For most motorhome and caravan owners, a good RV awning is a must-have accessory. Not only do they provide much-needed shelter and shade, but they also extend your motorhome or caravan’s living space.
Some RV owners may remember the cumbersome canvas RV awnings that had to be dragged along the roof via a sailtrack. They were heavy, especially when wet, and not fun in the wind! Today’s more modern retractable awnings are much more user-friendly. Roll-out RV awnings are pretty much standard kits these days and have revolutionised the way we live in – and outside of – our RVs.
There are many good reasons to invest in a quality RV awning, such as:
When it comes to choosing an awning for your RV, you’ll quickly discover that there are many different makes and types. Some of the leading brands include Dometic, Fiamma, Carefree, Sunburst, Thule and Cvana. Each offers something a little different.
In a perfect world, it would be possible to simply choose the awning you liked the best. However, in reality, the best RV awning choice for you will be determined by factors such as the length of your RV and the location of fixtures such as windows and doors.
RV awnings are usually attached to your motorhome or caravan with a mounting bracket down the side of your RV, while others are designed to be roof-mounted.
Different RV awnings have different ways of deploying the canopy. Some come with a manual winding handle, others can be pulled out and retracted by hand. Most often, you’ll require two people to deploy the awning – one at each end. A much easier option is an electrically operated awning which does all the work for you at the push of a button. Electric awnings are definitely much easier to use but they do require either a battery or mains power to operate. That’s something you may need to consider if you regularly go camping off-grid.
As an alternative (or in addition) to an RV awning, you may prefer the option of a full or partial annexe. Manufacturers such as Kakadu, Australia Wide and Annexe Solutions make annexes in any number of configurations. You’ll find everything from fully enclosed annexes with a roof and three walls or just a sun-blocker along one wall.
An annexe is a good option if you’re planning on staying parked up. It can be a bit of effort to take them down and put them up again, so they’re not ideal if you’ll be using your motorhome or campervan frequently such as for trips to the shops etc.
If you’re using an annexe, it’s also worth getting a floor mat which will help minimise dirt, grass, and dust being tracked into your RV. Other options for your annexe include multiple doors, insect screens and various wall combinations.
You can even get inflatable annexes which are held up by inflated air poles. They’re very simple and fast to erect, all you need is a pump. They can also be lighter to carry because you don’t need any metal poles.
How often should you clean your RV awning? (H2) This will depend on how often you use your RV awning and the conditions you’re using it in. For example, if you only use it for short trips to campgrounds, it will need to be cleaned less often than if you regularly travel to dusty areas for long stretches.
In saying that, it’s recommended that you clean your awning at least once every six months. It’s also a good idea to give it a thorough clean before putting your RV (or just the awning) into storage for a long period of time
By investing a bit of time and effort into maintaining and caring for your RV awning, you can be sure it will last for years to come.
Awnings are a great camping accessory that can transform your RV holiday. However, they must be used with care, especially when the weather gets a bit rough. RV awnings are very vulnerable to strong winds and can disappear over the roof of a motorhome very quickly.
For long-term stays, it’s best to use tie-downs on both ends of the awning to keep it secure. It’s a good idea to retract roll-out awnings overnight if the weather looks like it’s closing in or is uncertain. Many motorhomers have woken up to find a ripped, broken, or missing RV awning from unexpected rain or wind overnight. If in doubt, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
There are several other awning accessories available to help keep your awning in place when the weather is inclement. These include anti-flap kits, roof rafters, and hold-down kits. You can even find gizmos for holding LED light strings to help add a touch of ambient lighting to your outdoor living space at night-time.
While RV awnings do a great job of keeping rain away from the door of your RV, it’s important to carefully position the awning to avoid water pooling on top of it. If enough water pools in one place, its weight can damage the awning or, even worse, pull the awning off its wall mountings.
Like any other RV accessory, retractable awnings will benefit from a little care and attention. There is little maintenance to be done other than cleaning, however, the springs may need to be re-tensioned from time to time. Awnings have high-tension springs fitted within the roll-up mechanism to assist with retraction. If your RV awning isn’t rolling up straight or started to sag, the springs might need attention. It’s not really a DIY job unless you know what you are doing, so seeking out the help of one of KEA’s RV experts is definitely the way to go.
Some awnings have a pull-down strap which can be moved along the length awning. The best place to use it is dead centre, so make sure it is in place before retracting. But before you start rolling up your RV awning, it’s good practice to make sure there are no leaves, twigs, or tree sap on the fabric. Make it a habit to lower the awning slightly and sweep everything off before you pack it away.
If it has been raining overnight or there has been a heavy dew, check to make sure your RV awning is well and truly dry before rolling it up. If not, then take the first opportunity to unroll it again and allow it to fully dry out. This helps prevent mould from developing. Mould can be difficult to remove so in this instance, prevention is definitely better than the cure.
To clean your RV awning, you may find it is sufficient to use water and a soft brush or towel. If your awning is very dirty or stained, you may need to use a cleaning product that is suitable for your RV awning fabric type. Avoid using household cleaning products or industrial detergents and never use a water blaster.
Some awnings come with their own covers, on others, the vinyl is exposed. Vinyl doesn’t fare well under the sun for extended periods so, if you’re putting your campervan or caravan into long-term storage, then it may be worth considering an awning cover.
Thinking about buying a new awning for your RV but need a little more expert advice? Don’t hesitate to contact the friendly team at your local KEA dealership. KEA’s RV experts can help you source the best RV awning to suit your campervan or motorhome and install it quickly and professionally.
Thinking about buying your first RV, or upgrading to the motorhome or caravan of your dreams? KEA Motorhomes are your trusted RV dealership, with quality new and used campervans and motorhomes for sale across Australia. KEA’s RVs are made especially for Australia’s unique road conditions. From two-berth campervans for couples and singles to six-berth motorhomes for travelling with family and friends, KEA has an RV for every traveller.
Not sure which campervan or motorhome is right for you? KEA has a ‘try before you buy’ option which means you can rent an RV to try, then get your rental cost back when you purchase.
Check out some of our other helpful blogs for more advice on caring for and maintaining your motorhome: