A typical RV’s limited space means spending time outdoors as much as possible is the logical route, and it’s also the perks of camping. For this purpose, an RV awning is a must.
An RV awning is a fabric covering that hangs over the side of your RV and provides shelter from the sun and rain, so you can comfortably cook and dine outside, take a nap or just enjoy the view with a cup of coffee.
And getting the best RV awning that will give you a fuss-free experience and last a long time is important, because RV awnings cost at least a few hundred dollars up to thousands of dollars.
Many RVs, whether you buy them used or new, will come with a retractable awning already attached. Unfortunately, due to their very function and design, RV awnings tend to tear or otherwise suffer some sort of damage that might render them unusable.
If you’re hunting for a replacement awning for travel trailer that will last you a longer time than your stock awning, or if your RV doesn’t come with one, you have come to the right place.
This comprehensive guide on RV awnings will give you all the information you need to make an informed and worthwhile investment. For a shortcut, consult our handpicked list of the very best RV awnings on the market with in-depth reviews for easy comparison.
If you don’t know what you’re looking for yet, read on to explore the different types of RV awnings, the price range for each type, best RV awning fabric, reputable RV awning manufacturers, step-by-step installation and usage guides, plus useful maintenance tips and much more.
- Top-Rated RV Awnings Comparison Chart
- RV Awning Basics
- Reviews on Best RV Awnings
- 1. Solera Automatic RV Slide-Out Awning – Best Of The Best
- 2. Shade Pro Replacement RV Awning – Editor’s Choice
- 3. Tentproinc Front Shade RV Awning – Editor’s Choice
- 4. Aleko Retractable RV Awning
- 5. Solera Replacement RV Awning
- 6. Carefree 291800 RV Awning
- 7. Carefree 701508 RV Awning
- 8. Innova Replacement RV Awning
- 9. Vevor Manual RV Slide-Out Awning
- 10. Awnlux Replacement RV Awning
- How to Choose The Best RV Awning
- Types of RV Awnings
- Reputable RV Awnings Manufacturers
- Installing An Awning For RVs: Step-By-Step Instructions
- How To Open & Close A Manually Operated RV Awning
- RV Awning Maintenance Tips
- RV Awning Extras To Make Yours Even Better
- FAQs About RV Awnings
- Need More Gear Advice?
Top-Rated RV Awnings Comparison Chart
|Product's name||Price||Specifications||More Info|
|Solera V000182037 Black Slide Topper Awning - 10'6" (10'1" Fabric)||$$$$||Permanent|
Universal hole pattern
|See Latest Price|
|ShadePro - RV Awning Fabric Replacement - Premium Grade Weatherproof Vinyl...||$$$$||One-piece design|
Sew-in poly cords
|See Latest Price|
|Tentproinc RV Awning Sun Screen Shade 8' X 16' 3'' Black Mesh Sunshade...||$139.99||Double stitching |
High extension bungee
|See Latest Price|
|ALEKO RV Retractable 13x8 Feet Manual Awning 100% PVC Canopy, Cover, Sun...||$$$$||Element-resistant fabrics |
|See Latest Price|
|Solera Universal Fit Heavy-Duty Vinyl RV Patio Awning Replacement Fabric...||$$$$||Waterproof|
Repel bugLeak-proof seam
Built-in light tracks
Weldeds and insects
|See Latest Price|
|Carefree 291800 Vacation'r Screen Room for 18' to 19' Awning||$$$$||Multi-position panels |
|See Latest Price|
|Carefree 701508 Awning Zip Blocker||$160.53||Vinyl-coated polyester fabrics |
Stakes and tie-downs included
|See Latest Price|
|RV Vinyl Awning Replacement Fabric - Pacific Blue 20' (Fabric 19'2")||$$$$||Four-ply fabrics |
Sewn-in poly cords
|See Latest Price|
|VEVOR RV Awning 16' Camper Awning Fabric, Trailer Awning Canopy Patio...||$130.99||Heat-welded |
|See Latest Price|
|AWNLUX RV Awning Fabric Replacement Heavy Duty Weatherproof 4-Ply Vinyl...||$129.99||Vinyl fabrics |
Waterproof and UV-resistant.
|See Latest Price|
RV Awning Basics
What is an RV Awning?
An awning is a secondary covering attached to the exterior wall of a recreational vehicle. Made with different materials, awnings can be a large single piece of overhang fabric that offers shade from the sun and protection from the rain, or they can be more elaborate with more parts and even walls to offer more extensive weather protection and privacy.
Benefits of RV Awnings
- Maximize living space: Being able to cook, dine, hang out and relax outside of your RV would greatly enhance your camping experience, since camping is all about living among nature and enjoying the views. This also allows you to have additional living space beyond the limited interior.
- Enjoying the outdoors without exposure to the elements: You can relax, hang out, or even take a nap without having to worry about getting exposed to the sun, strong winds, heavy rains, and even insects.
- Stay cool on hot days: Especially if you like dry camping, running your air conditioning unit for extended periods of time is not ideal. Thus, in many cases, parking in a shaded area with an awning for extra coverage in the summer might offer a hang out spot that is actually cooler than inside an RV without the air conditioning on.
- Extra privacy: Certain types of awnings, for example screen rooms, allow you to get a sort of enclosed room for an extra level of privacy while relaxing under its shade outside of your RV.
Reviews on Best RV Awnings
As explained above, different types of awnings are suited for different camping seasons and camping needs.
After you have assessed your situation and determined your top priorities, let’s move on to shortlisting the best RV awnings for sale based on their specifications and features.
Below is our handpicked list of the best RV awnings on the market, with the most important buying criteria in mind.
All of these units have a proven track record regarding functionality and durability, according to in-depth RV awning reviews by verified purchases from seasoned campers.
If you don’t know what to look for in the best RV awning, skip to the next sections to learn the most important purchasing criteria, so as to determine what would suit your camping needs and budget.
1. Solera Automatic RV Slide-Out Awning – Best Of The Best
Why This Is The Best:
Attractive and adaptable, Solera Automatic Slide-Out Awning is sought after by a lot of RVers from novices to veterans.
Capable of providing full coverage, the awning of Solera could protect slide-out sections of recreational vehicles from things like bird droppings, tree branches, dust, …
In addition to that, Solera Automatic Slide-Out Awning automatically extends and retracts as the slide-out sections move too.
Hence, the Solera awning is essentially the best RV awning for those that prioritize convenience.
Upon purchase, Solera Automatic Slide-Out Awning is accompanied by installation hardware, thus, its setup process is pretty straightforward and takes just moments to complete.
Being engineered with a universal hole pattern, the awning from Solera alleviates the hassle of patching holes in the exterior. That is a big plus if you wish to preserve the appearance of your rig.
Solera Automatic Slide-Out Awning is available in multiple vinyl and acrylic fabric colors as well so matching it to particular themes is a breeze.
As for affordability, the awning from Solera comes at a reasonable price which means you don’t have to spend big bucks to own it.
To reassure potential customers, Solera willingly backs its awning with a one-year manufacturer warranty that brings peace of mind.
Bought this for my Sprinter Travel Trailer. I noticed that some reviews said it did not come with the awning rail. Mine arrived by truck, well before the anticipated delivery date and very well packed in heavy round cardboard tubes. When I unpacked it, I found it contained everything I needed for installation except the butyl tape, which I was not expecting anyway. It came with the awning rails, all hardware, and screws for the complete installation. Easy to follow directions were also included. VERY PLEASED with this purchase. Oh, BTW, just for comparison, I checked the price against what my local RV supply dealer could give me and when I told him what they were selling for on Amazon, he told me there was no way he could touch the price and told me to just order them on Amazon.Shared by SuzieQ
2. Shade Pro Replacement RV Awning – Editor’s Choice
Why It’s An Editor’s Choice:
You like the original awning of your rig but its fabrics need to be replaced? In that case, it’s suggested that you spare time so as to give Shade Pro Replacement Awning a look.
Being compatible with awning hardware from Carefree, Lipert and A&E, the awning of Shade Pro could be put to good use in countless arrangements.
Moreover, thanks to its one-piece design and sew-in poly cords, Shade Pro Replacement Awning takes just a moment to position and set up.
Boasting high-endurance three-ply fabrics, the Shade Pro awning is able to hold together even if subjected to abuse.
Shade Pro Replacement Awning incorporates welded Weatherguard as well so its element resistance is sublime.
Unsurprisingly, RVing enthusiasts that favor ruggedness consider the awning made by Shade Pro to be the best RV awning money can buy on the market.
As Shade Pro Replacement Awning is sold in an assortment of size, ensuring proper fitness is a piece of cake.
Regarding post-sale support, the awning from Shade Pro is backed with a three-year warranty that covers manufacturing defects.
If you want to have a good insurance policy then you should add Shade Pro Replacement Awning to your shortlist.
Nice replacement awning. The fabric seems durable and the colors were pleasing. I had never done a replacement but watched a couple of videos on YouTube. They offered a very good idea of how to accomplish this. The fabric came with installation instructions but being a male I did not look at them until we were finished.
I decided to use the method where the drum is removed totally from the camper and one end cap os removed out to allow the old material to slide out and the new slide in. I had the needed rivets and rivet gun on hand. My wife and I handled the install in an hour and 20 minutes using two ladders and a few hand tools. Used an ice pick as the pin to retain the spring tension on the end we didn’t uncap. I did not use any silicone spray and had no problem.
One thing the instructions did suggest and I hadn’t done was to leave the plastic protective sleeve on the rolled awning material and just slid it back as it is slid into the channel. This would have made it easier to handle by not allowing it to unroll and kept it cleaner when it drags across the ground.
So, if you are a little handy with tools AND have a helper this not a bad project at all and the awning seems well worth the cost.Shared by Ray Macke
3. Tentproinc Front Shade RV Awning – Editor’s Choice
Why It’s An Editor’s Choice:
With the ability to block nearly 90% of the UV rays in sunlight, Tentproinc Front Shade Awning delivers sublime protection to eyes and skin of RVers.
Also, the use of highly breathable mesh lets the awning of Tentproinc maintain marvelous ventilation in all kinds of conditions.
Featuring an innovative design, Tentproinc Front Shade Awning deals with the varying effects of wind and rain effectively and efficiently.
As a result, the awning from Tentproinc tends to be deemed to be the number one choice for RVing enthusiasts that travel around the year.
Packing poly cords, Tentproinc Front Shade Awning could be set up and securely fixed in a blink of an eye.
A zippered storage bag is included so you should have an easy time keeping the awning made by Tentproinc out of exposure during off-seasons.
It’s worth noting that Tentproinc Front Shade Awning is released in lots of dimensions. Thus, to achieve optimal fitness, you need to take the measurements of your rig into account before placing an order.
As the Tentproinc awning happens to be introduced to the market at a budget-friendly price, you can squeeze in into your spending plan without having to cut essential expenses.
Tentproinc Front Shade Awning is backed with a three-year warranty and that puts owners of recreational vehicles at ease.
We love our shade! It helps with the temperature, Sun, and adds privacy in a crowded campground (or in this case our site faced the road). Easy to put up and take down. No complaints at all! Seems like it will hold up well. We haven’t used the stakes due to having a dog on a leash that will get wrapped and pull on it, but even hanging down it’s great!Shared by Tammy N.
4. Aleko Retractable RV Awning
Why We Love It:
Since it’s engineered as a manually-operated model, Aleko Retractable Awning adapts well to a wide range of settings.
To operate the camper retractable awning made by Aleko, all you need to do is to use the pull strap. In terms of resistance, Aleko Retractable Awning employs first-tier element-resistant fabrics which allow it to handle harsh weather.
The frame of the awning from Aleko is powder-coated, as a result, RVers don’t have to worry too much about rust in use.
For installation, Aleko Retractable Awning is pretty easy to set up so you could attach it to the exterior of your rig on your own.
Also, Aleko releases its awning in a number of optional colors that complement all kinds of themes of recreational vehicles.
Additionally, distributed at a price that suits the budget of the average RVers nowadays, Aleko Retractable Awning is rather affordable.
If your wallet is a bit tight but you still desire something nice, you should grab the awning of Aleko.
About maintenance, Aleko Retractable Awning requires simple care from its users and that is certainly advantageous in full-time RVing.
For people that like to spend more time on enjoying themselves and less time on maintaining awnings, the Aleko awning is the best RV awning.
5. Solera Replacement RV Awning
Why We Love It:
Being designed for universal compatibility, Solera Patio Replacement Awning not only fits the awnings from Solera but it also works with awnings made by Domestic, Carefree, …
With strengthened fabrics and leak-proof seams, the Solera awning could take on everything that the outdoors throw at it.
Aside from that, Solera Replacement Awning is introduced in a lot of sizes and colors.
That is why once it comes to blending in, the RV awning of Solera is undoubtedly the best RV awning at its price range.
One interesting thing about Solera Replacement Awning is that it’s equipped with built-in light tracks for illumination kits.
Hence, with the Solera awning installed, keeping the camping ground illuminated is going to be a walk in the park.
Compared to many of its contemporaries, Solera Replacement Awning comes at a relatively economical price.
Naturally, the awning of Solera is regarded by various RV awning reviews as one of the top-rated RV awnings for cost-conscious RVing enthusiasts.
As proof of confidence, Solera provides those that pick up its awning with an attractive five-year limited manufacturer warranty.
In the case that your Solera Replacement Awning fails due to defects within the warranty period, you could claim a new replacement free of charge.
6. Carefree 291800 RV Awning
Why We Love It:
If you value privacy and all-around protection from elements in the outdoors then you would come to like Carefree 291800.
With screened walls on three sides, the Carefree awning permits you to create a cozy room next to your RV.
Furthermore, as 291800 utilizes a combination of multi-position panels and toggle-style attachments, you could adjust the level of privacy to your liking without issues.
Owing to the integration of a tight seal, Carefree 291800 is capable of keeping uninvited guests (ticks, mosquitoes, flies, …) from entering.
The absence of poles, rafters, fasteners and so on in the setup process means installing 291800 is just child’s play.
As it’s possible to attach the awning from Carefree to typical RV awning rails, you don’t have to make holes for extra hardware.
Besides that, made from lightweight but resilient materials, Carefree 291800 boasts impressive handling characteristics and its endurance is superb as well.
Last but not least, 291800 is sold alongside a handy bag that facilitates transportation and storage.
Though the awning of Carefree appears to be costly, it remains the best RV awning for RVers that seek coverage and have money to spend.
Carefree 291800 is backed with a three-year warranty too which speaks volumes about its quality. In addition, similar to other RV awnings for sale, 291800 is available in plenty of sizes.
7. Carefree 701508 RV Awning
Why We Love It:
Basic and practical, Carefree 701508 is held in high esteem by RVing enthusiasts that want no-nonsense awnings for travel trailers.
Employing vinyl-coated polyester fabrics, the Carefree awning handles elements well and guarantees years of usage.
Additionally, thanks to the open-weave construction, 701508 excels at reducing sunlight exposure which makes it well-suited for summer adventures.
If you outfit your RV with 701508 of Carefree, you should be able to stay cool and comfortable as you admire creations of Mother Nature.
Consisting of a main panel and a zippered insert panel, 701508 is compatible with the awning layouts of standard recreational vehicles.
Moreover, since it’s distributed with stakes and tie-downs, the awning made by Carefree could be deployed and secured in a matter of moments.
While working with Carefree 701508, you don’t have to use a ladder because the insert would slide into the free slot of the awning roller.
Finally, 701508 is accompanied by a bag so it’s simple to keep the fabrics in top shape outside of use.
To let RVers achieve ideal coverage, the awning from Carefree is released in numerous sizes.
The price varies noticeably between the sizes but overall, 701508 of Carefree is an economical model.
As for post-sale support, Carefree 701508 is backed with a decent one-year manufacturer warranty.
8. Innova Replacement RV Awning
Why We Love It:
Incorporating thick four-ply fabrics, Innova Replacement Awning is known as one of the toughest awnings for recreational vehicles nowadays.
From elements to abuses, the replacement awning made by Innova could deal with pretty much every hardship associated with RVing.
Naturally, Innova Replacement Awning is what many RVers opt to grab as the original awnings of their rig give out.
The Innova awning is produced in a couple of sizes and colors too so getting it to blend in is a walk in the park.
With a one-piece design that integrates sewn-in poly cords, Innova Replacement Awning takes moments to position and install.
The Innova awning is compatible with awning hardware from Carefree, A&E and Faulkner, thus, it’s possible for you to reuse old awning rails.
Once the setup process concludes, Innova Replacement Awning is good to go and you just have to clean it periodically in order to remove contaminants.
Needless to say, for RVing enthusiasts that have to work with tight timetables, the awning from Innova is the best replacement awning available for purchase.
Innova Replacement Awning is a low-priced model so you don’t have to empty your wallet to afford it.
If you buy the Innova awning, you would receive a five-year manufacturer warranty that covers all manners of defects.
9. Vevor Manual RV Slide-Out Awning
Why We Love It:
Light but rugged, Vevor Manual Slide-Out Awning is the all-time favorite of RVers that travel extensively by themselves.
With a level of protection that is superior to that of ordinary awnings, the Vevor awning could prevent sunlight, rain, wind, … from impairing your experience.
Also, Vevor Manual Slide-Out Awning comes with a pull strap so manipulating it in the outdoors is a breeze. Depending on the situation, the awning from Vevor can be deployed and retracted in seconds.
Vevor Manual Slide-Out Awning utilizes premium-grade heavy-duty vinyl fabrics that prove to be extremely enduring in use.
As a result, the awning of Vevor is going to stay in one piece for a long time even if used on a regular basis.
The price of Vevor Manual Slide-Out Awning is pretty reasonable as well and that means its purchase would not require brain-wracking budget planning.
That being said, to ensure proper coverage and fitness, you have to be precise while choosing awning size to avoid ending up with unsuitable awnings.
You don’t have to be an expert to set up Vevor Manual Slide-Out Awning as its installation is intuitive and requires simple tools.
Also, with straightforward maintenance, Vevor Manual Slide-Out Awning requires little attention from RVing enthusiasts.
10. Awnlux Replacement RV Awning
Why We Love It:
Created from the ground up to meet the expectations of modern-day RVing enthusiasts, Awnlux Replacement Awning is among the leading replacement awnings for RV.
Being waterproof and UV-resistant, the awning of Awnlux could put with the elements and remain intact for many years.
Also, owing to its universal compatibility, Awnlux Replacement Awning fits an assortment of awning rails made by Carefree and Dometic.
The Awnlux awning comes with accessories as well so its setup process lasts mere moments.
About sizes, Awnlux Replacement Awning is introduced in various dimensions so getting the desired coverage is a piece of cake.
Interestingly, Awnlux offers to make customized awnings based on the demands and requirements set out by owners of recreational vehicles.
Customized awnings take time to produce and they cost more than standard products but they tend to boast superior fitness. In the case that you seek a replacement awning for travel trailers that is tailored to your rig, you should think about ordering from Awnlux.
Once you pick up Awnlux Replacement Awning, you would get a reassuring three-year warranty that covers issues like cracking, excessive fading and manufacturing defects.
So if something happens with your awning in use, you have something to count on.
Awnlux has a fourteen-day return policy which permits its customers to return products too.
How to Choose The Best RV Awning
The best RV awning for your specific circumstances does not necessarily need to be the most expensive product available for sale.
To get the best bang for your buck, especially if you have a set budget, choose a model with a good balance of different features/benefits, and a good balance between price and functionality.
Keep in mind the following key buying criteria to compare between different models.
Materials Used & Durability
RV awnings would be exposed to outdoor elements on a regular basis so you need to take durability into account. The last thing you want to spend your money on is a flimsy awning that fails mere weeks after purchase.
Usually, you could tell how well particular awnings for RV hold together over time by inspecting the materials they use. You have to pick the right RV awning material that matches the characteristics of your travels, or corresponds to the time of year you plan to go on a road trip on your vehicle.
If you prefer summer trips, then you’d want to go for a breathable and UV-resistant acrylic awning. Meanwhile, if you plan to go on winter trips, you’ll need an awning that’s made of waterproof, windproof and heat-trapping vinyl.
Of course, depending on the quality of the awning, each type of fabric can vary with regards to weight and durability. Awnings made from lighter-weight fabric tends to dry up quickly and allows easy handling and storage thanks to its lightweight construction.
Balance all that with how often you travel. If you are a camper for life and travel all year round in warmer climates, you would want the best acrylic awnings that will last you for a good decade or two, since they are much more durable despite their higher price tag. If you don’t travel that regularly, something at the middle price range might be a wiser investment.
In addition, if you want additional protection from harmful UV rays, look for “UV cut” awnings with Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating (this is the rating used for fabric, as opposed to SPF used for sunscreen). The higher the UPF, the more protection you get.
The dimensions of an awning dictate its coverage in use and that is why you have to give size some thought.
If you simply wish to arrange several chairs and tables right beside your rig then standard models should be adequate. On the other hand, if you intend to create a decked-out camping ground, you should prioritize large-sized awnings.
Also, it’s important to point out that RV awning manufacturers nowadays introduce a number of highly flexible cut-to-fit models for recreational vehicles.
Certain types of awnings are immobile, meaning they would take more time and effort to install or put in during bad weather. These include patio awnings, screen room awnings and shelter awnings.
These types of awnings therefore are more ideal if you often park at a place for an extended period at a time. These awnings are usually immobile, but it’s not difficult to transport them between places, as a solid model should fold up neatly and should not catch wind during high-speed travel.
Right off the bat, having a motorized slide out or an electric retractable awning might look like the most convenient option, since they are the easiest to operate. However, they are the most expensive, so depending on how and where your camp, you might not need to invest as much.
Between a manual slide out and an electric slide out, the better choice will be the one that corresponds to your traveling needs. If you plan to head out into the wilderness and boondock for a few days or even weeks, you will need to conserve power, and thus an electric awning might not be the most efficient option.
Meanwhile, if you plan to camp in camping sites that offer electrical hookups, then the most convenient and user-friendly is no doubt an electric RV awning, given that you don’t have a set budget. 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.
Meanwhile, a manual awning would be the logical choice if your RV isn’t already electronically set up for an electrical slide out. This is because dealing with rewiring your RV’s electrical system is not a project anyone can take on. You might need the help of a professional if you insist on getting the convenient electrical slide out. That being said, newer models of RVs are more likely set up for electric awnings.
Although a few campers might claim that operating a manual awning by yourself can be a hassle and improper use can place unnecessary tension and torque on the entire awning, as long as you consult the manual and be mindful when extending and retracting them, you can also expect them to last for many years to come.
Ease Of Installation
As you embrace RVing, you likely have to handle various issues so you don’t need an RV awning with complicated draw-out setup processes that mess up your schedule.
Overall, you should be able to gather details about the installation of a model by reading its owner’s manual. But as a precaution, it’s a good idea to check out the customer reviews to get a realistic picture.
Colour & Aesthetics
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. Because most people don’t see the top side of your awning, the colour and pattern on the underside is typically of more importance to RV owners when it comes to aesthetics.
At the same time, in addition to the appearance of your motorhome, there can be important and practical considerations 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 retain more heat and thus make the space underneath it warmer.
While a lighter-colored awning tends to reflect heat and keep you cooler, they will usually still allow some level of natural light through the awning material, even if it blocks 100% of UV rays. This means a more well-lit living environment underneath your awning.
At virtually every price point, the market offers RVing enthusiasts a couple of options which means you could secure an awning regardless of your budget.
Unless you have certain desires, there is no need to empty your wallet on expensive premium awnings as many decent models come at affordable costs. It’s also ill-advised to pick up dirt-cheap awnings: though models with unbelievably cheap price tags let you save some bucks at the moment, they tend to break down quickly and force you to spend more on replacements.
For the installation fee alone, expect to pay anywhere from $180-$1300. As for the awning alone, below is an estimate of the average cost for different types and sizes of replacement awnings for RV:
- Fixed awnings: Small $250 – Medium $500
- Patio awnings: Small $1,500 – Medium $2,500
- Manual slide-out awnings: Small $500 – Medium $1,000 – Large $1,500
- Electric slide-out awnings: Small $1,500 – Medium $2,500 – Large $3,500
Types of RV Awnings
Types of RV Awnings: By Operating Mechanism
There are several ways to categorize awnings for recreational vehicles: by opening and closing mechanism, by level of weather protection and privacy, or by materials. Firstly, by operating mechanism, there are three broad types of RV awnings: fixed, patio and slide-out awnings.
Fixed awnings are secured to the doors and windows of recreational vehicles and provide campers with modest protection against the elements. Their advantage is that they offer a continual covering that protects against sun and rain without you having to open and close them as the weather condition calls for.
They do, however, present some disadvantages. Since they are fixed, they have little flexibility when you wish to change the awnings position and can easily fall off while driving.
Awnings of the type are the cheapest of all RV awnings. Small sized units typically cost around $250, while medium sized ones cost some $500, not including installation cost.
Also called sheltered awnings, patio awnings are made of not just an overhang roof, but also walls and a doorway for entering and exiting, which means you now have an additional enclosed “room”outside your RV. These awnings are often removable and generally made from hard plastic or fiberglass, and the four walls mean better protection against wind, sun and rain. The most durable and heavy duty patio awnings can even offer resistance against inclement weather conditions like snow, hail and even intense heat.
This additional room provides more than just shade and weather protection, but much more privacy, so you can also sleep in it like in a big tent, and you can also use it for storage when you park your RV at a place for a while.
The downside is due to their design, RV-rated patio awnings require considerable time to install and deploy in the usual cases. Unless the patio awning comes with windows, you won’t be able to enjoy good ventilation. In that case of strong winds or heavy rains, you will have a harder time securing it, since numerous parts make it more complicated to tie down.
Patio awnings are more ideal if you often park at a place for an extended period at a time, since this type is more stable and offers more reliable protection than the fixed awning but less mobile than the retractable type below. These awnings are usually immobile, but it’s not difficult to transport them between places, as they fold up neatly in and don’t catch wind during high-speed travel.
Understandably, RV patio awnings are much more expensive than the fixed counterparts. Small sized patios should cost about $1,500 while medium sized models can reach $2,500, not including installation cost.
As the name suggests, slide-out awnings attach to the slide-out sections of rigs and roll out when you desire to sit in some shade. Once installed, models of the type would deploy as RVers decide to settle down and extend the slide-out sections. Also called retractable awnings or motorised awnings, they are extremely easy to operate and offer greater versatility.
Today’s market contains two lines of slide-out awnings for RV based on their operating mechanism: manual and automatic.
1. Manual RV awnings
Manual slide out is probably the most popular RV awning type. They slide out or are pulled out to shade the entry and exit side of the RV. These will be especially common when buying older, used RVs.
While they are manually operated, rest assured that these are usually easy to set up and take down. Since they are more affordable than the automatic or electric slide outs, manual operation is generally not considered a downside at all. Manual slide outs are popular with veterans and novices, part-time and full-time campers, and the budget-minded RVers as well as the big spenders alike for their value for money.
The average cost of manual slide outs, , not including installation cost, is as follow:
- Small $500
- Medium $1,000
- Large $1,500
2. Automatic/Electric RV awnings
Being the latest development, an automatic RV awning, also called electric RV awning, is powered by motors. This motorized mechanism is capable of driving even the biggest awnings, while still being compact enough to fit neatly inside the barrel, that is the roller which the cover winds onto. This means all you’ll see is the awning itself.
The wire which connects the motor to your power supply will pass through one end of the awning. In operation, the motor will wind the barrel, opening the fabric cover.
The standard motorized slide out design will have two arms, although larger models may have three or more arms for better support. The elbow joints on each arm move in a way which is similar to a human arm extending. The parts of each arm are connected together by chains, which hold everything in place.
Undoubtedly, the average cost of electric slide-out awnings, not including installation cost, should be a lot higher than the average cost of manual slide outs:
- Small $1,500
- Medium $2,500
- Large $3,500
>> Check out on the best RV slide-out awnings now!
Types of RV Awnings: By Level of Protection
You’ll often come across more than just the RV awning types above. Another way to categorize RV awnings is by the level of protection from outdoor elements and privacy they provide. Thereby RV awnings are also divided into shade awnings, canopy awnings, screen room awnings and shelter awnings, in order of low to high weather protection.
A shade awning is basically an overhanging roof to provide coverage from the sun and is ideal if you prefer to travel during the summer season, given that where you plan to camp has good weather, with harmful UV rays being the only worry. Depending on the model, they might offer little to some protection in rainy conditions.
Shade awnings are generally easy to use and install since the design does not include a lot of fabric and moving parts. Most awnings that belong to this category can perfectly suit dropdown mesh sunshade panels to offer added shade and protection from the harmful effects of the sun.
A canopy awning is usually freestanding, and it has posts supporting it with a fabric roof. Canopies come in a variety of fabrics to choose from. The most durable models would be lightweight while still heavy-duty enough to withstand heavy rains and wind.
Screen Room Awnings
With a screen room, you can enjoy more fabric coverage, thus RV screen room awnings are ideal if you want to add more footprint on your RV without the need to buy a larger vehicle. Additionally, like the screen door in your home or your RV, a screen room can keep bugs out while allowing ventilation.
Screen room awnings not only offer more weather protection, but also much more privacy as well, which is why they are hugely popular with full-time campers and large families. .
As you can guess from the names of different awning types, shelter awnings are designed to provide you with the most extensive and reliable protection from external elements. Most of them feature a fiberglass or plastic framework, which makes them much more heavy duty compared to the other awning types which are made of fabric.
While they offer excellent weatherproof-ness as well as privacy, their sturdy and durable construction also means that they’re quite heavy and might take a long time to disassemble. Therefore, they are more suitable for full-time RVers that usually park at a place for an extended period at a time.
Types of RV Awnings: By Materials
Another way to categorize RV awnings is by the materials used. The best RV awning fabric these days are acrylic and vinyl material. Each of these materials has its own pros and cons, and thus might be ideal for different camping situations:
Acrylic RV Awnings
Acrylic awnings are more breathable than vinyl and, as a result, they won’t retain as much heat. Therefore, they tend to offer better living environments in warmer climates. While acrylic awnings can be a bit more expensive than vinyl options, they tend to be more durable so you will get a lot of use out of them.
The main downside of acrylic is that its breathability also means it’s not 100% waterproof like its vinyl counterparts. With an acrylic awning, you’ll sometimes have to deal with water seepage through the material, which is why acrylic awnings aren’t ideal for rainy climates or winter RV camping, when you will have melting snow.
Vinyl RV Awnings
If you travel in wetter and/or colder climates and thus absolute weather-proofing and water resistance is your top priority, an awning made out of vinyl would be your safest bet. Vinyl won’t allow water to seep through thanks to 100% water resistance.
While being a downside in summer camping, its low breathability compared to acrylic means it will also retain more heat. 100% waterproofing also means a high level of soundproofing, which is ideal for camping in windy, colder climates.
Vinyl also tends to be more lightweight than acrylic, which means that the average vinyl awnings aren’t as durable and long-lasting as a typical acrylic awning. On the upside, lighter weight allows it to dry much faster when it does get wet than its acrylic counterparts.
When you’re buying a new RV or a new awning replacement, it will most likely be an acrylic or vinyl awning material. Otherwise, another type of awning fabric that you might find in small RVs and trailers or older models of RVs is lightweight fabric, which is not very common for most RV designs.
It tends to be the least durable option, but it is cheap and lightweight, thus is easy to store. Since the material is lightweight, the awning can get damaged by the wind, so you will need to take it in. However, it is affordable, and if you only use a small camper trailer, it can be a worthwhile investment.
Reputable RV Awnings Manufacturers
If you come across an awning that suits your circumstances and budget as well as having great reviews, feel free to grab it without bothering with its brand. Still, if you want a safe bet and do not want to spend a lot of time browsing and comparing hundreds of different products, keep these reputable RV awning manufacturers in mind.
Another advantage of buying from a major brand is that you will find a lot more reviews for your consideration.
Considered to be one of the leading manufacturers of recreational vehicles and associated accessories, Dometic is held in high esteem by an assortment of RVers, novices as well as veterans. If you favor consistency and reliability then Dometic is going to be your best bet.
Using a combination of advanced technologies and production techniques, Sunwave is able to assemble versatile and long-lasting products that don’t cost a fortune. Hence, Sunwave is widely known as the number one choice for budget-minded RVing enthusiasts.
With a user-centric mindset, Solera receives lots of compliments from those that value convenience. Awnings made by Solera could be set up in a blink of an eye and they have straightforward maintenance requirements.
Possessing substantial experience, Carefree knows exactly what it takes to create RV awnings that please the owners of recreational vehicles. The well-developed distribution network of Carefree lets people acquire replacement parts and fabrics easily in times of need too.
Installing An Awning For RVs: Step-By-Step Instructions
The setup process usually varies between models but to install an ordinary awning for RV, you would have to go through the steps down below:
Step 1: Install The Supporting Hardware
As supporting hardware of an awning dictates its stability on use, you have to stay focused as you set up the railings, arms and brackets. Depending on the models, you might need to make a series of holes on the exterior of your rig and that also requires utmost attention.
Step 2: Adjust The Fabric Tension
After you firmly secure the hardware of your awning, you could proceed to unroll the awning tube and work on the tension of the fabrics. Keep adjusting the tension with the tension knobs on the arms until the fabrics appear to be properly taut then use self-tapping screws in order to hold everything down.
Step 3: Apply Preventatives And Lubricants
Your awning is ready-to-use now but you should consider applying a couple of preventatives to maintain smooth operation. Fill the holes and screws with silicon to prevent the elements in the outdoors from coming into contact with them.
In addition, you should lubricate the moving parts of your awning to minimize friction.
How To Open & Close A Manually Operated RV Awning
Open an RV Awning
- Unfasten the locks by squeezing the release mechanisms which are found on the side of each arm.
- Then, loosen the rafter knobs and set the ratchet mechanism to roll-down position to release the awning. In some models, you can find a sliding mechanism that has a remote release.
- Now extend the awning by gripping the pull-down strap loop along with the pull rod. Slide the RV awning arms upward then snap them in place.
- Remember to secure the awning by simply positioning yourself in the front, then draw the awning tube while moving it slightly downward at the same time to create tension.
- Tighten the knobs which are found on the tension arm and the other arm.
- To fully extend the awning, grip the lift handle and disengage the catch pin, then move it upward. Pull the awning until it can reach its maximum height. Make sure to secure the catch pin afterward.
- Make sure water won’t accumulate on the top of the awning by tilting the awning. Simply position one corner 3 inches lower than to the others so there will be an exit for water.
Close an RV Awning
- Use the pull-down strap to lower the arms of the awning.
- Next, loosen the rafter knobs on the back of each arm. Do the same for the rafter catches.
- Set the rafters to rest position while keeping the awning from rolling up on its own.
- Hold the awning rod and strap so that you can properly handle the awning while loosening the rafters.
- Now set the ratchet mechanism to roll-up mode by using the switch located near the top.
- Connect the hook to the pull strap and wind up the awning. Make sure to remove the hook after that.
- Remember to secure the travel locks as well as keep the handle releases locked.
- Lastly, secure the rafter knobs to avoid your awning automatically open on its own.
RV Awning Maintenance Tips
Since an RV awning is quite an investment, even the cheapest type, you would want to take care of it properly to get a good many years of service from it down the road. Being placed outside your RV, even one good rain storm or strong wind can tear the awning fabric, or bend the metal mechanisms.
And remember that awning repairs are not by any chance cheap. The minimum cost for repairing an RV awning is $150 and can go up to $1,000 in some cases. Therefore, equip yourself with the five quick tips below to make sure your awning always stays in tip top shape.
The Rain Tilt
This should be Basic RV Camping 101, but not every camper gets it right. Always keep one awning leg lower than the other by a few inches to allow any rainwater to run off quickly and not build up on the natural dip that occurs in the awning when you set the legs up at the same height. Water gets very heavy, very fast, and will blow out that awning in the blink of an eye.
Always Extend Fully
Every single time you open the awning, always make sure you extend that awning out completely until the fabric is as tight as you can make it, no matter which type you own or whether it’s manually or electrically operated. When the fabric has any slight dip or looseness to it, the slightest wind will lift the awning then drop it down.
Over time, this movement will weaken the seams of the awning fabric where it attaches to the roller and the RV, possibly causing tears in the fabric. The motion will also cause excessive stress on the metal rods that hold the awning to your RV, causing premature wear to metal parts.
Tighten Those Knobs
Manual slide out awnings often have a knob to lock the arm into the outstretched position, so the fabric pulls tight. If you forget to tighten that knob sufficiently, slight movements of the awning due to wind or rain will cause the metal to slide back inside the outer pole.
To a certain extent, this sliding will cause the fabric of the awning to get loose and start flapping about, thus resulting in tears in the fabric.
Another common scenario is when heavy rain weighs down the awning fabric, the sliding of the pole will cause the arm to collapse into the other completely, thus causing the heavy roller arm to fall down toward your camper. This will likely bend or break some of the metal parts of the awning in addition to fabric tear.
Add Ratchet Straps and Spiral Stakes
From above, you might have grasped the theme: A crucial way to protect your awning against weather damage is to prevent lifting movements caused by strong wind and heavy rain.
One way to prevent lift of your awning and frame is to screw into the ground two spiral stakes, one at each end of the awning in fully extended position. Run a ratchet strap around each end of your roller bar and connect and tighten it to the spiral stake. Do not over-tighten but just get the slack out of the strap.
This process will only take five minutes, but is very effective. You will be able to confidently leave your awning out without fear that the slightest wind can shake it about, or a stronger wind can pick it up and throw it over your RV and completely ruin it. Full-time RVers will tell you that this is more common than you’d think.
To avoid awning tearing from wind and rain, in addition to using the ratchet straps and spiral stakes, you should supplement with deflappers. Simply put four deflappers on each side of the awning. This will keep it stretched very tight, even when heavy rains knock down and strain the fabric.
You will be amazed by how adding in those simple deflappers will strengthen your awning’s capacity to effectively withstand demanding outdoors elements. The best thing is that deflappers are not only easy to install, they are cheap, yet have a significant impact on the longevity of your awning fabric and frame.
RV Awning Extras To Make Yours Even Better
What can be better than having the best RV awnings with superior protection and durability? You can even take your RV camping experience to a new level of comfort by supplementing your newly purchased awning with some of these extras. They will make your next camping trip even better.
RV awning mats are outdoor RV rugs that will accent your RV patio/awning area while helping to keep excess dirt from entering your RV, especially if you park where the campground does not have cement pads. They are also useful for pet owners who want to let them hang outside on the patio without them getting dirty and carrying the dirt and mud inside.
These mats are typically lightweight and can be easily cleaned with water and any soap. They are also made of durable, mildew resistant materials, and are resistant to water, sand, and dirt, keeping the surface clean and your living space inviting and presentable.
You can find RV awning mats widely available in any camping store or online, with many sizes and some really cool designs and colours.
Awning Attachable Shade
An RV awning sunshade will block the majority of harmful UV rays, keeping your awning area cooler and more comfortable. Awning attachable sun shades slide right into your awning roller bar track in seconds and wind will flow through so that you can enjoy the breeze on warm days.
Sunshades or screens also give you a bit of privacy from your camping neighbors. They are affordable, very lightweight and fold up easily for storage, thus are very popular with full-time campers during hotter seasons.
FAQs About RV Awnings
1. How far do RV awnings extend?
An RV awning can typically extend out from the RV to 14 feet or more, depending on the model you get.
2. How much does it cost to replace a RV awning?
The overall cost of an RV awning will depend on the type of awning, how quality it is and whether you’re hiring a professional to do the replacement. You can expect the price to range from $200-$3,500 for the awning alone.
More complex awnings made from more heavy duty, durable materials will be more expensive. For the installation fee alone, expect to pay anywhere from $180-$1300.
Below is an estimate of the average cost for different types and sizes of replacement awnings for RV:
Fixed awnings: Small $250 – Medium $500
Patio awnings: Small $1,500 – Medium $2,500
Manual slide-out awnings: Small $500 – Medium $1,000 – Large $1,500
Electric slide-out awnings: Small $1,500 – Medium $2,500 – Large $3,500
3. How long does an RV awning last?
Most RV awnings on the market typically last 10 to 15 years, with the very best RV awnings keeping up with most camping applications for up to 20 years with regular maintenance.
Sometimes, they might need major repairs at some spots to look and operate at their best. The minimum cost for repairing an RV awning is $150 and can go up to $1,000 in some cases.
4. How much wind can my RV awning take?
Strong winds are the most common cause of RV awning damage, causing fabric tear and damage to metal parts. Heavy rains can also place too much strain on your awning and in some cases can cause them to dislodge from the side of your RV and fall down, which would most likely cause serious and permanent damage.
How durable and wind-resistant your awning is depends on the model, but generally, seasoned campers would recommend that you put your awning at any time average wind speeds are higher than 20 MPH to 25 MPH.
That is to be on the safe side, even if your awning is a little sturdier than most and is claimed to be able to withstand higher wind. After all, you don’t want any ripping, bending or falling, since any kind of awning repair would not be cheap by any chance.
5. How do I secure my RV awning?
The most effective ways to secure an RV awning is to use ratchet straps and spiral stakes, then supplement with deflappers.
To do this, screw into the ground two spiral stakes, one at each end of the awning in fully extended position. Run a ratchet strap around each end of your roller bar and connect and tighten it to the spiral stake.
For deflappers, simply put four deflappers on each side of the awning. This will keep it stretched very tight, even when heavy rains knock down and strain the fabric.
You can also find full awning anchor kits online or at any camping store. Most kits include some kind of anchor that screws into the ground at each end of your awning. A sturdy cord or strap runs from your awning and through the anchor to firmly secure it from physical impact by rain or wind gusts.
6. What is the best awning material? What is better vinyl or acrylic awning?
This really depends on where you typically travel to and what climate conditions you would be exposed to.
Acrylic RV awnings are generally better for hotter climates because they are more breathable and also dry more quickly when they get wet. Vinyl awnings are better for wet or colder climates because they retain heat better, is 100% waterproof and is also windproof.
7. How to clean an RV awning?
A vinyl RV awning is 100% waterproof, so you can just use a garden hose to spray down both sides of your awning and then let it dry completely.
If you have an acrylic awning, you’ll need to use soap and water to scrub it clean. A strong enough yet not too abrasive cleaning agent would do, but there are also a few RV awning cleaners out there that are specifically designed for this purpose. Most of these cleaners can work with either acrylic of vinyl fabric.
No matter how you clean your awning, you must allow it to dry completely before rolling it back up. Otherwise, remaining moisture in a rolled-up awning will be a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can ultimately shorten the lifespan of your RV awning and ruin its appearance too.
Need More Gear Advice?
You can also find other in-depth reviews and buyer’s guides on Outside RV category where we provide you the handpicked list of top-rated products on the market with specific reviews, pros and cons to help you easily choose the best products for your needs and preference.