Can I Leave My RV Awning Out All the Time? 

An RV parked with the awning out, at night.

There has been much talk about RV awnings, their importance, and ways you can keep them in shape. However, we still haven’t found a single article answering a simple question: is it possible to leave your RV awning out all the time? Needless to say, that’s exactly where we, here at Outdoor Is Home, enter the picture.

It’s safe to say good RV awnings are a crucial element of your outdoor experience. Camping during the hot summer days doesn’t seem so easy, even with the proper attire, if you’re not sporting top-quality RV awnings that will provide a cool shade, right? Right. Anyway, in the article you’re about to read we’ll take about RV awnings en général besides, of course, tackling the can-I-leave-my-RV-awning-out-all-the-time issue! Stay tuned!

Nope, it’s not recommended to leave your RV awning out all of the time. Weather conditions such as heavy rain or wind can do some good damage to it. Each time you’re leaving your RV unattended, make sure you retract the awnings. 

If you’ve skimmed through the abridged version, it’s not cool to brag about reading the whole book. Apply the same rule here!

Table of Contents

What is an RV awning? (Basics)

In this section, we’ll try to quickly go through some basic info concerning the item better known as an RV awning. We’ll start by answering the most basic of questions: okay, so what’s an RV awning?

You’ve probably seen them before; RV awnings are the roof-like extensions that offer shade and (sometimes) shelter from the rain, heavy wind, or even – snow. They’re a fantastic feature to have on your trusty camper. Why? Well, because, as we’ve said, they offer the much-needed protection from wind and rain. Also, RV camping during the hottest months of the year ain’t so pleasant without RV awnings.

Not only do RV awnings offer protection from various weather conditions, but they also serve other purposes. For instance, your RV slide-topper awnings will shield your roof from all types of debris. Also, your RV patio awnings will provide you with more space since they’ll expand the living area you’re able to utilize.

Lastly, if you’re curious about whether or not should RV awnings be tied down, we’ve published an article about the issue.

What are the different types of RV awnings?

When it comes to the way that they work, we can differentiate between electric and manual RV awnings. Let’s see what makes them so different from one another:

  • Electric RV awnings can be utilized with the simple flick of a switch. You won’t have much trouble maintaining this type of RV awnings. However, you’ll have to use some lube (light oil or dry graphite, or any other type of lube) on the joints and other metal parts that move. Check your owner’s manual to see what type of lubrication should you deploy.
  • Manual RV awnings will, unfortunately, demand you invest some effort in maintaining them. That’s because they possess more moving parts than their electric sibling. Aside from the lubrication process, we’ve mentioned above, you’ll have to ensure that the manual RV awning is deployed in a proper manner. If you do it incorrectly, there’s a good chance you might cause some harm to your RV or the awning itself.

What are RV awnings made of?

There’s a good chance that your RV awnings are made of vinyl since nearly all RVs have awnings that are made from that material. The thing about vinyl is that it’s naturally waterproof and pretty darn durable. However, it’s not all that peachy: winter comes with its own set of challenges for vinyl RV awnings. Never put away your vinyl RV awnings when they’re wet because you don’t want any mold or mildew forming there.

Lastly, you’ll want to clean your awning material at least once or twice a year. If you notice that eighter mold or mildew has formed, you’re going to need to equip yourself with some bleach and a vinyl cleaner and scrub the issue into oblivion.

Okay, so we’ve reached the end of the intro section. Now it’s time to consider the main question that’s on everyone’s mind: can you leave your RV awning out all the time? Don’t go anywhere.

An RV camper with the awning out, during sunset.

Can I leave my RV awning out all the time?

Most RV camping enthusiasts will tell you the same: one shouldn’t leave their RV awning out all the time. That’s because your RV awnings, even though they’re pretty strong and durable, can’t really withstand certain weather conditions. Your best bet is to pay close attention to the forecast and act accordingly. More about that in the paragraph below.

Can you leave RV awning out overnight?

Needless to say, this is one of the most asked-about issues on RV forums: okay, guys, should I leave my RV awning out overnight before going to sleep? It’s now safe to say that most answers read: nope, you shouldn’t. Here we’ll show you why!

The thing is: some bad wind can really do some good damage to your RV awnings. Also, imagine a thunderstorm hits out of nowhere, and you’ve left your awnings out. In that unfortunate scenario, your RV awning will accumulate water thus becoming heavier until it might rip. Not to mention the strong winds that are “strongly associated” with thunderstorms. They’ll demolish your expanded shelter in a second.

So, yeah, if you’re willing to risk it – pay close attention to the weather forecast and watch out for incoming thunderstorms, rain, or bad winds. The forecast should be your best buddy when it comes to avoiding issues with your RV awnings. However, we strongly recommend you close your awnings each time you head off to sleep. It’s best you ensure yourself a good night’s sleep by not having to worry about anything that might happen to your RV awnings!

Now that we’ve covered this, it’s time to see what can you do to protect your RV awnings from the rain! Also, if you’re looking for additional info on the relationship between your RV and the rain, follow the highlighted link.

Can you keep your awning out in the rain?

Okay, so let’s say you don’t really feel like rolling up your awning and there’s some rain approaching. What can you do to protect your RV awnings in such a situation? Here are a few suggestions!

Simply angle your awning at a slope to avoid pooling

Yup, this one’s quite easy! The thing about rain is that it has a tendency to pool in the pockets located at the top of your RV awning. That will, of course, cause the material to stretch. To avoid this, you’ll want to tilt one side of the awning lower than the other. The angle you’ll get will cause the water to flow off your awning.

Never roll up your RV awning before drying

Imagine your awning is all wet from the thunderstorm that’s, luckily, passed. Should you roll it up immediately? Our answer is: absofreakinglutely not! The thing is: rolling up your awning before you’ve dried it out completely will only result in the growth of mold and mildew. Needless to say, you clearly want to avoid that!

As you can see, there aren’t so many suggestions on keeping your RV awnings out in the rain. Because? Because it’s best to retract your awning at the first sight of wind or rain. Let’s check if there’s something we’ve missed talking about.

When should I retract my RV awning?

Here we’ll introduce you to the scenarios in which your RV awning needs to stay retracted:

  • You’re going to sleep. Imagine leaving your comfy RV bedding to retract your awnings in the middle of the night because of rain or heavy winds. Geesh! Your best bet is to do this before heading to dreamland.
  • You’re leaving camp. Whenever you’re leaving the campsite for more than an hour, make sure to close off your awnings. One can never be too sure if the weather will suddenly change.
  • You’ve noticed something awry in the weather forecast. This one goes without saying.
  • Your campsite is subject to heavy wind. They say that wind is the number one cause of RV awning casualties. With that in mind, make sure you retract the awning each time you notice the wind is acting a bit nasty.
  • There’s a thunderstorm approaching. Do we have to explain this one? An approaching thunderstorm is clearly not something your awnings are excited about. Quite the contrary!

All in all: make sure you retract your RV awnings each time you’re planning to leave them unattended. If you can’t react in a minute to stop the catastrophe, there’s no point in leaving your RV awnings out all of the time. If you’re thinking of tieing them down, click right here.

The bottom line

Okay, so we’ve reached the southern margins of this text. Hopefully, now you’re well aware of just why folks aren’t supposed to leave their RV awning out all the time. It should be common knowledge, but still, folks seem to forget it every once in a while. Anyway, for more useful tips on various RV-related subjects, please feel free to check out this page on our blog.

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