DIY: How To Open Awning On RV (Step-By-Step w/ Videos)

Do you have an RV with an awning attached to it?

Have you just installed this new awning and have no idea how to use it yet?

Would you like to learn more about how to open awning on RV?

If so, you’ve come to the right place! Below, we’ll take you through all the steps in the process of opening your RV awning correctly and safely, whether this is your first time doing so or your hundredth. This is an important process to understand so you won’t run the risk of damaging your awning or hurting yourself when you open and close it on your next family adventure.

Remember that an RV awning is a little bit different from a camper awning, since an RV is a different product than a camper. Camper awnings are usually smaller and less cumbersome to open, while RV awnings are more spacious but may require the help of another adult on standby to get them opened correctly.

Of course, many people can easily open both without help, but it’s a good idea to have some assistance the first time just in case!

If you’re looking for more information about how to open your new awning, read on.

How to Open an RV Awning

Are you ready to begin learning about how to open your RV awning? There are a lot of things you need to keep in mind if you’ve never done this before, and even if you’re an old pro who just needs to brush up on the how-to of this process, there may be something you didn’t know yet just waiting for you to discover it. Take your time and check out the information below to help you learn the proper way to open your RV awning. Remember that, when it’s time to close it back again, you simply have to reverse this process and your awning will be closed up and secure for travel in no time.

  • 1
    Begin with an installed awning in place on your RV. Some RV awnings require you to start by opening one side before the other, so make sure you read your owner’s manual to see if this is true of your model. Some types of awnings don’t have this requirement.
  • 2
    There should be a travel lock on the side of your awning arm. It is a knob under a small door on the side of the arm of the awning. Pull it out (or remove it, depending on the type of awning you have).
  • 3
    Below that, you’ll find a small knob further down the arm, toward the ground. Loosen this one, but don’t worry about removing the bolt entirely.
  • 4
    Use your awning rod to reach up and trip the lever on the end of the awning tube. This will open it and get it ready for extension.
  • 5
    Repeat this process on the other end of your awning.
  • 6
    Hook the loop in the center of your awning rod and pull straight out, slowly and carefully, to extend it all the way. Do not extend it only halfway.
  • 7
    Slide the inner arm to the top of the awning and tighten the knob on the back of the arm that you loosened earlier. Repeat the process on both sides of the awning.
  • 8
    On the end of the arm closest to your RV, you’ll find a small lever. Pull it out and raise the awning to the height you want.
  • 9
    Be sure the awning is always raised up high enough that the door of the RV won’t be brushing it all while it’s open.
  • 10
    Wrap the awning tether around the arm of the awning to keep it out of the way.
  • 11
    If it’s raining, lower one end of the awning but keep the other raised. It’s best to lower the end furthest from the door, to protect the fabric above the door. This will keep water from pooling in the center of the awning fabric.
  • 12
    Some types of awnings may have a center arm that will support the awning more when it’s in place. If so, extend it last, and make sure it’s not in a position that will cause it to be bent out of shape if you lower one side of your awning due to rain.
  • 13
    That’s all! Your awning should be correctly opened and ready to use.


Doesn’t this seem like an easy process? Opening and closing your RV awning should not be too challenging, and if you’re having a lot of trouble with it, there’s a chance you may have it installed incorrectly. If the fabric seems to have a lot of wrinkles or is bunching up badly when you try to close it, for example, you may not have it centered on the track on top of the RV. Be sure, when installing, that you are very careful about centering and attaching everything securely so you won’t run into any problems or risks when you’re opening your awning for the first time this summer.

And if you’re looking for some suggestions on how to extend the life of your RV awning, be sure to keep the following important tips in mind:

how to open an old rv awning
  • If you’re in doubt about whether or not the weather is appropriate for you to use your RV awning, you should probably not use it. While your awning should be perfectly fine in some rain and even in some mild wind, you won’t want to leave it out during a heavy storm. Be sure to put it back in if the winds pick up, if there’s lighting in the area, or if the rainfall is very severe. And of course, don’t leave it open during tornado or hurricane possibilities!
  • Take care not to bend the arms of your awning too much when you’re using it. While you will need to lower one side of the awning a little bit when it’s raining to allow the rain to run off instead of collecting in the center, you should only lower it by a couple of inches for best results. This will ensure your awning won’t bend on either side and will last a lot longer. Remember that this step is especially important if you have the type of awning with a center support beam arm, as this arm will be a lot more likely to bend out of shape if you put too much strain on it from either side.
  • Don’t allow anything to rub the top of the awning too much. This includes the door to the RV, but it also includes anything you might put underneath the awning as well.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to a safer and more enjoyable experience with your RV awning, and you’ll be able to keep it around for much longer as well.

WOAH! A Bonus Video...