The Vista Shade Awning Screen is Our Absolute Favorite RV Accessory
Moving from RV park to RV park, there are certain things you start to love and certain things you start to hate. For us facing west was one of the latter. I don’t know why but for months and months, no matter where we stayed, we always seemed to end up with a site that had us facing west.
Now there is nothing particular that we dislike about the direction west. In fact, it is one of our 4 favorite directions. But when you spend endless hot afternoons facing into the hottest sun of the day, you start to wish for a bit of additional sun protection- especially when staying in places like The Mighty 5 Utah National Parks where temps soar in the summer.
We started looking into screen rooms for the awning, but the only ones that were available had really bad reviews. Plus we had already gotten a separate screen room, so we didn’t really want to enclose the awning space.
That is when we came across the Vista Shade Sun Shades made specifically for 12v electric awnings or manual awnings. These things are brilliant. Not only do they provide a nice shady area blocking out a great deal of the sunlight, they cool the side of the rig saving AC use. They ALSO serve to anchor the awning so that it can stay deployed on much windier days that it can un-anchored.
How Do You Attach An RV Awning Extension?
This RV awning sunscreen is very easy to install. The shade comes with 2 pieces- the body and the insert. The body is always going to be 6 feet tall (by whatever the length of your awning.) The insert will be 1, 2 or 4 feet tall. The 2 pieces connect via a heavy duty zipper.
The reason for the different lengths is that awnings on different RVs are at different heights and are adjustable so they can be set at a height that you like or need.
For instance, our awning came out over one of our slide outs so it needed to be kept high. Other awnings may be kept lower to the ground.
The insert section installs into the awning’s utility slot which is standard on most awnings. It is an open groove on your awning roll. You just start feeding it into one end and slide all the way to the other. The body section then zippers onto the insert section to give you your full height shade. This will work on either electric or manual RV awnings.
Depending on the length, there are 3- 4 grommets across the bottom for you to secure the shade to the ground using the included ground stakes. I upgraded my stakes to 12″ spikes at a local Home Depot so I can really tie this baby down.
Why Do RV Patio Awnings Need A Screen Shade?
1) Stay Cool
Being outdoors is a big part of the reason we choose to live on the road, right? But it can be difficult trying to figure out how to stay cool while camping in the summer. The shade encloses your outdoor space providing a barrier from the afternoon sun, but there are no side shades, so you are creating a wind tunnel to catch the cool breeze and bring it right to you.
2) Shade In The Sun
3) Creates a Barrier With Neighbors
Even with the nicest neighbors, you want some privacy. RV outdoor shades provide that barrier by blocking most of the visibility from the outside and darkening the space within.
4) Provides an Extra Room
One thing about RV living- space is always at a premium. The RV retractable awning does provide some extra space but adding the RV awning extender encloses that space and creates real additional living space. Just add some rugs and furniture and you have a new living room just outside your camper or motorhome.
5) Hold Your Awning Securely in the Wind
One of our biggest fears with extending the RV awning is that sudden wind gusts are a real danger. The awning material can act like a sail and before you know it, can flip the awning right over the roof. This RV shade cover connects firmly to the awning near the led light strip (ours is on the roller) and ties securely to the ground. It will considerably raise the wind speed at which you need to roll up your awning leaving you more time to stay cool in the summer heat.
That being said- never wait too long to bring in the awning. When the elements are turning bad- get it put away.
6) Keeps the RV Cool
Another big concern for campers is how to manage the summer heat and keep the rv cool inside. Camping in the summer heat can be difficult indoors. Even with A/C, you want to be cooler so that the AC does not run as much.
Smaller units may have a hard time keeping up on extreme days. The rv shade cloth will help immensely as the shade it provides will keep the sun off the entire side of your rig which will keep the room cool in the summer naturally.
7) Stay Outside in the Rain
It is unfortunate but rain often drives campers indoors- no one wants to sit out and get wet. Since we got our rv awning sunshade, we run from the rain a whole lot less. Yes, it is a screen, but the mesh is very tight and stops a great deal of rainfall from coming through, so only the heaviest rains chase us inside now.
8) It's A Conversation Starter
When you DO like to meet your neighbors, this canopy shade is a perfect conversation starter. I can’t tell you how many times we have met folks who approached us to ask about the screen shade, where we got it, etc. Some of those people have gone on to become good friends.
So Why Is Vista Shade The Best RV Awning Screen Shade?
Yes, there are many other RV canopy shades out there. But what is brilliant about THIS one is the zipper feature. Once installed on your existing awning, you can take down the shade by simply undoing the zipper. The insert section just rolls up into the shade.
This makes set up and take down a snap. So if a bad storm pops up, or the wind suddenly gets gusty, you can just unzip the zipper, let the body section fall, and roll up your awning. You can then untie or pull up the stakes and quickly fold up the shade and store it in the included storage bag.
To be very honest, I rarely put the sun shade body away for bad weather. I just leave it on the ground, tied to the stakes and then sweep or hose it down once I put it back up.
Once in place, the mesh material blocks out 85% of the sun’s UV rays, providing a cool shady space even on the hottest days. It is made of an extremely durable material and holds up to a beating (often administered by my children playing swords with sticks or some other game that requires them to try to beat the bejesus out of each other.) All of the durable materials have held up really well.
It is mildew resistant and can be washed easily while installed with just a garden hose and brush. After years of near constant use, we noticed very little wear of sun damage.
It is easily see thru, so it does not block your view but does add a good bit of privacy to your set up. There are others out there, but for our money, Vista Shade is the best RV awning screen on the market.
This was one of the best purchases we ever made. It ensures that we can still enjoy the outdoors despite the hot sun. We are able to do homeschool outside, work and just relax and read a book outside the trailer. We are asked constantly about our awning by other campers, so here is the information you need in case you want to buy one for your rv before your next camping trip.