Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Awnings, Awnings, Awnings!!!

Great News! It's camping season!   

If you're like most of us, you simply cannot wait to get out there and put that RV to use. After all of my recent health issues I'm in the same boat. My poor camper has been sitting there patiently waiting for me to hook up and go somewhere. Soon enough, grasshopper, soon enough!

In the meantime there's a bit of bad news too. 

Along with the advent of camping season comes the possibility of those pesky Summer storms, that can pop up in the time it takes to eat a grilled hot dog and can wreak havoc with your retractable awnings. There are a few common sense things your can do to ensure that your trusty awning is ready to use when you need it and save your repair money for other more enjoyable expenditures.

You do remember our friend Common Sense don't you? He used to live in just about every house on every block in every county and in every state, with the notable exception of Washington, DC. He has been saving humans pain and expense for as long as there have been humans but we seem to forget to listen to him a lot more lately than in times past. Here are his 2 simplest tips to protect your side-mounted retractable awnings:


While it is true that your awning slopes downward from the poly-cord track that mounts to the top of your camper to the fringe, trust me ... this is nothing more than an optical illusion! Since the fabric is just that ... fabric .... it will not hold that gently sloping shape once 10 to 20 gallons of water falls from the sky on top of your $500 piece of vinyl in a matter of mere seconds. It will sag and pool under this enormous weight and one of three things will happen.
1. The roller tube will fold like a cheap suit,

2. The auto-dump feature on the new electric awnings will kick in (much to your surprise) and give you a headache and/or a quick cold shower depending one where you happen to be standing or sitting when it happens.

3.The hardware that holds the awning to your camper will disintegrate into a pile of recyclable aluminum faster than you can say whooops!!

If you want to use your awning when it's raining you certainly can. Just be SURE to lower one side so that the water has a place to get off of it!


If I've heard it once I've heard it a thousand times. "I don't have to worry about my awning because I tie the front of mine down with straps."

WRONG!!!  Did I say that loud enough? WRONG!!!

I don't care if you chain the arm ends to a 25 foot deep concrete pad with steel anchors, a 40-50 mile per hour wind will simply chuckle at your feeble attempts to thwart it as it effortlessly rips the top extrusion from the side of your beloved camper along with whatever happens to come off with it in the process. As the old Parkay commercial used to say ... 'it's not nice to fool around with Mother Nature!'

Summer storms can pop up in a matter of minutes. Therefore, if you're going to be away from your camper for more than 10 minutes PUT THAT AWNING AWAY!!! 

I've seen at least a thousand campers with awnings that were removed by an angry wind and, while I'm sure that there are a few old goats out there who would like nothing more than to prove me wrong ... sadly, they never will!! Heed my words or cough up the cash. The choice is yours!

Oh ... and by the way ... I did see ONE awning that survived a big wind! Wasn't even bent nor was the fabric even stretched!!! The camper was laying on its backside but the awning was in fine shape! I'll bet those were some surprised people when they found themselves sleeping on the wall!

It's extremely painful to watch an awning die! Protect yours with these simple rules and you won't have to endure the funeral costs associated due to a lack in application of Common Sense!

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