Awning Morphed Into A Sail

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Well-known member
Mar 12, 2005
Well, it finally happened to me after all these years. Left the camper (awning out) with a wind forecast at 15-25 mph. When we got back, there was the awning flapping in the breeze. Apparently, the wind got it, flew it up onto the roof and then back down. In the process, it broke the rear expandable arm and tore the upper connection from the side. It also cracked the forward upper connection and cracked the forward arm. Fortunately, there was no damage to the roof and vents. Only had a scratch on the wheel skirting. (Alpenlite). Other than the upper arms, all other awning parts were OK. Lucky for us, there was an RV tech in the park whose specialty is awning installation and repair. He had two new awning arms and we repaired the awning. Had to move the rear attachment up because the fiberglass was cracked. Turned out that was a good thing because the new aft attachment is screwed into the metal frame. The old aft attachment was only screwed into the fiberglass sidewall. That might explain why ours was the only awning that was damaged in the park.

MORAL:  Retract the awning if you will be away from the coach or if high winds or thunderstorms are forecast and/or invest in a couple of motorcycle tiedown straps and a couple of those auger type dog tiedowns and attach the straps to the awning and the dog tiedowns.
Same thing happened to me years ago.  Learned not to put the awning out for any extended period of time.  So I seldom even think about it. Also keeps me from breaking the pins on the slide rails.

Sorry about your awning. Whenever I do an orientation I tell people they should not leave the awning unattended. Winds can come up unexpectantly and sudden. It almost happened to me once when we were new to RVing. Now I only use the window awnings and forget the patio awning.
We never leave our awning out when we're not there. I can remember Mike and my Dad running around a campground park in Colorado Springs putting in awnings for people who had gone off for the day not realizing that Colorado Springs gets lovely thunderstorms and wind in the afternoon.
Anytime they forecast 25 mph, I would definitely bring the awning in. Trouble is, the forecasts aren't all that reliable and I don't routinely listen to them anyway.

Reminds me of a time I was in Orgeon, boondocked on a stretch of abandoned highway off US 20.  It began to get a bit chilly in late afternoon, so I stepped inside to swap my shorts for jeans. A sudden wind swept down the little creek below the highway and before I could get my other leg into the jeans it was threatening to throw the awning over the roof. Ran outside and simply hung onto the awning with all my (not inconsiderable) weight. Paul DeMars ran over and grabbed the other end and hung on and we weathered the next 4-5 minutes of strong winds in that fashion.  Would have made a great picture but (perhaps fortunately) Nancy was too busy helping to hang on the get a photo!
I should have known better.  :-[  But I was in a hurry when I left the rig and took a gamble.
I know my awning has a wind sensor that closes the awning when the winds are above 15 mph.  I don't know how hard it is to add this feature but it seems like a nice one.  The only problem I have had with mine is, when wet from driving in the rain, it won't let you open the awning and you have to bypass it until its dry.  I need to experiment with drying it out with a blower after a good drive in the rain.


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