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If you have just purchased a brand new RV, you may be curious: just how far do RV awnings extend? RV awnings are key to enjoying the outdoor space surrounding your RV, especially if you have an outdoor kitchen or entertainment center. Similarly, RV awnings provide both shade and protection from the elements and inclement weather while you camp.
So, how far do RV awnings extend?
Depending on the type of RV awning you have, it can extend anywhere from 8 to 20 feet away from your RV’s walls. Electric and retractable options give you the most extension. Some awnings stretch the entire length of your RV, while others are smaller and limited to a particular section.
In this article, we will discuss RV awnings and just how far they are capable of extending. These measurements will include both the extension from the wall out as well as the overall size and length of the awning in comparison to your RV. Plus, we will go over all of the different types of awnings used in RV manufacturing, including the materials utilized. let’s get started!
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How Far Do RV Awnings Extend?
There are many different sizes of RV awnings as well as different types. For the most part, there are three different types of RV awnings utilized in modern-day RV manufacturing, all of which extend to a certain amount. Let’s talk about the different types of RV awnings now.
The smallest type of RV awning has to be the portable style of awning. These awnings do what their name implies in that it is up to you to manually set up, remove, extend, and retract them. For the most part, these awnings have no bells and whistles and offer a simple level of shade and protection from the rain. They are often installed by RV owners separately from their RV purchase.
However, portable awnings can suffer from the elements over time and typically don’t extend more than 10 feet away from the walls of your RV. A 6 to 8-foot extension is more likely, giving you a minimal amount of coverage on the outside of your RV. Plus, these awnings most likely need to be removed anytime you hit the road, making them inconvenient, albeit affordable.
The primary difference between a manual awning and a portable awning is the fact that manual awnings are included with your RV and not set up after the initial purchase. These awnings are designed to be manually extended and retracted by you, but the process is much easier compared to portable awnings overall, especially since manual awnings are permanent fixtures.
For example, manual awnings have arms on either side of them that allow you to extend and retract it with ease. Most manual awnings reach an extended length of up to 20 feet, making them the largest type of RV awning available. Depending on the type that you have, the materials are often durable and easy to maintain, making this a favorite of most RV customers.
Extremely popular for their ease of use, electric awnings extend an average of 10 to 15 feet away from the walls of your RV. Depending on the type of electric awning you have, some of these options can extend and retract automatically with the weather. Many of these types of awnings also have wind sensors or other sensors to help protect both you and the awning itself.
While the size of these awnings is versatile and popular, there is one thing about electric awnings that separates it from manual and portable awnings. The cost of electric awnings is much higher by comparison, especially if you choose an awning with multiple types of sensors or other bells and whistles.
This is especially true as your RV and awning age. Electric awnings will likely require replacements down the line, including complicated motorized parts that are expensive to replace. Not only are electric awnings costly upfront, but they require far more maintenance compared to the two other types of awnings on this list. However, they’re super high-tech!
What Are RV Awnings Made Of?
The materials used to make your RV awning largely determine how far it can extend. Let’s discuss briefly the different types of materials used to make an RV awning including an option that may work for the DIY RV awning creator!
Popular for their aesthetic appearance as well as their ease of care, acrylic awnings are common in many RV manufacturing settings. While acrylic awnings are not entirely waterproof, they do offer RV customers a more attractive look without sacrificing too much in terms of durability.
However, acrylic awnings can still wear down over time, particularly from mold and mildew, though this type dries fast. You may also find that acrylic fabrics are not as durable during times of high wind and inclement weather, though these are likely not times that you should be using your RV awning anyway!
Vinyl is another popular RV awning material choice, given the fact that it is entirely waterproof. The durability of vinyl is often in question, but this material is likely as durable as any type of acrylic fabric that you may use. However, mold and mildew are still a problem with vinyl, especially if you need to roll up your awning while it is still wet.
While vinyl may be slightly less expensive depending on the RV awning you are looking for, it’s important to make sure that it needs to dry thoroughly when not in use. This can get inconvenient as you camp, especially if you forget to unroll your awning when you arrive, leaving it damp and susceptible to mildew.
At the end of the day, any type of fabric can be used to make an RV awning if you want to make one yourself. However, standard fabrics are not typically utilized in RV awning manufacturing, given their overall durability. If you choose to make your own portable awning at home, utilizing any type of heavy-duty fabric is possible.
You can even spray any type of fabric with a water-repellent chemical, though this can get expensive and may not be worth it overall. Keep in mind that water will be your worst enemy should you choose to make your own fabric awning for your RV, but keeping it dry and only using it during times of sunshine will help you avoid this problem!
Where Are RV Awnings Typically Located?
RV awnings extend as far as they do typically based on where they are located on your RV. For example, some RVs have smaller awnings located above the primary windows of the rig, offering you shade and privacy. Just about all RVs have awnings above the main entrance door, offering you protection from the elements and a place to keep things dry outside.
You can have RV awnings on either side of your RV, and travel trailers can even have an awning off of the back. It all depends on the type of RV you have as well as where you want these awnings to be located. Many huge Class A motorhomes have multiple awnings, particularly over outdoor kitchens and entertainment centers!
However, most awnings are above the door and extend outward with plenty of square footage below it so that you can keep things protected while storing them outside. The height of these awnings should be enough that you can comfortably stand and enjoy time outdoors, out of the rain and in the shade!
Factors That Affect How Far You Can Extend Your RV Awning
If this is your first time owning an RV awning, there are a number of factors that affect it, both in terms of its overall care as well as the size of the awning you will get in the first place. Here are just a few of the factors that will determine the type of RV awning you have as well as how you can best maintain it.
While it can be an easy thing to forget about, the wind is one of the primary killers of RV awnings. Should you happen to leave your RV awning extended during a time of high winds or even during a storm, you run the risk of damaging or completely losing your awning entirely! That’s why the top-of-the-line electric awnings currently available for luxury RVs have wind sensors incorporated in them so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting your awning ever again.
Occasionally, you may be able to extend your RV awning just far enough so that the door of your rig is covered but no more. This will allow you some protection without running the risk of damaging your awning in a windstorm. However, it is always recommended to leave your awning retracted during times of inclement weather, especially if you have a warranty on your awning!
Awnings are designed to protect us from times of inclement weather, especially rain. There’s nothing better than returning to camp and being able to remove your shoes and other accessories outside without worrying about getting wet. However, rain and moisture damage are huge when it comes to maintaining your awning in the first place.
Storing your RV awning while it is wet is never a good idea, no matter the material you use. You should also keep in mind that times of heavy rainfall could result in a ripped or saggy RV awning if you leave it set up. If you often camp in inclement weather or a location that experiences heavy rain or snowfall, make sure that your awning is retracted!
Ensuring that your RV awning is completely retracted before you hit the road is number one. You may be surprised to hear that this happens often, especially to new RV owners. Not only do you run the risk of losing your awning should you choose to retract it before leaving camp, but you also risk damaging other vehicles or people. Just make sure your RV awning is properly stored and not extended when you pack up camp!
Size of the RV
The overall size of your RV will affect just how large of an awning you end up with. Unless you install an awning after the fact, most RV manufacturers correctly proportion an awning to suit the overall size of an RV or travel trailer. You don’t want an awning that takes up too much space, but you also don’t want one that is too small to be useful!
How to Maintain an RV Awning
For the most part, RV awnings are easy to maintain so long as you keep them clean and don’t use them during times of extreme weather. However, electric awnings will likely need more maintenance compared to manual awnings, so keep this in mind if you are still shopping for an RV. Besides keeping them clean and dry when you store them, you can maintain an RV awning in the following ways:
- Make sure you choose a cleaning method that works for your RV awning material. Some RV awnings can’t handle persistent scrubbing and do best when sprayed with chemicals and cleaned with a hose, so make sure you know the type of RV awning material you are working with.
- If your RV awning tears, you can always purchase a patch. Rather than replace your entire RV awning, patching it is possible. While it may not look the most attractive, there are plenty of weatherproof tapes or fabric patches that you can purchase to keep your RV awning in one piece!
- Ensure that you don’t use it during wind, rain, hail, and snow. While it may seem counterintuitive, most RV awnings can’t handle extreme weather. This should always be something you keep in mind if you have your RV awning extended while you are away from your rig. You never know when a sudden storm will happen, so it may be best to retract it when you aren’t at camp!
Knowing how far RV awnings extend can be useful for setting up camp as well as utilizing your awning in the first place. While the overall care and maintenance of RV awnings may be more than you expected, having something that protects you from the elements while you are outdoors is key to enjoying any RV experience!