Inflatable awnings are a popular now option for RVs and mobile homes. They are lightweight usually weighing less than 10 pounds and conveniently fit into a duffel bag when not in use. Instead of using the large rigid metal support beams, they use sturdy air ribs that inflate to form the structure of the awning. The ribs are inflated with either a hand pump or a motorized pump. The awning is attached to the RV via a metal track that runs along the site of the structure with the actual material being threaded along the track. The entire setup can be finished by a single person in about 15 minutes.

What is an inflatable awning?

The simple answer is that it a large piece of weather resistant fabric with air pockets sewn at key places. When the air pockets are inflated, the become rigid and provide the frame. Most sets also come with the track that attaches to the side of the camper or RV, the necessary stakes that pin it to the ground. Some also come with storm straps to ensure it stays put even during severe wind. These are almost sold as DIY kits in which the homeowner installs the track and sets them up.

What are advantages of inflatable awning

The two main advantages are the cost and the mobility. Because there are no metal brackets in the frame, the kit can sell for about half the price of a traditional removable awning. Additionally, they are also far cheaper to ship from the manufacturer with many companies offering free shipping. The second advantage is mobility and space. Once the track is attached to the outside of the camper, the remainder of the awning can fit in a large duffel bag that can easily fit in the corner of a closet as most take up about 8 cubic feet. Finally, they are also incredibly simple to setup or take down even without a ladder.

What are disadvantages of inflatable awning

The biggest drawback to this model is that many people feel they are ugly and feel more like a tent than a canopy. They usually have walls like a tent so while you do get shade while sitting in one, you do not get the cool breeze. They can also seem a bit off-putting to the other campers around you as there’s a level of separation that just doesn’t exist for the standard options.

How do you setup an inflatable awning?

Below we will provide general guidelines, but most manufacturers will provide precise instructions. You should follow those, and the information listed below is primarily to aid people in deciding whether the should purchase one or not.

  1. When the kit arrives open the package and attaches the track to the exterior wall of the RV.
  2. Once the track is installed, it will never need to be touched again so going forward you may start with step 3.
  3. Remove the inflatable awning from its container and unroll it.
  4. Thread the edge of the fabric through the thread.
  5. Attach the pump to each of the valves and inflate to the specified pressure.
  6. With a hammer, drive the stakes into the ground similar to setting up a tent.
  7. Affix any storm straps that came with your awning.

For takedown, merely start at step 7 and work backward to step 3.