Best Types of RV AwningsAnthony Day
The scorching sun can quickly take the word "Recreational" out of your Recreational Vehicle adventure. So, how do you pick the best type of RV awning?
It's hard enough convincing the family to come along for a weekend without their home comforts but subjecting them to extreme temperatures while being trapped in an RV with their parents for the weekend is a recipe for disaster!
An easy deploy awning will provide some much-needed shade and cool down the temperature inside the RV. The best RV awnings must provide good protection against the sun and be easy to deploy and retract. The awning must be lightweight, durable, and affordable.
Fortunately, others share our plight, and the RV accessory market offers several very good options that have been tried and tested by other RV enthusiasts. The prices range from:
- Under $200 for manually operated awnings with simple attachment points and ropes to help anchor the awning.
- $200 to $800 for higher quality awnings that are easier to deploy using aluminum arms or roll-out mechanisms.
- Above $800 will buy you electrically powered, automatically deployed, and retracted awnings.
As an avid RV enthusiast, I was faced with finding an awning to retrofit and consulted several websites for recommendations. I found a comprehensive review of the twelve Best RV Awnings by the folks at RiversideTrailer.com.
What Are The Different Types Of RV Awnings?
RV Awnings are configured as Slide-Out, Fixed, Patio, or Automatic type awnings. A slide-out awning is a simplest and most affordable type. They are installed below the roofline on the side of the RV and can be deployed automatically or manually.
Fixed RV awnings are permanently fixed above the windows or doors of the RV to provide coverage from the sun and rain. These awnings can be folded shut when underway and extended once you have reached your campsite.
Patio-type RV awnings provide an additional shaded and private space connected to the side of the RV. They are made of lightweight metal frames that can be extended or collapsed manually.
Automatic RV awnings are similar to Patio-type ones but can be deployed or retracted by a powered mechanism making it fast and easy to set up or strike camp. They are the most costly option and may require expensive repairs when damaged.
What Is The Best Type Of Fabric For RV Awnings?
When ordering your RV awning, the fabric color and type chosen for your awning are important considerations. The best material to choose is acrylic as it is lightweight, breathable, and UV and Ozone resistant. Choose light colors as they absorb less heat from the sun and still provide good shade.
Vinyl and polyester fabric are also good choices as they are both synthetic and treated to be weather resistant. The Sunbrella brand is well known for fabric for outdoor and marine-type awnings. It is quite expensive but will last the longest and provide the best value for money over time.
RV awnings are often destroyed when strong winds are torn off the mounting frame. Ensure that the awning fabric is easy to replace, as you will no doubt have to do so every three to four years.
What Is The Best Manually Retracting RV Awning?
Owners and industry experts rate the ALEKO Manually operated awnings as the best product in their class due to the simple one-person operation with which the awning can be deployed or retracted in a minute or less.
The ALEKO Manual Retractable awning is available in a length of ten feet and a width of eight feet. The shade cloth is available in various colors and is UV-resistant and treated to withstand mildew growth.
When deployed, the shade cloth measures nine ft. long by eight ft. wide in the area and can be adjusted according to the sun's height by settings on the aluminum frame. The product's pros and cons are:
- Ease of operation – one person deployment and retraction
- The fabric is UV protected to withstand harsh summer radiation
- Darker fabric shade cloths are available to provide warmth in colder months
- The awning fabric is treated for mold resistance which will extend the durability
- The pricing is very good, and the product is very affordable compared to similar products from other brands
- The manual deployment and retraction may be a negative to some customers
- Pricing at the time of publication is $555 from Amazon.com.
What Is The Best Electrically Operated RV Awning?
The Carefree –12V Electric RV Awning (VXJE50HW) is rated as the best option to fit as a replacement or new installation on RVs that are already wired to an electrically operated awning.
The awning offers push-button comfort to deploy or retract the electrically operated shade cloth mechanism. The system is powered by a 12V electrical supply that is a prerequisite for installation.
The awning can be extended to a width of eight feet and does not require any latching or locking mechanism it in place. When retracted, the electrical motor will lock the awning into position and prevent it from blowing up in the wind while driving.
The awning mechanism is supplied with the wiring and switching mechanism required to deploy or retract the awning. The aluminum arms and mechanism to deploy and retract are also included in the installation kit.
All kit parts can be purchased individually as replacement or service parts. The pros and cons of the Carefree VXJE50HW 12V Electric RV Awning are:
- Easy electric operation via a push-button controlled 12V electric motor
- The aluminum arms of the mechanism locks the awning securely in place when deployed or retracted
- All the hardware, electronics, and wiring to perform an installation are included in the kit
- The angle of pitch of the awning is easily adjusted once deployed
- As the length of the RV awning can be selected, the only item not included in the installation kit is the roller-tube. This must be purchased separately based on the awning length required for your RV.
- Pricing was not available on Amazon.com at publication as the product was temporarily out of stock. A price of $1790 was quoted on ShadePro.com for an eighteen-foot-long unit.
The Best Slide-Out Awning Topper
Fitting awnings above each slide-out extension of an RV is a great way to protect the roof of the slide-out from the weather and to help to keep the temperature inside the RV to a comfortable level.
Various models can be selected based on the length of your slide-outs and can vary between 116 inches and 122 inches in length. Select the lengths of material such that will it allow the slide-out awning to extend 2.5 inches beyond the edge of the slide-outs.
The fabric is available in solid black and matching fitment hardware. The awning toppers are ideally matched with RVs with darker exteriors and will help regulate the camper's temperature.
- The installation kit is supplied as a complete package requiring no additional hardware to install.
- The awnings can be extended up to fifty inches over the slide-outs and provide complete shading over the slide-out roof.
- The black fabric helps with heat retention during the winter months.
- Lengths of up to ten feet and six-inch units cover the most common sizes required.
- The awnings are only capable as slide-out awnings and cannot be deployed independently.
- The pricing is similar to non-slide-out awnings of similar sizes.
The Best Awning/Screen Room
The Solera 14 ft. Family Room Awning is rated as the best value for money addition to your RV or camper and offers an enclosed outdoor living room onto your rig underneath an existing awning.
The screening will fit most fourteen-foot RV or camper awnings and can be added to manual or automatic mechanisms. The screen siding is supplied in a gray-colored fabric suited to most awning colors and will compliment your RV color scheme.
The Solera sidings have a height of 130 inches when measured from the awning rail to the ground providing ample headroom inside the room. The Solera sidings have been matched to fit with Carefree, Dometic, and Solera awnings with an extension width of eight feet from the edge of the RV.
The lightweight fabric only adds 28 pounds to the RV awning and will be easily supported by the extension arms of the awning system. The enclosure is fitted with a fully zipped access panel to allow entrance and provide full privacy when closed.
- Provides additional privacy and added security to the RV living space.
- The product is fully compatible with awnings of fourteen feet long by eight feet wide. Lengths can be specified between ten and twenty-one feet.
- A fourteen by eight-foot family room will only add twenty-eight pounds to the load hanging on the awning extension arms.
- Doubles the living room space on your RV for a very low price.
- It would be best if you had an existing or new awning fitted to your RV before deploying this room extension.
- The added sidings will limit the view and light coming into the RV.
- A price of $880 was quoted on Amazon.com for the 14 x 8 foot model at publication.
The Best Awning Sunshade
The RV fraternity rated the Tentproinc UV Blocker Mesh Screen RV Awning and feedback from buyers on Amazon as the best sunshade awning in its price category. The sunshade attaches to an existing RV awning and provides additional shade from the side of the awning.
The sunshade has been tested for compatibility with awning brands such as Carefree, Dometic, and Solera. It protects against eighty-six percent of the UV rays while still allowing you to have an unimpeded view.
The sunshade material is eight ft. wide and fifteen ft. three inches long. It is designed to fit awnings of fifteen feet long. The sunshade works to help lower the temperature below the awning and inside the RV.
The Tentproinc RV Awning sunshade protects you against crosswinds and redirects around your RV and awning. The easy to install sunshade is supplied with sufficient stakes and cords to help secure the sunshade to the awnings arm and the grounded edge.
- Provides additional sun protection
- Helps to regulate the temperature below the awning
- It is supplied as a complete installation kit
- It is a very affordable RV awning accessory.
- The sunshade can only be fitted to existing RV awnings.
Top Four RV Awning Manufacturers In The US
The RV Awning review conducted by RiversideTrailer.com references the top twelve products ranked in order of price based on Amanzon.com. As is often the case with such products, Amazon no longer listed any pricing and indicated that there was no stock of the listed awnings.
I decided to visit each of the sites of the top four US brands and manufacturers of RV Awnings and achieved more success. The four US-based brands are:
- Carefree of Colorado
I visited these brand sites and found that Carefree from Colorado and ShadePro have the best websites to interact with and find or design what I was looking for.
The Product Configuration Tool on the Carefree from Colorado website was the best way to define my requirements and get a delivered or installed price from them. The configuration tool provides easy-to-follow instructions and guides you through the full process.
You can choose between the different types of awnings, such as:
- Box Type Patio
- Powered Vertical Arm Type
- Manual Vertical Arm Type
- Over the Door Type
- Over A Window Type
- Slide Out Type
You can also specify the exact dimensions of the awning required, color, and type of fabric. In addition, you can add LED lights to the underside of the awning extension.
Knowing what you want from your RV awning is essential in defining the size, type, fabric color, and type and additional features.
What Are The Benefits Of An RV Awning?
An RV Awning provides shade and additional privacy to your campsite. The awning can also provide extra room to relax. The shade will also prevent the sun from heating the inside of the RV.
A good RV awning will provide plenty of shade from the sun and protection against rain while being wind resistant. Expanding your protected zone outside the RV allows you to select suitable camping spots.
Some RV awnings can be fitted with side walls to create an additional space to sleep in and provide some privacy in crowded campsites. Three-sided awnings or additional side screens can be configured when you order your awning directly from a manufacturer.
About THE AUTHOR
Hi, my name is Anthony, and RVs are what I'm passionate about. I bought my first RV when I was 21, and I've been hooked ever since. I'll guide you on how they work, how they can be used in different environments, and how they fit into our everyday lives.Read More About Anthony Day