RV owners can be a group of folks who really get into gadgets or anything that adds some convenience or benefit while traveling. These things can cover a broad range of topics and lighting is no exception.
Awning lights fit into this category and you can find folks on both sides of the fence related to their opinion on the subject. But, if lights are your thing, we are here to help.
These lights, whether they are string lights, rope lights, or strip lights, all provide light, but with their own nuances. It’s good to know what you’re getting into before you make that first purchase.
What we’ve done is to mention our favorite option from each category of awning lights, and as a bonus, we’ve included a few different mounting options as well.
Let’s see if there is something that fits what you are looking for.
Awning Strip Light
RecPro 12-volt LED Awning Light
RecPro’s 12-volt awning light is 16′ LED strip light that comes with a channel for permanent installation. Using this channel allows the lights to be left in place during opening and closing.
The light is available in four colors and is waterproof. This feature makes this option really good for wet climates or sudden unexpected rainfall.
To power these lights you are going to need a 12-volt power source. However, it is easy to permanently power this light using your rig’s exterior lighting.
It’s pretty easy to tie into your outside light by drilling a small hole into the housing to access the wires. Once you tie everything in, be sure to seal it back up with silicone or other method. The bonus of this method is when you flip on the switch to your porch light, it turns your awning lights on as well.
This awning light emits white light that will not hurt your eyes when you used them at night. Moreover, it adequately illuminates the area under the awning. The drawback of this light is that it doesn’t have a dimmer switch, but you can add one by yourself. Some folks find the output to be pretty bright.
Awning Rope Light
Areful LED Rope Lights
The Areful LED Rope Light comes in five colors and measures in at 16 feet. This rope light option has LED’s spaced every 1.8″ inside a clear PVC tube, offering waterproof protection.This waterproofness should be plenty to install outside on your RV awning with no worries.
The PVC tube is also flexible enough to allow you to run the lights in pretty much any position you wish. It also comes with 8 mounting clips/screws, but I’m not sure this would be enough to support all the weight. If not, we’ve listed some other mounting options below.
This kit also comes with a short 2.5′ power cord and features a safety fuse as an added layer of protection. The diameter of this rope light is 3/8″ and the plug will work on any standard 120-volt outlet. If you wish, you can also add a dimmer to give you better control of the output.
Awning string Light Options
GUDDL Globe String Lights
GUDDL Globe String Lights are similar to the globe lights you usually see at Christmas parties, weddings, backyard patios, etc. This 25′ string of lights is surprisingly durable and adds a different look than the other options above. These strings lights offer a warmer look and feel as opposed to the cool look of some of the others.
The double fuse adds another layer of security and peace of mind. They are also weather-resistant to a degree offering protection against various levels of moisture, including rain.
As an added bonus, these lights come with a 12-month warranty on the light strand and a 3-month warranty on the light bulbs. The bulbs offer a 1.4-year lifespan based on 3h/day usage. As info, the bulbs can be replaced with any Candelabra (E12) light bulb not exceeding 7-watts.
How to Attach RV Awning Lights
Depending on the type of lights your purchase, there are various methods of how you will attach them to your RV. Each type may have a method that works best. Let’s take a look at a few.
Light holders are very easy to install. They easily fit into an RV awning roller bar channel for added convenience. They take up very little space and go up very quickly.
Once installed, you can simply run your lights over the provided hooks for installation. These hooks support up to 15 lbs., so there is no worries about your lights being too heavy.
Another option, which is pretty affordable, is to install your awning lights using curtain hooks. Take the “clip” portion of the hooks and clip it onto the fabric edge of your awning. At this point, the hook will be hanging freely and you can string your lights. These hooks have the capacity to hold fairly heavy lights.
If you are looking for a more available DIY method, take a look at using zip ties. They are cheap and go up quickly, but they are harder to remove when you want to uninstall. This could be a problem if you find yourself in a hurry when trying to remove your lights.
Downsides of an Exterior Lights
Like any other light source, using extra lights can increase the chance of attracting bugs. Depending on where you are camping, this may not be a problem or it could be a huge problem. Take this into consideration if you are seriously anti-bug.
Another downside of adding additional exterior lights is the fact you are introducing artificial light into nature. For some people, this can really ruin their experience. Be sure to take into consideration what you are doing with those around you.
Believe it or not, some lights put out enough heat you can actually feel it. Now, this is not common, but it can happen. If the lights you are running are putting off that much heat, you may want to consider another option.
RVing is an awesome hobby and I highly encourage anyone who RVs to explore personalizing their experience. One way to do this is by adding a little extra light outside your rig if it’s something you are lacking.
As with anything, you have to balance the pros and cons to see what works for you. The good thing is nothing is permanent and if it ends up being too much for you, just uninstall and find another use for them.
Do you run any extra lights on your rig? If so, let us know what and how.