It seems like every time we use our RV, we run into some conditions that are less than favorable. I can deal with rain and cold, but I don’t like strong storms. The wind can be as annoying a factor when it comes to RVing as anything I have come up against.
I remember one trip my wife and I took up to Astor, Fla., about three years ago while we still had the 24-foot RV. A storm blew through and we had winds gusting up to 40 mph. The storm passed through in the middle of the night. I had left the awning rolled out, thinking because of the way the RV was turned we would be OK.
We were not. I jumped out of bed to the sound of some serious banging outside the RV. When I looked outside, the awning was being pitched up and down like a rag doll. Fortunately, we did not damage anything, and I was able to get the awning rolled back up and stowed in its spot without any further issues.
That storm made me leery about leaving the awning extended at night. Now, before I turn in for the evening, I roll the awning in at least halfway in case we get one of those famous Florida storms that show up out of nowhere.
Anchoring an awning brings out an RVers ingenuity. I have seen them strapped to concrete blocks. I have seen connected to dog tie-out stakes that screw into the ground. My favorite is seeing them tied back to the rear and front wheels of the RV itself.
My biggest fear with trying to secure it with some half-hearted attempt was that I would do more damage to the awning and make things worse than if I had simply rolled it up. But I know they are made to stay out and to keep the things you have outside your RV covered up.
So I looked up different methods to secure awnings. What I found were “kits” you can purchase that will not only secure but also support your RV awning. After closer inspection of what’s in some of these kits, I realized I have most of these things lying around the garage. And even if I didn’t, I could purchase those items individually for far less than the price of the kit.
The parts I saw in the majority of the kits were small ratchet straps or nylon rope, anchors that screw into the ground, and some sort of rod or pole extension to support the awning so it did not get pulled down on too hard and damage the arms. It all seems quite simple when you look at the pictures and how these things get applied.
I have ratchet straps and nylon rope here already. Screw-down anchors are pretty inexpensive at any hardware store. I can come up with some support poles. I believe I can do this for a lot less money than by purchasing a kit. Plus, I can buy everything I need in the color I want so it matches the RV.
I’m actually looking forward to getting those pieces I need and doing that this weekend. It’s the perfect weekend to test this out — the wind is up, and my boat is in the shop. What better thing to do than play with the RV?
I am sure my wife will be wondering what I’m doing. She always thinks I get a little nuts when it comes to things like this, and maybe I do. But, hey — I like to play, and I like to make things nice and easier for us when we travel in the RV. If this will give me peace of mind, then why not? Knowing our awning is safe and secured even if the winds come up a little bit will allow me to leave the awning out and keep out outdoor items covered up.
Greg Bartz is a tournament bass fisherman based in Lakeland. Greg fishes lakes throughout Florida’s Heartland and enjoys RV travel around the Southeast with his wife and tournament partner, Missy. Contact him at Greg.Bartz@SummitHoldings.com.