Under The Covers

Empire Covers Blogs and Postings

Which Ride? Infographic

Over the past few years, there’s been a lot of fuss over fictional characters. Stephenie Meyer created the romantic and mysterious Edward Cullen in her hit series, Twilight. The character caused quite a stir, creating diehard fan clubs, passionate online communities and an obsession with vampires. This popularity has been duplicated with author E.L. James’s 50 Shades of Grey, with fictional rich playboy Christian Grey as the leading man. We were interested about the characters for one reason: they drive incredible cars.

With the constant comparisons between the two characters, we of course, compared their vehicles. The fictional Edward Cullen drives a Volvo, (a currently outdated model), while Christian Grey drives a sleek new Audi R8 Spyder. While both are innovative, sophisticated vehicles anyone would love to drive, we want to know, which one is better?

Well, you tell us! We did a side by side comparison of the two cars, substituting the outdated Volvo with the new 2013 Volvo C30 T5. Vote for your favorite on our ‘Which Ride’ Facebook poll!

Empire Classics, the VW Van & Camper

 The Volkswagen Van is one of the most iconic vehicles in history.  After seeing this authentic VW Camper at the New Hope Auto Show, we got Volkswagen fever.  This beautiful restoration still has the vintage, classic VW interior:

We all know the history of the VW Buses, Vans and Campers. Known throughout pop culture as “the hippie van”, the oversized VWs quickly gained popularity throughout the 60′s. Many were customized with peace signs, oversized flowers, and bright colors. In those days, they definitely could have used a cover! Today, there continues to be a large community of VW Bus and Camper fans.

Like any classic car, there are hundreds of VW groups and organizations. Some VW fans restore the vehicles to their former glory, while others choose to completely customize their VW. We were curious about the continuing support for VW Vans and Campers, so we sought out the most creative VWs. What we found were some of the brightest, most unique looking VW Vans we’ve ever seen!


“Pretty as a Posey”
“Medic Van”
“Mellow Yellow”
“Convertible VW”
“Travel Size”
“Shiny and New”
“Wheels on the Bus”
“The Dark Knight”


Would you customize a classic VW? Which VW Van is your favorite?

Do You Need an Outdoor Kitchen?

Are outdoor kitchens the next big thing in home improvement? You might be surprised. Although some home designers predict the demise of outdoor kitchens and living space, home shows such as the Southern Ideal Home Show portray outdoor kitchens as a continuing trend.

Outdoor kitchens, which began to gain popularity around the recession, provide an air of class and sophistication to an otherwise ordinary backyard. Homeowners, no longer looking to splurge outside the home, sought out to make their homes as enjoyable and functional as possible. Cue the outdoor kitchen, which expands the family home outside, encouraging lively outdoor parties, family BBQs, and cozy outdoor dinners.

“An outdoor kitchen would be great for entertaining,” says Brittney Mosher of Raeford, NC. “When we host parties people are always going in and out. In for the food and out for the fun. With an outdoor kitchen the food and fun could all happen in one place.”

So what does an outdoor kitchen consist of? For most, it’s just like a wet bar with a stove, refrigerator, and additional storage. Of course, the perfect outdoor kitchen isn’t complete without patio furniture, and the proper protective outdoor materials.

While some homeowners see it as an unnecessary addition, others see it as a worthwhile investment. “I’d rather enjoy meals from a functional outdoor kitchen than go out to eat,” said homeowner Jessica King of Cary, NC at the Southern Ideal Home Show in Raleigh. “It’s the first thing I’m planning on putting in my home.”

Still unsure? Here’s 5 Things You Should Know About Outdoor Kitchens that may change your mind!

  • It’s easy to budget for. Outdoor kitchens can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000- it depends on your budget and expectations. However, seeing that most Americans spend at least $2,200 a year on eating out at restaurants, it may be more realistic than you may think to budget for an outdoor kitchen area.
  • It adds value. Outdoor eating areas have become the most social area of the home- and also add value to the overall home. Instead of the costly expense of adding a room to your house, outdoor kitchens are a less expensive option for creating more living space.
  • It’s affordable. It’s more affordable than you think. There are plenty of options to create an outdoor kitchen space, such as skipping the gas lines and just installing a standard propane powered grill.
  • You can do it yourself. DIY may be worth it- if you’re using durable materials.  Materials such as stainless steel, teak and brick are all excellent weather resistant options.
  • You may not need permits. Depending on where you live, you may be able to skip getting a permit. We highly recommend double checking with your local government. However, permits are only needed for gas, electric or water, or in the case the you’re constructing an addition onto the home. Forgo the permit process by using a propane grill, skipping electric, and go for a water heater. Regardless of your plans, check with your community first.

Get Your RV Ready for Winter

The leaves are falling and the temperatures are dropping- it’s almost time to park or store your RV for the winter. Winterizing your RV can be a daunting task, but in the end, extremely worthwhile. Taking the proper steps to winterize your RV can ensure that it will remain in great condition until it’s next use.

We’ve compiled a basic winterization process for various parts of your RV or camper. Remember, certain make and models may vary. Consult with your manufacturer or owner’s guide before beginning the winterization process.

 The Water System

Freezing water and liquids will damage your RV’s pipes, drains, etc. Water must be drained before the temperatures drop!

  • Turn off the water heater, remove water with a drain valve.
  • Drain the water tank, use a drinkable RV antifreeze to fill the tank. Makes sure the antifreeze is drinkable.
  • Run the water, flush the toilet, turn on faucets to make sure the antifreeze is moving through the system.
  • Be sure to double check with your RV manufacturer for specific instructions with how to winterize your water system. Different models may vary.

 The Tires

It’s important to keep your RV road ready- even in the winter. Taking care of your RV, specifically the tires, before winter begins will ensure that your RV will be in great shape for the warmer weather.

  • Make sure the RV is sitting level by inflating tires to maximum capacity.
  • Rinse tires of any stones or debris using a garden hose. For caked on material, extra soap and elbow grease may be needed.
  • Let tires air dry.
  • Cover the tires to prevent any possible build up of snow, dirt or mud during winter months.

The Interior

Even if your RV is closed and locked, pests such as mice, insects and birds may find their way inside. Be sure to go through the necessary steps to completely clean out your RV before winter.

  • Completely clear out the RV of any kind of food. Remember that mice and other pests will also eat inedible objects such as paper and cardboard.
  • Clean out appliances including fridge, stove and microwave. After appliances are cleaned, unplug them.
  • Vacuum and dust the entire interior of the RV. Don’t forget to vacuum behind, under and inside of cabinets, seats, and beds.
  • Close all windows and air vents.

The Exterior

 Remember that long term build up of dirt, road salt, sand and other debris can damage your RV over the winter months. It’s important to completely clean off your RV prior to parking and storing during cooler temperatures.

  • Rinse your RV front of back using cool water. Be sure to pay extra attention to the windshield, and other areas that will hold more debris.
  • Use a proper car washing liquid found at automotive retailers to wash your RV. It’s vital to only use cleaning materials specifically made for washing cars. Use a ladder to reach higher areas.
  • Completely rinse off your RV of any soap. Allow to air dry.
  • Cover your RV using Empire’s innovative, durable materials. A good RV cover will ensure that your RV will stay clean until the Spring. Be sure to use the included straps to get a tight fit.

 Be sure to visit our RV page to shop for the perfect water resistant cover!

Empire Patio- Frequently Asked Questions

Here at Empire, we understand it’s difficult to select covers- especially for patio furniture. Patio furniture comes in all shapes, sizes and materials, and it may be overwhelming to select covers that will fit properly. We frequently get asked questions about our patio furniture covers and material, so we created a patio furniture FAQ video to help answer them. If you can’t watch the video, here are all of our FAQs- with answers!

Are Empire Patio Covers waterproof? 

Yes, our patio covers are 100% waterproof. In the video, we show our material resisting water droplets. Regardless of the type of cover- signature material or our standard nutmeg covers, your patio furniture will stay nice and dry. Also, it’s important to remember not to allow water to “pool”. Pooling stretches out covers, and your furniture will not be completely protected.

How do I measure a chaise lounge?

To properly measure your chaise lounge, you need to measure the height, width and depth of your chaise. It’s vital to measure the most extreme dimensions, which is usually the arms of a chaise lounge. “Most extreme” means the widest or longest dimensions- wherever the chaise sticks out the most. See the video for clarification.

 How do I measure a table and chair combo?

Again, the most extreme measures. For a combo, push the chairs in and measure from one chair, to across the table, along the other chair. See 0:29 of the video for a specific example.

How do I measure a high backed chair?

It’s really important to measure high backed chairs correctly. You need to account for the height, width, and depth of the chair. It may be more difficult because of the awkward shape, however, the more precise the measurements, the better cover you’ll get!

How do I measure a grill?

Grills are trickier. There are hundreds of grills, all varying in dimension. We currently carry two grill cover sizes, so it’s important to not only get the one that will fit better, but to also use the included straps and buckles.

Remember, if we don’t have your specific question covered, don’t hesitate to call our sales team at 888.872.6855.

National Child Passenger Safety Week – The Ins and Outs of Car Seat Safety

50 years ago, no one would have ever thought to get a Child Car Seat inspected. Children’s car seats were equipped with basic seat belts, boosters and padding. Most car seats were put in the passenger seat.

Today, we know better. Child car seat safety has come a long way since riding shotgun in a circa 1950 Ford. Children no longer sit in the front seat. Until a child reaches the age of 12, in fact, they are supposed to sit in the backseat of your car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration strongly enforces child safety seats, and that all parents and guardians get car seats inspected after installation.

It’s actually very easy to understand why. In honor of National Child Passenger Safety Week, Empire went out and bought a car seat to explore the various safety features. What we found was that car seats, while very safe, could also be very complicated.

Here’s what we learned about installing a car seat:

  • Car seats are organized by age. Infants and toddlers will have different car seats than preschoolers and young children.
  • Infants and toddlers will have rear facing car seats, while preschoolers and young children will face forward.
  • Read the instructions included with your car seat, front to back. Call the manufacturer with any questions about safety features or installation. Also, review your vehicle manual to review how to install a car seat in your make and model.
  • When choosing a car seat, choose by height and weight over age. Some children develop later than others.
  • Fill out the registration form that comes with your car seat. It’s free to send in, and the manufacturer will have your information in case your car seat gets recalled.
  • After installing your seat, check out the Child Car Seat Inspection Station Locator before use. Certified technicians will make sure the seat is properly installed.
  • If you’re involved in a serious car crash, replace the car seat. Fender benders and crashes without any injury usually do not apply to this rule. Double check with local certified technicians or your manufacturer to be certain.

List of Hilariously Overused Boat Names

Everyone at Empire wants a boat. When it comes to names, we’re stumped. What can you name a boat that hasn’t already been used? Well, one it comes to funny boat names, we’ve got you covered! We compiled a list of hilarious, yet overused  boat names and turned it into a neat infographic!

What’s your favorite hilariously overused boat name?

What’s in a Boat Name?

The Minnow. The Titanic. The Mayflower. Iconic boat names throughout history and popular culture. So what’s in a boat name? We compiled the most overused yet hilarious boat names in our recent boat infographic. And yet,during our trip to the Atlantic City In-Water Boat show, we came across a few unusual boat names we hadn’t heard of.

Spotted in Atlantic City- the “No Drama”

A clever play on words- the “Broke-Lynn”. Brooklyn. Get it?

The “Scandalous”

All the boat names got us thinking- what would we name a boat? Although we don’t have any boat owners at the Empire Office, we pooled the staff and asked them to name some of the incredible new 2013 models we saw while at the Atlantic City In-Water Boat Show. When it comes to original boat names, we’ve got you covered- just like with our actual covers! Remember- it’s only bad luck to change the name of already named boats!

Our PPC Analyst Ashley named this sleek, navy blue Sea Hunt “Mermaid Magic”.

“Mermaid Magic”

 Empire’s Sales Manager, Chad, cleverly named this Bennington pontoon boat “Yacht Sea”.

“Yacht Sea”

Rachel from Sales channeled her inner Andy Samberg and named this yellow Tidewater, “I’m on a…”

“I’m on a…”

Sales team member Alex must be a Johnny Depp fan. He dubbed this Sea Hunt as “The Black Pearl”.

“The Black Pearl”

Our Returns Manager Dave named this one the “S.S. Runham”.

“SS Rumham”

Natalie from Sales went Zoolander and named this Scout, “Blue Steel”.

“Blue Steel”

Our CEO Jake named this red Sea Fox, “My Brilliance”. Oh, Jake!

“My Brilliance”

 Our social media manager Melissa is a Star Wars fan. She named this Tidewater the “Millenium Flounder”.

“Millenium Flounder”

 What would you name a boat?

Empire Classics: Triumph

With every midlife crisis, every sweet 16, and every visit to a classic car show brings an overwhelming desire for a brand new, classic automobile. What classic cars lack in functionality, they make up for in appearance, value, and status. For most people, the determining factor in purchasing a vintage car is the price tag. Jalopnik reported that a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT recently sold for a whopping $10,976,000 at auction. This vintage 1969 Aston Martin DBS Coupe is listed for 72k on Hemmings.com. The popular beach ready 1947 Plymouth Station Wagon Woodie we talked about in our summer classics post lists for a staggering 140k.

                     So how does a vintage loving, classic car enthusiast afford a great-looking timeless automobile? With a Triumph- a vintage Triumph Motor Company car, that is.

Vintage Classic Triumph at the 16th Annual Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance

Classic Red Triumph at the New Hope Auto Show


                     When it comes to affordability, upkeep and style, Triumphs still “triumphs” in affordability and upkeep. A classic car for the every man. Here are some great, cost-conscious Triumphs we found that could be yours!


This 1978 Triumph Spitfire 1500 is available on Hemmings.com for $4,800. With 47,000 the red orange car has updated black interior with an included tonneau top.
The owner states that car needs a new exhaust system and some paint touch ups.


 This 1961 restored Triumph TR3A is currently for bid on eBay. At time of post, the car was up to $10,950 USD, a steal for such a sleek, stylish car. The car has 51,880 miles, and has a canary  yellow exterior, black interior. This stunning car would definitely need a cover! The seller describes it as “a driver, not a concours restoration”, or in other words, the perfect car for someone looking to use this car on a weekly basis.

This gorgeous 1967 Triumph TR4A Roadster is listed on Hemmings.com for $14,250 with about 15,000 miles. Although the car has newer parts, it’s possible to make it a complete restoration. The car offers an original interior, with almost all new or upgraded parts, with exception of a broken odometer. This classic Triumph is the best of both worlds- a great road car with room to become a classic restoration.


 This incredible 1972 Triumph Stag is listed on Classic Car Ads for $10,500. With only 41,000 miles, this hazelnut colored classic car is the perfect weekend car. It runs well and is in good condition. The seller does state that the car needs new carpet, but that’s a sacrifice we’d be willing to make.

Would you want to buy a Triumph?
Which of our Triumph finds is your favorite? 

16th Annual Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance

We all remember the infamous Ferrari scene in the 1986 hit Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. After being encouraged by the popular and insatiable Ferris Bueller, (Matthew Broderick), the non-confrontational, awkward Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) accidently drives his father’s classic 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Spyder through a two story window. For classic car owners, it was a gut-wrenching moment, the visualization of their greatest fear. A beloved prized possession, a result of hard working, passion and diligence, completely destroyed in a few short minutes.

The 16th annual, three day long Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance at Radnor Hunt was all about celebrating exceptional vehicles such as the 1961 Ferrari. Starting on Friday, Sept. 7th with a Barbeque at Radnor Hunt, the event spanned over three days with the Chester County Road Rally, Black Tie Gala, Silent Auction and Art Show Preview on Saturday, and The 100 Motor Cars of Radnor Hunt on Sunday. At The 100 Motor Cars of Radnor Hunt event on Sunday, Sept. 9th, visitors got a glimpse of a Gatsby-esque era of pristine vehicles, a time of style and class. Attendees marveled over the rows of invaluable, spectacular Ferraris, Cadillacs, vintage coaches and carriages.

The event was reminiscent of a time where a drive in a car was an occasion, not an everyday occurrence. Many attendees snapped photos of the elegant vehicles while enjoying cold glasses of lemonade. Frank Sinatra wafted over strategically placed speakers, audible from any area of Radnor Hunt. The scenic Radnor Hunt, home of one of the oldest fox hunts in the country, provided a stunning backdrop for the event. Cars were posed as if they were models in painting- flawless, immaculate vehicles overlooking the rolling, green pastures of Radnor, PA.

It’s hard to explain the passion and excitement over seemingly “old” cars to anyone who doesn’t share the enthusiasm for them. The picture perfect antique vehicles, although functional, are rarely driven to preserve their value. Why own a car that will just stay covered up in a garage? The classic cars on display were more than just automobiles- they’re collectors items, immaculate works of art. For a car enthusiast, a classic Cadillac can cause the same awe-struck, inspired feeling as a rare painting or sculpture. Classic vehicles are an echo, a memory of when automobiles were all about sophistication and status.

Check out our photos from this year’s Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance on our Facebook page!
Which classic car is your favorite?