A wind-destroyed RV awning isn’t just about ruining the awning fabric. It can end up damaging the arms and even wreck the siding of your RV as well.
Therefore, no wonder that it’s one of the most talked-about topics among RVers around.
Many of the veteran RVers mark the wind of 22 mph as the breaking point. And we can estimate around 50 to 60% of people agree with the assessment. But that’s quite a vague assessment, as there are a handful of RV awnings types nowadays.
Therefore, we’ve done some more digging to find out how high of wind can RV awning withstand? The list includes wind resistance of supported awnings, self-supported awnings, and automatic awnings.
We won’t just be talking about the RV camper awning wind withstanding capabilities. We will also show you how you can get away with increased capabilities to withstand rougher conditions.
Let’s get started-
What Problems will High-Winds Cause to RV Awnings?
When it comes to RV Awnings, there are certain problems you can face in high-winds.
- The excessive flapping of the awnings.
- Awning tie-ins may break or come off.
- Your awning may tear up entirely.
- The arms and sidings of the RV can be damaged.
These are the three major problems you may face whenever you’re dealing with heavy gusts of wind.
Not to end up with any of these consequences, you need to know to max wind speed for your RV awning and act before it’s above the limit. The next section of the article will be talking about that in-depth-
Phase Zero: Understanding Wind Speeds
The perception of ‘Windy’ and ‘Breezy’ may differ from user to user.
But it’s probably the right choice to go with the definition of the Beaufort Wind Scale(National Weather Service)-
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If you were to ask me for a bit of honest advice, I would say that anything beyond 20 mph( 30 km/h) is windy enough to think about your RV awning. As long as safety is concerned, there’s no way you could change my mind on that one!
How Much Wind Can RV Awnings Withstand?
What causes an RV awning to get whipped over? Well, to understand that, here is the rule of thumb-
Understanding Camper Awning in Wind- The Rule of Thumb
The RV awning max wind speed has an inversely proportional relationship with the fabric width and breadth. The higher the width and breadth, the lower the wind rating. Of course, the measures you’ll need to keep the awning in control will go up as well.
Apart from that, these factors also decide how your awning will react to the wind-
- Presence of shades.
- Number of anchors(poles) into the ground.
- The angle of wind inclination.
Wind Resistance of Different Kinds of RV Awnings
To keep things simple, we’ve split up RV awnings into three types and discussed the wind resistance of each. Let’s check out-
Wind Resistance of Supported Awnings
By definition, these awnings are supported externally using poles into the ground. On top of that, the awnings wind resistance can be further enhanced using a weather kit that includes elastic straps.
Having said that, supported awnings provide the best resistance against wind. These kinds of awnings are usually rated as wind Class 2. Which means, they should be fine under19-25 mph of RV awning wind limits.
If you would like to see some more resistance from such awnings, supporting them with a weather kit might extend it to 26-32 mph of wind resistance. But that’s not advised anyway, as it’ll be pushing the limits of the fabric itself.
Verdict: Safe to use under 25 mph(without weather kit) and 32 mph(with weather kit).
Wind Resistance of Self-Supported Awnings
Self-supported awnings extend from a structure with the support of spring-powered metal arms. The fabric is usually 6-10 feet long, and it comes with wall-mounted support rails.
However, they might be easier to operate but are more susceptible to wind.
Without weather kits(support legs and tie-down straps), they might withstand wind as fast as 22 mph. In fact, a 20-22 mph wind will feel like having a 250-300 pounds person on top of the awnings. Therefore, they might collapse on that pressure.
Adding to that, if self-supported awnings are strengthened with a weather kit, they might undergo wind as fast as 23-28 mph(strong breeze).
Verdict: Safe to use under 23 mph(without weather kit) and 28 mph(with weather kit).
Wind Resistance of Automatic Awnings
These are by far, the safest kind of awnings. Often, a combination of self-supported awnings and an RV awning wind speed sensor is addressed as automatic awnings in practice.
Having this wind sensor is awesome. Based on the given ‘Wind Rating’ of the awning, it will detect the wind and roll the awning up automatically. As the user, you don’t have much to do in here to protect your awning from getting whipped.
Having all that said, the actual resistance of these awnings isn’t any better than 20-22 mph of wind. As they are not supposed to be tied down into the ground, they roll up once the wind reaches even the lower limit of the respective wind resistance class of that awning.
Verdict: Safe to use under 20-22 mph.
What Do RV Awning Wind Ratings Mean?
You might have heard of the term ‘Wind Resistance Rating’ when roaming around automatic RV awnings. If fact, this is the rating that decides at which speed range of wind, the RV will roll up by the automatic sensor.
For further clarification, here goes the detailed list of which Wind Rating means what-
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How to Keep RV Awning from Flapping During High WindsAs per most RV models are concerned, they usually come up with built-in awnings with Class 2 wind resistance. So, if you wanted to be on the safe side of things, then perhaps it is easy to assume that 17-23 miles/hour is the standard resistance measurement.
Keeping the RV Awning Safe During High Winds
Knowing the wind tolerance of your RV awning is good. But that doesn’t come with the assurance that it will withstand any given storm or wind. Therefore, it’s always sober to stay protected.
Followings are some measures that you might take to safeguard your RV awning from destructive wind-
Using De-flapper Clamps: The Simplest Approach
Although these clamps are not meant to defeat high wind, for frontline protection, de-flapper clamps are a pretty obvious choice. Given that you don’t have an awning with an auto wind sensor, having such support can prevent an expensive rip anyway.
So, what kind of awnings can be accompanied by these? Well, these clamps fit well with manual awnings with extended width and awnings with a sidearm.
For optimal resistance against wind, make sure the de-flapper clamp comes with a wide grip, tough materials(Nylon or so), and chemically protected design.
Here goes a couple of recommendations-
How to Use Awning De-Flapper Clamps?
Awning clamps are fairly easy to use. You can probably tell by the name already; they are clamps with velcro straps.
The following steps will be applicable to you if you’re using a camper awning set of two.
- First, you’d want to find the middle point of the support rod of your RV camper awning. Eyeballing it should be more than enough for this endeavor.
- Second, you’d want to loosen the bolt or knob on the awning to open them up.
- Place them on each side of the awning.
- Now you’ll want to get the velcro strap around the support rod of the awning and close it down.
- Don’t get it too tight or too loose. You’ll know if it’s too tight or loose.
And that’s pretty much all there is to it. There’s really no need for any complex calculations, you’ll know once you get into the flow of the job.
Here are some popular options that can help you out.
Use All-in-One Tie-Down Kits
All-in-one awning tie-down kits or stabilizer kits are also a good way to get the job done.
These are pretty much a set of spikes, stakes and straps or ropes.
Usually, there’s no general way of getting away with a particular kit. But the steps you’ll have to take are pretty much the same.
We are taking the CAMCO Awning Stabilizer Kit as a reference to show you how it’s done.
- First of all, you’ll want to extend your RV awning to the fullest width. Don’t raise it up just yet.
- Next, you’ll have to tie a knot around the s-ring (you can try any knot that suits you. Just make sure it’s strong).
- Then you’ll insert rope through the tension unit (it is an almost u-shape contraption) and knot it up.
- Now tie the s-ring around the outer awning bar.
- After that, raise up the awning.
- Now insert the spiral spikes into the ground. 4 to 6-feet should be enough.
- Finally, hook the tension unit to the spikes. You can extend or retract the tension unit as you please.
Now there are a couple of options with stabilizer poles out there. In that case, these are the steps you need to follow:
- Bring out the support poles and add the support cradles.
- The poles need to be placed under the outer awning support bar (roller tube).
- There may be height adjustment available (which is in most of the cases). In that case, you need to open the lever and adjust the height accordingly (We are taking the CAREFREE RV Awning Stabilizer as a reference, which can take a maximum height of 10-inches).
- The rest of the process is similar:
- Take the spikes and put them through the d-rings.
- Hammer the spikes a nice couple of feet (5-6 feet) into the ground.
- Tie the velcro around the roller tube.
- Adjust the tension on the tension unit by pulling the strap as necessary.
Use Awnings with Shades(Mesh Screen)
Although, awning shades are meant to keep the RVers from the sunlight. But it has benefits as an RV awning wind protector as well.
As you might have noticed, RV shade covers connect the awning to the ground quite securely. Also, they are at an angle with the vertical, which means they will divert the cross-wind upward and stop the awning fabric to be a ‘sail’ and to be flipped away.
Therefore, the resistance of the awning is taken to the next level while a good quality shade is connected to it.
If your awning don’t come up with one, here are some mesh screen shades that you can buy and connect to your awning anyway-
- Tentproinc RV Awning Sun Shade
- EZ Travel Collection Black RV Awning Shade
- Carefree 82158802 Black 6′ x 15′ Sunblocker
In case you need a guide on installation, here is a video we’ve found useful-
General Safety Measures While Applying Safety Apparatus
Here are some general safety measures you need to keep in mind:
- Different RV awnings have a different pitch. The pitch is a useful measure that helps rainwater to slide off easily. Always adjust the pitch of the awning as per the instructions provided by the manufacturer. You’d probably be better off if you use the proper tools to adjust the awning. Furthermore, do the adjustments before you start with the stabilization kit.
- If you have a self-retractable (electric) awning, then you need to switch the auto-setting off after you extend the width. This will ensure that the awning doesn’t retract itself during the safety process.
- We would advise against using bungee cords. They aren’t really cut out for this sort of task. Using a set of nylon ropes should be more than enough.
- We would advise against using anelectric RV awning wind sensor. These are generally vibration sensors. For this reason, you may experience failure even if you get the most agile sensor possible. The success rate for RV wind sensors is less than 20%, which is something to keep in mind.
Is Wind the only Issue?
When testers test the awnings, they usually don’t throw in the debris factor. Flying debris is very real.
Also, the fact that the wind can change direction at any given time isn’t something to throw away either. You are dealing with nature here.
So, whatever stunt the manufacturer of an RV awning is trying to pull off, it is better to be safer on your own. Because their testing typically doesn’t involve the two main things:
- Flying Debris
- Swirling winds
So, you may want to keep that into consideration as well.
About the RV Awning Fabric: The Basic Know-How
It’s always good to know about the awning fabrics and how they stack up.
RV Awnings aren’t just for the luxury of it. Although they do seem kinda nice out in the open, they are capable of reducing the temperatures somewhere from 12-16 degrees.
But that’s not the entire point we’re trying to make here. We’re trying to help you understand how each type of fabric stacks up. Then we’ll move on to the spare parts you may need to reinforce the RV awning during sudden gusts.
Vinyl Awnings: A Quick Starter
The key traits of vinyl awnings are:
- Waterproof fabric
- Capable of withstanding heavy gusts of wind
- Easily Repairable
- Super Easy to Clean
- Very Low Breathability
- Not so heavy on the wallet
Acrylic Awnings: A Quick Starter
You’ll find the following traits with acrylic awnings:
- Breathable material
- Waterproofing isn’t the unique property
- Moderately weatherproof
- Woven Fabric
- Retains colors
- Often has a separate coating on the outside
Other options include metal awnings, which may cost a small fortune given their heft and build quality. Also, they do get RV awning wind damage easily. So, you may want to look for other alternatives.
You now have a set of foolproof ways to safeguard your awning from high-winds.
The steps we mentioned earlier will ensure optimum safety during rough weather conditions.
Let us know your thoughts on how you would tackle situations like these. We would be glad to hear from you.
Cody is a full-time blogger living in his camper. Through fixing, repairing and buying equipment to his RV he have learned a lot. Through this blog he will share his mistakes and learnings so that you can save yourself time and money.