9 Best RV Awnings To make your outdoor space more usable & enjoyable


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When I was a new RV owner, I had no idea how easy it would be to damage my RV awning.

But it only took leaving it out on one particularly windy and rainy night for it to become completely compromised. 

That left us in the unfortunate position of having to replace our RV awning entirely. 

And while this is certainly a position that I hope you never have to encounter, it’s still good to know what to look for when you’re evaluating the best camper awnings. 

Whether you need to replace or upgrade your RV awning, this is one RV accessory that you have to get right.

From sizing to ease of installation, there are many different factors to consider before you ultimately purchase one of the best awning for your RV, camper, fifth-wheel or travel trailer. 

The good news is that you’ve found yourself in the right place today.

We’ve canvassed the market to bring you our top selections for the best RV and camper awnings and we’ll also cover everything you need to know to select the right awning for your particular rig. 

Read on to find out which is the best replacement awning you need to protect your rig from the sun, rain, and more. 

At A Glance: Our Top Picks For The 9 Best Manual And electric RV awnings for your rig Of 2021

8 Best RV Awnings Reviewed In 2021

So here's the golden question:

Which one is the best portable sewer tank on the market?

As you read through these RV awning reviews, pay close attention to the specifics of what we liked and didn’t like about each awning model.

That will give you a great initial impression of whether or not each of these awnings will make your initial cut.

Below are the best manual and retractable camper awning reviews. 

Here you can find out which RV awnings is the best to transform the space in front of your camper or travel trailer into an enjoyable, relaxing area.

Best Overall RV Awning

1: ALEKO Manual Retractable RV Trailer Awning

Our choice for the best overall RV awning is the ALEKO manual retractable RV trailer awning because it offers simple manual operation and can be extended or retracted in less than a minute by a single operator. 

This frame size of this camper retractable awning measures 10 feet long by eight feet wide and includes a black fade color pattern that does well to retain heat in the colder months.

The PVC fabric material on the awning is resistant to UV light and protected against the buildup of mold or mildew. 

The size of the fabric itself measures nine feet by eight feet and the awning frame allows you to manually adjust it to several different heights depending on the time of day and the sun’s position in the sky.

Things We Like
  • Easy Operation: This awning includes a pull strap that makes it easy to use even for one person.
  • UV Protection: Provides ample sun protection during the summer and can also help to retain heat in the cooler months.
  • Mold and Mildew Resistant: The material won’t accumulate mold or mildew that can decrease the life of your awning.
  • Affordable Price: This is a very reasonable camper retractable awning to replace your awning when compared to some other models on the market.
Things We Don't Like
  • Manual: Some RVers might not like it because it does require manual operation.

Best Electric RV Awning

2: Carefree VXJE50HW 12V Electric RV Awning

If you’re looking to replace or upgrade the electric awning on your RV, the Carefree VXJE50HW Eclipse Arm Set/Hardware Awning is a great choice because runs off the standard 12-volt RV battery power supply and it offers Carefree’s exclusive Instant Pitch adjustments. 

This RV awning is designed for motorhomes and travel trailers that are already wired for an electric awning.

With the push of a button, you can extend it to its full eight-foot width and it doesn’t require and locks or latches to keep it securely in place once it’s extended.

The motor also holds the awning in place once it’s fully retracted. This keeps it from billowing in the wind and protects it from sustaining damage while you’re driving.

This awning arm set and hardware package also comes with its own wall switch to install inside of your RV for easy operation. 

Electric camper awning package includes the arm set and hardware necessary to replace the structure of your existing electric awning.

You should be aware, however, that it doesn’t come with the roller tube assembly to be attached to the ends of the awning arms, which will need to be purchased separately.

Things We Like
  • Electric Operation: This electric awning can be hardwired into a 12-volt connection for push-button operation.
  • Easy Security: The arms keep the awning safe and secure when it’s extended and retracted.
  • Hardware Included: It comes with everything you need to install the arm set and wire the wall switch into your RV.
  • Instant Pitch Adjustments: This awning can be extended to an almost-endless number of positions and it remains securely in place no matter whether it’s fully or partially extended.
Things We Don't Like
  • No Roller Tube Assembly: You’ll need to purchase the roller tube assembly separately to complete the installation of this electric RV awning.

Best Slide-Out Awning Topper

3: Black Slide 10'1" Fabric Topper Awning

If you’re searching for an awning topper for the slide-out on your RV, travel trailer, or 5th wheel, we’d recommend the Solera Black Slide Topper Awning because it provides a nearly-universal fit and comes with the complete awning rail and all mounting brackets. 

This awning is designed to fix to the side of your RV above a slide-out so that rain or other debris doesn’t accumulate on top of the slide-out.

This particular model has a frame size of 10’6” and the awning fabric itself measures 10’1” long.

That length can actually range from 116 inches up to 121.75 inches, depending on fit. 

When selecting the right size awning for your rig, make sure to pick a length that extends at least 2.5 inches past either end of your slide-out to ensure complete coverage.

This awning topper extends up to 50 inches, which is about eight inches longer than the competition. 

It also features solid black awning fabric and matching black hardware.

This makes it the ideal slide-out awning topper for RVs, travel trailers, and 5th wheels that already have a dark exterior finish and it also helps to retain more heat for winter RVing.

Things We Like
  • Complete Package: This awning comes complete with the awning rail and mounting brackets for easy installation.
  • Extension: This awning topper can extend up to 50 inches away from your rig, which is an average of eight inches longer than the competition.
  • Black Fabric: Matches best with darker RVs and helps to heat retention for winter RVing.
  • Variable Length: Can reach up to 10’6” in length for longer RV slide-outs.
Things We Don't Like
  • Slide-Out Use Only: This awning is only made to be installed a slide-out on your rig.
  • Price: For an awning that simply covers a slide-out (and not an outdoor living space), this topper has a comparable price tag to some full-sized RV awnings.

Best Awning Screen Room

4: Solera 14' Family Room Awning

The Solera Family Room is our obvious choice for the best awning screen room because it’s the best option for creating a fully-enclosed outdoor living space right off the main door of your RV and underneath your existing awning. 

This family room fits most 14 foot RV awnings and it can be installed on either electric or manual awnings.

Its gray fabric color is designed to complement the existing color scheme of your RV.

Gray can be a great color for an camper awning because it has a higher likelihood of matching (rather than contrasting) the exterior colors of your rig. 

The Solera Family Room is also built to accommodate travel trailer awnings with a ground-to-rail measurement up to 130 inches.

That is the height from the ground to the outside rail of the awning when it’s fully extended, and that provides nearly 11 feet of overhead clearance under the awning and family room. 

While it’s best suited to Solera, Carefree, and Dometic awnings that extend up to eight feet off the side of your rig, it can be installed on other RV awnings with a similar measurement. And the family room has a total weight of less than 28 pounds. 

Once installed, this awning enclosure is accessed from the outside using fully zippered privacy panels.

These panels keep out wind and rain and also give you a private outdoor living space in otherwise-crowded RV parks and resorts.

Things We Like
  • Privacy: This product creates a fully-enclosed, private area for outdoor lounging underneath your existing camper awning.
  • Compatibility: Works with 14’ x 8’ awnings from a variety of brands (and other lengths are available from 10 feet up to 21 feet).
  • Weight: With a maximum weight under 28 pounds, this family room won’t add a dangerous amount of weight to your awning.
  • Price: This family room has a very reasonable price tag considering the privacy and weather protection it provides.
Things We Don't Like
  • Awning Accessory: You’ll need an intact awning in good condition in order to install this family room underneath.
  • View Impediment: If you intentionally parked your RV to enjoy a view, installing this family room could get in the way of your sunrise and/or sunset photos.

Awning Screen Room - Runner Up

5: Carefree 291800 Vacation Room Awning

If you weren’t quite sold on the Solera Family Room, then our runner up for the best awning screen room is the Carefree 291800 Vacation’r Screen Awning.

It’s also going to be a better option for you if you have a longer travel trailer or  because it’s made to be installed on awnings between 18 and 19 feet in length. 

This screen room can also fit awnings with rail-to-ground measurements between 86 and 150 inches, which makes it extremely versatile.

It can also be installed on manual or electric awnings without concern over it compromising the functions of some 12-volt awnings with a rain dump feature. 

It is made for awnings with an eight-foot extension away from your RV and it will add a total of 24 pounds to your set up.

But when it’s not in use, you can easily fold it up and store it underneath your rig in its very own lightweight storage bag. 

The Vacation’r is easy to install on your existing awning in order to provide protection from the sun or winged insects trying to bite.

This replacement travel trailer awning also creates a completely private outdoor living space where you can relax, which is especially nice for those times when you’re packed into a crowded RV park.

Things We Like
  • Length: This screen room is built for longer awnings from 18 to 19 feet in length.
  • Versatility: It works with electric or manual awnings and can fit awnings with a wide range of rail-to-ground measurements.
  • Easy Storage: It easily disassembles and packs away in its own storage bag when you’re not using it.
  • Privacy: Creates a completely screened in area for privacy and protection from the elements.
Things We Don't Like
  • Need Existing Awning: This product must be installed on an existing travel trailer awning that’s in good condition and fits the specified size requirements.

Best Awning Sunshade

6: Tentproinc UV Blocker Mesh Screen RV Awning

If you’re searching for a sunshade to attach to your existing travel trailer or fifth-wheel awning to keep the UV light from blasting you during hot afternoons, look no further than the Tentproinc RV Awning Sunshade. 

This sunshade can be installed on existing RV awnings from brands like Carefree, Dometic, Solera, and others.

It blocks about 86 percent of harmful UV rays without impeding the lovely view that you worked so hard for. 

The sunshade measures eight feet wide and 15’3” long. So it’s designed for 15-foot RV awnings at a minimum, but it can also be installed on larger awning arms.

In addition to blocking harmful UV rays, this sunshade also lowers the temperature underneath your travel trailer awning. 

So this is really an ideal product for hotter climates or summer RVing.

And it also helps to protect your RV awning from the potentially-damaging effects of crosswinds. 

The sunshade blocks and redirects these winds so that they don’t get underneath your awning and place stress on the points where it’s secured to your rig. 

The Tentproinc RV Awning sunshade is easy to install and remove as needed.

It comes with four sets of plastic stakes and bungee balls to secure it to your RV’s awning arm and then tie it down to the ground at the bottom edge. 

And when you remove it, you can pack it up into its compact storage bag and keep it tucked away in one of your RV’s underneath storage compartments.

Things We Like
  • Sun Protection: Provides an additional sunshade for your awning when the sun gets low in the sky without compromising your view.
  • Temperature Regulation: Helps to lower the temperature underneath your awning for more comfortable outdoor lounging on hot days.
  • Easy Installation: Comes with everything you need to secure it to your awning arm and stake it down to the ground.
  • Affordable Price: This is an extremely affordable solution for providing more shade underneath your RV awning.
Things We Don't Like
  • Need Existing RV Awning: Your RV’s existing awning will need to be intact and long enough to install this sunshade on if you purchase this product.

Best Awning Sunshade - Runner Up

7: Carefree 701508 EZ ZipBlocker Drop RV Awning

Those of you that weren’t quite satisfied with the sun-blocking capabilities of the Tentproinc Sunshade shouldn’t leave before checking out the Carefree 701508 Black Drop RV Awning EZ ZipBlocker. 

This sunshade fits most popular brands of awnings and measures 15 feet long by eight feet wide.

It can, of course, be installed on longer awnings if you’re not worried about complete coverage, but you’ll need an awning with a minimum length of 15 feet for this sunshade to fit adequately. 

It is super easy to install, however. The top edge simply slides into the empty slot of your awning and the lower portion unzips and unrolls.

This makes it much easier to reach and also allows it to be stored in a more compact space when it’s not in use. 

The EZ ZipBlocker is made with an open weave, vinyl-coated polyester fabric that blocks up to 85 percent of the sun’s harmful rays.

And it does so while still allowing you to enjoy the view that you intentionally parked your RV so you could enjoy.

Things We Like
  • Two-Part Design: Panels zip together to make them easy to reach without the need for an RV ladder or step stool.
  • Easy Application: The top edge of this sunshade simply slides into the empty slot in your awning arm and then unrolls. 
  • Compatible Fit: this sunshade will fit on most popular brands of RV awnings with a minimum length of 15 feet.
  • Blocking and Cooling: Blocks up to 85% of UV rays while also lowering the temperature underneath your awning.
Things We Don't Like
  • No Storage Bag: You’ll need a small duffel or storage bag to protect this sunshade when placing it underneath your RV.
  • Stakes Not Included: You’ll need to get creative to stake or tie down the bottom edge of this sunshade.

Best Camper Awning

8: Dometic 944NS11.FJ1 Camping Trailer Awning

Those of you that need to specifically replace an 11-foot RV awning on a smaller camping trailer would do well to consider the Dometic 944NS11.FJ1 Camping Trailer Awning because it’s lightweight and easy to use. 

The edges of this awning include zippers so that you can easily attach a Dometic screen room or something like the Solera Family Room. 

It comes with all of the hardware and poles that you need for a complete installation without having to make multiple trips to your local RV superstore. 

This awning material is a light sandstone color, which is best for reflecting heat and keeping space cool during the summer months.

So, as you might expect, it’s ideal for summer camping or full-timers that stick to warmer regions. 

Note that this awning doesn’t come with the awning rail itself, which is typically factory installed directly on our RV.

So you’ll need to measure your existing awning rail and ensure that it’s at least 11’6” in length if you want to purchase this awning.

Things We Like
  • Zippered Edges: This allows you to easily install a screen room or sunshade on the awning.
  • Length: With a length of 11 feet, this awning is ideally suited for smaller camping trailers.
  • Comes Ready To Install: It includes the poles and all required hardware to install right out-of-the-box.
  • Light Color: Reflects heat for summer RVing or trailer camping.
Things We Don't Like
  • No Awning Rail Included: You’ll need to have an intact, factory-installed 11’6” awning rail on your RV or trailer to complete this installation.

Best Replacement Awning Fabric

9: SunWave Ocean Blue Fade Fabric Awning

If there’s nothing wrong with the mechanics of your RV awning and you simply need to replace its fabric, then check out the SunWave Awning Fabric with its Ocean Blue Fade color pattern. 

This awning fabric is made out of durable, 15-ounce vinyl fabric, which is ideal for rainy or cold climates because it’s 100% weatherproof and sheds water better than awnings made with acrylic fabrics. 

It’s also designed for a 16’ awning rail and the fabric itself measures 15’3” long by eight feet wide.

It includes a ¼” poly cord on the top edge for easy installation on the existing rail on your RV.

It also features a 3/16” poly cord on the bottom edge to install in your awning’s roller tube. 

This awning fabric replacement is best suited for manual awnings and is certainly compatible with awnings from brands like Carefree and Dometic.

It may be compatible with awnings from other brands, but I’d check directly with that manufacturer before purchasing this replacement awning fabric.

Things We Like
  • Vinyl Fabric: Provides excellent weather protection for rainy or cold climates.
  • For Manual Awnings: This fabric is compatible with 16’ manual awnings from several popular brands.
  • Easy Installation: It is designed to easily install on the rail and roller tube of your existing awning setup.
  • Color Pattern: This awning’s ocean blue fade color pattern is ideal for coastal camping!
Things We Don't Like
  • Fabric Only: This product is simply a replacement for awnings with ripped or torn fabric. It is not a complete RV awning solution.

Choosing The Best RV Awning

Now that you’ve evaluated our selections for the best RV awnings, it’s time to start narrowing down your options.

As you read through our Buying Guide, start thinking about which of the above awning models check your boxes and eliminate those that don’t. 

How to Choose the Perfect RV Awning Size

The first thing you’ll need to do before you choose a new RV awning is to get the appropriate measurements of your RV.

If you still have your old awning, the easiest way to proceed will be to measure its dimensions and use them to select a new awning that’s the exact same size as your old one. 

But if you’re completely renovating an old RV or replacing an awning that’s long gone, you’ll need to get a little more creative.

Start by looking up at the side of your RV where you imagine installing an awning. 

If there’s a clear strip or siding or mounting material where an old awning was, you can measure its length to get an idea of how long your awning can be.

If this isn’t there, you’ll have to rely on the total length of your RV or consult your RV’s manufacturer directly.

Most replacement awnings are designed to cover either half or one-third of the total length of your RV.

Anything longer than that can be much hard to set up and breakdown, and it can also be more susceptible to damage from high winds or heavy rains. 

But in addition to the length of the awning and your RV, you should also look at what’s called rail-to-ground measurement.

This is the distance from the ground to the outer arm of your awning structure when it’s fully extended.

Knowing this distance will help you choose an awning that’s fully compatible with your rig. 

Mechanics of Use

When it comes to an awning’s mechanics, you’ll be able to choose between an awning that extends and retracts electronically or manually.

Right off the bat, I’m going to recommend a manual awning if your RV isn’t already electronically set up for the alternative.

This is because dealing with re-wiring your RV’s electrical system can easily become a bigger project than you bargained for if you don’t have electrical experience. 

That being said, many newer RVs are set up for electric awnings and these are by far the easiest to use.

They are also much safer for solo RVers because you don’t need to worry about the mechanics of setting one side of a manual awning in place at a time. 

Operating a manual awning by yourself can be a hassle. And if you don’t do so carefully, you can place unnecessary tension and torque on the entire awning.

Doing this too many times in a row can damage or decrease the lifespan of your entire awning. 

So if you’re a single RVer or you simply want to maximize the life of your new awning, I’d recommend an electric awning.

The only downsides of electric awnings include higher price tags and the fact that your RV’s electrical system should be set up for one before you make a purchase. 

If you’re a traveling couple or you want to find a more wallet-friendly awning replacement, then I’d go with a manual awning.

Once you learn how to operate them, they really aren’t that difficult.

As long as you’re careful extending and retracting them, you can also expect them to last for many years to come. 

Ease of Installation

When it comes to installing a new awning, we’d like to lead off by saying that we recommend hiring professional assistance to do so unless you have considerable experience renovating RVs and ensuring that they are weatherproof when you’re finished. 

The problem with simply screwing a new awning into the side of your RV is that you’ll need to seal those screw holes once you’re done.

And if you don’t use large enough bolts, you’re more likely to find yourself with an awning ripped out of the side of your RV after a heavy wind storm. 

Having been there and dealt with that, I highly recommend prioritizing an awning that’s easy to install and finding help to do so.

Because a subpar installation will only cause you more damage and lead to fixing larger issues down the road. 

RV Awning Materials

The bulk of RV awnings these days are either made of acrylic or vinyl material.

Each of these materials has its own pros and cons, which we’ll break down and discuss in greater detail here: 

Acrylic RV Awnings

Acrylic awnings tend to be better for warmer climates or summer RVing.

This is because they are more breathable than vinyl and, as a result, they won’t hold in as much heat.

While acrylic awnings can be a bit more expensive than vinyl options, they tend to be quite durable so that they last for years. 

The main downside of acrylic is that its breathability also means it’s not 100% waterproof.

With this awning material, you’ll sometimes deal with water seepage through the material.

This especially happens if you make contact with the underside of the awning, which is why this material isn’t preferred for rainy climates or winter RV trips. 

Vinyl RV Awnings

If absolute weatherproofing and water resistance is your priority, you’re going to need an awning made out of vinyl material.

This material won’t allow water to seep through and it will also retain more heat because it’s nowhere near as breathable as acrylic material. 

Vinyl also tends to be more lightweight than acrylic, which means it can dry much faster when it does get wet.

But that lightweight nature also means that some vinyl awnings aren’t as durable and long-lasting as their acrylic counterparts. 

Appearance

The appearance of your RV awning is largely going to come down to its color of the design of the pattern on it.

Because most people don’t see the top side of your awning (unless they climb on your roof or fly over in a helicopter), the pattern on the underside is typically of more importance to RV owners when it comes to appearance. 

Most RV and camper awnings come in a variety of colors, but the best place to start is to try to match the color of your new RV awning to the exterior color scheme of your RV itself.

For instance, an RV with a light exterior of mostly whites and beiges can sometimes look weird with a dark green awning. 

At the same time, there can be practical considerations when it comes to the appearance of your RV awning as well.

As you probably know, lighter colors tend to reflect heat from the sun while darker colors tend to absorb it.

So a darker-colored awning can actually hold in more heat and make the space underneath it warmer as well. 

Conversely, a lighter-colored awning will usually allow some level of natural light through the awning material, even if it blocks 100% of UV rays.

This can create a more well-lit, friendly environment underneath your awning, whereas a dark-colored awning can sometimes create a much darker, gloomy appearance underneath. 

Lastly, some awnings have a striped or varied color pattern on their underside.

So you’d do well to consider how you’ll enjoy the appearance of that pattern when you’re lounging in a chair and looking up at your new awning. 

Your Preferred Outdoor Living Space

Another consideration you should make before choosing one of the best RV awnings is what exactly your preferred outdoor living space looks like.

If you don’t really plan to set up a lot of outdoor furniture underneath your awning, you might not need the largest or most full-coverage awning and sunshade option out there. 

But if your style involves living full-time in one or two locations throughout the year, you probably have a more comprehensive outdoor living space to set up each time you relocated. 

As I mentioned earlier, I believe that designing a comfortable outdoor living space is imperative to healthy RV living.

And that can come with all sorts of considerations depending on the weather and the environment in which you live. 

For example, while full-time RVers in warmer climates may not have to deal with concerns over freezing overnight temperatures, they probably deal with more insect life throughout the calendar year. 

In their case, then, it would make sense to have a fully-enclosed RV awning like the Solera Family Room because it gives them a comfortable outdoor living space that’s still protected from mosquitoes, flies, bees, and other winged insects. 

On the other hand, full-time RVers that like to move around a lot probably won’t want to spend the extra time to set up and break down something like that family room every time they get to a new destination. 

In their case, an awning that’s easy to put up and down is probably going to be preferable.

And they might choose something with or without a sunshade, depending on how much time they really spend in their outdoor living space and which direction they always prefer to park their rig in relation to the sun. 

So, Which Is The Best RV Awning?

If the awning on your RV is truly compromised and you need to replace it entirely, then our choice for the best overall RV awning is the ALEKO Manual Retractable RV Trailer Awning. This awning is 10’ in length by eight feet wide, which makes it best suited for smaller RVs or travel trailers.

It’s also made of a lightweight PVC fabric material that dries quickly and is resistant to mold, mildew, and UV degradation.

And the best part about this RV awning is its simple, electricity-free operation, which allows you to set it up in less than a minute!

But if your existing awning is still in decent shape and you want to create a completely enclosed outdoor living space underneath it, then we’d recommend checking out the Solera Family Room because it attaches to a variety of RV awnings and doesn’t impede critical functions of some electric awnings. 

This RV awning solution is the perfect choice for RVers in warmer climates that tend to experience more insect life.

It gives you the ability to enjoy the comfortable outside temperatures while still being protected from pesky mosquitoes, bees, and other winged insects.

And if you’re looking for something to keep the sun from baking you while you’re sitting under your awning late into the afternoon, we’d recommend the Tentproinc RV Awning Sun Shade.

This product includes a mesh screen that blocks the sun and provides more UV protection for long afternoons reading a book under your awning. 

The mesh screen on the Tentproinc awning also helps to break crosswinds and reduce their effect on the awning component itself.

It’s relatively easy to install and is compatible with awnings from many of the most popular brands that come pre-installed on today’s modern RVs, travel trailers, and 5th wheels. 

Camper Awning Frequently Asked Questions

Before you finalize your RV awning purchase, there’s still a bit more to learn.

So by addressing the most frequently asked questions about RV awnings, we hope to provide a few important insights about how to use and maintain your new RV accessory. 

What are the best RV awning brands?

Because it’s constantly exposed to UV light, wind, rain, and other environmental factors, a quality RV awning needs to be durable and weatherproof.

For our money, the best RV awning brands include Solera, Dometic, Tentproinc, SunWave, ALEKO, and Carefree. 

What are RV awnings made of?

Most RV awnings are either made of vinyl or acrylic material. Acrylic awnings can repel water somewhat effectively, but they aren’t 100% waterproof.

With these awnings, making contact with their underside can sometimes result in water dripping or seeping through the awning material. 

But vinyl awnings are as close to 100% waterproof as you’re going to find. Vinyl is a laminated fabric that doesn’t allow water to seep through it.

And that’s true regardless of whether you make contact with the underside while it’s wet or not.

So if you frequently travel where the likelihood of rain is higher, we’d recommend choosing an awning made of vinyl material. 

vinyl or acrylic What is the best RV awning material?

This really depends on where you do most of your RVing and what environmental conditions you encounter. 

Acrylic RV awnings are better for warmer climates because they are more breathable and also dry more quickly when they get wet. Viny awnings are better for colder environments because they retain heat better than acrylic. 

And even though they don’t breathe as well, vinyl awnings are better for rainy environments because they are more waterproof than acrylic awnings. 

How to choose the right size RV awning?

To choose the right size RV awning, start by measuring the length of your RV.

On most rigs, the awning will take up either half or one-third of the total length of your rig. However, there are a small number of exceptions out there. 

So the best way to ensure compatibility of your awning is either to measure the exact dimensions of your old RV awning or directly consult the manufacturer of your rig to get their recommendation on the appropriately sized awning for your RV, travel trailer, or 5th wheel. 

How do I open my RV awning?

Most RV awnings either open using an electrical or manual operation.

Once properly installed, the former simply requires that you check for adequate awning clearance before pushing the button that corresponds with your awning’s electrical operation. 

For manual awnings, you’ll need to begin by unfastening the locks that keep the awning tightly in place while you’re driving.

You’ll then need to loosen the rafter knobs so that the arms of the awning can slide open as your roll it out. 

From there, you can locate and grab hold of the pull-down strap that should be located near the center of the awning.

In some cases, you might need to use a small metal pull-down rod to get the extra reach required to pull the strap down and unroll the awning. 

As you pull the strap down, keep an eye on the arms on either end of the awning to make sure they are sliding open without getting stuck or bending in an unhealthy fashion.

Once the awning is completely unrolled, slide each arm up and snap them into place.

This step is best done with two people so that you can slide the arms up at the same time and avoid placing any unnecessary stress or tension on them. 

Finally, you’ll need to secure your awning by grabbing the lift handles on either arm before disengaging the catch pins.

This step is also best done with two people and it’s imperative that you have a firm, stronghold on the grab handles before removing the catch pins. 

Once the catch pins are removed, you and your RV partner will be holding much of the awning’s weight as you extend it to its full height.

Then you’ll need to replace the catch pins in your desired locations to lock the awning into place. 

It’s worth noting here that certain manual awnings may have a different opening process than what we’ve described above.

But most manual awnings have a similar function and operation, and it’s always good to open your awning when there’s as little wind blowing in your area as possible. 

When should I put my RV awning in?

Whenever you expect significant wind or rain in the forecast! High winds are the most common cause of RV awning damage.

But heavy rains can also place too much strain on your awning and, in the worst cases, cause them to dislodge from the side of your RV, travel trailer, or 5th wheel. 

As someone who has experienced being woken up in the middle of the night to the sound of an awning ripping off the side of my RV, I can personally vouch for the importance of the “better safe than sorry” adage when it comes to putting your awning in before less-than-favorable weather conditions roll into your area. 

That being said, it might be helpful to give a more exact recommendation for when to put your awning in.

So I’d recommend putting your awning in any time average wind speeds are in excess of 10 miles per hour.

In addition, if you’re getting right for bed in the evening and you’re unsure of the overnight weather forecast, I’d always recommend putting your RV awning in to be safe. 

How to clean an RV awning?

If you choose a vinyl RV awning, the material is going to be waterproof. So you can even just use a hose to spray down both sides of your awning before allowing it to dry thoroughly.

But even if your awning is made of acrylic material, you’ll still need to use soap and water to scrub the awning clean. 

There are also a few RV awning cleaners out there that are specifically designed for this purpose.

Most of these products include a mixture of cleaning chemicals that can work with either acrylic of vinyl awning materials. 

But they largely use the same process of applying the cleaner to the awning and then either spraying or wiping it clean.

With any RV awning cleaning solution, it’s super important that you allow your awning to dry completely before rolling it back up. 

Otherwise, water that remains in a rolled-up awning is much more likely to become a place of germination for mold and mildew, which can ultimately decrease the lifespan of your RV awning. 

Conclusion

One of the greatest reasons to purchase an RV is to explore new environments that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

But a major key to happy RV living is to make the most of your indoor-outdoor living space. And having one of the best RV awnings is a great way to do that. 

These awnings give you shade and protection when you want to sit outside.

They can also give you a dedicated space to dry clothing or store outdoor recreation equipment outside of your RV while still keeping those items safe and protected from the elements. 

So we really hope you’ve enjoyed our reviews of the best RV awnings and our recommendations for how to choose the best RV awning for your rig and your personal preferences.

And, of course, we always wish you the best of luck on all of your future RV adventures!

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