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Key Takeaways

  • An RV awning extends living space while protecting the elements.
  • Material choice and awning type impact functionality, maintenance, and longevity.
  • Consider ease of use and compatibility with your RV when selecting an awning.

Unfurling across the open road, RV awnings serve as sheltering havens. Delve into the diverse world of RV awning types, uncovering traveler-approved favorites.

Among RV enthusiasts, three awning types stand out: the traditional manual awning for its simplicity and durability, the convenient electric awning for effortless operation, and the versatile retractable awning for customizable shade.

With years spent exploring the open road in my trusty RV, I've encountered every awning type imaginable. From the rugged terrains of the Rockies to the serene shores of the Pacific, I've tested them all. My firsthand experiences and expert opinions are your guide to choosing the perfect awning for your next adventure.



RV Awning Types

Traveling in an RV brings the comfort of home to the open road, but what truly makes it complete is the addition of a functional awning. It provides not only shade from the harsh sunlight but also a space for relaxation and entertainment.

With the right awning, RVers can enjoy the great outdoors with an added layer of comfort, transforming a simple camping spot into a cozy retreat. Whether it’s a manual, retractable, or electric awning, each type offers distinct benefits and features designed to enhance the RV lifestyle.

Choosing the best RV awning requires considering various factors such as material durability, ease of operation, and maintenance needs. High-quality materials like vinyl and acrylic are popular choices, known for their ability to withstand the elements and ease of cleaning.

Features such as pitch adjustment, arm sets, and additionally integrated accessories can greatly affect the awning's practicality and longevity. Advanced options may include automatic retraction in response to high winds or the convenience of remote control, aligning with the needs of the modern traveler.

Manual Awnings

When it comes to manual awnings for RVs, there's a plethora of options available. These awnings require a hands-on approach to set up and take down, ideal for those who prefer a traditional and tactile experience. They're constructed from durable materials like vinyl or acrylic and require regular maintenance to keep them in prime condition.

Carefree Fiesta

Carefree of Colorado's Fiesta model stands out with its sturdy build and ease of operation. This awning is designed for long-term durability and user-friendliness.

  • Materials: Available in heavy-duty vinyl or optional acrylic fabric
  • Ease of Use: Simple hand-crank mechanism

Maintenance Tips:

  • Regularly wash the fabric with mild soap and water to maintain its appearance.
  • Ensure proper drying before storage to prevent mold and mildew.

Dometic 8500 Series

The Dometic 8500 Series awnings are synonymous with robustness, sporting a vinyl weather shield for extra protection.

  • Materials: High-quality vinyl fabric that repels water and resists UV light.
  • Design: Sleek design that fits seamlessly with most RV styles.

Cleaning Tips:

  • Use a soft brush to gently remove debris.
  • Thoroughly rinse the awning to avoid residue buildup.

Solera Classic

The Solera Classic manual awning by Lippert Components is renowned for its reliability and ease of use, ideal for the avid traveler.

  • Materials: Durable vinyl construction that withstands various weather conditions.
  • Operation: Easy-to-use pull-down handle.

Storage Advice:

  • Always retract the awning in extreme weather to prevent damage.
  • Lubricate moving parts periodically to ensure smooth operation.

Lippert Components Solera

Another offering from Lippert Components, the Solera manual awning is a fan-favorite for its thoughtful design and resilient materials.

  • Materials: Weather-resistant vinyl fabric with a variety of color options.
  • Functionality: Integrated speakers for outdoor entertainment.

Maintenance Routine:

  • Inspect the hardware regularly for signs of wear and tear.
  • Keep the awning fabric clean to extend its lifespan.

Thule Hideout

Thule's Hideout awning is designed for the modern traveler seeking a blend of convenience and style.

  • Materials: High-quality, UV-protected vinyl for enhanced durability.
  • Features: A user-friendly telescoping crank handle.

Awning Care:

  • Perform routine checks for any tears or damages.
  • Retract in windy conditions to avoid unnecessary strain on components.

Fiamma F45S

The Fiamma F45S is a prime choice for ease and sophistication. Its Italian design appeals to those who value aesthetics alongside functionality.

  • Materials: UV-resistant vinyl makes it a great travel partner in sunny climes.
  • Usability: Famed for its rapid set-up and retraction times.

Cleaning Tips:

  • Tackle stains immediately with a non-abrasive cleaner.
  • Ensure the awning is dry before rolling it up to stave off mildew.

SunWave Manual Awning

For those on a budget, the SunWave Manual Awning offers both quality and affordability, a solid choice for cost-conscious travelers.

  • Materials: Comes with durable vinyl fabric that's both rugged and easy to clean.
  • Advantages: Budget-friendly without compromising on quality.

Looking After Your Awning:

  • Regularly clear off any debris like leaves or twigs.
  • Schedule periodic deep cleans to maintain the awning's integrity.

Here’s a tale comparing the features of manual awning models:

Manual Awnings Price Range Size Options Material Operation Warranty
Carefree Fiesta $300-$600 10-21 ft Vinyl Manual 1-3 years
Dometic 8500 Series $400-$800 8-21 ft Vinyl Manual 1-2 years
Solera Classic $350-$700 10-21 ft Vinyl Manual 1-5 years
Lippert Solera $400-$750 10-20 ft Vinyl Manual 1-2 years
Thule Hideout $450-$800 10-20 ft Fabric Manual 2-5 years
Fiamma F45S $600-$1000 8-20 ft Vinyl Manual 2-5 years
SunWave Manual $250-$500 8-18 ft Vinyl Manual 1-3 years

Electric Awnings

Electric awnings offer the convenience of extending and retracting with the push of a button, making setting up camp faster and easier. They come with different functionalities such as remote controls, wind sensors for automatic retraction, and LED lighting for evening use. Below, we'll dive into some of the top picks in electric awnings, their features, and their specifications.

Carefree Eclipse

The Carefree Eclipse is a popular choice among RVers for its ease of use and robust design. It offers a one-touch operation and can extend fully in under a minute.

  • Material: Available in both acrylic and vinyl options
  • Maintenance: Easy to clean with regular soap and water


  • Quick extension and retraction
  • Sturdy construction


  • Higher cost compared to manual awnings

Dometic Power Awning

Dometic Power Awning brings convenience with its weather-protected electronics and automatic rain shed feature, ensuring the fabric remains taut and free from water pooling.

  • Material: Vinyl fabric ensures durability and protection.
  • Maintenance: Mild soap and water are recommended for cleaning.


  • Weather-protected electronics
  • Rain shed feature to prevent water accumulation


  • May require professional installation

Solera Power

Solera Power awnings are versatile, with features that cater to most RVing needs, including an adjustable pitch for optimal shade and shelter.

  • Material: Vinyl and acrylic options available
  • Maintenance: Features the Smart Arm™ system for easy adjustments and maintenance


  • Adjustable pitch for shade control
  • Optional Smart Arm™ system


  • Some models can be bulky when retracted

Lippert Components Solera Power

Lippert Components offers the Solera Power awning, which boasts an intelligent design with the ability to withstand harsh RVing environments.

  • Maintenance: Regular awning cleaning recommended
  • Awning Arms: Robust design with easy-to-use pitch adjustment


  • Durable and intelligent design
  • Easy pitch adjustment


  • Might have a slightly higher price point

Thule Hideout Electric

The Thule Hideout Electric is crafted for durability and ease, featuring a sleek design that seamlessly integrates with the side of the RV.

  • Material: High-quality vinyl that's resistant to UV and rain
  • Maintenance: Effortless cleaning procedure


  • Compact and sleek design
  • UV and weather-resistant


  • Limited customization options

Fiamma F45S Electric

For those seeking Italian design combined with functional elegance, the Fiamma F45S Electric awning is a go-to choice.

  • Material: Choice of high-quality vinyl or acrylic
  • Awning Arms: Reinforced and articulated for stability


  • Stylish Italian design
  • Stable awning arms


  • Premium pricing

SunWave Electric Awning

Rounding out the list is the SunWave Electric Awning, which comes with a weather-resistant fabric and an easy installation process.

  • Material: Durable vinyl construction
  • Maintenance: Low maintenance requirements


  • User-friendly installation
  • Weather-resistant fabric


  • Limited advanced features compared to some competitors

Here’s a table showing the characteristics of electric awning models:

Electric Awnings Price Range Size Options Material Operation Warranty
Carefree Eclipse $700-$1200 10-21 ft Vinyl Electric 1-3 years
Dometic Power Awning $800-$1500 8-21 ft Vinyl Electric 1-2 years
Solera Power $750-$1300 10-21 ft Vinyl Electric 1-5 years
Lippert Solera Power $800-$1400 10-20 ft Vinyl Electric 1-2 years
Thule Hideout Electric $850-$1500 10-20 ft Fabric Electric 2-5 years
Fiamma F45S Electric $1000-$1600 8-20 ft Vinyl Electric 2-5 years
SunWave Electric $600-$1100 8-18 ft Vinyl Electric 1-3 years

Retractable Awnings

Retractable awnings present a blend of convenience and protection for RV enthusiasts. They are designed for easy deployment, providing shade from harsh sunlight and shelter during light rain. Owners of motorhomes and camper vans appreciate the ease of extending their living space while safeguarding their RV's exterior and interior from weather-related wear.

Solera Hybrid

Solera Hybrid awnings blend the toughness of vinyl with the breathability of acrylic fabric. Perfect for those prioritizing low maintenance and durability, these awnings resist leaks and are simple to clean.


  • Durable vinyl fabric
  • Easy to maintain and clean


  • Less breathable than full acrylic

Lippert Components Solera Hybrid

Lippert Components elevates the retractable awning game with their Solera Hybrid model. Notably, this awning is engineered for seamless operation and a long lifespan, matched with reliable customer support.


  • Robust construction
  • Exceptional customer service


  • Higher price point

Thule Hideout Retractable

The Thule Hideout Retractable awning is recognized for its sleek design and ease of use. Ideal for frequent travelers, it provides a quick setup and retract mechanism.


  • Quick and easy to deploy
  • Stylish design


  • Maybe less sturdy in high winds

Fiamma F80S

Fiamma's F80S awning is crafted with a lightweight, aerodynamic design, which is perfect for the modern traveler. Its compact construction doesn't compromise on the extended shade it provides.


  • Aerodynamic and lightweight
  • Provides ample shade


  • Can be more challenging to install

SunWave Retractable Awning

SunWave offers a retractable awning that boasts a straightforward installation process and is available in a variety of patterns to suit any style preference.


  • Variety of designs
  • User-friendly installation


  • Fabric may fade over time

Sol-Lux Retractable

With their focus on eco-friendly solar-powered operation, Sol-Lux retractable awnings come with smart technology that automates extension and retraction based on weather conditions.


  • Solar-powered automation
  • Weather-responsive technology


  • Higher initial investment cost

Shade Pro RV Awnings

Shade Pro's expertise is reflected in their line of RV awnings, offering robust protection against UV rays. They cater to those who prioritize durability and a diverse range of fabric choices.


  • UV ray protection
  • Wide selection of fabrics


  • Might require more frequent cleaning

Here’s a table comparing the features of retractable awning models:

Retractable Awnings Price Range Size Options Material Operation Warranty
Solera Hybrid $800-$1400 10-21 ft Vinyl Manual/Electric 1-5 years
Lippert Solera Hybrid $850-$1450 10-20 ft Vinyl Manual/Electric 1-2 years
Thule Hideout Retractable $900-$1500 10-20 ft Fabric Manual/Electric 2-5 years
Fiamma F80S $1100-$1800 8-20 ft Vinyl Manual/Electric 2-5 years
SunWave Retractable $700-$1200 8-18 ft Vinyl Manual/Electric 1-3 years
Sol-Lux Retractable $1200-$2000 10-20 ft Fabric Electric 2-5 years
Shade Pro RV Awnings $850-$1500 8-20 ft Vinyl Manual/Electric 1-3 years

Considerations For Choosing The Best RV Awning For Your Rig

Choosing the right RV awning is essential for enhancing your travel trailer experience. Factors such as the size of your RV to the specific requirements for your camping excursions will influence your decision.

Size Of Your Rig

The dimensions of your travel trailer are the primary considerations. An awning that is too small will provide inadequate coverage, while one that is too large can be cumbersome and may not fit properly.

  • Measure the length of your RV where the awning will be installed.
  • Consider the height for ease of access and clearance.

Your Requirements

Identify what you expect from your awning. It could range from basic weather protection to enhancing your RV lifestyle with additional outdoor living space.

  • Functionality: Do you need a simple shade or a screened-in area?
  • Weather: Will you be in areas with heavy rain or high winds that require a sturdier construction and features like a rain dump?

Ease Of Installation And Use

Consider how the awning operates, whether it's a manual system or motorized for ease of deployment. Ease of use is crucial for a carefree camping experience.

  • Manual Awnings: Typically less expensive but require physical effort to operate.
  • Motorized Awnings: More convenient but can be costly and may require a generator or power source.


Your budget will steer your decision toward a certain type of awning. Higher cost often correlates with better materials and features, such as pitch adjustment or awning arms that ensure longevity.

  • Standard Awnings: More affordable, providing basic protection and comfort.
  • Premium Awnings: Include advanced features like slide topper awnings and might come from popular brands like Dometic, Solera, or Carefree.

Frequently Asked Questions

When selecting the perfect RV awning, travelers are met with a range of questions. From durability concerns to size specifications, knowing the intricacies of awnings can greatly enhance your travel experience. These FAQs address key points for making an informed decision.

What are the most durable heavy-duty fabrics for RV awnings?

Heavy-duty RV awnings are typically made from acrylic or vinyl. Acrylic fabrics are known for their durability and ability to withstand prolonged exposure to the elements. However, for those seeking the utmost resilience, vinyl awnings are praised for their toughness, especially in areas with heavy rainfall.

Which RV awning fabrics offer the best UV protection?

RV awnings designed for UV protection are generally made from fabrics with a high denier number, which signifies a denser material. Acrylic, being a woven fabric, is naturally good at blocking UV rays. Specific treatments to fabrics can also enhance UV resistance, ensuring longer fabric life and better protection for travelers.

What are the differences between manual and automatic RV awnings?

The main distinction between manual and automatic RV awnings lies in their operation. Manual awnings require physical effort to extend and retract, while automatic awnings provide convenience with the push of a button. Consider your travel habits and whether the convenience of automation is worth the additional investment.

How can you determine the right size awning for your RV?

To choose the correct size awning, measure from the center of one awning arm to the center of the opposite arm. This determines the width needed. For the awning's extension from the RV, consider how much outdoor space you'd like to cover. Ensure the awning neither extends too far nor falls short, thus optimizing your space effectively.

What are the advantages of choosing a complete camper awning kit?

Opting for a complete camper awning kit simplifies installation and ensures all components are designed to work together seamlessly. These kits often include all necessary mounting hardware, instructions, and sometimes even tools, making them a great choice for those seeking convenience and ease of installation.

How do you maintain and care for different types of RV awnings?

To maintain your RV awning, regular cleaning with mild soap and water is essential. Retractable awnings should be retracted during extreme weather to prevent damage, and any instances of mold or mildew should be addressed promptly. Inspect your awning for wear and tear periodically, and lubricate moving parts to ensure smooth operation.