Caravan Awning Guide
TYPES OF CARAVAN AWNINGS
There are three options for having a shelter attached to the side of your caravan: full awning, porch awning or sun canopy.
Full-sized awnings offer, as the name suggests, an awning that covers the full length of the caravan. At Aztec Leisure, we can supply awnings from the leading manufacturers including Ventura, Isabella, Dorema and Eurovent. For latest prices & availability please call us at 01872 554421 or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Porch awnings are similar to full awnings except that they do not cover the whole length of the caravan and that they only attach via the awning roof. Caravan porch awnings cover a wide range of sizes and budgets from the simple weekend Sunncamp Swift 260 up to the top of the range inflatable awnings like Outdoor Revolution's Esprit 420.
Sun canopies are available in several different styles depending on your requirements/budget. Sunncamp produces a wide range of basic roll-out sun canopies like the Protekta and the Swift Canopy that are perfect for weekend breaks and summer holidays.
For a more substantial canopy, Fiamma offers a range of high-quality roll out awnings. The Caravanstore, a manual roll out awning that can stay on the side of your caravan during towing & the F45s, a wind out awning with an aluminium case.
Both canopies are suitable for longer holidays during spring summer and autumn. For latest prices & availability please call us at 01872 554421 or email us: email@example.com
FULL-SIZE CARAVAN AWNING MEASUREMENT
There are a few ways to discover which size awning you need for your caravan. The easiest way is to check the caravan manual for the ‘A’ frame measurement or awning size.
If you no longer have the original manual you can use Isabella's handy A-Frame size measurement tool on their website. To use this tool you need to enter the make, (eg. Bailey, Coachman, Sterling or Europa), year of manufacturer and model.
To measure the ‘A’ measurement you will need a ball of string, a peg and a tape measure.
Make sure the caravan is on even ground and peg down one end of the string at the back of the caravan below the awning rail. Next, run the string carefully through the awning rail from the back to the front of the caravan. Should you have a sharp curve in the awning rail at the front, allow the string to exit the rail as it curves and go directly to the ground.
Check that the string reaches the ground before cutting to ensure that your ‘A’ measurement is as accurate as possible. Too short and you will be unable to peg your awning down properly, too long and the awning will sag and pool with water or flap in the wind causing damage to your awning.
Measure your string in centimetres. You can measure in one long measurement or by folding the string in half you can double the length afterwards to make it a little easier.
CHOOSING YOUR CARAVAN AWNING
Before choosing your awning it is important to consider the following questions:
How many months of the year would you like to use the awning?
Are you moving around lots (touring) or are you going to be in one location (seasonal pitch)?
What time of year (winter or summer) will you be using the awning?
There are four different categories of awning:
Winter - Winter awnings are suitable for use all year round (9-12 months). You will need to do everything advised by the awning manufacturer to take care of your awning and keep the warranty valid.
Seasonal - Seasonal awnings are suitable for constant use or for longer periods between March – October.
Touring - Touring awnings are suitable for up to 8 weeks of the year (March -September). Ideal for long touring holidays and short breaks away.
Lightweight - Lightweight awnings are designed to be taken up and down easily and are ideal for long weekends and touring holidays (April -September).
Please note that you have to be careful, as not all companies use the same terminology, double check with us that the awning will be fit for purpose before purchasing.
Fabric and poles are equally important to your decision as to which awning to pick, based on how long, and where you will be using your awning. Stronger & denser fabrics will last longer and will be more suitable for seasonal use.
Awning frames are usually steel, aluminium or fibreglass. Steel poles are the strongest and most suited to winter and seasonal awnings, fibreglass & aluminium poles are lighter in weight, therefore, more suited to touring.
Are you going to want to add an annexe?
If you feel that you may want more space at any point then make sure you choose an awning that has an option to attach an optional bedroom annexe.
Will you need sleeping pods for extra guests?
Do you want your awning to be used as a bedroom? Make sure there is an option for an inner tent to be attached. Although there are various universal inner tents that don’t require exact connections.
What design and how much space?
The layout and size of the awning will be a very personal decision. There are different door and window layouts along with different depth options.
What is your budget?
This determines what fabrics, poles and accessories are available within that price range. For those going for more regular seasonal use, we would recommend a higher budget than those needing a lightweight touring awning.
PORCH AWNING MEASUREMENT
When measuring for a porch awning you need to check three different measurements: height (H), the straight width of the caravan awning rail (L) and the distance between the door and window(s) (L2).
Measure the height (H) in cm to ensure that it is within the awnings height range (a majority of caravan porch awnings are designed to fit caravans 235 - 250cm in height). This is important to check because if your caravan is too short you will not be able to assemble the awning frame properly.
The second measurement is along the straight section of the awning rail at the top of the caravan (L). Make sure that the awnings overall width is shorter or equal to this measurement. Handily, most awning manufacturers will state the overall width in cm within the product description. For example, the Kampa Rally AIR PRO 260 is 260cm in length.
At Aztec Leisure we stock a range of awnings to suit a variety of caravan widths:
The distance between the doors and windows (L2), although not essential, is important to check if you want to ensure that the awning doesn't cut off halfway across a window.
Caravan porch awnings come in many different frames, shapes and sizes. You need to think about the same kind of questions as you would for buying a full sized awning.
Size, frame, usage, sleeping area and budget. The more you wish to use the awning the better quality the material should be, and the frame system should reflect on where and how often you wish to use the awning.
An inflatable frame, despite not being lighter in weight than a steel frame, has its advantages. They are very robust, fast to erect and simple to use as the air tubes are pre-attached to the awning - unlike steel frames that can take a considerable amount of time assembling before erecting the awning.
Another advantage inflatable frames have over steel & aluminium is during strong winds. If a steel/aluminium frame fails during a storm it will buckle and will need to be replaced, whereas if an inflatable frame buckles it will pop back into place straight afterwards.
Pegs will be included with your awning, however, depending on where you are pitching the awning you may need different pegs. There are pegs that designed to go into the soft ground like sand, or hard ground. You can also have practical glow in the dark pegs that prevent you and others from tripping over at night.
Various brands have unique options, for example, Kampa produces Continental Cushioned Carpets that are breathable, easy to clean and exceptionally hard wearing.
A simple PVC groundsheet will protect your feet but be aware that many campsites request that you use breathable flooring instead of a PVC groundsheet.
Interlocking floor tiles are also a popular option as they are lightweight, easy to fit, and breathable. We stock the Via Mondo Interlocking Tiles and Kampa Easy Lock Flooring Tiles available in grey or wood effect.
A lot of awnings have carpets designed specifically for the awning footprint, however, if your awning does not have a carpet that is designed to fit you can get a universal carpet. Sunncamp produces specific footprint carpets as do Westfield, Kampa, Outdoor Revolution & Outwell
Awning skirts are used to exclude drafts from going into your awning. A length of awning skirt is normally included with the awning, however, some don't, so it is worth checking before purchasing. You can also purchase single or double wheel arch covers.
Tie down kits are an important part of taking care of your awning. As the weather in the UK can be unpredictable it is a good idea to be prepared by purchasing a storm tie down kit to ensure that your awning stays fixed to the ground during stormy weather.
Awning rear pad poles provide a snug fit between the awning and the caravan. Helping to keep the weather outside by reducing cross winds from passing through the side of the awning.
There are many different options for lighting including hanging lanterns, mains powered awning lights and 12-volt strip lights. Outwell has the Leonis and Castor lights, which run off 230 volts and hang like a ceiling light.
Kampa Sabre strip lighting system has been designed to offer bright light and lots of it. You can begin with a Kampa Sabre Link light starter kit with either 150, 48 or 30 LED bulbs and then attach 2 add-on kits tripling the light in your awning. Kampa Sabre Link system also offers a Flexi option for the Sabre Link Light with an add-on kit.