Vacationing in the countryside in an RV is one of the pleasures of living in the states and you can just park your vehicle and enjoy the wide open vistas. You want to experience life in the fresh air and that’s why so many people use a retractable RV awning to create another ‘room’ outside the vehicle. They are more convenient to use than portable canopies and give good protection from the sun and rain. Motor-home awnings have become so popular that the latest models often have a retractable RV awning fitted as standard.
Make sure that your retractable RV awning is made of the new woven acrylic fabric or vinyl that is fade resistant and weatherproof because ordinary canvas awnings are not as functional or durable and you will find that you need to buy an RV awning replacement every few years. When not in use a retractable RV awning can be stored in a Weatherproof Shield protective casing fixed onto the side of your camper vehicle.
If you’re looking for a new motorhome awning be aware that aluminum frames with stainless steel fittings will be more hard-wearing than mild steel frames with galvanized hardware. Check that everything is guaranteed corrosion resistant so that you don’t end up with unsightly rust stains on the awnings and impaired retraction. I can’t recommend plastic supports and brackets as they don’t last very long.
One retractable RV awning that I can recommend is the WeatherPro TM. You can extend it easily by just pushing a button. It has some good features such as a solid state sensor so if you get high winds it will retract automatically to stop it getting damaged. It has a special ‘Knee Action’ design features which allows it to flex in light winds. Retractable RV awnings collect pools of water on top and this can be a problem, but the theWeatherPro automatically dumps pools of rainwater with a spring spring-arm mechanism. You can operate it from a hand-held remote control or from a switch inside your vehicle. They offer you a choice between vinyl or acrylic fabric in a range of colors. It runs off a 12-volt motor and retracts and locks the canopy for travelling. It’s available in 5 colors of painted hardware and has a 3 year warranty.
Another good-quality retractable RV awning is the Sunchaser II which is cheaper than the WeatherPro TM. It has an extension length of 8 ft and a heavy-duty vinyl canopy which is easy to wash and mildew resistant. The vinyl patio awning also has a clear acrylic coating so it doesn’t get scratched easily or fade and there are several color choices. This retractable RV awning has strong hardware with rounded castings. The roller tube is fabric-covered and it comes with a matching valance, so it looks good on your vehicle.
All retractable RV awnings consist of two components sold separately: the awning itself which means the canopy fabric with a complete roller tube with end springs and the ‘arms’ or hardware. When ordering a new canopy or a complete RV awning replacement you need the measure carefully to make sure you get the right size:
- The length of the Awning, the distance between the centerline of the arms (in one foot increments), as they will be mounted on the RV. Be sure to clear windows and doors. Roller assemblies are available in one foot feet increments from 10 to 25 feet.
- The height or length of the Arms is measured from the point of attachment of the awning rail (at the top), the floor line of the RV which is where the foot or bottom of the arms will be attached. 'Short' arms range from 64" - 76", and 'standard' arms are for 74"- 88".