’re absolutely necessary.
Keep reading for our top picks for the best RV slide toppers, including replacement fabric, and why it would be worth the money to help protect your investment.
Our Top Picks
Solera Slide Topper
Awnlux Black Modular
Best Replacement Fabric
ShadePro Slide Out Fabric
You may have noticed when searching for a slide topper that there aren’t a whole lot of options or differences between them. It’s simply a piece of fabric that rolls out when you open your slide…or is it? Let’s take a closer look at our top pick, the Solera slide topper.
The Solera slide topper is made of heavy-duty vinyl with heat-welded seams. This helps keep the topper from sagging during heavy rain, preventing pooling that can lead to water damage and mold. It’s also rated to withstand temperatures down to -25 degrees Fahrenheit without cracking.
With options in size from 5’5” to 16’, this RV slide topper will help protect even the super slide-outs!
This includes a DIY installation kit and can be installed anywhere up to 5” above the slide box trim. This gives you the freedom to choose the best location for mounting your slide topper.
- Available in white or black
- Available in a range of sizes to fit your RV
- DIY kit saves money over having an RV shop install
- Instructions are vague
- May not include all the hardware, check before installing
At a little more than half the cost of the Solera slide topper, the Awnlux modular slide topper takes our award for the budget option.
The Awnlux ranges in size from 5’6” to 14’ and is available in black or white.
It comes with a DIY kit that can also be installed up to 5” above the slide trim box, saving you money over having your RV slide topper installed at a local RV shop.
What stands out most with Awnlux, besides the price point, is the excellent customer service team they have.
- Excellent customer service
- DIY installation
- Multiple sizes and colors
- Bolts tend to break, so holes may need pre-drilled
Best Replacement Fabric
If you own an RV that already has slide toppers installed, but they’re looking a little worse for the wear, you may just need to replace the fabric.
Before investing in a whole new slide topper system, if your topper still works as it should, check out the ShadePro RV slide topper replacement fabric.
This fabric is engineered for durability and to withstand harsh temperatures and rain without pooling.
It’s easy to install. In fact, it will probably take you longer to remove the old topper fabric than it will to install this replacement fabric.
The really nice feature of the ShadePro replacement fabric is that you don’t have to know the exact measurement of your current fabric. It is able to be cut to size with a pair of scissors.
- Cheaper than replacing the entire topper mechanism
- Easy to install
- Can be cut to size with scissors
- Fabric is folded when shipped which causes creases
The final option in our best RV slide toppers list is the Suncode RV slide topper.
Like the Solera, the Suncode is available in white or black material. The size range is 5’7” to 14’, so you won’t be able to use this slide topper on the super slide-outs.
The Suncode also covers slides up to 51” deep, compared to 48” for the Solera.
The one real complaint with this slide topper is that the instructions are vague and hard to understand.
With all the same features as the Solera and Awnlux and a price point that falls in between, the Suncode is a happy medium.
- Range of sizes
- Easy to install
- Covers toppers up to 51” deep
- Instructions are vague
RV Slide Toppers Buyer’s Guide
Now that you have a few options to consider when choosing an RV slide topper, you may have more questions about what to look for before deciding which topper to choose.
For maximum protection and less chance of sagging, make sure the slide topper you choose is made of thick fabric. A thick topper will also be less prone to cracking in cold weather.
Slide toppers come in several sizes to fit your slide. You’ll notice when ordering your slide topper the options have two sizes; for example, 6’ (5’7” fabric). The 6’ measurement is the overall size of the slide topper mechanism.
To order the proper size, you’ll measure the frame around your slide out – also called the flange. Place one end of your tape measure on the outside of one flange and have a friend hold the other end. The end-to-end measurement is the length of the fabric you will order.
Unlike RV awnings that have lots of colors and patterns to choose from, RV slide toppers only come in two colors: black or white.
RV Slide Toppers FAQ
What is the advantage of having an RV slide topper?
RV slide toppers help keep sticks and debris from accumulating on your slide and possibly damaging your seals when you pull your slides in. They also aid in helping shed rain, snow, and ice from the top of your slide and away from the slide seals.
One more advantage to a slide topper is that, just like your patio awning, they help keep the inside of your RV cooler in hot weather.
How do I keep birds from building nests in my slide?
The area between your RV slide topper and slide is prime real estate for birds to build nests. Short of removing their nests every time they start to build one, there isn’t a tried and true proven way to keep birds from nesting under your RV slide topper.
One suggestion is to place pool noodles between the slide and topper to take up the space where the birds want to nest.
How do I clean my slide topper?
What if I’m in an area with high winds?
We all know to bring in our awnings to protect them from high winds, but what about a topper that’s attached to your slide? Most RVers suggest either bringing in your slide completely or to within about a foot of being completely closed.
If you really don’t want to live in the cramped space while the wind is blowing outside (think all winter long!), an alternative is to tie your toppers down.
To do this, you can use either pool noodles or PVC pipe with elbows on the end. The idea is to run a rope through the noodle or pipe so that they lay flat on the topper. You can then pull the rope tight, pulling the slide topper down a bit – don’t overdo it – and tie the ends off under the slide.
Are there tips for installation that aren’t included in the instructions?
One tip that seems to not be included with most RV slide topper instructions is to seal around your slide with waterproof tape before installing the slide.
When installing the slide rail, make sure the screws are on the bottom. It looks like you’re installing it upside down, but this helps protect the screws from the elements.
Wrapping up the Best RV Slide Toppers
From giving your home a finished look to helping protect it and keep it cooler in the summer, RV slide toppers really are a great investment.
Is your air conditioner just not keeping up with the record-high heat? While an RV slide topper can help, it might be time to invest in a new RV air conditioner.
- About the Author
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Melissa Goins is a lifelong resident of Indiana and currently resides on a 15-acre homestead with her family where she has lived full-time stationary in a 2000 Travel Supreme fifth wheel for the past two years.
She has always loved traveling and in 2000 she and her husband purchased a fully self-contained semi truck and hit the road with their two kids, visiting all 48 contiguous United States and learning about our amazing country along the way.
Melissa has learned a lot about living full-time in an RV over the past two years and loves sharing tips and tricks with others — which is why she loves writing for Beyond the Tent. From staying cool in the summer to preparing for winter, to cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 12 in an RV, there’s so much to learn, enjoy, and share Beyond the Tent.
When she’s not writing or enjoying the great outdoors, Melissa loves to spend time with her family. She is a proud wife, mom, and grandma to three beautiful grandbabies.