Retractable motorhome awnings are a popular choice for many campers because they offer a simple and efficient way of adding extra protection from the elements. There are two main types to choose from, these being manual and motorised versions. Many modern motorhomes now come with a retractable awning already installed, however even if you don’t have a pre-installed design, there are many companies that can supply you with the necessary equipment to add your own.
The manual awnings are typically stored on the side of the motorhome and can be rolled up for easy storage. To release them you just pull on the support straps and your awning will open up. The support tracks will then slide out and help to guide your awning into position. Strong support arms are essential to carry the weight of the actual awning and to avoid sagging and wear. It is worth spending a bit of extra cash to prolong the life of the awning.
The motorised versions can be erected at the push of a button and are the most simple to use. They cost more than the manual one’s but they can be really useful in high winds, in that you will not have to wrestle to erect them. Again, the support mechanisms are important because these will be more prone to rust and corrosion. The best kinds are made from aluminium or stainless steel, as these offer the most durability from rain and wind. Support tracks can also rust and start to stain the awning fabric which comes into contact with them, so look for quality materials that will last longer than the plain steel tracks.
There are many different styles and sizes of retractable motorhome awnings that will fit almost any motorhome on the market. The size you choose will depend on the size of your motorhome and your own requirements. You can purchase larger models that will extend out further and create more shade from the sun, but the downside is that they will be more prone to flapping around when it get’s windy. This can create pressure on the supports and increase wear and tear.
For extra protection you can easily add side panels and blocking panels, which can be fitted to the awning wit a few simple steps. Many people choose this option to give them more privacy, or for added ventilation on hot sunny days. De flappers can also be bought to stop the awning from flapping in high winds at minimal cost. Another useful addition is the center support pole, which is great at diverting rain water from the top of the awning. Rain water can start to pool and cause sagging above your head.
As always, make sure you know the dimensions of your motorhome before you buy any awning so that it will fit. If you are going to customise yourself then talk to experienced sellers first so you know what tools you will need to make the process as simple as you can.