Awnings on your RV are a big investment, but in our opinion they are worth every penny you spend, and the time spent to maintain and secure them properly for years and decades of use.
BENEFITS OF WINDOW AND PATIO AWNINGS:
Besides the obvious that a patio awning provides some great additional covered outdoor space… here are some other benefits of having both the large patio awning and window awnings all the way around your RV!
- Patio awnings provide shade for outdoor living space even in light rain
- Window awnings provide shade coverage of your RV refrigerator thereby allowing the refrigerator to run more efficiently and help to avoid overheating/ or freeze up.
- Awnings allow you to keep windows open for great cross ventilation– even in light to moderate rain. (we recommend only window awnings be left out during light/moderate rain, roll up your patio awning or at minimum slant it down at least 1-2 notches on one side arm to allow sufficient run off for draining-otherwise you can bend the main roller bar or rip the awning material from weight of water pooling)
- Awnings will help prevent unnecessary fading of interior cabinetry, upholstery and other interior decorative items
- In some cases, awnings will provide some additional privacy for you when inside your RV
- Awnings, when deployed, will lower the inside temperature of your RV thereby allowing your AC to run more efficiently and effectively or at minimum keep the inside of your RV cooler by avoiding direct sunlight and heat on your windows (we can typically see an 8-10 degree cooler difference within 20 minutes!)
- Selecting your awning material adds to the overall “personal touch” that makes your RV special to you. You can decide solid colors or stripes in a myriad of color choices to suit your overall color theme and RV’s personality. We highly suggest avoiding all vinyl awnings and instead opt for breathable Sunbrella fabric-which is what was traditionally used on Avions anyway! We had a vinyl awning on our first Avion (1973) put on by a prior owner, it was hot, dark, heavy, and often smelled musty.
and lastly, awnings are quintessential especially for vintage RVs and just look awesome while also adding real investment $$ value to your RV!
MAINTAINING AWNINGS AND KEEPING THEM SAFE FROM DAMAGE IS VERY IMPORTANT!
Here is our first in a series of blog posts and videos about window and patio awnings.
This article focuses on the use of Window Awning Travel Locks/Latches.
We purchased our awning travel locks from Zip Dee. They sell one type of travel lock for window awnings and another style just for the large patio awnings.
*NOTE-Zip Dee does not sell anything via their website. You must call their company and speak to a sales rep to place and pay for an order. I will put their contact information at the bottom of this blog post.
The awning travel latches/locks are NOT listed under their “accessories” webpage. They can be found instead on the PDF “AWNING PARTS” list. But honestly, just tell the sale rep when you call -what you are looking for and they will have it for you. The awning latch kits come with everything you will need including very good instructions— you will need to supply your own power drill, #8 drill bit, pen for marking location to drill and rivet gun.
Zip Dee is an old fashioned-run business, but that’s a good thing for those of us with vintage RVs since this means they also have not changed out their parts or styles for over 50 or so years–so you can still get even the smallest part from them to repair your 35 year old Zip Dee awnings!! Yeah–who still has a Blackberry that works???!!
Below is a photo of one of our Window Awning Travel Locks/Latches after it was installed. It basically functions like a “hook & eye”.
Here is a video that we did to show how this lock works and how effective it is in preventing an accidental “unrolling” if you happen to be in high winds, especially while tooling down the highway! (yes, unfortunately it HAS happened to others, especially patio awnings!)
We have 3 window awnings on both sides of our 1987 , 32 foot Avion. We did have one on the rear wrap around window but since have removed it when we opted to install a traditional Avion rock guard also on the rear window. So now we have window awning on our curbside rear bed side window and two larger awnings on our streetside. One covers the streetside rear side bedroom window and bathroom and the forward one covers the living room area and kitchen (including going over the refrigerator area in between the LR and Kitchen).
We have put 2 awning locks on the two long streetside awnings and one on the curbside bedroom single awning. It probably is not necessary to use two on the longer window awnings but we tend to always over engineer things anyway for our peace of mind.
Before beginning the travel lock/latch install be sure you have a #8 drill bit. We purchased ours at our local ACE hardware store. Kevin applied a bit of green painters tape to the same length as the rivet that came with the latch packet. This ensures you are not going to drill too deep into the exterior of your RV!
First step was to mark where we wanted to install the latch. Zip Dee recommends installing at the REAR end of each awning. Their instructions that come in the packet are very good and clear on where to place and how to install.
This photo shows the “receiver” end has been riveted in place. Looking closely you can see that we now have also placed the “hook” into the receiver to mark where the hook hardware needs to be installed. Be sure it is a snug fit with some tension but still able to easily rotate the hook out of the receiver when desired. The hook is mounted onto the aluminum roll up cover of the awning. Again, they give very good instructions on how and where to place. The hook will be screwed in place using the provided screw and washer(s).
Here is the finished product. To open the latch you use the long awning rod tool’s short, stubby hook end (not the rounded hook) placed into the hole in the hook hardware and with your wrist twist, rotating the hook out of the receiver. It takes a little getting used to but you will get the hang of it.
Be sure to watch this quick video to see how the lock/latch opens using your awning rod tool. We also include some other tips in the video!
Awnings By Zip Dee
96 Crossen Ave
Elk Grove Village IL 60007
Telephone: (847) 437-0980
Toll-Free: (800) 338-2378
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