Caravan Rollout Awnings are one of the most popular and utilised accessory on a RV, with owners using them in many different ways to add functionality and additional comfort. Whether it is for setting up a couple of fold up chairs to sit and relax, or whether it is to set up the annexe walls to sleep extras, the rollout awning is an important and heavily relied upon item. However, what has become of the standard factory issued awning of today when compared to the quality of yesteryear?
When I first began working in the caravan industry in the late 90’s, caravan rollout awnings were already becoming a standard accessory on any new caravan. There were three main awning brands on the market, and all three were manufactured from the North or South American continents. Whilst two of the brands are still present today, namely Dometic …which was branded an A&E Electrolux at the time, and Sunburst Eclipse… which was supplied out of Canada, Coleman Faulkner awnings sadly departed the market and left a hole to fill. After an attempt to brand the Sunburst under the name of Aussie Faulkner to help plug that hole left behind, eventually the Carefree of Colorado became a new entrant into the market and was picked up by Jayco which ensured its solidification into Australia.
The reason I write this blog today is because since those days until now, there seems to have been a substantial reduction in fabric quality and durability of most of the brands. Back in the late nineties, fabrics were a combination of two fabric specs… the main body of the fabric was either a 10 or 13-ounce material, with the last 300mm at the top of the awning being a welded on 15-ounce panel referred to commonly as the weathersheild. And it did exactly that… that last 300mm of material is the part of the fabric that is handling the direct sunlight and heat, and by having a thicker material in that area ensured that the awning had some defences against it.
Fast forward to 2007, and the world became a very different place in a commercial sense. The GFC hit and it especially hit hard in the Americas. This is what I suspect could have been the catalyst for change in the products. The American RV market took a serious change in trading conditions and I suspect the companies needed to find ways to protect their margins and reduce their costs and the largest players all took a similar path. Also add in the fact that the market has not really seen a substantial increase in retail prices across the last 20 years, it all adds up to the need to find cheaper alternatives for the manufacturers.
The result unfortunately is the product suffered, and the lasting quality we once enjoyed would be only a memory in time.
In 2010, some three years after RV Warehouse was founded and our caravan annexe factory established, one of our fabric suppliers approached us asking for products we needed that wasn’t currently available on the Australian market. I sensed that the supplier was wanting to diverse their range and I took the opportunity to hunt out a quality fabric solution for the rollout awnings. I could already see at that early stage; the factory standard skins were just not what they used to be. So… that began the process in sourcing the quality material we were so in need of.
It took 20 months after that initial conversation before we had the material land on the docks in Australia, and we immediately began to manufacture the skins into the market. We finally had a quality option to offer our clients once their sub-par fabric had failed. And we have been supplying them ever since. The supplier has since commented that it has become one of their staple lines, so everyone is a winner. None more so than the Caravan and RV owners in Australia.
When it comes time to replace the skin on your awning, connecting with a quality replacement is straight forward. For those people that are within a close proximity to our GREAT Skins retailers, having the awning measured up and the swap over completed is very simple to arrange. If however you are not that close, then our team can email over the measure sheet and talk you through all the considerations you need to understand, to measure up the new skin correctly. We offer free advice on the installation swap over so that you are able to undertake the change yourself. We always recommend you have an assistant with you, to ensure a smooth experience during the swap over process.
If you would like to know more about our caravan rollout awning skins, then visit www.greatrv.com.au/caravan-awning-skins
To watch a video explaining the skins, then visit
To find out more of what RV Warehouse can offer, visit