Some RVers are not aware of a potential problem awaiting them.
Here’s the problem: While driving down the road, the fabric on the RV awning comes unfurled and might damage the fabric, the awning support pieces, and even the coach. This requires your immediate attention, whether or not it is convenient for you with regard to time or location.
Not every RVer will have this experience. I was talking with Wilson Forbes, President of Loess Hills Innovations who makes the RV Awning Travel Lock, recently and he estimated that one in five RVers would experience the problem at least once during their days of RVing. I have no data with which to refute that figure and it seems reasonable.
So if you know you will be one of the four who won’t have the problem, feel free to skip the rest of this article, as it will be of no benefit to you. But therein lies a problem; we never know when we will be the victim of a lost awning event.
I hate to dwell on negative things, but in this case that’s what it is all about. The only reason you would want an awning lock on your RV is to greatly reduce the chance that your awning would come unfurled while traveling because with that comes a mess, delay, expense, and frustration.
Let’s look at the reason in a little more detail.
Once you become aware that you’ve lost your awning, the event will probably be all over, because once it progresses to the point where one notices it the event will be over in a second or two. Then, no matter where you are–quiet mountain road or busy freeway–you’ll need to stop and clean up the mess.
That includes dealing with the awning canopy, which may or may not still be in one piece. It might have a big rip in it and be wrapped around other pieces of the awning structure. You can never tell what you’ll find.
The arms may be bent and hanging from a single attach fixture instead of two. In the worst case, you’ll want to get them removed from the coach. You may be able to secure them to the side of the coach for travelling, but don’t bet on it.
One or more of the attach fittings may be ripped, all or partially, from the body of your rig. Not pretty, but you might be able to leave them as they are, temporarily.
If you’re a full-time RVer and retired, you may be able to absorb delays with no affect on your schedule because you have no schedule! But what if you had just finished a Workamping experience and were on a rather tight schedule to make it to your favorite granddaughters wedding? A significant delay would not set well with other family members, would it!
Or what if you were on a two-week vacation from your job and had it scheduled full of sites to see with your family in our beautiful Pacific Northwest?
In each case, a forced delay to make repairs just so you could get back on the road could be devastating.
It is possible that you could have a “light case” of unfurling and your expenses to put things back in order would be nothing. But don’t bet on it!
At the other extreme, the repair cost could be thousands of dollars, especially if your roof or the side of your coach was punctured. Some hundreds of dollars to replace the awning fabric and possibly other awning components is more likely.
There is no question but what concern, frustration, and certainly disgust, will follow this incident. And it will effect the entire family. In short, losing one’s awning is not a pleasant experience.
If you’d like to minimize the chance that your awning becomes a problem awning while travelling down the road, invest in an awning lock. They run about 50 bucks–some more, some less–and most RVers can install their awning lock themselves. If you believe avoiding the results mentioned above is not worth that modest amount, forget about installing this protection and hope for the best.
Copyright 2007 by Keith A. Williams