There are certain RV accessories that RVers from all walks of life can unanimously agree are must-have items; among the list of necessary products, RV awnings always make the cut.
They allow RVers to sit outside and relax while providing relief from the domineering, harsh sun, and they expand the RV’s living space by creating a peaceful outdoor area perfect for lounging around while enjoying the grandness of the regal outdoors.
Because RV awnings elevate the RV experience, you most likely don’t want to hit the road without one. That being said, if your old awning is tattered and torn and you’re looking for a replacement, or if you’re in the market for your very first awning, it can be difficult knowing how to start picking out a new one. To help you find a reliable product, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Decide Which Awning Fabric Is Best For You
When you’re shopping for a new awning for your RV, you’ll find that most options come in one of two fabrics: vinyl or acrylic. In order to figure out which one would serve your needs best, it’s important to understand the difference.
- Acrylic fabric is made from woven cloth that is designed to be breathable. Air circulates throughout, meaning that this kind of fabric will dry quickly. The circulation also tends to make the temperature cooler under the canopy, which is a major plus. It’s water resistant (not waterproof), and it typically holds up better when exposed to sunlight. You’ll most likely find more styles to choose from in acrylic rather than vinyl.
- Vinyl is made from plastic and is mildew-resistant (though not mildew-proof). This kind of fabric is waterproof and tends to be easier to clean.
Size and Set Up Matter
Not all RV awnings are created to fit all rigs, and selecting the wrong size of awning could lead to a frustrating experience where the awning you invest has issues attaching to your RV, and if it does attach, it could obstruct your windows and entrance.
Aside from finding the right size, it’s important to know how to set up your awning properly. Most awnings come with straightforward instructions, but if you don’t feel confident in setting yours up, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. If an awning is not attached correctly and sturdily, the awning could injure someone sitting under it, as the structural integrity and safety of your awning depends on it being set up properly.
If you’re unsure of what size of awning to get or how to set one up, there are plenty of helpful articles online, but for the best results, you may want to reach out to an awning company with the specific make and model of your RV or take your rig into a local RV dealership. They should be happy to help point you in the right direction, and you’ll feel peace of mind knowing that your awning fits perfectly and is attached safely.
Research the Awning Brand’s Reputation
A quality awning can last you quite some time without giving you any hassle, so as with any investment, don’t hastily jump into a decision or make one based entirely off of the cost. Knowledge truly is power, and you’ll feel much more confident in committing to a brand if you take the time to first evaluate the company’s reputation. Have they been around for a while? Have they made a name for themselves in the industry? Call the company’s customer service number. Do they seem happy to answer all of your questions? Are they knowledgeable about their products?
Taking the time to ask these questions and do a bit of preliminary research will help you prevent purchasing a lackluster product.
Understand the Warranty Terms
You’ll want to make sure you understand how the warranty works before coming to a final decision on which RV awning to commit to. This helps you better understand how to handle the details, such as:
- If something is defective
- If you accidentally cause harm to the product
- How long the warranty is good for
- Where to go to for warranty work (Is there a location close to you?)
- What is and isn’t covered under warranty
- What you need in order for the warranty to be honored
Understanding the terms first will help you find a company that you feel will best support you even after the initial purchase.
Get Advice From Fellow RVers
The RV community is large, diverse, and friendly, so it should be easy for you to connect with some knowledgeable and experienced travelers. Whether you have a few people in mind who you can talk to in person, or you peruse through some RV-related forums and blogs, you should be able to find answers to your questions, unbiased feedback on specific awnings, and suggestions from those who own the exact same type of RV as you. The best type of advice tends to come straight from the horse’s mouth, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and strike up a helpful discussion.
Enjoy the Shade!
Hopefully, this advice gives you a solid jumping off point for starting to shop for a new RV awning. There are a few details to work out, but if you take the time to sort through them one-by-one, as well as learn how to best maintain your awning, you should end up with a product that will provide you with many opportunities to kick back, enjoy life, and bask in the shade. Happy travels!
About the Author:
Darla Preston is a writer and wanderer who loves to share advice with her fellow travel enthusiasts. She is based in Colorado but frequently adventures out into the world with her husband and two blue heelers.
From time-to-time, we have guest bloggers post on our site. The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the authors.
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