How Much Snow Can A Camper Roof Hold?

Camper vans and RVs are a popular way to travel and explore new places. However, while out exploring one must consider how much weight their roof can safely hold. Heavy snowfall is common during winter in cooler climates. It is important for camper owners to understand how much snow their roof can manage before it becomes too risky.

Imagine settling in for the night in your camper only to wake up to discover several feet of snow piled high on the roof. The weight is so great it risks caving the roof in and causing damage. Knowing the limits of your roof can help you enjoy winter adventures while staying safe from snow load dangers.

For your camper roof to keep you safe and cozy during winter storms, it needs to not break under the weight of falling snow. Different things change how much snow a roof can take. This story will tell you what changes how strong a roof is and give common rules to follow. Following these rules will let you enjoy living in your camper no matter the type of weather.

What Affects How Much Snow A Roof Can Take?

What Affects How Much Snow A Roof Can Take?

There are different things that change how weight a camper roof can hold from snow. Let’s learn what they are.

Roof Material

The stuff used to build a camper roof matters a lot. Some roofs are stronger than others.

  • Fiberglass and Plastic Roofs: Fiberglass and plastic roofs can hold the least snow. Fiberglass tops usually have trouble with more than 1-2 feet of snow piling up. Plastic or rubber roofs may even break under 6-12 inches of snow load.
  • Aluminum or Steel Roofs: Metal roofs like aluminum or steel hold the most snow. They usually don’t bend or break until having 2-4 feet of snow. Metal roofs are the strongest.
  • Roof Pitch: The slope or tilt of a camper roof also affects its strength in snow.
  • Steep Roof Slopes: Campers with pointy, steeply sloped roofs can take more snow. That’s because steep roofs let snow slide off easier than flat roofs. Steep roofs probably hold 1-2 extra feet over flat roofs.
  • Low or Flat Roof Pitches: Flat or low-sloped roofs hold onto snow piled in layers. The weight stacks up fast on these roofs. Low roofs need to avoid more snow buildup.

Camper Size

Naturally, bigger campers have roofs that can bear greater snow weights than small campers.

  • Travel Trailers Under 20 feet: Little travel trailers may struggle with 1-1.5 feet of snow load. Their short and narrow roofs have less surface area.
  • Fifth Wheels 26-32 feet: Mid-sized 5th wheel campers can often take 2-3 feet before their roofs become strained. They have more roof space and strength.
  • Large Motorhomes: Enormous Class A diesel motorhome roofs may handle 3-4 feet of snow in a real pinch if built well. But it’s safer to stay under 3 feet accumulation if possible.

Age Of The Camper Roof:

As roofs become older, they lose some toughness over time exposed to weather. Old roofs need more cautious snow limits even if the camper model can usually take more weight.

Signs Of roof weakening

Cracks, dents, or water pooling on an older roof mean it isn’t as solid as it once was. Give older roofs a smaller margin of safety in snowy weather.

  1. Keep attachments clear: Parts sticking up from the roof add weak points where snow can pile densely. Keep vents, antennae and solar panels broomed clean frequently when it snows. Don’t let snow build up excessively around attachments.
  2. Monitoring the Forecast: Pay attention to snow predictions. Know when multiple inches are coming so you can prepare. With 1+ foot expected, consider temporarily relocating if possible. It’s better to be safe than risk your roof during huge storms.

General Guidelines For Camper Roofs And Snow

General Guidelines For Camper Roofs And Snow

Now that we understand the factors, here are some basic rules of thumb:

Roof TypeSnow Load Limit
Fiberglass roofs1-2 feet max
Plastic/rubber roofs6-12 inches max
Aluminum/steel roofs2-4 feet usually okay
Small trailers (<20ft)1-1.5 feet max
Mid-sized RVs (26-32ft)2-3 feet usually okay
Large pusher RVs3-4 feet in big storms if new
Old roofs (15+ years)Go lighter on snow limits
General GuidelinesKeep attachments clear always
Monitor forecasts for big storms

Remember, these are just estimates. Every camper and roof is different. Use caution once snow piles over half of these amounts. When in doubt, relocate to be safe if a big snow is on the way.

Staying Safe And Comfortable In Your Camper All Winter

With a bit of preparation using these guidelines, camping in winter storms need not be risky. Some additional tips help too.

  1. Routine Roof Checks: When it snows, do regular checks to make sure your roof isn’t showing any new cracks or bends from the weight. Clear off snow as needed.
  2. Roof Raking and Shoveling: Use a roof rake or long-handled snow shovel to remove layers of built-up snow before it piles too high and heavy. Stay safe on ladders.
  3. Create Snow Diverters: Hang tarps from the edge of your roof or use garbage cans filled with snow and water. Diverting snowbuilds helps lessen direct weight on the roof itself.
  4. Park Sloped if Possible: When selecting your campsite, choose a spot with some natural rear slope if you can. Letting snow naturally slide harmlessly off the back edge offers relief.

Occasional RV Re-Location

In huge predicted storms of 2+ feet, drive your camper elsewhere if parking spots are available. Neighborhood shelters can better withstand heavy snow. It’s worth short-term relocation for safety’s sake when big dumping seems sure to happen according to dependable forecasts. It beats risking roof damage or collapse that is difficult and costly to fix later.

With some basic preparation using common sense on weight factors and snow amounts accordingly, camping in winter need not be off limits. Enjoy exploring no matter the season when done thoughtfully for safety. Have fun playing in the winter wonderland too, from inside your sturdy camper shelter.

What Is A Typical Snow Load For A Roof?

What Is A Typical Snow Load For A Roof?

A normal snow load that most roofs can handle before issues happen is around 20 pounds for each square foot of space on the roof. To figure out how much your roof can hold, you need to know how big it is.

For example, if your camper has a roof measuring 20 feet long by 10 feet wide, that’s 200 square feet. So at 20 pounds per square foot, its roof could safely support around 4,000 pounds of snow before it might start to bend or leak.

FAQ’s

Can my roof collapse from snow?

What many folks don’t realize is that during huge snowstorms, the snow piling on the roof can weigh more than it can handle. This can damage the roof over time by weakening its frame. If left like this, the damage may cause the entire roof to finally give way and collapse in.

Can snow be too heavy for roof?

Packed snow from previous storms is very heavy, so be careful of old snow. A roof can handle less than 2 feet of old snow mixed with new snow, as together they weigh a lot. Just 2 feet of each type could cause the roof to break under the weight, especially if ice is involved too.

What does 30 lb snow load mean?

The rules for homes say roofs must not break under at least 30 pounds of snow per square square. The building boss said roofs can hold 4 feet of light fluffy snow, 2 feet of packed down snow, or around 6 inches of water before problems start.

What is the best roof pitch for heavy snow load?

Roofs that tilt down steeply at more than a 6:12 angle tend to naturally shed lots of snow easily. But roofs flatter than a 1:12 tilt are a big mistake where it snows a lot. Metal roofs that let snow slide off well may do okay even at a low 2:12 or 3:12 tilt since snow won’t build up as much.

Final Thoughts

How Much Snow Can A Camper Roof Hold? Now you know how different aspects of a camper roof influence how much snow it can withstand before becoming a danger. Use these guidelines and monitoring forecasts to make smart choices about safety when the white stuff falls from above.

With a little preparation, snowy weather needn’t stop you enjoying your camper home. Stay warm and cozy through all kinds of weather by being mindful of your roof’s limits above. Happy and safe winter camping adventures to come.

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