Protec Covers vs. Specialised Covers – Science Decides
Here are some of the most important factors to consider.
Robust Stitching: Having a protective cover that’s been twin-needle lap-seamed by an expert team using bonded nylon thread ensures you have a solid product that won’t fall apart under stress and will last for years.
Tailored Fit: It’s critical to the safety of your caravan or motorhome that the product you cover it with is tailored to your specific make and model. Excess fabric flapping around in high winds could cause damage to the exterior.
Soft Interior: If your caravan or motorhome cover has an abrasive interior, there’s the potential that it could scratch the bodywork of your vehicle as it rubs against the panels in the wind.
Security: You don’t want your cover to blow off the first time the wind gets above 20mph. Security straps are vital to keeping your cover in place.
Aesthetically Pleasing: While the appearance of a cover doesn’t negatively or positively impact the functionality of a cover, nobody wants an ugly ill-fitting covered caravan or motorhome sitting on their driveway.
*We have all these elements in our products*
However, any outdoor storage cover for any vehicle is only as strong as the fabric it’s manufactured from.
There are two absolutely critical elements to consider before buying a cover …
- Is It Waterproof?
- Is It Breathable?
Let’s take a closer look at why these elements are so important.
It’s likely that one of the primary reasons you bought (or plan to buy) a caravan or motorhome cover is to keep your vehicle clean and protect it from extreme weather conditions. So, it stands to reason that your cover should be waterproof.
If your cover doesn’t have any waterproofness (this one actually is a word), rainwater will seep through the fabric and onto your vehicle. Caravans and motorhomes that have spent extended periods of time with moisture resting on their body while trapped under a non-breathable cover (we’ll get to that) can develop damp, mould, and mildew issues which can be very costly to rectify.
A premium caravan or motorhome cover should be able to repel rainwater from even the most severe storms without compromising the vehicle underneath.
While the waterproofery (?) of a fabric is relatively self-evident, it’s a little less clear why it’s essential to have a cover made from breathable material.
Morning dew, rainwater, and water vapor can find their way under your vehicle, and if it can’t escape as it evaporates you’ll find yourself with mould and mildew forming as long as your non-breathable cover lets your vehicle ‘sweat’.
A high-end motorhome or caravan cover should allow all moisture vapours to pass through the fabric and keep your vehicle dry. The faster the material allows the vapours to escape, the greater the longevity of your pride and joy.
*Both fabric samples were photographed using the same camera under the same lighting conditions.
If you follow us on social media, you’ll have seen us repeatedly refer to our covers as being “more breathable than our closest competitor’s”.
The internet is full of made-up facts and misinformation, so we’ll forgive you for asking, “But how do you know?”.
Well, we’ve had it tested. On multiple occasions.
However, to be confident that we can back up our claims, we wanted to make sure all our information was up to date.
It’s very common in the manufacturing industry to buy one of your competitor’s products to see how they stand up against your own.
So that’s what we did.
We bought a green caravan cover from Specialised Covers (our closest rivals both geographically and in terms of products). We took some of the fabric from their product, and along with a test sample of our own triple-ply material, we sent it to Satra Technology.
Satra Technology is an independent research and testing organisation that tests products and components to “European and international standards across a wide range of industry sectors”.
Satra has no dog in this fight; they’re not bothered which fabric has better waterproofness or breathability. Their only interest is in providing accurate data no matter the results.
Using the exact same tests under identical conditions, Satra Technology tested both the water vapour permeability (breathability) and water penetration (water resistance) of the two samples of fabric (listed in the Satra tests as Protex003 & Specialised Covers Torrent) from Protec Covers and Specialised Covers.
Satra Technology carried out the tests between 4/10/21 and 26/10/2021.
*Performed on the coloured side of the fabric*
Using a hydrostatic head, Satra tested how much water each piece of fabric could resist before it failed and allowed the liquid to seep through.
Satra Technology found the following:
- Protec Covers: Protex003 – 9.8 kPa
- Specialised Covers: Torrent – 48.1 kPa
Satra performed these tests on five separate pieces of the same fabric, and an average kPa was taken. While our Protec fabric performed consistently, the Specialised Covers fabric samples tested at 48.1, 49.2, 49.2, 50.1, and 50.3 kPa.
The short answer to that question is that Specialised Covers fabric is a little under five times more waterproof than our Protec equivalent. Our rival’s fabric can tolerate around 5 metres of standing water before it begins to fail, while our fabric maxed out at just under a metre.
You’re probably wondering why we’re publishing information that conclusively proves that our main rival uses fabric that’s more waterproof than our own?
The answer is simple.
If you have more than one metre of standing water on top of your caravan, keeping your vehicle dry will be the least of your worries.
There’s no doubt that Specialised Covers’ fabric is more water-resistant than ours, however, your caravan or motorhome cover does not need to be that waterproof, especially if the price of waterproofness is breathability.
*Performed on the reverse (light) side of the fabric*
Tests were carried out on both Protec and Specialised fabrics to determine how much water vapour could pass through the material, showing which was the most breathable.
Satra Technology found the following:
- Protec Covers: Protex003 – 20.4 mg/cm2
- Specialised Covers: Torrent – 5.6 mg/cm2
Our Protec fabric allows 20.4 milligrams of vapour per square centimetre to escape compared with 5.6 milligrams of vapour per square centimetre for Specialised Covers material.
Essentially, our fabric is 3.5 times more breathable than our rivals, so any moisture that finds its way under a Protec Covers customer’s cover will dissipate three and a half times more quickly than water underneath a Specialised cover.
The more quickly trapped water is allowed to escape from the surface of a caravan or motorhome, the less likely it becomes that your vehicle will suffer from damp, mildew, or mould problems.
The whole point of buying a full caravan or motorhome cover is to prevent your vehicle from getting damaged and dirty while you’re not using it.
There’s no sense in fitting a cover to guard against the external elements if the cover itself could cause separate issues that could be equally as damaging (Note: we’re not saying Specialised’s covers damage vehicles).
Our Protec fabric has sufficient waterproofivity to repel any rainwater that the harsh British weather can throw at it. Indeed, despite being technically less water-resistant than Specialised Covers fabric, both materials are equally adept at dealing with even the worst storms.
However, our superior breathability is unrivalled in allowing morning dew and any other sources of water vapour to escape, thus better equipped to avoid mould, mildew, and damp build-up and, ultimately, costly repairs.
A full caravan or motorhome cover is only as strong as the fabric it’s made from, and our Protec Covers fabric is the best allrounder of the leading suppliers of storage covers in our industry.