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Old 06-10-2011, 06:34 PM   #1
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Using your awning

We're newbie full-timers, now in our third week of travel, and on an extensive cross country journey. Yesterday, upon returning to our campsite in the Great Smoky Mountains NP, after a fairly heavy downpour, we found our awning had collapsed. One of the control arms had snapped at one of the drill points, and was pretty mangled. I've read on the forum how this has happened to a few other unfortunate souls. I called my dealer (Colonial) to inquire about parts and they said "Oh, you should never have your awning up in the rain." Well, if I were there, I would have probably taken it down. But this is a bit confusing because, during our orientation, the technician showed me how I could lower the detents on one side to direct the water off to one side, which in fact was the way I had it set up. So the implication was it was OK to use the awning for some rain protection. And I don't recall them telling me not to have it up when raining.

I'd like to hear how other members use their awnings and their thoughts on this. Do you always roll it back up when away? Do you leave it out when there's rain. Seems to me that the part failed - it's a pretty heavy piece of solid aluminum. I'll be calling Zip Dee tomorrow to see about getting the parts shipped to me.

Thanks,
Steve
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:43 PM   #2
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Steve,
What happened to you is so unfortunate but happens way too much. My rule of thumb is when I leave the AS (like out of the area) going into town or ??? then I put the awning down but that is yesterday’s news. Sorry for your problem but the person you called at Colonial did not need to tell you that. Kinda like kicking a person when they are already down. jjustice
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:48 PM   #3
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As we prepare for our extended summer trip over the next six or seven weeks, I was reviewing our "policy" on awnings in the rain. I try to roll up the awnings when leaving for any period of time during the day and usually at night, also. There can be a light rain that doesn't bother the awnings. With some of this springs HEAVY rains with winds, I don't want my awnings extended to take that kind of beating. I always try to roll up the awnings (3) when away especially if the forcast
calls for inclement weather. I can always crank them down if I want them extended upon our return - it's not so easy to put them back together while travelling.

I'm sure there are those that will disagree and it's certainly up to each one of us how we handle this situation. I would rather NOT have to replace awnings after a sudden and hard downpour.

Best of luck in your travels....
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:51 PM   #4
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Lower one end of the awning. This will allow the rain to run off without pooling on the awning.
Use caution in windy environments. Wind will get under it and roll the awning back over the top of the trailer. Ground anchors and cargo straps will control the awning on a windy day.
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Old 06-10-2011, 07:26 PM   #5
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I've read enough sad stories regarding awnings I've been quite timid about leaving out when away or when weather is windy or rainy. For me its been quite rare for me to put it out at the beginning of a week stop and leave it out for the entire time.

Last fall in Zion I brought in in daily when out of the campsite. 30+ MPH winds were forecast.

I will leave it extended if I'm familiar with the area's weather, and the forecast looks good.
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Old 06-10-2011, 09:13 PM   #6
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I never use the awning on any trailer . They are a total pain and not worth the time to put them up. If its not the rain its the wind. I use a table umbrella if I need shade. In fact I am considering removing mine.
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Old 06-10-2011, 09:24 PM   #7
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I agree with Kosm1o; The awning on my trailer has been opened 1 time in a year and a half and only for a few minutes. They are not worth the trouble; so mine will stay rolled up.
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Old 06-10-2011, 09:29 PM   #8
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Well....yes, no, maybe, sometimes.

Always have it out if camped and we populate the area, never leave it out in a 15+wind/rain storm or we aren't home. The harder the rain the steeper the angle, you can use all the holes in the arm....but watch 'yer head.

These are available at the AS store...they help a LOT! https://store.airstream.com/product_...roducts_id=298
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Old 06-10-2011, 09:40 PM   #9
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We've had our awning deployed on every trip this year, come rain or shine (not wind, though). Angling the awning works to allow the rain water to run off and we've had no problems yet, other than getting a ton of wet new growth leaves off before rolling the awning back up.

Wary of windy weather, I fashioned a pair of guy ropes and carry them, and a couple if big tent pegs and a mallet, in my box of camping goodies. Haven't felt the need to use them yet but I'm sure I will one day.

Initially I wasn't very keen on the Zipdee, it seemed unnecessarily complicated. However, after a few trips and a bit of practice in the yard I reckon I've mastered it now. Hope they're not famous last words!
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:07 PM   #10
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I think the length of your awning may be part of the reason the pooling of water happened for you and caused a collapse, despite the fact that you had one end lowered. Generally, that works pretty well. We've never had trouble when raining, but our awning isn't that long...and I wouldn't leave it deployed if there was wind and rain. We do not leave our awning deployed when we are away from the trialer for more than a short walk, and we put it away before we hit the hay. (I have had to get up and bring it down in the middle of the night and that's no fun.) I can put the awning up or take it down in a matter of a few minutes, so I don't feel put upon by the process, and we use it most of the time, especially in our climate. You can buy straps to anchor the awning and we are thinking of dong that. Friends of our use a type of strap that seems to really take the worry out of it.
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:37 PM   #11
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I too have had an arm beak due to the rain. It broke at one of the adjustment holes. If the holes wern't drilled so deep, this could help. When the break occured, the remaining arm came around and dented the trailer.

a thought; why couldn't there be a short awning that came out over the door and allowed the door to open? One similar to the one on the rear of the trailer. Has anyone tried this?
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:43 PM   #12
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Hi, my awning gets lots of use, mostly because every time I open it, I have to close it. Seems like every time I want to use my awning, it gets windy. I also won't leave it out while I'm not there, which is almost always. Mostly on trips we use our trailer at night and through the morning, then we take the Lincoln out sight seeing all day, Etc. The most use of my awning is while at at Rally because we mostly hang around the camp sight all day. It's like my oven, I wouldn't be without one, but I don't get much use out of it.
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
...>snip<...because every time I open it, I have to close it. ...>snip<....
Funny, I have also noticed that every time we open our awning we have to close it too, eventually. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)
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Old 06-11-2011, 09:27 AM   #14
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We use our awning routinely. I worry more about windy conditions as it does not take much wind to cause damage. As for the pooling, leaving one end lower works if the awning fabric remains taut.

Our rule...If we leave the campsite the awing gets retracted. Sorry about your misfortune.

Kevin
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