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RV Awnings are my favorite part of living in an RV.

RV Awnings: Living this life is my dream come true. By living this dream away from civilization I have enjoyed the ultimate freedom.  I have become a minimalist with limited stuff but I still enjoy the benefits of traditional living.
Travel and new experiences completely change a person in a good way. It gets really hard to have a bad day when your surroundings are constantly changing. I have made many friendships that will last me a lifetime.
Some of my best memories are of relaxing outside of the RV sitting under the RV awning talking with people I have just met.
One day while enjoying the cool shade of the awning I asked myself “besides offering sunshine when I want it and shade when I need it, what are the other benefits of having that RV awning on my RV?” With a little research, I found some answers to the question.

What are the benefits of an RV Awning?

RV Awnings keep your RV cooler and preserve the value by reducing damage from sunlight and the elements. Direct sunlight on an RV can create problems. Awnings offer some protection from rain, wind and adverse weather. You can have an awning over the patio, over the slide topper or over the window or door, along with stand-alone awnings that can be set up in minutes. There are several money-saving benefits in lowering and controlling the electricity by blocking the sunlight from reaching the interior. Its a greener way of thinking, decreasing energy consumption by reducing solar heat gain. Awnings can reduce the temperature gain from the sun on your RV. When parked with the windows facing South as much as 65% facing east and west can push upwards to 75% in reduction.
Starcraft Launch
This Starcraft Launch has a very nice powered awning, and as you can see it creates lots of shade!
RV awnings
Wanted to show what this Bighorn RV awning looks like from the left side looking up

An RV awning is one of the most popular accessories for an RV and comes packed with a horde of benefits:

  • protection from the harmful UVA and UVB rays of direct sunlight
  • it is amazing how much heat you can knock off of your RV with an awning
  • reduces the elements of harsh weather, wind, and rain
  • simple to use and easy to maintain
  • keep furnishings, flooring, and drapes from fading
  • enjoy the rain without getting drenched
  • reduce glare, easy on the eyes
  • enhances the look of your RV with aesthetic appeal and architectural style
  • awnings block the sun but not the view
  • can be controlled, by remote or even your cell phone
  • easy to use – manual or motorized electrically
An awning is an extension of your living space, converting your scorching hot patio into a cool shady retreat!
RV awning
This Forest River Vibe has a very nice large awning, notice how the back door is protected from the elements?

What are materials are Awnings made of?

Awnings are made from a variety of materials depending on the application. Different varieties are made from aluminum, an aluminum alloy, steel, polyester fabric, plastic, vinyl, canvas, and even acrylic. Whether it be a permanently installed, retractable, or a manual pull out awning these materials play a vital role in the ease of use, longevity, and convenience of one of our favorite accessories.

RV Awnings materials:

  1. Aluminum RV awnings are more permanent and installed with steel. I have found that they are maintenance free and very durable. Can be affixed over a window or door or as a patio cover with supports. You find these installed mostly in residential homes.
  2. Polyester is a synthetic fabric that is flexible, heavy and rolls easy. Polyester can fade due to direct sunlight. It is easy to clean and dries quickly.
  3. Plastic RV awnings can be compared to a tarp that can be attached to the side of the RV or even hung from trees, the perfect solution for shade!
  4. Acrylic fabric and the Acrylic coated fabric holds up well and is perfect for locations with lots of moisture from rain. These fabrics repel water quickly and are able to reduce fading. With good air circulation will dry quickly to resist mildew.
  5. Vinyl fabric is mildew resistant. It is basically a fabric coated in Vinyl. This makes it heavier than Acrylic coated fabric. Because of the coating, this material has increased translucency and looks great when installed with led lights.
  6. Canvas and fabric can rip in the wind and harsh weather. When rolled up wet the material can rot or mildew. Using the blended fabrics mentioned above are the best way to avoid this. Canvas awnings are rarely used in modern day RV’s.
full time rv life, RV awnings
Another shot of the Bighorn RV awning displaying the big, bright sky it is shading us from.

How RV Awnings work:

RV Awnings come in all different shapes and sizes. Throw in a bunch of moving parts and you have a complete system all attached to the RV side wall.
The awning rail is attached to the top edge with rafters that are adjustable to take a fully extended awning up, down and out. All weight of the unit is held in place by the support arms.
The fabric is rolled in and out of the roller tube which is lockable to keep the awning in place while going down the road.
Retractable awnings are the number one choice with most full-time RVers because they are generally sturdy, hardy, flexible, not easily damaged, easier to use and have no support poles which can be a trip hazard and detract from the beautiful design.
A favorite of most is the retractability is controlled and deployed by the touch of a button.
Mossy Oak
Starcraft Mossy Oak is one of my favorite travel trailers, love the RV awning as well

My RV Awning will not extend

So what happens when you are ready to head outside and enjoy nature while sitting under your awning and nothing happens when you attempt to open it will not extend? This has happened to me with several folks standing there waiting to join us. Have no fear these are the steps to take when your awning will not extend.
1. Save yourself some embarrassment, make sure the switch is on.
2. Check the batteries to make sure they are charged with a sufficient amount of power.
3. Check the fuse between the power control module and the power supply to make sure the fuse is not blown.
4. The battery disconnect circuit could be open, go ahead and close it.
5. Though this is rare the wiring connections may be in need of attention, possibly a ground wire.
6. If all else fails there may be a faulty component in the awning in need of service. If the switch is turned on and there is no power to the motor it may very well be a faulty component.

My RV Awning will not retract

For goodness sake, we got the awning to extend and now we can’t get it to retract. What goes up must come down but what goes out doesn’t necessarily have to go back in. If your awning will not retract or retracts but very slowing take a look at the following steps to remedy this.

 RV Awnings

1. There may not be sufficient power voltage, the voltage may be too low. This causes the motor to be underpowered. Might need to charge the battery.
2. Take a look at the wiring for abrasions or even cuts. Also, check the connections to see if they need to be cleaned or replaced.
3. There may be a problem with the wire gauge. If the wire is too long, shorten it. If the gauge is too small, replace it with a higher gauge wire. A long run requires a higher gauge. Normally 10 or 12 gauge wire is most the most desired.
Be sure to read the manufacturers owners manual to understand the proper method for opening and closing your awning. Though they are normally safe, however, accidents can happen.
full time rv life,
Believe it or not, this Class A Monaco has a total of five RV awnings and slide toppers as well.

Clean and maintain an RV Awning

The best method of cleaning an RV awning is to wash it with a bucket of warm soapy water and then rinse with a garden hose.
Avoid any cleaner that is oil-based, abrasive or granulated, these can be harmful to the awning. Rinse twice to get all of the soap off. For really dirty awnings a soft brush on an extension pole works well. Leave the awning completely extended after cleaning it until it is completely dry.
It is good to check the hardware and fasteners from time to time to make sure everything is tight and solid.
Also fully extend the awning telescoping arms to make sure no dirt or mud is lodged in there. Silicon spray is the best lubricate if needed.
Avoid oily lubricants like WD40 because these tend to collect dust if the excess is not wiped away.
Following these simple steps can provide extra years of enjoyment that an awning can provide. Treat yourself to a  little slice of heaven while listening to the babbling brook or viewing the mountains while sitting in the shade under your own beautiful awning.
full time rv life, living, bring