What to Think About When Choosing a Retractable RV Awning 10222

Most new RVs you buy will come equipped with a retractable awning. This piece of equipment is a useful feature that almost all RV buyers want, so they usually get included from the factory.

With that said, not every single model sold comes with one. Also, awnings don’t last forever. That means many people have to add an awning to their rig at some point. Choosing an awning can be a difficult task. There are plenty of options out there. Instead of focusing on specific products, I want to help you so you know what to look for when shopping around.

Here are some things you need to think about when you’re choosing an awning for your RV.

RV Awning Size

Camping at Eleven Mile Reservoir, Colorado.

When it comes to an awning, you need to make sure you get the size that fits your RV. If you too big, you could have issues getting it set up properly. If you go too small, you’ll not get the kind of coverage you want.

The best way to get the proper size of awning is to get out your tape measure. If you’re replacing a current awning, and you’re happy with the size, all you need to do is measure your current awning and then buy a replacement.

You can do this by measuring from the center of the arms to either side of the awning. For example, if your arms are 18 feet apart, then you need to order an 18-foot awning. The fabric isn’t actually going to be 18 feet, but it will fit your awning. This is how they are measured.

If you’re adding an awning to your rig, you’ll need to decide where to place it. Once you have a general idea, mark, and measure where the awnings would fit on your RV. Make sure to follow the measuring practice outlined above to ensure you get the right size.

RV Awning Design

RV with lawn chairs and picnic table parked with river and trees in background. Spring River, Hardy, Arkansas. (RV with lawn chairs and picnic table parked with river and trees in background. Spring River, Hardy, Arkansas., ASCII, 112 components, 11

There are various designs for awnings. Many are manual some are powered. Both use a winch-and-pully system to raise or lower the awning. Most often similar type materials are used, too. The main difference will be price.

Something to keep in mind is that if you go with a manual awning is that you want to choose a design that’s easy to deploy. Not all awnings are the same. Some are a little tougher to set up than others. Your best option is to find one that has excellent reviews and a history of happy customers.

This may mean you need to purchase an awning that costs a little more. However, the ease of use and higher quality will make a big difference in the enjoyment of your awning.

If you purchase a power awning, keep in mind that it will need to be hooked up to a power source and have some buttons or switches that control it. This means the installation will be more difficult. You can always bring your RV into a Camping World to have an awning installed if you don’t think you want to install the unit yourself.

RV Awning Materials

Travel Trailer Caravaning. RV Park Camping at Night.

The last thing to think about is awning material. Most awnings use either an acrylic fabric or some type of vinyl material.

Acrylic awning material works great for most applications and is the most common. It offers good air circulation, handles all weather conditions well, and dries quickly. However, this type of material isn’t fully waterproof and can stretch and sag over long periods of time.

Vinyl material for awnings are another option and they work very well. They’re scratch and fade resistant, waterproof, and block all harmful UV rays and other elements. However, vinyl can attract dirt and dust easier and can be a hotbed for mold if not properly aired out.

What’s best depends on your personal preferences. Personally, I think an acrylic awning material makes the most sense, but thousands of people love their vinyl awnings. It really comes down to what you want.

Have you purchased an awning for your RV recently? What did you choose? Leave a comment below. 

What to think about when choosing a retractable awning for your RV


Wade divides his time among various outdoor activities in both urban and rural environments. An adventurer by nature, he is always up for a challenging hike, fun hunt, or day out on the water with friends and family. When he isn’t enjoying the outdoors, he’s writing, reading, or tinkering with motorcycles and cars.
follow me

1 Comment

  1. Future class c owner. Thank you and everyone for their in sight, experience and sharing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.