This awning guide produced by Life’s a breeze GB Ltd, will give you the understanding and knowledge before purchasing an awning.Overview
Awnings are the simplest way to increase your living space, which brings part of the pitch next to your unit under cover.
There are four basic types of awning on the market today, the full awning, porch awning, drive away awning and canopy awning, though you’ll find many variations on all three themes.
Choosing an awning has much in common with selecting a tent. You’ll need to decide on the fabric you want, the type of poles available and whether you need a groundsheet.
There are awnings to fit all types of caravan, but if you choose a more unusual unit, such as a pop-top or folding caravan, you may need a specialist awning.
Types of Awnings
These large, tent-like structures come in a variety of fabrics, qualities and sizes. Some have extra sleeping cabins and others have removable panels so you can enjoy the sun when it shines. Others even boast curtains that wouldn’t look out of place in a show home.
They also keep the worst of the wind and rain away from the door. And you can store bikes out of the rain. In better weather, most offer enough space for a couple to sit at the table if the evening breeze is just a bit too stiff – roll up the front and you can still enjoy the view.
You can leave your awning free-standing at your campsite while you 'drive away' in your motorhome/ Camper Van, allowing you to explore the local sites and scenery.
Fitting a permanent canopy awning is normally a specialist job, so it’s worth discussing this with your local caravan dealer.
Measuring GuideFull Size Awning/ Seasonal Awning
When you look for a full size awning you’ll need to consider two measurements, the awning’s depth and your caravan’s ‘A’ measurement.
The depth of an awning is the distance from your caravan to the awning outer wall. Most awnings are between 2.1m and 3.5m deep. Clearly, the greater the depth the more floorspace inside – but also the larger the amount of fabric you’ll need to transport and erect on site.
Your caravan’s ‘A’ measurement is usually given in the owner’s handbook but, if not, you can measure it yourself. First, level your caravan. Then take a length of non-stretch string and run it through the awning track of your caravan – the rail that runs around the caravan on the door side and through which you will eventually thread your awning.
The string should project from each end of the rail – maintaining the exit angle of the rail – to meet the ground. If you have an older caravan, note that modern awnings are not designed to follow the underside contours of the rail.
Fasten one end of the string to the ground, then tension it to find out how much string is needed to reach the ground at the other end. Measure this length in centimetres to give your caravan’s ‘A’ measurement.
The Porch Awning
There are two main things to consider when you go to buy a porch awning:
First, you’ll need to know your caravan’s height – measured from the top of the awning rail to the ground.
Second, does your caravan have a window close to the entrance door? If so, you may find the edge of many porch awnings comes down over this window. Only you can decide if this is a serious problem. Would always it be awkward to have that window closed? For example, is it above the hob? If so, you may need to open it for safe ventilation when cooking.Drive Away Awning
There are two main things to consider when you go to buy a drive away awning:
First, you’ll need to know your motorhome/camper van’s height – measured from the top of the awning rail to the ground. Awnings heights usually are described as Low, Medium & High which correspondence to a size range.
Second, measure from the passenger door to the back of the motorhome/ Campervan.
This measurement will give you the maximum size awning you can get for your Motorhome/ Caravan. Of course, you can buy a small size if you desire.
Pegs may 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.Flooring
Add some comfort and luxury to your caravan/ motorhome awning with an awning rug or carpet. There are many different types of flooring you can get for your awning:
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.
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. Westfield & Outwell produces specific footprint carpets.
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.
Windbreaks are an essential accessory to have in your caravan or camping gear. They will help you shelter from the breeze and keep your privacy on the campsite, beach or wherever you decide to pitch. No more struggling with the wind blowing out your stove!
Strip lighting system has been designed to offer bright light and lots of it. You can get kits with either 150, 48 or 30 LED bulbs and then attach 2 add-on kits tripling the light in your awning.
If you carry an awning in the caravan, position it over the axle and make sure it can’t move backwards or forwards if you stop sharply.
- If the ground is muddy when you erect your awning, put a groundsheet or piece of plastic sheeting on the grass before you start. This allows you to lay out the fabric without getting it green or muddy.
- It is generally best to put up an awning with its side panels zipped in place, for speed. But if it’s windy, take the panels out first to avoid fighting large areas of wind-blown fabric or, worse, ripping your prize possession. Snow
- If you’re serious about winter caravanning, give some thought to the snow-carrying capability of your porch, because snow can be surprisingly heavy. Awnings with a good slope to the roof can shed snow, the weight of which might otherwise split the material.