5/2/19 - No Awning = No Problem

Our 2001 NewAire came without a coach-mounted awning. Fortunately for us, that's what we wanted (or didn't, as the case may be). While there are original NewAires out there equipped with coach-mounted awnings, those we've seen appear to be mounted a bit cattywampus. This is likely due to the coach's unusual lines.


Instead of an awning, the DW suggested devising a way to retrofit a traditional patio umbrella for our needs. After some thought, we came up with the solution you see above: an umbrella awning that mounts to a picnic table.

We first found a quality used umbrella awning at a garage sale: vented, light weight, right color, very good condition, and it only cost us $40. Although the umbrella awning came with a sand-filled aluminum base, we recycled that and purchased a Lightweight Plastic Umbrella Base that could be filled with water when in use.


Finally, I fashioned a simple wooden bracket from a scrap piece of 2x6 fir, drilled a hole large enough to accommodate the umbrella shaft, mounted a 2x2 stop brace across the bottom, and scrounged an old 6" C-clamp from my tool chest.



Setup is simple: position the picnic table where you want it, clamp the bracket to the table, fill the base with enough water to keep it from moving, insert the umbrella awning, and crank 'er up.


The verdict? It's worked out great for us -- with a minimal investment. We almost always camp where our site includes a picnic table, which the clamp does not mar. (We've yet to encounter a picnic table it won't work with, although I'm sure those exist.) The whole thing takes just a few minutes to set up or break down, and if our site is 100% shade, we don't even get it out.

The umbrella, empty base, and clamp assembly weigh less than 25 pounds combined. We throw it all in the back of the toad when moving and in the coach when storing. It's best to crank the umbrella down if not in use or when we're away from the campsite for any period of time. So far, it's held up very well in all kinds of weather.

We recently fitted battery-powered LED mini-light strings to the underside of the umbrella, but we've yet to see how well those work; next trip, now in planning.

Products Summary Section

Lightweight Plastic Umbrella Base


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