If there’s one accessory every RV needs, it’s an awning. Camper awnings are your defense against harsh weather conditions, be it sunlight, hail, or any other weather condition that may want to prevent you from sitting outside on your road trip. Whether your RV came with an awning or not, a time will always come when you will have to replace it. Due to their purpose and use, RV awning replacement is as much an essential maintenance item to your camper as an oil change is to the engine of the RV. The reason is a simple one, the harsh weather they protect you from weakens and destroys them.
Choosing the Right Awning for Your RV – What You Need to Know
Choosing an awning for your RV is not as straightforward as picking an umbrella, but it isn’t a very difficult task either. Here are the main points to consider.
- Retractable Awning or Stationary Awning
Depending on the primary use of your motorhome, you have to consider whether you need a retractable awning or a stationary awning. What’s the difference you ask?
- Stationary awnings are for motorhomes that are parked for prolonged periods of time while retractable awnings are made for RVs that are constantly on the move.
- Materials used. Stationary awnings are made of a more durable material such as fiberglass because they are exposed to the elements most of the time. Retractable awnings, on the other hand, are made of strong fabrics that can easily and quickly fold up into a small storage space. Because they are only used when needed, retractable awnings don’t have to be as strong as stationary awnings, otherwise the constant folding and unfolding will cause them to get damaged faster.
- How Much Shade Do You Want?
This is a matter of size – the size of your RV and the amount of shade you want. The awning usually takes up to one half of the length of your RV, so taking measurements before you go and place an order is advisable. Shorter awnings are popular with RVers who are constantly on the move as they don’t require heavy support systems and also have less drag compared to their longer counterparts. Though the longer awnings have a great advantage in that you can fit a lot of people under the shade, they have the disadvantage of being bulky and difficult to fold and store. Once folded, they add to the drag and instability of your RV.
There are basically 4 types of materials used to make camper awnings – plastic, cloth, canvas, and fiberglass. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages.
- Plastic provides excellent waterproofing but is not very durable as the constant changes in temperature weaken it. Plastic awnings come in 2 variations, the stiff stationary ones, and the flexible retractable type.
- Cloth awnings provide protection from sunlight – period. Though they are as easy to pack and store as plastic awnings, they too have durability issues.
- This is the best option for retractable RV awnings as it offers a great combination of durability, protection, and storage
- Fiberglass awnings are mostly used for RVs that spend more time in one place than on the road. Hard, durable, and capable of protecting from most of what nature can throw at you, even snow, fiberglass awnings are all weather awnings. Their major drawback is obviously the fact that they are very difficult to travel with.
- Quality of Workmanship
As with everything you do to your RV, you should make sure you get qualified suppliers and fitters for your awning. Carefree of Colorado are an excellent example of exceptional quality when it comes to quality of workmanship. Never compromise quality for anything when it comes to your RV, otherwise, you might end up paying more down the road. Always work with qualified companies. It’s very easy to verify them through by checking other customer reviews on the internet. If they are in your vicinity, you can also go and physically check the quality of materials they use and their workmanship.
To Awn or Not to Awn
A question that is often asked when discussing RV accessories is whether an awning is a necessary accessory. The answer is simple – yes, it is. Whether you always park in shaded RV parks or not, an awning is something you should always have handy. Life on the road is never predictable (that’s the fun of it), and an awning is a great relief when the unexpected happens – far from your destination. Why not pay Carefree a visit and pick an awning suitable for your RV?