If you’re not a fan of the heat and sun but you still want to enjoy camping, RVs are a great asset to have. But as nice as it is to have an air-conditioned space you can escape to while camping, you don’t want to be trapped inside the entire time.
So how do you enjoy the outdoors without having to sit and roast in the sun? You install an RV awning!
No matter what you need out of an RV awning, there’s one out there for you and your particular RV model. To help you out, we’ve gathered a list of the best RV awnings to choose from!
Our Top Picks
ShadePro RV Awning
Awnlux Motorized RV Awning
Leaveshade RV Awning
The ShadePro RV awning is by far one of the most popular out there–and for good reason!
This awning comes in several sharp designs, ranging from ombre-like shades of different colors to simple black or white.
It also comes in many different sizes, which means you’ll be able to find an option to fit your specific RV with no trouble.
This RV awning is extremely weather-resistant. It stands up to UV rays, heavy rain, and even severe cold. For the winter campers out there, you can’t beat an awning designed with cold weather in mind.
The ShadePro is also extremely easy to install, which means it won’t take time away from your adventuring!
The one downside is that it’s fairly heavy material, so you probably won’t want to attempt to install it yourself.
- Several colors and designs
- Multiple sizes
- Weather, UV, and cold-resistant
- Easy to install
- Heavy material
Best Premium Option
If your RV isn’t currently outfitted with a motorized awning, trust us: it’s a fantastic investment.
Manually rolling up an RV awning takes time and effort. Considering you’ll mostly be rolling it up in the case of bad weather, you don’t want to spend another second completing this task than you have to. The Awnlux Motorized RV Awning makes the process simple and quick.
In addition to making rolling the awning out and up easier, the Awnlux also boasts 95% UV resistance!
This RV awning comes in multiple sizes and colors. No matter what your RV looks like, you’ll be able to get the motorized awning that matches it perfectly.
However, due to the fact that it is motorized, it’s more difficult to install than other models. It’s not recommended that you attempt to install this awning alone.If you want this done easily and confidently, you may have to take it to an RV mechanic to have it installed, which can be an extra expense.
You’ll be so happy that you invested in this motorized awning; it will certainly make your RV adventures all the more enjoyable and worthwhile!
- High UV resistance
- Multiple colors and sizes
- Motorized for ease of use
- Difficult to install yourself
Best Budget Option
The Leaveshade RV awning is designed to replace your original awning with something more uniquely designed. It also won’t break your bank.
This lower-cost option comes in two fun patterns: the American flag and a mountain design.
The Leaveshade comes in multiple sizes. While it isn’t as UV-resistant as other models, it is made of thick, 15oz top heavy material that will stand up well to bad weather. It also boasts a rating of -28℉ when it comes to cold cracks, making this super resistant to colder temperatures.
It’s also a very easy awning to install, which is a definite plus. You should be able to swap out the old awning in a snap!
- Multiple sizes
- Lower cost
- Easy to install
- Multiple designs
- Not a UV-resistant awning
Plain RV awnings are all well and good, but they don’t exactly enhance the “curb appeal” of your RV’s exterior. If you’re looking for something more eye-catching, this colorful Awnlux RV Awning is the best way to transform the exterior of your RV!
The beautiful shades of blue decorating this awning in squiggly, wave-like designs give your RV a bit of a beach vibe. It’s the perfect design for a summer vacation packed with RV adventures. It’s especially perfect for camping trips near the lake or ocean. There are other eye-catching color options as well, including black ombre and burgandy!
But this awning doesn’t just have a pretty face! It’s waterproof, thermally insulate, and offers near-complete UV resistance, which means you can sit beneath it without fear of the sun’s harmful rays!
This RV awning comes in multiple sizes, so make sure you measure before you purchase.
Unfortunately, beauty is pain, and the saying rings true with this RV awning. Many users found it difficult to install, though it looked beautiful once it was on. It’s not exactly subtle, either. If you prefer a more understated look, this isn’t the RV for you.
- Eye-catching, bright colors
- Multiple sizes available
- Difficult to install
Best Add-On Option
Many RVs come already outfitted with awnings; however, this doesn’t mean you’re completely safe from the scorching light of the sun.
Depending on where your campsite is located, you might end up at the wrong angle to have shade during the heat of the day. So what can you do? You can add an extra screen to your existing awning!
The ZipBlocker is actually an attachment you can add to your existing awning. This awning hangs down instead of out, blocking the sun vertically rather than horizontally.
By adding this to your current awning, you can create a “tent” of sorts. This blocks the sun from the top and front, while the RV itself shields your back.
However, because it’s only a single panel, you can still walk through from one side to the other. Consider it a shade “tunnel!”
The ZipBlocker reigns supreme in the category of easy installation. All you have to do is unroll your awning, slide the ZipBlocker insert into the rollbar, zip the remaining portion of the ZipBlocker into place, and you’re all set!
There are two downsides to the ZipBlocker, however. It’s designed more like a screen than a true awning, which means it won’t protect against rain and wind very thoroughly. It’s meant to give shade, not shelter. You’ll also have to uninstall it every time you roll up your awning, then reinstall it when you roll it down again.
- Easy to install
- Enhances existing awnings
- Blocks UV rays from another angle
- Has to be reinstalled frequently
- Doesn’t protect from rain and wind
RV Awning Buyer’s Guide
When choosing the best RV awning for you, the first thing you always need to look at is size. This will determine the compatibility of the awning with your RV.
If an awning doesn’t come in the correct size for your RV, it’s immediately out of the running. If you try to install an awning in the wrong size, it will likely malfunction and could even damage the RV itself. It will also take even more work to get it secured, which will create frustration for everyone involved.
To make sure you’re getting the right size, measure the distance between your awning arms prior to purchasing. If your RV doesn’t have arms installed already, measure the distance between the spaces where you will be installing the arms.
Sun & Weather Protection
Next, think about when and where you like to camp. If you’re primarily a spring and summer camper, or you prefer camping near the beach, UV protection should be high on your priority list.
You’ll want to look for 80% UV resistance or above. This will result in the best protection for you and your family.
UV resistance isn’t just about you, either—the higher the UV resistance of your awning, the better it will stand up to sun damage over the years.
If you enjoy winter camping, you’ll want to prioritize weather resistance over UV resistance. While you won’t likely have your awning open much in the winter, you’ll still want it to stand up well to the cold without cracking or weakening.
Durability and Materials
In most cases, when picking an RV awning, you’ll be choosing between acrylic or vinyl. Vinyl is the most commonly used material.
However, vinyl is more vulnerable to cracking in the cold than acrylic. So if you plan on winter camping, you might want to seek an acrylic option.
If you have a vinyl awning and want to protect it from cracking, mildew, and other weather damage, you can purchase protective vinyl cleaner to apply!
Both vinyl and acrylic material can last several years without sustaining severe sun damage, as both are UV-resistant.
As long as you give your RV awning regular maintenance and keep it rolled up during severe weather, it should last you up to a decade!
Manual or Automatic
The choice between manual or automatic largely depends on your preference. However, another factor to consider is where you tend to camp the most.
Automatic awnings require power to roll out. If you mainly boondock—that is, camp in your RV without electric, water, or sewer hookup—an automatic awning will be useless to you. You will not be able to extend your automatic awning by hand.
So if you plan to camp frequently without electricity, a manual option is your best choice.
However, if you prioritize electric hookup when RV camping, an automatic awning is much easier to set up than a manual. Either will work in this case, but the automatic option will save you time and effort.
RV Awning FAQ
How do I protect my RV awning during bad weather?
While your RV awning can withstand ordinary rain just fine, you want to be on the lookout for more intense weather.
If wind speeds get above 20-25 miles per hour, it’s best to close your awning.
If you start seeing lightning or hearing thunder, you’ll want to retract your awning and get inside your RV. It is safe to sit beneath an awning during a run-of-the-mill rainstorm, but it’s no longer safe once the lightning and thunder start.
Awnings themselves may be cloth, but they are typically held up by metal arms. So while the awning itself won’t channel electricity, there’s still a danger of a lightning strike.
You will also want to close the awning in the event of snow or hail. While light snow won’t harm the awning, it may pile up overnight and cause damage with its weight.
Hailstones can tear through the awning and cause considerable damage to the awning itself or its arms.
Also, keep in mind that rain may end up pooling in your awning. If too much water gathers in your awning, it’s not only bad for the awning itself; it may break the awning entirely.
Overall, it’s best to roll up your awning and keep it shut when bad weather approaches. If you leave it open during a light rainstorm, be sure to keep an eye out for any spots where it appears to be bulging downward. This is a sign of pooling rainwater.
How do I know it’s time to replace my RV awning?
Minor tears can happen even with the best of care given to your awning. Repairing these is a cinch; all you need is some awning repair tape.
However, if you start noticing holes or tears appearing more frequently, it might be time to retire your awning.
Another sign that your awning is ready to be replaced is when the material starts cracking all over or begins to look severely discolored.
Stay in the Shade!
Once you’ve tracked down the best RV awning for you, you’ll be all set for your next camping adventure—come rain, shine, or snow!
For more camping gear recommendations, visit our gear section now!
- About the Author
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Cassidy Eubanks is a proud Michigander, an avid reader, and a writer for Apple Pie Media. Her bachelor’s in Creative Writing has fueled her love of storytelling in all its forms…including campfire stories!
With many years of both tent camping and RV camping under her belt, the ability to roll her ankle multiple times without actually spraining it while hiking, and a foolproof method for making the perfect s’more, Cassidy loves sharing different tips, tricks, and tools on Beyond the Tent to make your camping trip as simple and stress-free as possible.