Why are Motorhomes White?


Motorhomes come in many different shapes and sizes but the majority seem to be the same color…white. With so many colors out there for other vehicles, it’s hard not to wonder why many RVs are the same basic color with some decals thrown on top.

Campervan moving through a lavender field in Provence, France
Photo 129832162 © Leonid Andronov | Dreamstime.com

So, why are motorhomes white? Motorhomes and travel trailers tend to be white because light colors are better at reflecting the sun and heat. It is also cheaper for manufacturers to stick to one color scheme and also makes the RV more visible while on the road or camping.

We all have our own preferences as to how we want our campers to look. Here, we’ll be showing you some of the main reasons why the usual color of an RV is white. If you’ve ever wondered why then continue reading to learn more about white motorhomes!

White Reflects the Suns Heat

The color white is very good when it comes to reflecting the sun’s heat. This makes it very efficient in keeping the temperature inside the RV consistent.

Reflecting some of the sun’s heat in summer is a simple way to reduce your air conditioner usage and power consumption. Especially if you are camping in the wilderness in the middle of summer you want to conserve generator fuel as much as possible.

Black and other darker colors aren’t very good at reflecting away heat because they instead absorb it. Motorhomes that are black easily absorb the sun’s heat, making them like an oven when left in direct sunshine. You obviously don’t want to stay inside a hot RV, right?

The bodies of RVs are also normally covered by aluminum or fibreglass along with very thin walls. This provides very little insulation. If your RV is a dark color it will just worsen this situation and heat up the internal temperature of your motorhome much quicker.

There was also a widespread study decades ago when a white and a dark-colored RV was parked side-by-side at the same time and place. The temperature was then measured among the two campers and the difference was very significant.

The white RV was much cooler than the dark-colored one. Since then, RV manufacturers decided that white will be the standard color to give clients better comfort. 

Cheaper Production and Manufacturing

White paint is cheaper compared to darker colored paints. Because of this, RV manufacturers decided to use only white paint for the exteriors of motorhomes.

Not only does this cut down their expenses in production and manufacturing, but they can also sell the RV for a much lower price, which again, makes this more sellable and marketable to a wider demographic. Or if you want to be cynical keep more profit for themselves.

White is the cheapest paint color because you don’t have to mix different colors into it. If you wanted a green RV you need to mix shades of yellow and blue together. You would likely need more coats of paint for darker colors to cover better.

Motorhomes aren’t made for style, but instead, for functionality and convenience. There is little point to having fancy colors unless you really want your RV to stand out, then a custom paint job is for you, but it will cost you extra.

Physical Reminder for Maintenance

Another reason why it’s useful to have a white RV is to serve as a physical reminder of the miles you’ve clocked in. When your motorhome shows the dirt it reminds you your camper has been through a lot and drove through various rugged terrain.

Photo 2736177 © Natalia Bratslavsky | Dreamstime.com

Giving your camper a thorough cleaning on the outside (and inside) helps you see what areas might be in need of some TLC. While you are scrubbing down the exterior you can make note and take care of any parts that need to be tightened or replaced.

A white finish also makes it easier for you to see new scratches, dents, or damage on your RV just got so that you can fix or replace it as soon as possible. It helps you know if your RV needs something, at least in a physical sense, if it’s painted in white.

Safety

If you’ve got a motorhome, then you are in the outdoors. It might be in the wilderness, forest, desert, riverside, or other natural environments. And whether we like it or not, Mother Nature is and will always be unpredictable.

It’s always best to ensure your safety while RVing and one good way of doing that is by having your camper and equipment as visible as possible. And what better thing to apply that than to your RV, knowing that it’s the biggest “thing” you bring with you.

A white RV means you won’t bump into it or trip over it in the dark. While that might sound a bit silly, but that’s very possible knowing that there’s little to no visibility when you’re out in the woods in a star-less night sky alone or gathering with your friends. Especially if there have been a few beers involved.

Anything can also happen, such as accidents. If worse comes to worst and you’re caught in an accident such as slide off the road or you’re crying for help, then a white RV will be more visible to rescuers compared to a black motorhome or a dark-colored camper.

Longevity and Quality

Another nice thing about having your motorhome painted white is the better durability and service life of the paint. White paint is better quality compared to other colors because it doesn’t fade as colors do.

White paint won’t chalk up and oxidize as fast as the dark-colored paint options either. Motorhome manufacturers know this which is why most, if not all custom RV paint is white. They want RV owners to have their rigs looking good as new even if they’re already many years old.

Even light off white colors like beige tends to fade when exposed to direct sunlight over the year.s

Open for Customization

We want our motorhomes to look as nice as possible. One good way of doing just that is by having it painted in white because lighter colors adapt to any customization you want.

Adding custom decals to your trailer or motorhome is a simple way to quickly customize it. With a light neutral background like white you can pretty much go with any color or pattern and still have your stickers be visible and not clash.

You can also consider custom accessories. You might want to add a stylish-looking chrome roof rail and rack, or perhaps a shiny chameleon-themed ladder on your RV’s rear. Having any of those accessories will look just right on your white RV because the color is already neutral.

If you really aren’t enjoying the white of your RV you can also look into getting a custom paint job done. But this is an expensive upgrade since having a professional repaint your motorhome may easily cost you over $5000 depending on the size of your RV.

A Clean, Style, and Trend

Many RV paint shops also attest to the fact that white RVs look clean. They are classy and elegant even though they’re simple in color. Overly colorful RVs can be an eyesore especially if they have a hodgepodge of colors. Less is more and that’s what white RVs are.

Photo 95649199 © Larry Gevert | Dreamstime.com

White RVs are the current trend. Not only are they stylish, but they also have become the standard of what camper vans should be and look like. Many people also accept that an RV should be white as they’re used to seeing white camper vans.

Because of this, motorhomes have remained and will stay white in the years to come. This means as your RV ages it’s crisp, white paint won’t show it’s age as easily as other colors.

Conclusion

Motorhomes are white because they keep the interior’s temperature cooler and makes them more visible on the road and in the wild outdoors, making RVing a little safer.

It gives you free rein as to what kind of customization you want to do to it because of its neutral color. White paint also lasts longer than other colors.

And last but not the least, is that it has become the norm and standard of what RVs should look like, thus making it a trend that’s expected to stay for the foreseeable future.

If you are just getting started RVing and you want to know what are the absolute essentials to have with you in your RV check out our RV Essentials page which will show you the products we use every day.

Diane Dee

Diane is a lover of all things travel. She and her young family wanted to explore North America from the comfort of their own home so they bought an RV. After fully rehabbing a 1994 Safari Trek, they set out to explore both Canada and the USA.

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