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Cleaning the Girard awning


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I camped under some trees this weekend and discovered that the Girard awning, although really nice, is a bit difficult to clean prior to retracting.  Most of the awnings I have had previously were easy to clean.

image.png.f2b8b79d9477cd804fa4c4cf696ec31c.png

Anyone have a hack for this?

 

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11 hours ago, Jason Foster said:

Most of the awnings I have had previously were easy to clean.

How so?  What was the difference between your previous awnings and the one you have now that makes the previous ones so much easier to clean?

Bill

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11 hours ago, Jason Foster said:

I camped under some trees this weekend and discovered that the Girard awning, although really nice, is a bit difficult to clean prior to retracting.  Most of the awnings I have had previously were easy to clean.

image.png.f2b8b79d9477cd804fa4c4cf696ec31c.png

Anyone have a hack for this?

 

If it’s just leaves and/or twigs, the underside of the awning can be bumped from top to bottom to bounce them downslope and off. However, in regards to the other stuff, i.e. sap, pollen, insect/bird droppings, etc., that is my concern and reason why I try to avoid camping under trees. I use Google Earth in selecting available campsites to help evaluate the tree situation, among other things, but if tree cover cannot be avoided then I make it a practice to not deploy the awning. That said, I occasionally deploy the awning when washing the Oliver to cleanse it of dust and dirt that may have accumulated. 

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5 hours ago, topgun2 said:

How so?  What was the difference between your previous awnings and the one you have now that makes the previous ones so much easier to clean?

Bill

If you note the picture I posted, the previous awnings I had dropped down and had no lip, so cleaning was easy.  This Girard automatic awning extends straight out and doesn't appear to drop down.  The cap on the end catches pine needles and leaves fairly easily as well.  The old "hit it from the bottom with a broom" trick tripped the wind sensor.  I turned that off at the switch, but it was a bit of a nuisance at the time.  I'm 6'3 but the awning was way over my head requiring a fairly tall ladder to reach it.  I didn't have one, so I put the awning away with crap all over it and waited until I got home to use a ladder and a blower.

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5 hours ago, Ronbrink said:

If it’s just leaves and/or twigs, the underside of the awning can be bumped from top to bottom to bounce them downslope and off.

The front cap has a lip that catches most debris before it can fall off.

 

5 hours ago, Ronbrink said:

 However, in regards to the other stuff, i.e. sap, pollen, insect/bird droppings, etc., that is my concern and reason why I try to avoid camping under trees.

Trees are one of the reasons I camp.  I love them.  

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2 minutes ago, Jason Foster said:

Trees are one of the reasons I camp.  I love them.  

Me too, but I don’t have to like what falls out of them! 

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Jason - 

Sorry about that - 

If I had thought for just a minute and/or looked at your signature I would have realized what the "problem" is.  Those fancy new awnings sure are nice given how easy they are to deploy, but, that ease of use has a cost.

For what its worth - I bet that I've only used my old style awnings a dozen times in the past eight years.

Bill

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Fwiw,,we use a soft car wash brush with a telescoping handle. And, the trusty two step Rubbermaid ladder. i don't know if it will reach your awning, or not. 

 

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21 minutes ago, topgun2 said:

Jason - 

Sorry about that - 

If I had thought for just a minute and/or looked at your signature I would have realized what the "problem" is.  Those fancy new awnings sure are nice given how easy they are to deploy, but, that ease of use has a cost.

For what its worth - I bet that I've only used my old style awnings a dozen times in the past eight years.

Bill

I actually love the awning, and we use them all the time.

I was just hoping for a "You noob.  The easy clean feature is .....".  Oh well.

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12 minutes ago, Jason Foster said:

I actually love the awning, and we use them all the time.

I was just hoping for a "You noob.  The easy clean feature is .....".  Oh well.

Not that I know of. You can also use a hose, with a nozzle, but putting an awning away damp (as you know) can result in mildew stains.

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3 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

Not that I know of. You can also use a hose, with a nozzle, but putting an awning away damp (as you know) can result in mildew stains.

That is one thing I have never had a problem with.  I either don't put it away wet, or if it does have to, I immediately air it out after I get home.  Old backpacking habits die hard.

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On 1/8/2024 at 7:00 PM, Jason Foster said:

  Old backpacking habits die hard.

And, tenting habits.

I hear you!

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Even a $50 tent, back in the day. 

Guessing I'm a "bit older" than you. But, the rules don't change. Get it clean. Get it dry. Even if it means setting it up in the living room or basement. Lol. 

If we have to roll in the awning after a rain, or dew,,we always want to roll it out at next campsite,  or home. Preventing mildew is a lot easier than cleaning it.

I recommend a dawn soap solution, soft carwash brush, and a sunny day, if you do wind up with mildew on the awning.  

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1 minute ago, SeaDawg said:

Even a $50 tent, back in the day. 

Guessing I'm a "bit older" than you. But, the rules don't change. Get it clean. Get it dry. Even if it means setting it up in the living room or basement. Lol. 

If we have to roll in the awning after a rain, or dew,,we always want to roll it out at next campsite,  or home. Preventing miles is a lot easier than cleaning it.

I recommend a dawn soap solution, soft carwash brush, and a sunny day, ifvyou fo wind up with mildew on the awning.  

I am 50 years old since November and have had a few Coleman tents.  They were fine back then.  My grandpa even had an old canvas military style tent we used as kids.  It smelled of mildew, but it worked.

I have always taken care of my equipment because clean, dry equipment will save your life.  My living room was my go-to when raining, back yard when sunny.  My old tents got normal cleaning, my newer tents, NF, Sierra Designs, MSR, Marmot, and my current bikepacking tent Big A, get a special cleaning and a DWC.  I wonder if these awnings have a similar water proofing treatment.

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I don't know about the Girard awnings fabrics,  as we've had two fiammas,,never a Girard, on our Oliver, over 16 seasons.. 

The Fiamma fabric seems to repel mold, on ours, as long as we can dry it out.

Hope yours is the same.

PS, first camping experience, as  a kid, uncle's  Korean War era canvas.  In our farm "backyard."

Thanks for the memories.  They are treasured, for me.

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1 hour ago, SeaDawg said:

I don't know about the Girard awnings fabrics,  as we've had two fiammas,,never a Girard, on our Oliver, over 16 seasons.. 

I did a quick search on Girard fabrics.  They are actually made by Lippert.  It appears that the fabric is an 18 oz marine grade vinyl.  This got me thinking that it is very similar to Sail fabric but obviously thinner.  I believe sail fabrics are 30 oz.  This stuff is naturally UV resistant and will stand up to massive amounts of friction over time, as long as you keep those lazy sheets trimmed.  ☺️ Due to the nature of the fabric, I don't think any coatings are necessary.  I will just keep my clean and put it away dry.  

As far as cleaning tree debris, I think I will purchase a small battery powered blower.

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8 hours ago, Jason Foster said:

As far as cleaning tree debris, I think I will purchase a small battery powered blower.

I carry a small corded blower, not something used often so didn’t want to worry about having to keep a battery charged. Very useful for cleaning debris from pad and picnic table areas prior to camp setup, as well as tree debris off the Clam. If you have the means, it would be effective to clean the awning. Mine is stowed within easy reach when first rolling in camp.

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I bought a battery powered blower. Seems to work pretty good. Need a step stool to do a good job. Also don't like the noise so I choose my time to clean the awning when it will bother neighbors the least. 

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2 hours ago, Ollie-Haus said:

Also don't like the noise so I choose my time to clean the awning when it will bother neighbors the least. 

So, are you saying that you will not be blowing off that awning at 0 dark 30 just before getting that early start on a long drive day?😁

Sure do wish that ALL fellow campers were as considerate as you are!

Bill

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52 minutes ago, topgun2 said:

So, are you saying that you will not be blowing off that awning at 0 dark 30 just before getting that early start on a long drive day?😁

Sure do wish that ALL fellow campers were as considerate as you are!

Bill

Like most of us we’ve experienced the type that seem to go out of their way to disrupt the peace and quiet without remorse. I like to wait till others around us are packing up to quickly blow off the awning and then put it away. 👍

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The discussion of type of fabric reminds me of the 1962 Apache pop-up tent trailer my dad owned. After he stopped camping in 1968, it was in storage for a number of years (we would alway dry it out after it got wet though) until I pulled it out of the barn to start using it again in 2000. The wife would not stay in the pop-up because of the odor. I was lucky to find on-line the person that managed the canvas department when Apache was in business. He had all the patterns and made me new canvas for the Apache out of Sunbrella material (same as what was on my boat). It was like having a new tent trailer again.

Wow, that was a long time ago, when me and my dad went camping and when you could find a campground anywhere without making a reservation.

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On 1/10/2024 at 9:22 PM, dewdev said:

...when you could find a campground anywhere without making a reservation.

I remember those days.  Also, when you could pitch a tent in the woods and not spend an hour collecting trash someone left behind.

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On 1/10/2024 at 7:35 PM, Ollie-Haus said:

Like most of us we’ve experienced the type that seem to go out of their way to disrupt the peace and quiet without remorse. 

Almost everywhere we go unless dispersed.  

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On 1/8/2024 at 5:00 PM, Jason Foster said:

Old backpacking habits die hard.

NEWSFLASH:  They don't die...

Edited by MAX Burner
TYPO
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