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Support Poles for the Automatic Retractable Awning


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Those Carefree poles must be new - at least they weren't available back when I was looking.  We've been using some REI tarp poles, which are extremely sturdy, but require a bit of hacking to make them work.  I drilled a small hole in the bottom two corners of the awning housing and then I wrap ratchet straps over the extension arms to keep the awning from lifting off the poles.  We've weathered some pretty big winds with that setup, and even a hailstorm.  My ultimate plan was to thread the pin at the top of the poles, then install a grommet at the end of my ratchet straps - that way I could just slide the grommet over the pole, insert the pole in the awning, and secure it with a wing nut.  That's never happened, and now that I know about that Carefree kit, I might just switch to that instead.

Here's a photo of the setup  - those ratchet straps are ridiculous, at a minimum I need to get something smaller and much less orange...

IMG_0210.thumb.jpeg.70641e16ed2fd8979bbb9929b2306b57.jpeg

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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The attachment method on the Carefree kit seems like it would work on both the Dometic and Fiamma awnings as well.  But it's an odd attachment - it doesn't seem all that reliable to me, though maybe it works better than it looks.  I guess if you need something sturdier, you could remove the top and use the poles like I do.  I do like that the poles have a sliding adjustment vs the set pins on the REI.

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Sitting here with guy lines ratcheted to a picnic table to keep the awning from peeling back. Thanks for the post about the Carefree poles. Might order some this weekend.

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Posted (edited)

Any photos showing these awning poles in use?

Edited by Patriot
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2020 Ford F-250 6.7 liter Powerstroke Lariat “Tremor”  - 2020 OLEII - Hull #634 

 

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Not a busy morning and had my Ollie setting in the driveway. Here you go. Had it up in twenty mph wind but would still not go more than that. Straps seem to hold the awning down well. Not they circle over top of the awing. 

poles3.jpg

poles2.jpg

poles1.jpg

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Bill Thomas 2019 Elite II Hull # 534

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD 2500

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ThomB87,

A great looking Ollie, very partial to the silver swooshes. 
Thanks for posting the support pole picks.

-Patriot

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2020 Ford F-250 6.7 liter Powerstroke Lariat “Tremor”  - 2020 OLEII - Hull #634 

 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the photos.  Did you cut out the notch for the cradle or does the Dometic(?) awning just have that?  Did you try it with the clip attachment?

Edited by Overland

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/15/2020 at 10:14 AM, Overland said:

Those Carefree poles must be new - at least they weren't available back when I was looking.  We've been using some REI tarp poles, which are extremely sturdy, but require a bit of hacking to make them work.  I drilled a small hole in the bottom two corners of the awning housing and then I wrap ratchet straps over the extension arms to keep the awning from lifting off the poles.  We've weathered some pretty big winds with that setup, and even a hailstorm.  My ultimate plan was to thread the pin at the top of the poles, then install a grommet at the end of my ratchet straps - that way I could just slide the grommet over the pole, insert the pole in the awning, and secure it with a wing nut.  That's never happened, and now that I know about that Carefree kit, I might just switch to that instead.

Here's a photo of the setup  - those ratchet straps are ridiculous, at a minimum I need to get something smaller and much less orange...

 

Overland:

I was curious - how sturdy was the set up in the rough weather - as I was considering a similar set up - but concerned about the the weak center  portion of the unit. 

RB

Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"

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Posted (edited)

I have a third pole if needed, and have used it once in lieu of the wind shade.  I also have the center rafter from Carefree and that seems to do a good job of keeping the front casing from flexing even without the third pole.  Without either, you can see the casing flex even in a moderate wind, so it's probably good advice to use one or the other.    

I'd say it works pretty darned well, and I obviously haven't had a disaster...yet.  We were driving back to camp at Teton when that hail storm came through, so I don't know how hard it hit the campsite, but there was plenty of hail on the ground.  The worst we've witnessed was probably at Chaco, and if you've been there, you know that they can have some pretty windy nights in the spring.  There was one person who came by to say that they were taking bets as to when we'd lose the awning, but it survived.  It makes a bit of racket though - not so much outside the trailer, but at night inside it can make you feel a bit nervous.  

Edited by Overland

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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I have had them up in a 20mph wind with gusts a little higher. Everything held steady. The fabric of the awning tried to raise but nothing moved. The notch is part of the design of the dometic awning. I make use of it to help hold the strips. I don't have a third support or rail. I have noticed any flex but will be watching closely next time I have it out. An may order. I think orange is good for visibility. Keeps me from tripping over them. I have a Clam and the original tied down strings were black. They have been replaced with bright blue with reflective silver piping for that same reason. 🙂

 

Bill Thomas 2019 Elite II Hull # 534

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD 2500

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Slightly off topic but this idea can be used even for the awning support pole guide lines/tie down lines as well as for the Clam.  I've placed these "bungee hooks" at the end of my Clam's tie down lines to help absorb some of the shock caused by the wind.  This started back in the old tent camping days but has always been very successful in keeping things tied down and the bright color of the bungee helps keep everyone on their toes, so to speak 🙂.

https://www.amazon.com/Vispronet-Pieces-10-75in-Heavy-Duty-Bungee/dp/B074TY6C38/ref=sr_1_202?dchild=1&keywords=bungee+hooks&qid=1590843251&sr=8-202

Note: The ones I have are only 6 inches long, are red and I've usually found them at Ace Hardware.  Sorry I could not find an exact picture.

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/29/2020 at 10:30 AM, Overland said:

I have a third pole if needed, and have used it once in lieu of the wind shade.  I also have the center rafter from Carefree and that seems to do a good job of keeping the front casing from flexing even without the third pole.  Without either, you can see the casing flex even in a moderate wind, so it's probably good advice to use one or the other.    

I'd say it works pretty darned well, and I obviously haven't had a disaster...yet.  We were driving back to camp at Teton when that hail storm came through, so I don't know how hard it hit the campsite, but there was plenty of hail on the ground.  The worst we've witnessed was probably at Chaco, and if you've been there, you know that they can have some pretty windy nights in the spring.  There was one person who came by to say that they were taking bets as to when we'd lose the awning, but it survived.  It makes a bit of racket though - not so much outside the trailer, but at night inside it can make you feel a bit nervous.  

You leave your awning out at night?

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin on order

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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Posted (edited)

Yes if it’s tied down, only because it’s too much trouble to undo everything. If we’re not using the tie downs then we roll it in 90% like was being discussed in the thread about sunscreens. 

Edited by Overland
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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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I'm curious . . . . . if these awnings are self-supporting,  why is there a need for support?  And if they need support, why don't they come with poles?

Our 5th-wheel had a self-supporting, power awning (not wind or rain sensing).  I don't recall it needing supports, but it's been a while.  

We hate the useless (in my opinion) Carefree power awning on our van.  It has supports that store in the awning casing, but they are difficult to deploy and stow.  Traveling in the Mid-west we quickly learned that putting the awing out was not a good idea.  What seemed like an innocent breeze became a damaging gale in seconds.   I'd be afraid to secure it to the ground too well or the wind would probably lift the10,000# van 😀 lol

We rarely use the awning, unless necessary to shade the fridge side of the van.  When boondocking, it is easy to park with the best sun exposure.  I would probably feel differently if we spent extended days camping in the desert.  I guess we just aren't awning people 😉

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin on order

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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It all depends on how you plan to use it and whether you want to use it beyond its designed rating. Most people don’t need extra poles, nor care to fuss with them.

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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