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

Do you have a camper with an awning installed?

Are you thinking of getting a new awning for your camper but are unsure about the process of operating one?

Would you like to learn more about how to open a camper awning?

In this article, we’ll teach you all the steps in the process of correctly and safely opening your camper awning. You’ll learn what to do to get the awning prepared for opening and how to go about the actual procedure, too.

You’ll even be able to learn about the differences in the way you open an automatic awning versus a manual one. This way, you’ll be prepared no matter which type you may have on your camper.

Of course, it’s also important to understand the difference between an RV and a camper so you can ensure you’re looking at the right information for the vehicle or product you have. Keep these tips in mind when you’re trying to figure out which one you have:

how to install camper awning
  • An RV is usually its own separate vehicle, while a camper is usually attached to another vehicle. For the most part, people use these terms interchangeably, but in reality, you should be able to drive your RV whether or not you have another vehicle available. You should not be able to drive a camper, as it’s usually attached to a car or truck with a trailer hitch.
  • Some campers can be attached to truck beds, while RVs never can. If your product is attached to your truck bed and you can remove it and use your vehicle as a pickup truck on its own, then you have a camper and not an RV. (You may also have a horse trailer!)
  • Campers are usually much smaller than RVs. This is not always the case, but it’s usually true; campers may be very tiny and just large enough for one or two people, while RVs are almost always at least big enough for a family of three or four.

Now that you know the difference, it’s time to start learning how to open your camper’s awning!

How to Open Camper Awning

Now it’s time to learn a little bit about how to open your camper awning. Of course, opening an RV awning is not all that different, but the process may change slightly when you’re working with a camper instead, especially because the camper is going to be much smaller. Where RV awnings may sometimes have a center bar for extra support, this is not all that common in camper awnings, since the awning is not going to be as long as it potentially could be on an RV.

With all that said, however, the process is quite similar. Just remember that there are both manual and automatic camper awnings, and the way you open and close yours is going to differ depending on the type you have. You should know which variety you have, and if you’re unsure, there’s a good chance it’s a manual (or traditional) camper awning.

Finally, remember to have another capable adult on hand the first couple of times you open and close the camper awning. This way, you won’t run the risk of hurting yourself or damaging the awning if something goes wrong, and you’ll be better able to make any quick adjustments or repairs as needed, too.

  • 1
    Begin with the front arm on your camper awning. Unhook the travel locks by unhooking the button that holds them in place.
  • 2
    Repeat this on the back arm of the camper.
  • 3
    Use your awning rod to unhook the lock on the top of the awning. You may also be pulling down a lever. This will open your awning tube and get it ready for use.
  • 4
    Use the awning rod to grab the strap in the center of the awning. Carefully extend it all the way until the valance is 90 degrees from the ground.
  • 5
    Loosen the knobs on the arms of the awning and continue to unroll it a little further.
  • 6
    Return to the arm on the front of the camper. Slide the glide rail into place until it locks.
  • 7
    Tighten the knob in the center of the glide rail to create some tension and tautness on the fabric.
  • 8
    Do the same process on the back arm of the camper awning.
  • 9
    Lift the awning up until it’s in the position where you want it to be. Don’t forget to let it be a little lower on one side than the other if it’s raining.
  • 10
    ​​​​Make sure your awning is high enough that the door won’t scrape the fabric. This will prevent your awning from getting damaged by the door. Adjust this as needed until you have everything in the right position.
  • 11
    If your awning is electric, the process will be a little bit different. All you have to do is push the correct button until the awning is about 90 degrees from the ground.
  • 12
    Push the other button (or the same button again, depending on the model) to stop the RV. You can also back it up by pushing the correct button.
  • 13
    You will still need to manually adjust the angle of the awning if it rains. You can do this by loosening a knob on one end of the awning. You will also need to loosen these knobs to pull the awning back in completely.
  • 14
    Congratulations! You now know how to open your camper awning regardless of the type you have.

Conclusion

So what do you think? Are you prepared to open your camper awning now? We hope that this information has helped you decide that a camper awning is right for you, if you don’t already have one installed. Although they may seem challenging to operate if you’ve never done it before, they’re actually quite simple and can be a valuable and convenient addition to your camper as well.

camper awning

If you’re trying to decide whether or not to go with an automatic camper awning over a manual one, remember that this choice is entirely up to you. It may cost considerably more to install an automatic camper awning, and you probably won’t be able to install it yourself unless you’re very handy with electrical wiring. However, if you’re willing to overlook these problems, an automatic camper awning is much easier to operate and is especially good for families with kids or for older people who may not have the upper arm strength to reach up and open a traditional, manual awning.

Whichever option you choose, remember that you’re sure to love the experience you have sitting outside and enjoying the weather beneath your camper awning. You can’t go wrong having one installed, so be sure you learn how to operate yours correctly for lots of fun in the sun!

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