In most cases, simply securing your awning in the right fashion can prevent a whole lot of damage. ‘Roo Paws’ are a specially made product that will allow you to quickly and easily do this.
The unique shape of the hooks has been developed by Peter Morris, an avid camper with a background in Structural engineering. Peter was able to modify and perfect the profile of the ‘Roo Paws’ so they are quick and easy to fit, but still effectively hold down your awning during light to gusty winds to avoid any damage to the awning material, arms or mechanisms.
Peter & Sam came up with the idea while camping
In most cases, just securing your awning back onto the van, or just using pegs to hold it into the ground is just not enough. A strong wind can still pick it up at any time and send it flying. There have been many cases of caravans opening up like a tin of sardines following an unexpected strong gust of wind on an awning that was either not tied down, or tied down incorrectly.
An awning damaged by wind
According to Peter, it is all about having the correct shape and profile on the hooks which allow them to have the correct load points that will hold the awning down without damaging it. In many applications, either homemade or otherwise, over-tightening or pulling down your awning from the wrong angle can actually damage the awning.
If the pressure on the apex is too high, it is very easy to over tighten the awning, especially if using ratchet straps which many people do. Some can put up to half a tonne of load on them and distort their brackets.
‘Roo Paws’ have the correct profile to avoid damage to the awning
Peter went thorough about 30 different designs and profiles before finding the right angle and cusp for the Paws, and is always adjusting the design to suit changes in the market. A recent change has been with the introduction of built in LED lights to some awnings. In this case, Peter has had to adjust the profile so it will not damage the lights.
Will fit awnings with built-in LED Lights
The hooks have a three stage bend in them, which ensures their strength meaning they will sustain much more pressure and prevent them from bending out of shape or failing. The Paws are batch tested by placing them under a high load stress test to identify if there are any defects in material or manufacture. The load angle has a been adjusted to ensure the tie down points will actually lock the drum in place and prevent over-tightening to occur. This also means you can still use the ratchet straps if you prefer as they will not over tension, but the use of a spring at the anchor point is still recommended to take out the shock.
(Photo of spring to anchor point)
The hooks are also made here in Australia at the Rockin Roos Workshop and manufactured using quality Australian Aluminium and Rockin Roos back the product with a lifetime replacement warranty on the Clips.
‘Roo Paws’ have a Lifetime Warranty
Being aluminium, they are extremely lightweight, yet very durable. They will not be effected by UV and perish over time like ropes or slings.
The hooks are available in two sizes, the wider heavy duty 25mm hook with the black carabiner is suitable for all van types and a 20mm model for customers who have less space between the cap and the awning cloth.
Available in 25mm & 20mm
Easy to fit – Installation
The Roo Paws are so easy to attach. The curved part of the paw fits over the awning and the small lug locks into the slotted sail track of the awning.
Your ropes, straps or tie downs just clip into the pre-fitted carabiners and are secured to whatever method of anchors you choose on the ground. They can also have a second rope attached if you require.
See how the Roo Paws are fitted
The Roo Paws are designed to fit the following awnings
• Dometic 8300, 8500
• Aussie Traveller
One of the main benefits of the hooks is that once you pull down on them, because they are at a critical angle they will actually rotate the drum of your awning, slightly more than you can with your hands. This actually locks and supports the drum mechanism in place and makes the awning material very taunt, preventing it from flapping in the breeze. In fact, although not always encouraged, Peter tells us that if installed correctly, in many cases, once the paws are in place, you may be able to get away without using anti flap kits.
The ‘Roo Paws’ actually lock the drum in place
The other benefit of locking the drum in place is that it prevents rattles, which in turn will reduce wear and tear on the knuckle of the unit and also on the main shaft and spring. Just using ropes, on the other hand, may still allow your drum to rattle and not offer maximum protection.
What we thought
Unfortunately, our own annex is a rooftop mount and not the right shape for the Roo Paws, so we tested them on a few other campers to find out what they thought.
During our research, we found some primitive methods of tie down points out there. From ropes to straps. Whilst most did the trick, we noticed that there was still a fair bit of free play in many of the ones we saw.
We could see there were many different angles being used and in one case we saw an awning that had been bent due to constant over-tightening with ratchet straps.
The biggest comment we got was that the ‘Roo Paws’ were very easy to install. You didn’t need to spend hours undoing and doing up things. They fit into place very easily, which is great, because in most cases, if something takes too long to do, most people just won’t do it.
Most campers we showed loved them with the exception of a few die-hards that still feel that using a simple rope method will do the trick. To them, we leave off with the following thoughts.
If the wind is too strong, don’t risk anything, Just take the time to wind your awning in.
Awnings are expensive to replace, so is the excess on your insurance.
Roo Paws are only $25 and can save you a whole lot of pain.
Where can you get them?
We are proud to introduce the Roo Paws into the Free Range Camping online store. Follow the link below to the store to get your set and remember, as always, we will look after our Premium Club members with a special offer.