When you’re out there at one of the thousands of campgrounds dotted across the country, parked at a relative’s home, or boondocking in your favorite secluded field backed at a national park, once you get settled in, you start to get out the extras. The extras that help to enhance your enjoyment of your RV and activities. Patio furniture, PolyTuff furniture, cooler tables, and everything else that turns your RV into a place to relax or party. While this is a collective experience among RVers, life outside is not always fun in the sun.
With the onset of the summer season, RV owners find out the bad times come with the good. That the summer sun which brings warmth and bright days can also brutally beat down on you and those enjoying the season with you. If you’ve got a patio set up, your grill outside, and your cornhole game ready to go, and the weather isn’t willing to cooperate, what do you do? What can you do when the good time weather goes bad? You solve the problem with an awning.
Awnings and RVs go hand-in-hand. While you can have one without the other (some RVs, sadly, do come without awnings) it makes for a miserable existence. If you picture your RV life, no matter whether you’re at the campground or parked near a beach in southern California, there are many times where you aren’t inside. You’re out and about. RV life isn’t about driving somewhere and staying cloistered in your rig like a paranoid misanthrope. Like most RVers, you know the point is to get to your destination (if you’re, of course, not boondocking) and socialize. There’s more joy to be had meandering about and taking advantage of your garrulous nature than to keep to yourself and your RV.
What about those times when you’re out, want to stay out, but the sun isn’t cooperating? What if the rain, rain won’t go away and come again some other day? Awnings are your answer. They can provide great shade from the sun, help you keep from getting wet, and protect your interior. Yes. Protect your interior.
To understand why awnings aren’t just good for your overall enjoyment of the RV, but they’re also good for the health of your RV, we’ll show you a comprehensive list that will make a case for adding or upgrading the awning on your RV:
1. Shade – Shade. It’s been the solution to sun exposure since humankind first stepped out of their caves. Whether under a tree or a fancy lady’s umbrella, shade blocks the heat, the intensity of light, and the harmful radiation associated with the big glowing ball in the sky. The positive effects of shade are proven. If you don’t step into the shade at intervals, there could be long-term adverse effects.
2. Comfort – The “feel” of shade is essential. When you step into the shade, you feel an instant drop in temperature of 10 – 15 degrees. While the outside air temperature may remain the same, you can feel the cooling effects. The primary reason is that you are minimizing your exposure to solar radiation. There’s also the light. Your eyes can only take so much. If human eyeballs could take continual exposure to bright sunlight, there’d be no visors in vehicles and the sunglass industry would be non-existent. Staring into the sun is bad. Don’t do it. Try some shade to ease up on those eyes.
3. Health – A day at the beach or on the lake is lovely. All the activities that go along with it make summer a joy. But, if you don’t have a place to take a break from the summer sun, you could be at risk!
Skin: Your skin takes the brunt of the damage when it comes to sun and heat exposure. Melanomas and burns are top of the list when it comes to the adverse effects of the sun. Without sunscreen, the experts say that twenty minutes is the maximum time you should be in the sun. Any more than that and there could be damaging effects that lead to cancer and possibly more.
Appearance: You know them when you see them. The men and women who have spent a lifetime in the sun. Whether in their gardens or on the beach. They all have the same skin. If you attached handles to their shoulders, they’d look like leather handbags. Without shade and continued exposure to the sun, you can irreparably damage your skin’s appearance. If you don’t take time to rest your body’s largest organ, there won’t be enough skin-tightening cream in the world to erase those wrinkles and dark sunspots.
Internal Organs: The human body runs at an average temperature of 98.6 degrees. Any more than that, and you are slowly cooking. Direct sunlight can increase the heat a body feels quite a bit (think of a thermometer on the side of your house with a white clapboard wall behind it.) If you don’t take breaks from the sun, you can cook yourself. As the temperature rises outside, especially if there is a high dew point and you are in direct sunlight, your body will have a difficult time mitigating the effects of the heat on your core. Taking time in the shade, under an awning, will help to prevent thinks like heat exhaustion and sunstroke.
4. Looks – Do you like the idea of driving a large rectangular box around? Doesn’t sound too appealing. Think you stand out because the designers of your RV put awesome swoopies and swish patterns on the side of your RV? When you first pull into the campground and see everyone else with their swooshies and swoops, you know you’re just another face in the crowd. The fact is awnings and the accouterment you add to your RV help you stand out in the crowd. Don’t be plain.
5. Expansion – Who doesn’t like more room? Especially in the world of recreational vehicles. Wherever you turn you see RV owners trying to put more into their rolling homes with ever-decreasing space profiles. Sometimes it feels like you’re trying to put a home’s worth of storage into the front-facing trunk of a Volkswagen. By merely adding an awning to your RV (or upgrading the one you don’t like using) you can increase the size and seating space of your rig, appreciably.
6. Room to Grow! – Awnings can be more than just a shade cover for your RV. In the vein of the idea of expansion, with a few accessories added, your awning can become another room attached to your RV. Many companies sell screens for canopies that turn them into screened-in porches protecting you and yours from wind and pesky pests.
As you can see, there are a variety of reasons to own or upgrade an existing awning. Now that you know, what do you do when you are looking to buy an awning or own one? The first thing is understanding what you should and should not do before you buy (or upgrade.) Here are some do’s and don’ts to follow with regards to RV awning ownership:
DON’T: If you hate the heat, stay away from dark awnings. Yes, colored awnings can be very aesthetically pleasing and match fantastically with your motorhome. The flip side of that is a dark awning can absorb heat very quickly on a sunbaked day and create more problems for your comfort, even if you are sitting in the shade underneath.
DON’T: Do not become part of the accessory crowd. Yes, awnings are fantastic, and they can provide a lot of fun and protection for your family and friends. What they can also do is become a money trap for you if you’re not careful. There are so many accessories out there for awnings from the technological to the eye-pleasing that if you go for broke trying to outfit your awning you could find yourself with empty pockets and a shade cover that is well over its load capacity. If you think replacing an awning can get a little pricy, try fixing your unit after your canopy has collapsed under the weight of the screen, zappers, wind sensors, chimes, party lights, and more.
DO: Choose the right material for your awning. Whether acrylic, vinyl, or cloth, you need to install what is going work for you. Work with what you know. Better the devil, you know, than the one you don’t.
DON’T: Ever drive with your awning open. Don’t think this is too silly of a tip to list. Google it. People do this. If you drive with it open, you are most certainly going to cause expensive damage.
DO: Make sure you practice proper awning care.
Caring for your awning 101:
Awnings are generally durable and long-lasting items that, if cared for properly, can last up to ten years. How do you keep them viable for that long? It helps to identify the medium you’re working with. Awnings for RVs come in two primary materials: Acrylic and RecPro Vinyl.
Both have their benefits, and of course, we know there are more awning materials than just those available. We’re going to deal with the two most popular here.
RecPro Vinyl – One of the big pluses of vinyl is that it resists mildew growth. If you’ve owned an RV with an awning for any length of time, you know mildew is a problem that can grow on you — having a material that naturally helps to prevent the spread of this insidious fungus. This material is easy to clean, but do not store it (retract) while it is wet. Let it air dry.
Acrylic – This breathable material is great if you want a cover that allows airflow. This is good for people who enjoy a pleasant breeze while they are relaxing. It has the added benefit of drying faster than a vinyl awning. Unlike its vinyl counterpart, acrylic is not entirely waterproof. Water can seep through (especially if you touch the bottom of the awning while it’s wet.) Also, this material is harder to clean because of its construction. Do not scrub this material.
Here are a few cleaning tips to help:
Always check for stains each time you unfurl your awning. If you see stains, clean them immediately
Inspect for tears or wear spots each time you unfurl your awning
If applying a cleaning solution to acrylic, spray on both sides of the material and let it soak before cleaning
Lightly scrub vinyl. Do not scrub acrylic.
Standard, non-caustic, commercial cleaners should work fine on most awnings
Do not use harsh abrasives on either material
After cleaning use proper fabric treatments
So, when it’s hot out, and you need a break from the sun, an RV awning is a solution to your problem! With the new selection of awnings from RecPro, you’ll have it made in the shade this summer season. Whether you need something new to match your RV better than the awning the OEM installed on the unit, or you want a cover that looks good and blocks the sun, we’ve got what you need.
We have multiple color selections for you to choose from. The faded themes allow for numerous color matching opportunities with our awnings. At RecPro we made sure that replacement would be a snap. Our awnings have a universal channel fit so that you don’t have to cut material and fuss with external valence placement. It’s all together in one piece so you can replace your old fabric and get back out on the road.
These awnings are made to last. They possess a tensile strength of 140 lbs. psi. The sun cover comes complete and ready to install with beading installed and strictly hemmed edges.
Check out our selection of stylish awnings and order yours, today!