As you know, awnings are a vital part of any good caravan setup. They help to provide extra covered and usable floor space so that even the smallest caravan can still feel comfortable and spacious. One of the biggest problems with awnings, particularly with the larger models, is sliding it on and off the railing (awning pole tensioners available here).
While this is not enough to ruin a perfectly good caravanning experience, it does put a slight dampener on things in the beginning and can cause a lot of stress. Stress that could easily be avoided. How?
With the use of an awning rail lubricant.
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Awning Rail Lubricant (Some Choices)
From the reliable folks at coverandcarry we have first, the awning rail brush and lubricant. This is a catch-all style kit that means you can give the awning rail and tracks a brush out to clean them, before using the lubricant to make threading it on easier. The lubricant is just 100ml, but enough to last a good few trips.
It’s interesting the number of different big caravan and accessories manufacturers who have gotten in on the act. Where there’s a marketplace for something…Anyway, this spray helps to ensure the rubber seals on the awning rail last as long as possible. It provides an instant spray shine and high glossy look, is non-staining (good for use around your awning), odourless and colourless.
It can also be used on various other materials alongside your awning, such as metal, wood, plastic trims, rubber and PVC upholstery.
According to the blurb, W4 awning rail lubricant is a specially formulated non-marking, non-greasy emulsion-based silicon lubricant that makes it easier to thread awnings onto their railing. You just need to, like others on this page, spray where you need it. The bonus of this product, especially for caravanners, is that it can be used to make it easier to remove and replace cassette toilets.
Okay, so this isn’t an awning rail lubricant and is an awning brush. However, one of the best tips we can offer at Caravan Helper, when you are looking to ensure a smooth threading motion each and every time you try to attach and slide your awning onto the rail, is to clean it. For that, you need a brush and a special awning brush is a great ideal, thanks to the way its been designed, like this product.
The other bonus that comes with awning brushes is that you can use them in the application of the lubricant too.
Another great product from W4, who have more than 40 years’ worth of experience in the industry and therefore, know a thing or two about what they do. This kit includes not just W4 lubricant, as featured above, an awning brush, also featured above separately, but an awning spreader too. All elements are designed to make looking after, sliding on and taking off your awning a whole lot easier and less stressful. Available for a ridiculously low price, we think this is a great bargain of a product.
Hot on the heels of W4’s kit, comes another great offering from coverandcarry. Similarly, this features the same kind of components as the kit above. There’s the company’s own silicone-based awning rail lubricant, a large awning rail brush with an extremely comfortable soft grip and an awning rail spreader made from forged stainless-steel. All of it fits nicely into the protective waterproof bag that’s included in the purchase price.
Protect Your Awning
The main reason manufacturers and customers suggest a specialist awning rail lubricant is because its formula does not contain anything that’s likely to have an adverse effect on the railing itself or even more importantly, the canvas or material of the actual awning.
However, silicone-based polishes and even candle wax are great options. If, though, you are interested in using awning rail lubricant, we have picked out some of the best available at the moment. You will notice that many of these come with special awning rail brushes.
Importance of Cleaning and Brushing the Awning Rail First
The pro tip we would like to offer before getting into the reviews is that lubricating is only half the solution, you need to make sure it’s clean as well. That’s why we’d recommend, even if you don’t opt for one of the brushes below, that you always clean your awning, after using it and before using it, before you even lubricate it, as this will make threading so much easier.
With that said, let’s check out these awning rail lubricants.
Can’t You Just Use WD-40?
We know what you are thinking, we all thought the same thing here at Caravan Helper, when we heard of it – ‘Do you really need an awning rail lubricant? Can’t you just use WD-40 instead?’ While we are not going to argue about whether other lubricants and polishes could be used instead of a specifically-marketed awning rail lubricant, we will say this – don’t ever use WD-40.
WD-40 is a quick-fix type product and even means Water Displacement. Rather than providing you with a nice smooth and easy to use railing, it will eventually attract dirt and grime and guess what, that will make it harder in the long run.
Obviously, if you want to save a little money and have some to hand, you could always just use Pledge, Mr Sheen or whatever furniture polish you tend to use. However, there is something to be said about having products, accessories and tools that have just been bought for caravanning.
Given the relatively low price of the products featured above, we would recommend you invest in one of them and save your furniture polish for cleaning the inside of your caravan. As long as you don’t use WD-40, though, it really is up to you and you alone.
For more tips on cleaning and maintenance check out our article on caravan awning cleaning.