One Source RV Shares What You Need to Know About RV Awnings

One Source RV Shares What You Need to Know About RV Awnings


Patio awnings might not seem like they are an essential part of a comfortable RV experience, but it doesn’t take long to realize just how valuable they can be. With thin RV walls, you’ll quickly notice that having an awning keeps the sun from beating down on the side of your RV and your windows, and it can help keep you in the shade outside and comfortable inside during the summer heat. The experts at One Source RV want to share what you need to know about RV awnings. 

3 Types of RV Awnings

There are three different types of RV awnings. Each one has its pros and cons, but they all get the job done. Below are three types you have to choose from, and what to expect from each. 

Box Awnings: Pros

  • Box Awnings are a high end, electric awnings that are completely protected when stored. 

Note: There are also some smaller “box-style” awnings that are used on folding campers or camper vans, but we’ll consider those as manual awnings for the purpose of understanding awning pros and cons.


  • Electric Operation: With a simple button push, you’ll be able to extend or retract your awning

  • Dual-Pitch Options: This style allows the awning to extend beyond a slide, and then have a secondary pitch to provide shade. 

  • Safety Features: These typically have wind sensors and spring loaded arms to protect it from buckling under the pressure of pooling water. They are also self-supporting, so there’s no support arms to avoid when you walk under the awning. 

Box Awnings: Cons

  • Most expensive option

  • Installation can be quite complicated

  • Heavy- adds considerable weight to the RV



Electric Awnings: Pros

  • Simple Operation: Stay inside during inclement weather and simply push a button

  • Built in Led Options: A lot of newer awnings are adding these into their set up

  • Easier to Use Best Practices: Putting your awning in during inclement weather, when you are leaving, or overnight is advised by manufacturers. The ease of operation increases the likelihood of you using these best practices. 

  • Built-in Safety Features: Wind sensors that automatically retract your awning and a spring loaded front arm that is designed to collapse if water pools. These are great features to help prevent your awning from being destroyed.

Electric Awnings: Cons

  • More expensive than manual awnings

  • Install requires 12v electricity

  • It is uncommon to have issues, but anytime you add in safety features, motors, electrical components there is an additional chance for component failure.

Manual Awnings: Pros

  • For years, these were the most common awnings before being replaced by box awnings, or more expensive, gadget-filled electric awnings. 

  • Cheaper than electric awnings

  • Same great quality as the electric awnings with less components

  • Customizable adjustments: You’ll be able to adjust it higher or lower to suit your needs

  • Durable: With basic care, you’ll be able to use this awning for years

    • Prevents water from pooling by raising or lowering one end of the awning to direct water
  • Can be strapped down unlike the auto retract electric awnings
  • Manual Awnings: Cons

    • Takes longer to set up and tear down because it’s manual

    • Doesn’t have safety features built-in

    RV Awning Best Practices

    RV awnings are meant to provide shade, but we typically ask them to do a lot more than that. We want to be protected from the rain, leave them out on windy days, and so much more. To get more out of your RV awning, we are going to look at some best practices. 


  • Use a Tie Down System

  • A simple tie down system helps prevent winds from doing damage to your awning supports, fabric, and coach. They are simple to use and an inexpensive addition to your awning system. However, they can only be used with manual awnings. 


  • Don’t Store a Wet Awning

  • For the absolute best scenario, you should never put your awning away wet. A wet fabric stored in a compact space for even a short amount of time could lead to mold or mildew. This could discolor and weaken the fabric. 


    With that being said, there are times when you’ll choose the lesser of two evils and store a wet or damp awning over letting the wind storm destroy it. But it’s important to get the awning back out and let it fully dry as soon as possible. 


  • Close Your Awning When You Leave

  • Setting up and tearing down an awning could take five to ten minutes—if you opt for a manual awning—but that sure beats the damage that could take place. When you leave your coach behind for an extended period it is best to protect your awning by closing it down. 


  • Clean Your Awning

  • This is something you don’t need to do every time you use it, but cleaning your awning is a good idea. Using a simple awning cleaner can help remove debris, bird droppings, and even offer some UV protection. This will help prolong the appearance and quality of your awning. 


  • Inspect Your Stitching

  • If you see frays, loose strings, small rips, or holes, it might be a good idea to address this issue before it gets worse. There are a couple different options depending on what you are noticing. 


    If you see a small tear or hole, you might want to use an awning repair kit. You’ll place this over top and it will help create a permanent solution. 


    If loose strings or frays are noticeable, you can use this colorless seam sealer to prevent things from getting worse. 


    Awning Add-Ons

    There is a lot you can do with your awnings. By adding certain accessories, you can customize what is otherwise a simple shade cover. Here are a few things to consider. 


  • Add a Room

  • That's right, you can add a room to your awning. This is great if you are in an area with a lot of bugs, or just have a lot of people hanging out at your coach. Just keep in mind that they do take some time to set up. 


  • Create More Privacy and Shade

  • By adding a shade screen, you’ll be certain to have added shade during those early morning and evening hours. This is a great solution for some of those electric awnings that aren’t as adjustable. 


  • Put Up Lights

  • While a lot of electric awnings have these built into them, you might want a different style, or you may want to add some lights to your manual awning. With RV awning hooks and fun lights, you can enjoy the evening outside even when the sun goes down. 


    One Source RV Is Here to Help

    RV awnings are definitely a necessary part of your RVing experience. They provide a lot of comfort and style to your camping experience. Have more questions about awnings? We’re here to help! At One Source RV, we can provide expert advice—both through articles and a direct chat—high-quality products, and the best customer service in the industry. Check out what One Source RV has to offer you and your RV. 

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