Should You Bring Your RV Awning in at Night?

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A man bringing in his RV awning at night

Many RVers have a long to-do list that they go through before they retire for the night.

The longer you RV, the longer your list can get. However, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been RVing; it’s always important to pick up your campsite, extinguish your fire, and prepare your site for the night. However, should you bring your RV awning in at the end of the night?

A quick walk around at any campground, and you’ll discover that campers debate over this issue. Some bring them in, and some leave them out. So which should you do?

Let’s find out!

What Is an RV Awning?

An RV awning is a retractable cover that connects to the side of an RV and extends and retracts as needed.

It helps provide shade and shelter from the elements. They’re great for helping maximize your living space and to make it easier to spend time outdoors.

RV awnings commonly come on motorhomes, travel trailers, and fifth wheels. They have various sizes, and some rigs have multiple ones. These convenient features make RVing more comfortable and enjoyable.

Should You Bring Your RV Awning in at Night?

If you’re anything like us, you want your gear and equipment to last as long as possible. We avoid taking any unnecessary risks when it comes to our rig. For example, we only extend our awning when actively using it. We retract it if we’re not, including at night.

This protects it from constant exposure to the sun and rain, which can cause the material to fade, weaken, and tear over time. Thus, you can keep it looking and functioning like new for as long as possible. 

Additionally, it helps you avoid taking one major risk. All it takes is one strong wind gust to destroy your RV awning. A strong wind can turn your RV shade into a sail. 

If you aren’t aware, the metal arms that allow the awning to extend and retract are very fragile. Sadly, once they’re bent, they’re hard to fix. Additionally, they’re also costly to replace.

To play it safe, we recommend bringing your RV awning in at the end of the night. This helps you avoid any potential issues from unexpected wind gusts. Since it only takes a minute or so, leaving your awning extended at night is not worth the risk.

An RV out at night

When Should You Bring Your RV Awning In?

There are a handful of other instances where bringing in your awning is a good idea. This can save you from having to make a costly repair. Let’s look at other situations where it’s wise for you to retract your shade to keep it safe.

During Windy Days

A good rule of thumb is to retract your awnings when wind speeds exceed 20 miles per hour.

However, wind gusts can appear with little notice. In these instances, you may not have time to secure or retract your awning. If you experience this, the damage could happen before you can get up and out of your chair.

Some awnings can withstand higher winds or have special sensors to detect excessive gusts. However, you’ll want to check with the manufacturer to ensure you know its rating. 

During Heavy Rains

Heavy rain is another natural hazard for an RV awning. Water can pool on the top, creating excessive tension on the metal frame. 

Some RVers lower or raise one side to create a slope for water to run off. However, this also increases the chances that a wind gust could get under the awning and do serious damage.

Leaving your awning extended during heavy rains simply isn’t worth the risk. Retract it and head inside to wait out the rain. 

When You’re Gone

Anytime you’re gone from your RV, it’s best to retract the awning. This helps eliminate any potential issues from occurring you’re away from your campsite. 

These issues include a sudden change of wind, an unexpected rain shower, or another weather condition. If you’ll leave the campsite for a time and can’t keep an eye on it, it’s best to avoid leaving it extended.

When You’re Not Using It

Generally, it’s best to get into the habit of retracting your awning when you’re not actively using it.

This drastically reduces the chances that something could happen to it, whether it’s the wind, rain, or sun. Retracting it when you’re not using it helps extend its lifespan.

Additionally, leaving your awning extended unnecessarily can be a potential safety issue. It’s easy to overlook the metal arms supporting the awning when moving around your campsite. If you don’t watch where you walk, you could run into them and damage them or injure yourself.

Pro Tip: Looking to replace your RV awning? Here’s what you need to know!

Ways to Protect Your RV Awning

There are some resources available that can help with protecting your RV awning when you’re using it. Let’s look at these items and why they’re worth considering to keep your RV awning safe.

Awning De-Flapper Clamps

Camco’s RV Awning De-Flapper clamps are nylon straps that connect to your awning to reduce the chances of rips and tears.

Their universal fit works for most RV awnings. Additionally, they help to reduce noises from the fabric flapping in the wind.

This is a great option if you want to support your awning during adverse weather conditions, especially wind. While it may not do much to protect the frame and metal components during strong winds, it can still be helpful.

However, you’ll likely want to make this part of a larger plan to protect it and the frame.

Camco RV Awning De-Flapper | Features a 2-Inch Wide Clamp with Soft Grippers, a Durable Nylon Design, and a 13-Inch Strap Length | 2-Pack (42061),Black
  • Protects RV Awnings: Protects your RV awning from costly rips and tears while stopping noisy wind flapping
  • Non-Marring Grippers: 2-inch (W), non-marring grippers leave no marks and protect your awning fabric; Can be used with a...

Awning Stabilizer Kit

The Carefree HD Stabilizer Awning is a support system. It only takes a few minutes to install and set up this stabilizer kit to beef up the support of your awning. It can provide tremendous stability during high winds.

The kit comes with two adjustable aluminum support poles. These poles can extend from 55 inches to 108 inches. Additionally, it comes with tie-downs and tension straps to help keep the material tight. 

If you set it up correctly, you’ll notice how much sturdier and more stable your awning feels. It won’t move nearly as much during the wind. However, the manufacturer recommends disconnecting the kit and retracting your awning during rainy situations.

Carefree HD Stabilizer Awning Support Pole Kit - R019399-002 Orange 108 inches
  • Enhanced Support for All Awning Types: This Stabiliz'r stands as a heavy-duty upgrade to the classic Stabiliz'r Kit,...
  • Universal Compatibility: Compatible with vertical arm and small box awnings from a range of manufacturers like Carefree,...

Awning Anchor Kit

The Camco 42593 Awning Anchor Kit is another fantastic option providing extra support for your awning. The spiral stakes can easily dig into the ground and connect to straps you can attach to the shade to provide a strong connection. It works best in softer, sandy soil but you can use it in various terrains.

With more than 2,300 reviews and 4.6 stars, this product has a reputation for getting the job done. 

Diana said, “I love these straps. So quick to set up and to disconnect.” They provide her the security of knowing her awning is safe from the winds. However, she also mentioned, “I’ve never tried over 20 mph wind, and won’t, but great for regular use!”

If you want to provide a little help and support to keep your awning safe, this awning anchor kit is the perfect option. However, while it can assure you that your awning will remain safe in most circumstances, you’ll likely want to bring it in during severe winds. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Keep in Mind: Electric awnings may seem like a good idea, but before you replace yours make sure you look at these 5 reasons to avoid them.

Camco 42593 Awning Anchor Kit with Pull Tension Strap
  • Extra holding power of spiral stakes works well in all kinds of soil.Fit Type: Universal Fit
  • Even distribution of tension makes securing the RV awning easy

Avoid Damaging Your RV Awning

Unfortunately, damage to your RV awning can happen in the blink of an eye. Before you know it, the precious awning that provides cover and protects you from the elements will be out of commission.

When you see the price to replace or repair it, it may have you evaluating how much you enjoy having or using an awning on your RV.

Retract your shade when appropriate to save yourself the trouble of facing this situation. Don’t take any chances of leaving your awning extended unnecessarily.

By not taking risks, you can greatly increase the chances that it’ll provide you with shade and protection for many more adventures.

Last update on 2024-04-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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