Best Awning?

Discussion in 'Canvas / Awnings / Add a Rooms / Tarps / Tents' started by niagarafam, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. niagarafam

    niagarafam Active Member

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    What is the best awning for our high wall Niagara?

    We're unimpressed with the Dometic that it came with (already falling apart after a few uses). We've been looking at the CareFree, Shade Maker, and Fiamma products. Can you put a Fiamma on a Niagara? We're wonerding about weight, too. We'd like to get away from the whimpy twist lock tubes/poles. It looks like the Shade Maker and Fiamma use larger square tubes with lever type locks.

    The Fiamma seems to be the best built of the three, but we're not sure. Any help and experience is greatly appreciated.
    M&K
     
  2. StPeteClipper

    StPeteClipper Member

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    We have a new Shademaker on our 12' box and love it, although it does have the wimpy twist lock tubes/poles. We left our campground on its second trip and by the time we got back it had downpoured on it. I figured, well its wet and it may rain again so I better drop a pole and whammo... gallons of water rushed off of it (onto me) that I had no idea was there. I won't do that again...but the unit was unscathed.
    Highly recommended.

    Believe it or not the best price I found was at JC Whitney. Had it to me in 5 days tops.

    I also bought from them a complete '68 Camaro fiberglass nose for $599.00. (just kidding...but you ol' JC Whitney Chevy guys may get that one).
     
  3. niagarafam

    niagarafam Active Member

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    I guess the Fiamma is the only one with a built in crank. That is a very nice feature. I guess I need to call Fiamma and get clarity on the weight and specs and then call Columbia Northwest/Somerset to find out what they recommend for the Niagara's roof. Our box is 14'. I've always wondered about the weight of the awning and its impact on the roof lift motor and pulleys once it's opened, and the roof is up. It does create a tug to that side of the trailer.

    I am also wondering about mounting brackets to the side of the roof. I'm quite sure that the Fiamma would require drilling into the roof side to mount their brackets. I tend to avoid things like that, but I would do it if I felt confident in the design of both the trailer and the awning system.
     
  4. adrianpglover

    adrianpglover Active Member

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    I'm also interested in what you find out on this. The one thing I hate about setting up or tearing down is doing the bag awning by myself. I would love to use something a bit easier to setup and tear down. Of course I won't be replacing something that still works just yet. Instead I would tend to wait for it to break on it's own beyond something that I can easily repair, and then replace it with something better. Going to have to keep track of this thread as my own thread on a similar subject didn't really go anywhere.

    ***EDIT***

    It looks like the weight specs are on Fiamma's website. Which model were you looking at?
     
  5. vinmaker

    vinmaker Member

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    No Question. I will be replacing my Domestic with the 13' Carefree bag awning when the Domestic craps the bed. My previous Rockwood had the carefree and it was wonderful Much more solid. This Domestic things is so cheaply made.

    Vin.
     
  6. niagarafam

    niagarafam Active Member

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    I keep hearing good things about CareFree and ShadeMaker. The Fiamma has the manual crank mechanism. I do not know which model, Adrian. I thought that I would call them this week and then see what CNW has to say about it. If I had my druthers, I would not put anything on the roof, but I am at capacity with TV bed and PUP storage. The weight and bulk of an easy up type portables awnings are not attractive either, especially one that spans the 14' box and extends a good distance. So I guess weight is going to be a primary determinate for me. People will say it's fine; don't worry about it. I have learned that just because something is "doable" doesn't mean that I should. I do not like putting extra stress on the roof.

    Does connecting the poles to the chassis or body put less stress on the roof than spiking them to the ground?
     
  7. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Our TT has a Dometic awning. I like being able to use it by myself, and put it away when weather threatens without a lot of hassle. On our Cobalt, we had an aftermarket awning, an entry-level Carefree, IIRC, and I made an awning for the first pup. I could not use the awning on the Cobalt w/o DH.
    The Dometic has a suggested wind limit of 20 mph, which is a gentle breeze in some of the places we camp. We just spent close to $900 to repair it, after I tapped a huge cottonwood tree with it, so it will likely be a while before we think about replacing it. I had mixed feelings about repairing this awning, since it is not as handy as I would like. If it had not been helpful on a few very sunny/hot days, I don't think I would have bothered.
    We've found a couple of things with this style/brand:
    It gives less rain protection than the one we had on the Cobalt. There is just a small spot next to the step where we could reliably cook if it was raining. This seems to be at least partly because the fabric on the Dometic is inside the frame, while the fabric on the pup one extended to the outside edges of the frame.

    Leaving the supports attached to the sides of the camper makes it easy to open and close it. However, I did not like the fact that I could feel it shifting on the attachment points and shaking the TT when a breeze came up while it was extended. On a pup, my suspicion is that it would be more of a strain to have them attached to the pup, but no proof. Being able to leave the supports attached to the side of the camper did allow us to use it in a couple of campsites where it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to secure the supports into the ground.
     
  8. vinmaker

    vinmaker Member

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    I do not feel the Domestic and the Carefree differ all that much in function. It is the quality of the Domestic that I feel is lacking. I like the poles used by Carefree better. They feel stronger and are easier to adjust.

    One thing I do like about the Domestic is the pole that attaches to the roof. That pole allows you to velcro the edge of the canvas awning to it and provide some stability. Then when the poles are brought to the ground instead of the camper, it makes a fairly nice rigid structure to tie down.

    The Carefree has a similar roof pole with a spring inside the pole that you would compress to make it fit in. But that might have been a part of the add-a-room option I bought with the carefree, That room was a disaster. I hated it. I was so disappointed. But that is another thread.

    Vin.
     
  9. Ryanincc

    Ryanincc Truth is poetry. Most Americans do not like poetry

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    Where is shfd739? He has a 2001 Niagara and they put a "Shademaker Supreme XL" IIRC. Its what I would get I think. Or the Dometic Cabana Awning which is an awning and screenroom/add-a-room in one. But its selling for $800 at $$ampingWorld


    http://www.shademakerproducts.com/supreme-xl-bag-awning


    https://www.google.com/search?q=dometic+cabana+awning&num=30&es_sm=91&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAmoVChMIzsXyx_ScxwIVSgySCh0nSQkr&biw=1479&bih=864


    http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/dometic-cabana-awning-for-pop-ups-11/42487
     
  10. shfd739

    shfd739 Member

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    Correct we have the Shademaker XL. I have the trailer side brackets mounted to the frame and so far that's the only way we've used it the last 2 years.

    Pros are that the angle is adjustable from so far down you can't open the door to straight out from the side of the pup. The way the arms telescope it's easy to leave it with one side low for water run off.

    I can't really think of any cons. If you want some specific pics let me know and I'll post them. So far it's been one of our favorite items we've added to the pup.
     
  11. niagarafam

    niagarafam Active Member

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    We are thinking we may just want to find a light weight relatively compact easy up that we can locate at the final quarter of the rear, near the rear bunk and forget the roof awning. I don't like the nearly impossible task of taking down when storms arise and the drag it puts on the roof and cables. The problem with the portable easy up is storage space. We are looking for a light one that folds more compactly than the big beast we have here at the house. Any product ideas for one?
     
  12. Ryanincc

    Ryanincc Truth is poetry. Most Americans do not like poetry

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  13. ScottE

    ScottE New Member

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    We found the Dometic Cabana on sale for $180. At that price point I couldn't pass it up. It took the beating of a tropical storm that left us in a 3" deep lake. I love the outdoor room that we use as a kitchen. Lightweight, compact and sturdy. If you have the wiggle room in your budget, I would highly recommend. We also have the Niagara. Takes an extra five minutes for setup, but that is probably the best thing we have added to the pup.
     

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