Choosing the Perfect RV Awning: A Deep Dive into the 7 RV Awning Types - The Roving Foley's
mountain view from under the rv awning
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Choosing the Perfect RV Awning: A Deep Dive into the 7 RV Awning Types

One of the main reasons that people go RVing, is to get closer to nature, and spending time in the great outdoors is a big part of any camping trip. So having comfortable outdoor living space is key to this effort. No one wants to drive out to a campground just to stay inside the RV the whole time.

Creating that outdoor living space requires some protection from the scorching sun and rain, so most RVs come with an awning to provide cover from the elements. The benefits of RV awnings are many which we will describe below. There are all sorts of RV awning types. They vary in style, power, materials and accessories, so if you need to purchase a new awning or a replacement, the task can be quite daunting.

But not to fear, we have taken on the task of making it all simple for you. Just follow below to learn all about RV awnings, from the different types, to materials, to the best accessories so that you get the best outcome for your own outdoor paradise.

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    Key Takeaways

    • Explore the various types of RV awnings, their features and benefits to make an informed decision.
    • Consider material type when selecting an awning for your vehicle. Vinyl is durable and waterproof but can trap heat while canvas is breathable but less durable in wet climates.
    • Enhance your RV experience with accessories such as lights, wind blockers & extensions plus ensure proper care & maintenance for longevity.

    Exploring RV Awning Types

    There are nearly as many different RV awning designs as there are different RV’s. Each is designed to perform in a specific environment. There is size and shape, there are weather conditions, and there are different uses for awnings, so the key is to know what you need before shopping. That way you can pick an awning that fits your vehical perfectly and gives you the right protection for your environment.

    RV Awning Types

    Here are the 7 types of RV awnings:

    • Retractable awnings
    • Manual awnings
    • Electric awnings
    • Fixed awnings
    • Patio awnings
    • Window awnings
    • Slide-out awnings

    Understanding the unique features and benefits of each type will help you make an informed decision and ultimately find the perfect awning for your recreational vehicle.

    Retractable Awnings

    Retractable awnings, especially automatic RV awnings, are a popular choice among RVers, offering flexibility and convenience at your fingertips. With their easy-to-use mechanical system, you can extend or retract the awning as needed, providing shade and protection from the elements when required, and allowing you to enjoy the sun when desired.

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    There are various types of retractable awnings, specifically manual or electric, each with its unique advantages. When selecting a retractable RV awning, consider which option best suits your needs. For example, some retractable awnings offer additional features like wind sensors or automatic retraction, while others focus on simplicity and affordability. Whatever your preference, there’s a retractable awning designed to enhance your outdoor experiences.

    Manual Awnings

    Manual awnings are a cost-effective and lightweight option that provides reliable shade and protection for your RV. These awnings operate with a torsion spring mechanism and require manual operation using an awning rod. This makes them an ideal choice for those who don’t mind a bit of hands-on work and prefer not to rely on an electric motor or battery.

    To release a manual awning, follow these steps:

    1. Undo the travel locks.
    2. Unlock the rafter arms.
    3. Extend the awning roller.
    4. Once fully extended, secure the rafter arms in place.
    5. For added stability, stake the manual awning into the ground.

    This process might seem a bit laborious compared to electric awnings, but manual awnings are dependable and offer a more budget-friendly alternative.

    Electric Awnings

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    If convenience and usability are your priorities, electric awnings would be a fitting choice. With a simple push of a button or flip of a switch, your awning can extend or retract effortlessly, providing shade and protection without the need for manual labor. Electric awnings are powered by either 120AC or 12V DC power, and many models come with a remote control for easy operation.

    While electric awnings offer a higher level of convenience, they do come with their own set of drawbacks. These awnings are generally more expensive than their manual counterparts and require a power source. Additionally, they may necessitate more frequent maintenance due to their electric components. However, for many RVers, the convenience and additional features, such as wind sensors and automatic retraction, outweigh the drawbacks.

    Fixed Awnings

    Fixed awnings, also known as permanent awnings or fixed RV awnings, offer constant shade and protection for your RV. These awnings are permanently attached to the roof and windows, providing a reliable source of shade without the need for manual adjustments. Fixed awnings are ideal for those who plan to stay in one location for an extended period, such as people with a park model RV.

    Yet, fixed awnings present a unique set of challenges. Since these awnings are less adjustable, they may pose a safety hazard in certain circumstances, such as high winds or heavy rain. Additionally, fixed awnings are more prone to damage due to their lack of versatility. Therefore, it’s essential to consider the pros and cons before opting for a fixed awning.

    Window Awnings

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    RV Window Awning

    • Simply Shade is the first window awning designed for DIY Installation.
    • Made with White Vinyl Fabric (12 oz), matching white arms, castings, awning rail & components.
    • Spring Tension keeps the fabric taught when extended and keeps the awning closed when retracted.
    Check Prices

    Window awnings serve a dual purpose, helping keep the interior of your RV cool and private while blocking direct sunlight and harmful UV rays. By installing window awnings, you can maintain visibility while protecting your RV’s interior from excessive heat and sun exposure.

    These awnings are a popular choice among RVers looking to reduce energy costs and create a more comfortable living environment. They allow natural sunlight to enter while blocking out harsh direct sunlight, making them an energy-efficient solution for your RV.

    Slide Out Awnings

    Slide-out awnings are designed to protect the slide-outs of your RV from debris and weather, ensuring the area remains clean and cool. These awnings are stored above the slide outs of your RV and are usually attached in such a way as to extend along with the slide out.

    By investing in slide-out awnings, you can extend the life of your RV’s slide-outs roofs and enjoy a more comfortable camping experience. Just remember to retract them during high winds or heavy rain to avoid any potential damage.

    They are also prone to sagging over time, so many people use pool noodles underneath to keep a pitch in the awning to run off water.

    Choosing the Right Awning Material

    After exploring the various types of RV awnings, the next step is to consider the material. The type of awning material you choose can greatly impact its durability and performance, with each material offering unique advantages and disadvantages. Popular awning materials include vinyl, acrylic, and canvas.

    Comprehending the advantages and disadvantages of each material will aid you in making a well-informed decision and selecting the awning that most aptly suits your needs. Let’s delve into the world of awning materials and uncover the benefits and drawbacks of vinyl, acrylic, and canvas options for your RV awning.

    Vinyl Awnings

    rv with extended awning vinyl rv awning types
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    Vinyl awnings are known for their durability, waterproofing, and affordability. Made from a tightly woven RV awning fabric, these vinyl awnings provide excellent protection from the elements and are resistant to tears. The waterproof nature of vinyl awnings makes them a popular choice for RV owners who frequently encounter wet weather conditions.

    Nevertheless, vinyl awnings also have their downsides. They can trap heat and are less breathable compared to acrylic awnings, which may cause discomfort on hot days. Additionally, vinyl awnings must be completely dried before retracting them to prevent mold and mildew growth.

    Acrylic Awnings

    Acrylic RV awnings, on the other hand, are lightweight, breathable, and resistant to mold and mildew. Their woven awning fabric allows air to circulate, reducing heat buildup underneath the awning and creating a more comfortable outdoor space. Acrylic awnings are also available in a wide range of colors and styles to suit your RV’s aesthetic.

    However, acrylic awnings are not waterproof and may not be suitable for heavy rain. While they are water-resistant and can handle light rain, they may not provide the same level of protection as vinyl awnings in wet conditions.

    man setting up an RV awning
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    Canvas Awnings

    Canvas awnings offer breathability and ease of cleaning, but are generally less durable compared to vinyl and acrylic options. These awnings are more suitable for those who camp in mild weather conditions and prioritize easy maintenance over durability.

    While canvas awnings are breathable and easy to clean, they are not ideal for wet conditions, as they are less durable and not waterproof like vinyl and acrylic options. Therefore, if you frequently camp in rainy weather, a vinyl or acrylic awning may be a more suitable choice.

    Enhancing Your RV Awning Experience

    After choosing your ideal RV awning, you can augment your outdoor living experience with an assortment of accessories. Awning lights, sun and wind blockers, and awning extensions are just a few of the options available to upgrade your awning and create a more comfortable and inviting outdoor space.

    We will now look into these accessories to understand how they can enrich your RV awning experience by offering adjustable lighting for nighttime activities, boosting shade and protection, and offering extra space for relaxation or storage.

    Awning Lights

    Awning lights, such as LED strips, are an excellent addition to your RV awning, providing adjustable lighting for your nighttime outdoor activities. These lights not only illuminate your outdoor space, but also create a warm and inviting atmosphere for you and your fellow campers to enjoy.

    man under rv awning
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    Various types of awning lights are available, including string lights, LED lights, and multi-color lights. These lights can be powered by either 12V DC or 110V AC and may even feature a wireless controller for convenient operation.

    Sun and Wind Blockers

    Sun and wind blockers are a fantastic addition to your RV awning, enhancing the shade and protection it provides. These attachments can effectively block up to 85% of light, creating a cool and comfortable area even during the hottest days of summer. They also help reduce the force of wind, making your outdoor space more pleasant and enjoyable.

    Various types of sun and wind blockers are available for your awning. We got the Vista Shade version and LOVED IT!

    By choosing the right sun and wind blocker for your specific awning type, you can further enhance your outdoor living experience.

    Awning Extensions

    Awning extensions are a great way to create a larger shaded area for your outdoor living space, providing extra room and comfort. These extensions can be easily attached to your existing awning, increasing the size of the shaded area and allowing for more outdoor activities or storage.

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    RV Awning Extension

    • Just slide the zipper extension into the Sunseeker awning’s sail track & zip the extension to the adapter. Easy-peazy.
    • Two positions available: use as an awning extension or a wind break / privacy sidewall.
    • Add 43 square feet (6.5′ x 6.5′ or 4 square meters) of extra awning.

    RV Awning Care and Maintenance

    Appropriate care and maintenance are key to guaranteeing the longevity of your RV awning. By regularly cleaning and protecting your awning, you can prevent damage and extend its lifespan. Additionally, being mindful of weather conditions and properly storing your awning can further protect it from wear and tear.

    This section covers various aspects of RV awning care and maintenance such as cleaning, weather considerations, and storage. By following these guidelines, you can keep your awning in top-notch condition and enjoy its benefits for years to come.

    Cleaning and Protection

    Regular cleaning and protection of your awning can prevent damage and extend its lifespan. It’s important to use appropriate tools and cleaners for your specific awning material, as different materials may require unique care and maintenance.

    To clean your awning, follow these steps:

    washing an rv awning
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    1. Use a mild detergent and gently scrub the fabric, being careful not to damage the material.
    2. Rinse the awning with clean water.
    3. Allow the awning to dry completely before retracting it.
    4. Applying a protective coating can provide additional protection from the elements and help keep your awning looking its best.

    Weather Considerations

    Paying attention to weather conditions is vital for maintaining the integrity of your RV awning. High winds and heavy rain can cause considerable damage to the awning, resulting in costly repairs. To avoid damage, it’s important to retract your awning during extreme weather conditions.

    Aside from high winds and heavy rain, extreme heat, cold, and UV rays can also affect the performance and durability of your awning. By taking these factors into consideration and properly caring for your awning, you can prolong its life and enjoy its benefits throughout your camping adventures.

    Proper Storage

    Correct storage of your awning is crucial to prevent mold and mildew growth, thereby extending its life. Before retracting your awning, ensure it is completely dry, as moisture can lead to mold and mildew forming on the fabric.

    woman closing an rv awning
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    Regularly inspect your awning for damage and clean it as needed to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris, which can lead to potential damage in the long run.


    In conclusion, RV awnings are an invaluable addition to your camping experience, providing shade, protection, and outdoor living space. With various types of awnings and materials available, it’s essential to choose the right awning that suits your needs and preferences. Enhancing your awning with accessories like lights, sun and wind blockers, and extensions can further improve your outdoor experience.

    Proper care and maintenance, including cleaning, weather considerations, and storage, are crucial to ensuring the longevity of your RV awning. By following these guidelines and investing in a quality awning, you can enjoy a comfortable, shaded outdoor space for many camping adventures to come.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the different types of RV awnings?

    RV awnings come in different types, including electric, manual, roll out, detached (patio), and fixed awnings, made from materials such as fabric, vinyl, and acrylic.

    Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks, so make sure to choose the right one for your RV.

    What type of awning is best for RV?

    Acrylic awning fabric is the most common and ideal type of awning for RVs, as it offers good air circulation, is able to handle all weather conditions and dries quickly.

    woman pulling out ne awning
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    It is also lightweight and easy to install, making it a great choice for RV owners. It is also highly durable and can last for many years with proper care and maintenance.

    What is a box style awning?

    A box awning, also referred to as a case awning, is a horizontal cannister housing the roller and fabric. When deployed, the front face of the cannister becomes the leading edge of the awning, while the roller remains in the body of the cannister.

    The box awning is a great way to add shade and protection to your outdoor space. It can be used to cover windows, doors, patios, decks, and more. The awning is easy to install.

    Is fabric or vinyl RV awning better?

    If you’re looking for an RV awning, your best choice will depend on the climate where you use it – acrylic for warm and dry environments, vinyl for temperate or humid climates.

    Acrylic awnings are lightweight and durable, making them ideal for warm and dry climates. They are also easy to clean and maintain. Vinyl awnings are more resistant to moisture and humidity, making them better suited for temperate or humid climates. They are also more affordable than others.

    How much is an awning for a camper?

    Replacing your entire RV awning can cost anywhere from $200 to $4000, with most people paying around $1500-$2000.

    frank foley the roving foleys
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    Frank Foley

    Frank is the Head Hubby, Daddy, and Fix-It Guy of the Roving Foleys clan. He ia an avid traveler and has spent over 5 years traveling full time with his family. he loves helping others learn about the RV life. He has also traveled in Europe, Asia, and Australia with his wife Grainne.

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    2 thoughts on “Choosing the Perfect RV Awning: A Deep Dive into the 7 RV Awning Types”

    1. It’s a good thing you mentioned the many varieties of RV awnings. This comprised roll-out, manual, electric, and even fixed awnings, as you mentioned. I will surely share this with my cousin, who has expressed interest in getting one for her car, so he can make the best decision for her. I’ll look into services that can assist her with it as well.

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