Hands On: Speedy Sun Blocker

Photo Credit: Kevin Livingston

The EZ ZipBlocker makes a nice looking addition to a patio awning and provides more shade when the sun is lower in the sky, dropping the temperature significantly. The view through the woven material is still pretty good.

by Kevin Livingston
May 2, 2017
Filed under Products

 

Extending the shade is simple with Carefree of Colorado’s zippered awning accessory

How many times have you been parked on that picture-perfect site, and no matter how hard you try to adjust the patio awning’s height or position, you just can’t seem to block the blinding rays of the sun? Heat buildup on the side of the RV can make it impossible to enjoy sitting out under the awning and often leads to insufferable interior temperatures, taxing the capability of the air conditioner. It’s common to see owners rig up makeshift sunscreens. Commercial screens that fit in the awning’s roller-tube slot are available, but if the wind blows in, the awning could roll up by itself if fitted with a sensor. It takes paying attention to take everything down so the awning can be rolled up without encapsulating the sunscreen material.

Carefree of Colorado, known for its patio awnings, has created the EZ ZipBlocker that makes adding a sunscreen to any awning super simple. The EZ uses the aforementioned awning roller-tube slot but is creatively designed to unzip at a moment’s notice, and a section remains in the slot that can be rolled up with the awning fabric when not in use — without impacting its final resting place or damaging the awning. Precut sizes are offered in 10-, 15- and 19-foot lengths with 7-, 8- or 9-foot drops to accommodate various RVs.

1) A slot in the awning’s roller tube is lined up so the polycord on the end of the insert section of the material can be threaded into the tube. Here, the shroud had to be removed first.

1) A slot in the awning’s roller tube is lined up so the polycord on the end of the insert section of the material can be threaded into the tube. Here, the shroud had to be removed first.

Once the insert is in place, the bottom section of the screen is simply connected using a large zipper, which is easy to handle. The screen can be unzipped in seconds.

2) Once the insert is in place, the bottom section of the screen is simply connected using a large zipper, which is easy to handle. The screen can be unzipped in seconds.

3) Hook-and-loop tabs can be used to keep the screen from moving. We elected not to use the tabs so the material can be repositioned freely in response to the sun’s location.

3) Hook-and-loop tabs can be used to keep the screen from moving. We elected not to use the tabs so the material can be
repositioned freely in response to the sun’s location.

 4) Stakes are provided with the kit and can be used to tie down the lower part of the screen using the grommets in the fabric.

4) Stakes are provided with the kit and can be used to tie down the lower part of the screen using the grommets in the fabric.

The EZ ZipBlocker is constructed of a weather-resistant open-weave polyester fabric coated with a durable vinyl to help ensure long life and strength while still allowing plenty of flexibility and visibility. The material is designed to block up to 85 percent of the sun’s rays.

Installing the EZ ZipBlocker is not complicated and takes only about 15 minutes. Though you will need the help of a friend and a ladder, it will be for only one time. With the awning fully open, the slot in the roller tube is aligned so it’s clearly visible and in a position where the end is open. In some cases, the head shroud may have to be removed to gain access to the slot, as was the case with the test fifth-wheel. From here, the protruding polycord on the unzipped upper portion of the EZ ZipBlocker is threaded into the open slot in the awning’s roller tube. This is where the second person makes the job smooth and fast. Have your helper hold the far end up about as far as he or she can reach, with the length of the material stretched out, while you continue threading the polycord toward the opposing end of the roller tube.

Once the top section is in place, the major portion of the screen is connected using a large, easy-to-handle zipper. If desired, hook-and-loop tabs can be used to secure the screen on the roller tube, but we elected to keep it free so we can move it front to back, depending on the sun’s location. The sunscreen can either fall freely toward the ground or be anchored using the grommets in the end of the woven fabric.

When it’s time to stop using the EZ ZipBlocker, unzip it from the insert that stays attached to the awning. Depending on the length and drop of the material, the upper portion will be configured in 1-, 2- or 3-foot widths. Prices vary depending on size; the 19-footer with a 9-foot drop installed on the test fifth-wheel lists for around $230 (carrying bag and stakes included). The sunscreen can be used on manual or power awnings.

The screen material fits nicely inside the EZ ZipBlocker’s provided nylon storage bag.

We installed the EZ ZipBlocker on a fairly hot and sunny day, making it ideal for this test. We thoroughly enjoyed  the noticeable temperature decrease in the newly created shaded area. Not only was it a much more comfortable place to relax, but the views were only slightly diminished looking through the black woven material. If you spend any amount of time outside in sunny areas, the EZ ZipBlocker is going to be a product you won’t want to be without.

Carefree of Colorado | www.carefreeofcolorado.com


 

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