How To Open A Camper Awning (Easy Tutorial)

If you are a camper, you will know that an awning is unnecessary but will make your camping trip so much more convenient. There is absolutely nothing that beats relaxing under your awning on a hot and sunny day. It is also quite a lifesaver to have it there as a shelter to protect you from the rain. So, how do you open a camper awning?

A manual camper awning requires certain steps followed in sequence to open the awning correctly without damaging the manual mechanism. To open an electric awning, ensure there are no obstacles in the path of the awning and press the activating button to initiate opening.

If you have bought an RV with an awning and you are not completely sure of how to open it, this article will guide you through all the needed steps of opening both electrical and manual awnings without damaging them in the process.

How Do You Open A Camper Awning?

There are two types of awnings, a manual awning and an electric awning. Both are opened in different ways but end up having the same result. We will guide you through the detailed process for opening and closing both manual and electrical RV awnings.

How To Open A Manual Awning

A manual awning is operated by a series of mechanisms with separate functions. The awning has various locks such as the travel locks and twist locks, rafter “arms,” and different bars, which all contribute to the opening and closing of the awning.

Follow these basic steps to open and close the manual awning on your RV:

Step 1: Unlocking Your Travel Locks

Both of the rafter arms are secured with travel locks to ensure that the awning will not open road accidentally on the road during your journey. Firstly, unlock both of those locks on both arms.

Step 2: Unlock The Locks On The Rafter Arms

Now take a close look at the rafter arms, you should see two more locks on the inside surface. Loosen those locks; this will enable you to move the rafter arms.

Step 3: Flip The Locking Lever On Top Of The Awning

After loosening both locks, you should see a lock with a flipping lever on top of the awning, it should be round and will have a lever, and it will usually be on your right-hand side. Flip that lever and with the use of the strap loop, carefully unroll the awning.

Step 4: Pull Out Rafter Arms And Tighten The Twist Locks

With the awning rolled out, you must pull the rafter arms to the edge of the awning bars. There are twist locks on the rafter arms that you then need to tighten. Applying pressure when tightening the locks will also help prevent any excessive movements and will help prevent the awning not being whipped up if there is a strong wind.

Step 5: Raise The Awning And Flip The Locking Lever

Raise the awning to the desired height. It would be best to unlock the lock outside the rafter arms and then raise it to your preferred height. After you have raised the awning, you should remember to flip the locking lever to secure the awning in its final position.

How To Close A Manual Awning

To close a manual awning, all you have to do is reverse the whole process carefully. Here are all of the necessary steps you need to follow when closing a manual awning:

Step 1: Clean The Awning

Clean your awning and remove any debris, twigs, leaves, or dirt that might have fallen onto your awning. Rinse your awning and wait a little while for it to dry before proceeding with the next step.

Step 2: Loosen The Twist Locks

Start with loosening the twist locks on the rafter arms and bringing the rafter arms back to the RV or camper. Once the rafter arms have been brought back to the awning, you will hear a clicking sound indicating that the arm is secured in place.

Step 3: Lower The Awning Arms

Press the clip on the inside of the awning arms and lower the awning arms back into the resting position. When they are secure, you will also hear another clicking sound.

Step 4: Roll Up The Awning

After that, flip the lever for the awning (the locking lever) to enable you to roll the awning up again. Take the strap loop and gently pull and guide the awning until it is rolled up.

Step 5: Secure The Awning

Secure the awning by flipping the locking lever. Double-check that it is locked as you don’t want the awning falling open while you travel. Then secure both of the travel locks on each of the rafter arms.

How To Open An Electrical Awning

Electrical awnings are a lot less effort and much more convenient than your manual awnings but can be a bit more expensive to repair or replace, so it is wise keep your awning and its opening mechanism well maintained.

There are not that many steps for opening and closing electrical awnings; in fact, you only need to press one simple button, and that’s the amazing thing when it comes to almost everything automatic! So with that being mentioned, here are a couple of things you should remember when you have an electrical awning.

One thing to consider before pressing the button to open your awning is to make sure that there is enough space for your awning when it opens and that nothing will get in the way or cause pressure on the mechanics or in any way can damage the awning.

It is recommended to clean your awning at least twice a year and remember to let it dry before storing it. Be careful with your detergents and pressure hosing as it can cause damage.

Annual service and maintenance for an electrical awning is a good idea, especially if your RV has not been used in a while. If and when you start hearing squeaking noises, don’t ignore it; rather lubricate the moving parts or get the awning serviced as soon as possible. Also, remember to check that everything is secured and locked before you start traveling!


Even though awnings are a great asset to have on your camping trips, you must open and close them with care. After you have had your awning for a while, remembering the steps of opening your awning will become second nature.

Always remember to secure your locks, clean your awning, and have it serviced once in a while.

Good luck, and happy camping!

Check out our article on: How To Replace RV Awning Fabric (8 Easy Tips)

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