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Carefree Awnings

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I was told by Oliver yesterday that due to the tragedy at Fiamma and subsequent interruption/shutdown of their US operations that they're switching to Carefree Awnings.  I've asked Jason exactly which model they're using, but it looks to me that their Freedom model is the closest match to the Fiamma.

 

I've only briefly glanced at their website, and have no idea what their reputation is like.  They look decent enough to me, but there aren't many closeup photos to go by.  They do offer much more in the way of fabric choices, including sunbrella acrylic in pretty much any color you could want.  The housings can be ordered in white, black and silver.

 

They also have a number of accessories and have a screened room kit similar to Fiamma's.  I assume that the accessories will be much easier to source than Fiamma's since they're based in Colorado rather than having to special order from Italy.

 

I hate that Oliver had to switch, especially given the circumstances, but of course it's necessary and perfectly understandable, at least until Fiamma are able to get their operation back up and running.

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Now that you've had the new Carefree awning for a while, how do you like it?  Any tips, tricks, or gripes?  Did it end up being the Freedom model?


2018 OLEII #344   |   2018 Ford Expedition


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It's the Freedom model.  In brief, it looks and functions just like the Fiamma.  We had difficulty with it in the wind, however, even small breezes.  Not having used the Fiamma, I can't tell how it compares in that respect but judging from other people's posts I have to think that it wouldn't compare well.  Basically, the clamp on the legs isn't tight enough that you can really cinch the awning down, since the legs won't hold.  And there's no good location to add stronger poles apart from a couple of holes on the legs themselves that really aren't designed for that.  My fix, that we're going to try out next week hopefully, is that I've drilled holes into the case to accept some strong REI poles I have, and I've bought some hefty ratchet straps for tie downs.  I also bought the center support rafter which should help make it sturdier.  And finally, I have an awning shade extension that will slide into the groove on the front and we'll see if that helps to hold it down and divert the wind.  So, lots to try and see what combinations work.  We'll be in Big Bend, so finding some wind shouldn't be difficult.

 

I guess the other criticism I have is that the accessory market isn't nearly what there is for Fiamma.  I'm actually curious how closely the design of the Carefree copies the Fiamma and what accessories might be interchangeable.

 

I guess the one plus in its favor is the number of color choices, though you'd have to twist Oliver's arm to take advantage of those.  We got a solid charcoal gray that I think looks great against the white and the acrylic fabric feels really tough and is tightly woven.

 

But if I had to make a call now, I'd have to say that if you can source a Fiamma awning, then that would be the better choice.  I noticed that the Fiamma US website is back up now so it may be possible to get one.

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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We have no problems with the Fiamma being out and tied down in 25mph winds, but I do different sets for wind and rain, use awning Deflapper, tie downs, etc...

 

Reed

 

 

 

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Happy Camping,


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Reed & Karen Lukens with Riffles our Miniature Poodle


2017 Oliver Legacy Elite II  Standard, Hull #200 / 2017 Silverado High Country 1500 Short Bed 4x4


Past TV - 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350 4Matic BlueTEC Diesel


Click on our avatar pic above to find the videos on our Oliver Legacy Elite II


 

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I’m hoping that the only weak spot on the Carefree is the leg clamps. If they work in a 25mph wind after bypassing those I’ll be perfectly happy with them.  But we were having trouble in winds under 10mph so in stock form, not as good I guess as the Fiamma.


Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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But if I had to make a call now, I’d have to say that if you can source a Fiamma awning, then that would be the better choice. I noticed that the Fiamma US website is back up now so it may be possible to get one.

I called Anita today and asked her about the Fiammas.  She said as far as she knew they were not going to re-enter the US market.  That seems like a really bad business decision if true.  But she said that Oliver has moved 100% to the Carefree awnings.


2018 OLEII #344   |   2018 Ford Expedition


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The 2 Carefree awnings we have had were far superior to the Fiamma awning we had on our Casita and I for one am looking forward to having the Carefree on hull 305.

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Tom & Cheryl 

LE II #305

2018 GMC 2500HD SLT Duramax

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That’s good to hear. One thing I noticed rewatching Reed’s video is that the Fiamma only has two arms while the Carefree has three. In theory, that should make it stronger so hopefully my issue with the wind is indeed just limited to the legs.

 

I should say that the actual operation of the awning is really smooth and free of noise and I’ve yet to have one hang up when opening. I do have to give them a hard twist at the end to get them to seat properly and one of them doesn’t want to seat just right. I’ll have to get up there and see if there’s an adjustment to get it to sit flush in the housing.


Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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