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RVs can get a bit cramped and any RV user is eager to maximize the space available to them. Slide-outs are a great way of doing just this.
However, a slide-out needs sealed and secure protection against any debris that falls on your RV. You’ll also need to keep out any water when it rains.
This is where slide-out awnings come into the picture. They can be easily integrated with your slide-out for coverage and protection.
The leading manufacturers of slide-outs are Lippert, Dometic, and Carefree. This list gives some of the best awnings from each brand so that you get a representative idea of the options available to you on the market.
Sometimes even the most experienced campers and nature lovers need some reprieve from the sun’s heat while outside. RV slide out awnings is the best way to create shade while you camp out.
While these RV accessories are great, buying one can be difficult.
To help you find the best RV slide-out awnings, important information about the awnings as well as a comprehensive buying guide were compiled here.
You can find out more about this accessory and learn what separates the good products from the bad to help you make a more informed purchase decision.
Top Slideout Awnings Compared
- Top Slideout Awnings Compared
- Reviews of the Best Slideout Awnings
- What are RV Slide Out Awnings?
- What Factors Should You Consider Before Selecting the Best RV Awning?
- Types of Slide Outs
- Benefits of Slide Out Awnings
- How does a Slide Out Awning Work?
- Common RV Slide Out Awning Problems
- How to Install Slide Out Awnings
- How to Get the Right Size Slide Out Awning
Reviews of the Best Slideout Awnings
Lippert RV Solera Awning Slider
Lippert is one of the leading manufacturers of slide-out awnings. Their Solera slider is the most popular one available online. The slider is available in a number of sizes which range in width from 5.5 feet to 16 feet.
The sizes increase in 0.5-foot increments. The sliders are designed to fit rooms of varying sizes, from 56 inches to 188 inches. The sliders can also extend up to 50 inches, which is 8 inches more than most competitive brands.
The Solera slider is available in black, which features both black awning fabric and black hardware, or white, in which case you get white awning fabric and white hardware.
Although you get the hardware, the awning rail is not included with the purchase. The hole pattern of the hardware is universal to it will match competitive brands such as Dometic and Carefree.
This eliminates the need to patch holes.
The slider attaches to both your RV’s slide room and the outside wall. This creates a complete seal around the slide room.
This makes it capable of blocking out dust, smoke, bugs, and debris from the room even when it is retracted.
You can watch an installation video of the Solera series here:
- Installation is easy
- Comes in many different sizes
- Extends up to 50 inches
- Compatible with competitive brands
- Forms an effective seal
- Instructions can be unclear
- Screws or brackets can be missing from the set
Carefree SideOut Kover III Awning
This awning by Carefree comes in a simple white vinyl fabric with white deflector design, although other color options with black are available. The total fabric width is 81 inches.
This makes it suitable for a roof size ranging between 70 inches and 77.9 inches. The flange size range should be between 75 and 82.9 inches.
It integrates with your patio and window awnings so that you get a uniform aesthetic. It even has a concealed cradle support. This prevents the roller assembly from sagging.
The overall effect is to give a sleek and modern look to the awning. The mounting screws are also completely concealed so that the look remains clean.
The awning comes with a wind deflector included and is capable of keeping out leaves, debris, and water from your slide-out room.
It works automatically with your slide room. The deflector also prevents the fabric from billowing while traveling.
The roller tube, bracket assemblies, wind deflector, and cover are all made of extruded aluminum to give you long-lasting use.
- Wind deflector
- Sleek and modern aesthetic
- Integrated with patio and window for protection against debris
- Doesn’t sag
- Doesn’t come with instructions
Dometic EZ SlideTopper Slide-Out Awning
The EZ range of slide-out awnings by Dometic is part of their deluxe line of SlideToppers for RVs. It is especially known for its durable fabric, which consists of durable vinyl.
The vinyl is both stain and mildew resistant, although wrinkling might be a problem that you face with it.
This awning automatically comes out along with your slide-out room for optimal protection. Its heavy-duty vinyl helps protect against rain, leaves, and other debris.
It also comes with a metal weather shield that protects the awning when it is rolled up in your RV. The full set also includes a roller tuber, pre-tensioned innerspring assembly, and secure end caps.
The awning comes in two colors: polar white and black. The width of the awnings begins at 90 inches and goes up to 192 inches. The width of each awning increases in 6-inch increments.
They are also not suitable for use in slide rooms that have an extension of over 42 inches.
You can see Dometic’s video on their SlideToppers here:
- Durable vinyl gives optimal protection
- Stain and mildew resistant
- Weather shield protects the awning
- Available in a number of widths
- Vinyl wrinkles easily
What are RV Slide Out Awnings?
An RV slide out awning is an extended covering that attaches to your RV and slides in and out to create shade while out camping. Their main purpose is to give you and your loved ones a comfortable place to sit while outside. Think of them as large umbrellas.
They can come in different fabrics or materials as well as different colors. There are even some avid campers that splurge to get personalized awnings with their own fabric and design.
RV slide out awnings are quite popular since they add another convenience to your RV experience.
What Factors Should You Consider Before Selecting the Best RV Awning?
With so many RV slide out awning choices on the market, picking the right one can be hard. By keeping certain factors like the size, material, cost, and durability in mind you can narrow down your options to find the product that is right for you and your camper.
Size of the Awning
The first thing you need to do to narrow down your choices is to determine what size awning you need for your camper.
The size of your awning will directly relate to the size of your RV so you have to know how long your RV is before you can figure out what size awning to buy.
Take the length of your RV and measure one-third to half of it and use that measurement as the size of your awning.
You can also consult your RV’s manufacturer as they might know what size awning is compatible with your camper. You can also consult an installation professional or the individual awning manufacturers.
All RV slide out awnings have fabric rolls that make up the actual awning. The fabrics vary with the two most popular options being vinyl and acrylic.
Both offer their own benefits and suit most RVer’s needs so you’ll really have to choose something based on your needs and preferences. Look for something that is durable and weatherproof or at least weather-resistant.
Similarly, choose a material that will be easy to clean and maintain. This will help ensure the longevity of your slide out awning.
You may also want to choose a fabric that is visually appealing to you. This could be choosing something that matches the colors of your RV or picking something with a unique design that suits your personal aesthetic.
There are even custom designed options that you can select if you want to personalize your awning to your liking.
Ease of Use
You should choose an RV slide out awning that is easy to install and even easier to use.
While you can hire a professional to install your awning, most of the best products on the market are fairly easy to assemble and install without help other than video tutorials or detailed written instructions.
Cost and Warranties
The price of awnings can vary depending on the brand name, the quality, the size, the fabric, and the various features.
Consider your budget and narrow down your options by only looking at products that fall within that budget.
Remember, the price and the quality of a product are usually directly related. If you see a shockingly inexpensive price, there’s a good chance that the quality is also cheap.
Here, when you choose a cheap product you can actually be setting yourself up to put more money out in the long run when you inevitably have to pay to have the cheap awning repaired or replaced soon after you install it.
Similarly, check the warranties of each awning you’re considering and choose the one with the best offer.
Longer warranties that cover major issues and repairs will give you peace of mind as you won’t have to worry about paying for costly repairs or replacing faulty parts on your own.
Pick a slide out awning that is durable enough to last for years to come even with frequent use.
Check manufacturer durability claims as well as user reviews to see how each awning you’re considering will hold up against the test of time.
You can also infer the durability of each awning by looking to the materials used in the awning including the fabric choice. The stronger the materials and parts, the longer the awning will last.
Every awning will offer their own features as a means of separating themselves from their competitors.
Things like automatic functions or remote-operated functions are an example of additional features that you may want to have (or avoid) when narrowing down your options.
Innovative installation setups and patented designs are also unique features that can make one awning more desirable than the next.
Types of Slide Outs
The best way to start narrowing down your options is to figure out what type of slide out awning you want. There are three different types currently on the market including:
- Drawer awnings
- Electric rack awnings
- Hydraulic awnings
Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks and may or may not be compatible with your specific camper but it mainly comes down to your personal preference.
Do some research to see if your RV requires a specific type of awning before choosing one to buy.
By keeping all of these considerations in mind you can go through the seemingly endless list of RV slide out awnings and narrow down your options until you find the perfect awning for you.
Benefits of Slide Out Awnings
Besides the additional protection from the elements, slide out awnings have a number of other benefits including privacy, saving money, and allowing you to get more out of your camping trips.
Since RV slide out awnings are mainly used to provide shade from the sun and some protection from rain the main benefit of them is the additional protection from the elements.
Sure, you and your family can go inside if things get unbearable outside but your RV slide out awning gives you another option other than huddling inside.
Awnings even offer some protection from wind and from insects. This leads to the next benefit.
With a proper slide out awning, you can get more out of your RV and every camping trip you take. Imagine that you’re camping with your family in the middle of a heat wave.
The sun is so bright that sitting outside isn’t only uncomfortable but is proving dangerous.
Without an awning you and your family might be forced to go inside and miss out on your time in nature or, worse, you may have to cut your trip short.
However, if you have an RV slide out awning you can create a nice shady spot where you and your family can get a reprieve from the hot sun while still enjoying the outdoors.
In general, an RV slide out awning makes sitting outside more comfortable.
Awnings can also offer you some extra privacy while you camp. There are some slide out awnings that come with attachments for screens that come down to close off a small area next to your camper.
These screens can offer a moderate amount of privacy when camping in a shared campsite.
Being able to spend more time outside of your RV will also save you money in the long run.
When you have to go inside for protection from the elements you’re more likely to use air conditioners, fans, or other electronic or propane-fueled devices inside your RV.
This will use electricity or fuel which cost you money at the end of the day. By being able to stay outside and be comfortable, you can save money overall.
How does a Slide Out Awning Work?
In general, a slide out awning attaches to your RV in a mounted housing mechanism and then expands out from the camper to create overhead protection from the elements. You can either manually open and close it or use a remote control if you have an electric RV awning.
To open a manual RV slide out awning, unlock the travel locks on both arms of the awning and loosen the knobs attached to each of them.
You’ll then have to release the awning by setting the ratchet mechanism to the roll-down position. From there, use a pull rod to extend the awning out by the strap loop.
Then, lock the awning arms into place making sure they’re secure and the fabric is tight. Tighten the knobs on each arm and position it to the height you want before securing the catch pin to keep it in place.
To close the awning, simply reverse the steps.
If you’re in rainy weather, be sure to lower one side by three inches or so. This is so water will flow off the awning instead of pooling on top of it.
If you don’t do this the weight of the water can damage the fabric of the awning and cause the accessory to break sooner than it should.
For a visual demonstration of opening an RV slide out awning, check out this video:
Common RV Slide Out Awning Problems
While RV slide out awnings are quite beneficial there are some common problems that arise from time to time. This includes sagging, weather damage, and issues extending and retracting the awning.
If you have an electric RV awning, you can run into more problems than you may face with a manual slide out awning. Some are battery operated which can fail when the batteries don’t have enough power.
Similarly, the motors on electric awnings can fail if they’re damaged by rain or wind or by a mechanical problem in the mechanism.
Electric sensors for these types of awnings can also fail which will prevent the slide out from opening and closing.
Some of the common problems for manual RV slide out awnings are:
- Sagging canopies caused by tension problems or rain puddles
- Ripped canopies from getting caught in the track or from weather damage
- Heavy wind or rain can damage the arms, fabric, and other parts
- Mildew and mold growth on fabric that can lead to health problems
- Rusted tracks caused by exposure to the elements cause issues opening and closing awnings
How to Install Slide Out Awnings
When installing your slide out awning always follow the specific installation instructions that come with your kit or you choose to have your slide out awning installed by a professional to avoid problems.
Here are some general installation instructions for a basic type of RV slide out awning.
The actual items you’ll need to install your awning will likely vary depending on what kind you buy but you’ll typically need:
- The awning rail
- The roller tube assembly and canopy fabric
- The end-cap assembly (left and right)
- Tall mounting brackets (two of them)
- Short mounting brackets (two of them)
- A striker plate
- A pin tab
- All of the included screws
- A plunger kit
Once you gather all of the materials you’ll need, start by mounting the brackets to your camper. You will have to follow the specific instructions here to ensure that you’re doing it properly.
After you mount the brackets properly you can move on to installing the awning rail.
Find the center line of the rail by accurately measuring it then seal the back of the rail using putty tape or sealant.
Line up the center line of the rail and attach the center line with the provided screws making sure it is securely in place.
Next, mount the roller tube. Be sure to follow the specific instructions here as they might be slightly different. Start by sliding the end-cap extensions to the mounting bracket on either side.
Pick up the roller tube and unroll some of the fabric before sliding the rod and the fabric onto the rail. Roll the fabric back up and slide the other end-cap onto the other side of the tube spindle.
Secure the end-cap with the provided screws on both sides. Then, secure the end-cap arms on both sides to the mounting bracket with the provided screws.
You’ll then have to use the provided screws to secure the fabric to the rail so it rolls and unrolls properly.
These are the general steps for an RV slide out awning but be sure to look at your specific instructions and follow them properly.
Also, check for additional steps that might not be listed here as every awning has its own unique features and set up.
For more detailed instructions and to see how an installation is done, check out this helpful video:
How to Get the Right Size Slide Out Awning
The standard sizes range from six to sixteen feet in length. If you’re replacing an existing awning, simply get the same size. However, if you don’t have one, figure out the proper size by measuring one-third to half of the length of your RV and get that size awning.
Properly measuring everything is crucial as even one inch more or less can cause you issues.
If you’re concerned about getting the wrong size, you can contact an RV awning installation professional, consult your RV’s user manual which might tell you what size awnings are compatible with the camper, or call awning manufacturers and ask them for help.
For more help figuring out what size RV slide awning you should get, check out this detailed video:
Most awning fabrics are waterproof or water resistant but it depends on your specific awning. Acrylic repels water but isn’t considered waterproof as water can seep through if you touch the underside of the fabric. Vinyl, however, is waterproof and might be the better option if water is a concern. /
You can use clear repair tape to patch small holes or rips in awning fabric. Be sure to apply the tape to both sides of the fabric for proper reinforcement. If the damage is too big, contact your manufacturer to find out what options you have.
There are also patch kits for awnings that can help you repair small rips and tears. Issues that may require you to replace the fabric completely include dramatic sagging, fabric ripping off the track, and excessive mold or mildew growth that you can’t clean off.
RV awnings are durable but heavy rain and strong winds can damage them quickly. A light rain shower and gentle winds won’t harm them but as soon as you see the weather start to pick up it’s best to retract your awning.
If you leave your awning extended in bad weather you risk damaging the accessory. Heavy winds can weaken the mounting arms and rip the awning fabric while heavy rainfall can put too much weight on the fabric and create tears or holes in it. The added weight from pooled rain on the fabric can also put too much pressure on the awning arms that hold up the canopy.
Consider buying canopy clamps if your awning didn’t come with any. These will stop your awning from flapping too much in the wind. Awning tie downs can also help steady your awning if there are gentle winds.
While this may come down to your personal preference, acrylic and vinyl are the most popular fabric options. Acrylic is more breathable than vinyl but isn’t waterproof like vinyl so while acrylic will keep you cooler, if you’re concerned about water, vinyl is the better choice.
To best protect your awning fabric is to keep it retracted during bad weather and to make sure the fabric roll is installed properly so it doesn’t catch on the rail when you open and close it. Consider buying a protective cover to protect it from dirt and debris, too.
Hose down your awning at least once a month (more if you see it needs it) to get rid of accumulated dirt. Be sure to let your awning air dry completely before retracting it to prevent mildew or mold from growing on the fabric.
Rust is a common problem with slide-out awnings since they’re constantly exposed to the elements. To avoid this clean the hardware regularly and lubricate them with a dry silicone spray. Avoid WD-40 or similar sprays as this can gunk up the hardware.
With all of this information on RV slide out awnings in your possession, you should feel confident enough to begin shopping for one. Remember to keep all of the considerations in mind as you compare your options and don’t hesitate to contact manufacturers or consult your RV manual for more help.
Remember to keep all of the considerations in mind as you compare your options and don’t hesitate to contact manufacturers or consult your RV manual for more help.
Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API