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RV awnings are a great way to relax outside in any weather—rain, snow, or sun—you’ll be protected from anything pouring from the heavens.
However, sometimes they can easily break, especially when your RV comes with a pretty standard model.
If you’re looking to upgrade to something a bit more durable and long-lasting, you’ve come to the right place. The following article will show you what to look for.
Comparison of the Best RV Awnings
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Types of RV Awnings
Just like every market, there will be products that belong to different variations, and some variations will have features or qualities that are unique to them. The following section will discuss these different types in more detail.
These can be easily set up and easily stored away without any hassle. They come with metal frames that can be simply folded up when not in use. They can be purchased in both electric and standard versions with the electric version being as simple as pushing a button, the manual is extended using a crank.
This type is designed to shield you from all the elements with the help of a fiberglass or plastic frame. They act perfectly as an RV equivalent of a conservatory. However, the downside with these is that they’re a lot more work to assemble and the whole process is time-consuming. They’re only useful when you plan on staying in one place for a few weeks or more.
A screen room is more or less an extra room, quite similar to a shelter style. However, they’re mainly made from fabric without solid materials like fiberglass. They’re great at keeping bugs out as they’re made from mesh to offer plenty of ventilation.
How to Choose a New Awning
Choosing your next investment is important and the task shouldn’t be taken lightly as you can easily mess it up. However, in the following section, we will guide you in choosing the right model by highlighting the best features to look for and qualities to keep an eye out for before buying.
It’s important that you find one that uses a durable material that will survive environmental pressures like rain, wind, snow, and sun. For people who travel throughout spring and summer, a breathable acrylic style would be best. If you’re traveling through the winter, a more heavy-duty vinyl would work best against the elements.
A huge aspect that people often don’t think about is the part where you have to install and set up. Depending on which type it is, you could be there for a few minutes or up to half an hour. Choose something that’s practical yet comfortable.
Does It Match?
This part isn’t as necessary, but no one wants one that doesn’t match their RV color scheme. Choose something that matches the exterior of your RV or just get a plain color that won’t clash.
Review of the Best RV Awnings
This is the most important part of the article as this will help you choose from some of the best on the market. The following section will include details on the features, pros, and cons of each product.
Carefree Drop EZ ZipBlocker
This ZipBlocker is used to provide shade for when the sun is too high or too low for your standard model to provide cover. The bright light can be blinding, but with this accessory you’ll be able to enjoy any time of the day. You simply attach the top half into the awning and the lower portion uses a zipper.
The open weave fabric will cut out 85% of the sun’s light to keep your family cool and happy. You’ll have a fairly simple set up as it only comes in two pieces. When you’re finished, you won’t need to take it down, just fold it back up into the RV for next time. With your purchase, you’ll get a storage bag, spikes, and some zip ties, everything you need to get started.
This is more of an added accessory to your current set up. However, it offers many benefits like added comfort from blocking out the blinding sun. Other benefits include the fact that it’s easy to use and doesn’t require you to uninstall it, just fold it up with the current model.
Your purchase also comes with everything that you need for installation and storage. The only downside to this is that it won’t protect you from the sun’s glare on the sides, meaning you’ll need to move your RV around slightly.
Best for the Money:
EZ Travel Collection Shade
This is currently the best budget product on the market. You’ll get all of the same benefits and features of a normal model. It effectively blocks out the sun by 80%, which is almost as effective as the best overall.
This option slopes down diagonally, which makes it feel as though you’ve added an extra room to your RV. The material used is a 100% woven polyester with a durable vinyl finish that protects from the elements and adds strength. You’ll receive a few products with your purchase, including various ground pegs for different types of ground.
This budget pick offers the same features as the previous model by blocking out the sun and protecting you from the elements. However, the other benefits of this include a durable material that’s protected against any falling debris because of the vinyl finish.
You’ll also feel a lot more comfortable and secure with the help of those various pegs and the way it angles down into the ground. The only downside with this product is that it doesn’t offer any protection from the side, this could be catastrophic if the rain changes course because of heavy wind.
Best Complete Kit:
Tentproinc RV Awning Sunshade
This is a great addition to any RV as it can effectively block out 86% of all UV light and successfully protects from glare. While it might block out the majority of sunlight, you’ll still benefit from a great view. The comfortable feeling of this is undeniable as it offers a spacious yet cozy shaded area on hot days.
You’ll also be able to break any gusts of wind with help from the four sets of plastic stakes. This is also compatible with most other brands, meaning that it can be successfully paired up with another model for more shaded cover. You’ll also receive a storage bag with your purchase.
This option will effectively provide shade from 86% of the sun’s light while also providing adequate cover from gusts of wind. You’ll be protected from the sides by attaching it to the side parts as well. A big advantage is that it’s compatible with most other brands, so no worrying about the installation process.
You’ll also have a helpful storage bag to use that will always come in handy. The only downside to this is that it’ll take two people to take down and fold away. Another downside is that the pegs aren’t the best for staying in the group. However, this depends on if the floor is hard or soft.
Best Slide Out Awning:
Lippert RV Solera
This 10.5-foot awning has a width of 126 inches, which creates a decent space for you and your family to relax during the hot summer day. The solid black material will help block out any sunlight without risking your gorgeous view.
The full layout can be permanently attached and automatically retract and extend. It will protect you and your family from more than just the bright sun, it can protect against even the finest of dust, smoke, leaves, bugs, and debris.
This is designed to protect you from some of the environment’s finest of problems such as dust and small bugs. This is a great benefit for you and your family. The large space offers plenty of ground to relax but still has a cozy feeling because of the perimeter around you. The pure black material blocks the sunlight so much and is a blessing to anyone that owns it.
The downside with this is that after a while the material may begin to tear and rip quite easily. Another downside is the overall delivery and customer service of the product, many times the product hasn’t been properly packaged.
Best Electric Awning:
Solera Smart Arm RV Awning
This electric awning is the future and one of the best on the market. The smart unit will protect from the standard rain and bright sun. However, this can all be taken down with the push of a button. The touchpad is waterproof and fairly easy to control, it can even be mounted inside your RV.
Other features include angle adjustment so you can adjust to suit what time of day it is for the perfect shade. If you find that rain has started to collect on the canopy the automatic rain dump feature will release this water and return to its previous position.
The material itself is quite durable as its made from premium vinyl, this material will even survive the freezing temperatures that usually cause damage. Everything you need will be included in your purchase.
This electric awning offers an extremely convenient way to enjoy the sun without being blinded. Being able to place the control panel inside your RV is a great advantage as you won't need to leave the comfort of your RV if it’s raining or cold. The cutting-edge features are really helpful, particularly the auto rain dump feature and the adjustable canopy height to accommodate for the time of day.
Another great benefit of buying this is that it uses high-quality materials that you can count on to retain its strength even in the most horrible environments. The only downside to using this product is that the whole installation can be confusing and can also take a while before it’s ready to use.
Best Awning Sunshade:
Tentproinc RV Awning Sun Screen Shade
By effectively blocking out 86% of the sunlight, you’ll still be able to enjoy your view and benefit from the warmth the sun provides, just without the nasty glare. You’ll get a comfortable enclosed feeling from this as it can be opened out diagonally, which closes you off from the outside environment, this is done using the pegs provided.
It doesn’t just block out sunlight, it’s great protection against any high-winds or other environmental factors. You can also pair this with most other brands as they’re made to be compatible with one another.
This is amazing at blocking out any sunlight or other elements from entering your own declared space. Other benefits are a lot smaller, regardless, the carrying bag that’s provided is a great advantage to anyone needing somewhere to store it.
You’ll also benefit from the compatibility quality. The only downsides of this are that the pegs aren’t as strong as you might hope and that it takes two people to pack away, which is just more wasted time if you’re traveling alone.
Best Awning Tent:
Carefree Vacation'r Screen Room
This tent provides your family with an extra room to work or play inside, this extra room will be open and will offer protection from any elements, including rain, wind, snow, or bright sunlight.
The way it works is by connecting to your current awning, it will also add an eight-foot extension to your setup. The whole setup process is simple just like it is for taking it down, you’ll even have a place to store it in the carry bag provided with your purchase.
This full tent awning is an amazing benefit for anyone with a young family that wants to create more space in their RV. The benefits to your family are that it’s protected from the outside climate and is quickly set up.
You’ll also greatly benefit from the simple storage method using the carry bag that’s included. The only downsides to this product are that it won’t last through a storm as heavier or more solid structures would, and that there’s no decent ventilation within the tent, after a while, it’ll begin to become more humid.
Best Awning Tie Downs:
Cajun Tie Down Kit
If you’re tying down your extension or sun blocker, you’ll want it to be secured to something that you can trust. This tie down kit is one of the best on the market for many reasons. The first of those reasons being that it’s made from polypropylene, which will ensure the material doesn’t rot, become moldy, or retain water, which ultimately weakens the material.
These heavy-duty tie downs will be able to withstand up to 1,500 lbs. of force, you’ll also receive screw-in auger anchors with rings which will bury themselves deep into the ground so they can’t be ripped out.
This tie down kit is one of the best on offer as you’ll greatly benefit in times of storms from the heavy-duty tie downs and screw-in anchors that will be buried a few inches into the ground. This is so they can’t be ripped out.
The polypropylene material that’s used is also great for limiting any damage caused by continuous use while outdoors, you’ll greatly benefit from no mold, water retention, or rot on your sturdy straps. There weren’t any noticeable disadvantages to using this product, so this product really can be voted the best of its kind.
Best RV Window Awning:
Carefree IE0557A00 SL Premium Charcoal
What Recent Buyers Report
The majority of buyers were very happy with their purchase and found the awning to be extremely easy to install. Users stated that it worked and looked great, and were pleased with the fact that it included all the pieces needed for installation.
Why it Stands Out to Us
This Carefree awning primarily stands out to us because of its red Gore TENARA Thread stitching. This thread is UV and fade-resistant and is unaffected by saltwater, weather, and acid rain. This model will also reduce the heat inside your RV and will help limit the use of the air conditioner.
Boasting a modern, clean look, this unit compliments your RV and helps keep it cooler. It also comes with standard arms, awning rail, and everything else needed for installation. All in all, this Carefree Window Awning improves fabric integrity and looks perfect for every RV.
Dometic 8ft Camping Trailer Awning
This model will simply be installed into your pop-up RV. It offers plenty of space for anyone that’s looking to do some camping for a few days. It’s designed to be hand-rolled and placed into storage.
Offering some great shade for anyone that’s trying to get out of the sun, this is quick and simple to set up. It’s also compatible with most trailers so you won’t need to worry about the installation process.
There are some basic advantages such as, being able to offer a decent shelter, it protects you from the elements and is easy to store away. One downside is that it will take two people to roll this up by hand.
Best Awning Extension:
Carefree Canopy Extension
This extension is one of the best for good reason. The white vinyl extension is durable enough to survive anything the elements can throw at it, including, rain, heat, and snow.
The way it works is by sliding the extension into the 3/16" free slot that’s at the end, this extension offers you an additional 8’ of canopy to utilize.
The whole installation is simple, you just need to slide it into the roller tube, set the legs, install the straps and stakes, then you’re good to go. The simple carry bag is a great way to store your canopy extension.
This extension is great for when you want some extra space for your family to enjoy in the shade. When you’re finished with the extension, it’s easily stored in the carrying bag that’s provided. Taking it down is just as easy as putting it up as everything is already provided to you.
You’ll never need to worry about durability either, as it's made from high-quality vinyl. There are a few downsides to using this extension. The first being that the poles will fall down when the wind hits them, the second is that it doesn’t provide any protection for the sides.
When Would an RV Awning Come in Handy?
An awning is a great addition to every RV. The right model offers numerous benefits and increases the usefulness and versatility of your RV, making your camping trip more exciting and fun. It can come in handy for several reasons, including:
Keeps Your RV Cool
A high-quality awning protects you and your RV from harmful ultraviolet rays. It prevents sun rays from entering your RV, thus ensuring a cooler interior during hot summer days and preventing furniture and carpets from fading.
Adds a Virtually Bug-Free Outdoor Room
An RV awning can protect you from rain if you’re sitting outside. It also offers protection and shade from weather and wind, among other things. With the right accessories, RVers can use the awning to create an extra sleeping or living room with doors, fly screens, lighting, windows, and curtains.
Enhances and Complements the Look of the RV
The right awning can add architectural style and aesthetic appeal to your RV. Since it helps block sunlight and cools down the interior, the awning controls and lowers the electricity consumption of the RV.
What Are The Components of an RV Awning?
An RV awning consists of several different components. Each of these parts is highly flexible and allows users to install the awning on their RV. The main components of an RV awning include:
A torsion bar or steel square bar absorbs the stress enforced by the wind. The bar is mainly used to attach installation brackets and to secure the awning to your RV.
Usually made of durable and heavy steel, the roller tube provides proper tension on the awning’s fabric. High-grade tubes are rust protected on both the inside and outside.
The arms are the core of every RV awning. High-quality models are usually made with inner springs, weather-resistant cables, and thick-gauge aluminum profiles. They’re also designed with stainless steel bolts and self-lubricating, high-resistant bearings.
Front Bar Connectors
Front bar connectors join the front rail of the awning to its arms. This connector is highly flexible, thus enabling it to move in windy conditions and absorb wind load. This prevents the wind from moving throughout the awning and protects it from structural damage.
The fabric is the most crucial component of an awning and is available in a wide range of materials. Lightweight polyester usually dries quickly after rain, enabling RVers to handle it quickly and easily. Acrylic is a costlier option, but it boasts a rigid construction and will last several years.
Common RV Awning Issues
An RV awning helps cool the interior of the RV, thus reducing the stress on your RV’s HVAC system. To help you tackle any problems that may arise, here are the solutions to some of the most common RV awning issues:
How to Adjust Spring Tension on an RV Awning
After heavy use, an RV awning may look a bit saggy or limp. This is a common problem that can be solved by readjusting the spring tension. You can readjust spring tension by following these steps:
- Remove the screws to free the support arm.
- Tighten the tension knob positioned on the tension arm to ensure it stays in place.
- Place the arms in a straight and upright position. Make sure there’s some ground clearance as well.
- Rotate the arm positioned at the front of the awning in a counterclockwise manner.
- Repeat the above step with the support arm positioned at the rear, but rotate it in a clockwise manner.
- Unscrew the tension knob, place the support arm in the tension arm, and secure it by tightening the screws.
How to Remove Stains From an RV Awning
In order to remove stains, you’ll need to use a high-grade cleaner to wash the awning. Make sure you completely remove the cleaning solution and then air-dry the awning properly. Once it is thoroughly dried, you can apply a surface protectant to ensure the awning stays clean for a longer time.
How to Tighten the Spring on an RV Awning
Once the support arm has been inserted in the tension arm, you’ll need to make one complete counter-clockwise rotation of the front support arm. Make sure you don’t over-tighten the spring, and then make one clockwise rotation of the support arm positioned at the rear.
How to Repair an RV Awning
Before you repair the awning, make sure you assess and measure the tear. If it’s less than three feet in length, you can easily repair it with clear awning tape. However, if it’s longer than that, it’s advisable to purchase a fabric that’s of similar consistency and color as your RV’s awning and use it to patch the tear.
How to Prevent Mildew On an RV Awning
In order to prevent mildew, you shouldn’t store the awning when it’s wet. Let the fabric sit in the sun and make sure it’s dried completely before you start rolling it up.
How Do I Fix My RV Awning?
Although the specific steps of repairing your RV’s awning varies according to the awning’s condition and the type of damage, you can fix your awning by following this process:
- Inspect the awning and determine the type of repairs needed.
- Remove the awning, laying and stretching it completely on the ground for easier repair.
- Fix tears and small holes using clear repair tape.
- Fix larger holes using an awning patch kit.
- Reattach the awning after completing all repairs.
Aspects to Consider Before Buying
There are certain considerations that you need to keep in mind before buying. The following section will discuss these considerations in more detail.
The various types will be able to offer different benefits. However, many times they also hold the same value in terms of downsides. You need to make sure that you are ready for the long installation and set up times that some awnings require.
The weather can make a huge impact on the effectiveness of your setup, if you’re traveling somewhere during the winter months or the weather just isn’t great, you need to be prepared for it and understand if your layout can handle it.
Another consideration to make is how often you’ll be traveling, there would be no point in buying a shelter if you’ll be constantly on the road. These types are made for people that will be settled for a week at a time or longer. If you’re staying in a campsite for a day or two, you should go for a retractable model.
Replacing Your RV Awning
Whether you're replacing your current one either due to damage or because of how old and dirty it has gotten, it can be done in three easy steps. To do so, you need:
- Cotter pin
- Needle nose vice grip
- New awning
1. Find the Right Fit
It is imperative to get the model and make of the awning for your RV. Of course, the appearance is important, but if it doesn’t fit, it will just be a waste of money.
Roll down the awning by one foot and keep it locked in place by putting a cotter pin into the holes on each of the end caps. Now, keep rotating the inner shift until all the holes line up. Next, bend the ends of the pins to lock it in place.
Next, using the needle-nose vice grip, reach through the arm of the awning and use it to clamp onto the assembly attachment plate. Have a friend complete the same process on the other side. Doing so disconnects the arm.
Now, disconnect the lag bolts that hold the rafters up to your vehicle. You’ll need a wrench for this. After this, take out the screws holding the fabric to the rail with a screwdriver. If you see some additional rivets, then you’ll have to drill them.
You’ll now be able to raise it and take the fabric, tube, and arms away from the RV. With the help of a friend, unwind the fabric as you continue to go.
Now, remove the cotter pins and unwind the springs present on each side. Make sure to remember the number of turns you make to relieve the tension. During reinstallation, you’ll have to set it to the exact point.
On the tube, mark the placement of the cam handle before removing the torsion assembly. Now the tube is completely released, you can raise it out of its place and unroll the fabric.
3. Install the New Fabric
Carefully put the new fabric onto the tube. After you center the fabric, make sure to tuck the cords of the fabric into the tubing ends.
Reconnect the torsion assembly, making sure to align it with the marks you previously made. Now make sure to rivet it into its place.
Now, to each end of the torsion assembly, return the tension using vice grips to hold on to the springs as you wind it to the number of turns you noted earlier. After that, insert the cotter pin. Repeat these steps on the other side too. Finally, screw the arms into place to reconnect them.
For reconnecting the rail, feed the cord into it. Now reattach the arms to your RV and reassemble the bolts. You can now take the vice grips off of the assembling plate and then test it out to make sure it is easy to move.
If all of these steps sounded confusing, here’s a video that practically shows all the steps being followed.
There are plenty of variations that you can choose from and they’ve all got their own set of benefits and equal disadvantages. This article has hopefully helped you choose which best suits your traveling style.
People Also Ask
People often have more questions regarding these, which we have tried our best to address here. Following you’ll find the answers to questions people mostly have before they are fully sure of their investment.
With so many different types of fabrics available, choosing the right RV awning can be a very confusing and time-consuming task. To ensure you make the right choice and to clear away any confusion you might have, here are some of the most frequently asked questions:
What is an Awning?
An awning, also known as an overhang, is a secondary covering that is attached to the RV’s exterior. It is mostly made of polyester yarn, vinyl, or cotton. Its primary purpose is to provide shade from various weather conditions.
How Much Does an RV Awning Cost?
The cost of an awning depends on quality and type. The price can range anywhere from $200 to $4000. The more complex an RV awning is, the costlier it will be.
How Much Wind Can an RV Awning Withstand?
An RV awning can withstand winds lower than 20-25 MPH. Even if the awning is a bit sturdier, the fabric may rip, and the awning might get dislodged from the RV if it is exposed to stronger winds or severe weather.
How to Measure RV Awning Fabric
The size of an RV awning is measured from one arm’s centerline to the other arm’s centerline. The size of the fabric will be around 10” less.
How to Open an RV Awning
Opening one involves the following steps:
- Squeeze the release mechanisms found on the side of the arm to unfasten the lock.
- Loosen the rafter knobs and set down the ratchet mechanism so that it is in the roll down position to release it.
- Grip the pull-down strap loop and the pull rod to extend it. Now slide the arms upwards and snap them in their place.
- Now secure it by drawing the tube while simultaneously moving it downward to create tension.
- Tighten the knob on the tension arm, repeating the same on the other too.
- Now, for extending it fully, hold the lift handle and remove the catch pin. Now just move it upward and pull it until it reaches its full height. Finally, secure the catch pin.
How to Close an Awning
Closing it involves these simple steps:
- Lower the arms using the pull-down strap.
- Loosen the rafter knobs present on the back of the arms. Do the same thing for the rafter catches.
- Set the rafters at a rest position. Simultaneously, prevent it from rolling up by itself.
- Now, set the ratchet mechanism to the roll-up mode. This can be done by the switch present near the top.
- Next, connect the hook and the pull strap to wind it up. Once done, remove the hook.
- Keep the handle releases locked and secure the travel locks too.
- Lastly, make sure the rafter knobs are secured so that it doesn’t open up automatically.
How to Clean an RV Awning
To get rid of the mildew, as well as the stains, you have to do the following:
- Use a high-quality cleaner for washing it. Ensure that the cleaner you choose is suitable for outdoor vinyl and fabrics.
- Once it is cleaned thoroughly, use a surface protectant on it. For fabric models, it is best to use commercial grade fabric guards. Meanwhile, for vinyl ones, high-quality surface protectants are adequate. Note that your spray should be soil-resistant, long-lasting, and stain and water repellent.
- Reapply the protectant spray periodically to not only help it stay cleaner for longer but also to dry out much faster.
How to Replace RV Awning Fabric
Replacing the fabric involves taking down the awning and then installing it again after putting the new fabric in place. All these steps have been outlined above, and the video above will also help to clear out any confusion.
How to Install an RV Awning Rail
The first thing to do is take measurements since this will make your task easy. Next, make sure to use the bolts and screws that come with the awning. Now, place the railing in accordance with the measurements you made previously and attach the screws. Note that you shouldn’t use a power drill to tighten the screws as you’ll just over-torque them, reducing the structural integrity of the railing.