A Caravanning awning is essentially a three-sided tent that provides you with additional floor space. It is attached to your caravan by threading the beading into your awning rail along the top of the caravan. Awnings transform the way in which you use your caravan and also the way you holiday. So much so they have become an essential part of any avid caravans artillery. Choosing an awning has become as important as choosing your caravan.
Image source Flickr by Dorset Country Holid
It often seems like there is too much choice when it comes to caravan awnings, in reality there is if you have no expectations of what you want from it. If you go in with a clear mind on exactly what you want to gain from purchasing an awning you can narrow down the field.
It’s important to know what you want from your awning because there are different types.
If you are looking for a little extra room while you are on your holidays, porch awnings are a great way to add extra space at little cost. If you are looking for somewhere to store muddy shoes and bikes or even a small outdoor dining area, a porch is a great solution. They come in a large range of sizes and materials depending on how often you caravan and what you want from the awning. Sunncamp do a range of inexpensive porch awnings called the Swift. Starting at £79.00 they are ideal for a weekend trip to store wet and soiled clothes and shoes. On the opposite end of the scale Kampa have the Rally Pro available in a 260, 330 and 390 measurement. It is made from a more durable material and designed to be pitched for longer periods of times (up to a week).
As well as size and material differences, design can also effect your purchase decision. When choosing a porch awning it’s important to make sure the design is practical for your needs. Are you rather tall? A sloping front may not be suitable if you are, rather, pick a tall opening awning and save yourself some back ache.
Full Size Awnings
A full size awning will essentially double your living space. They run across the whole length of the caravan giving you plenty of space to relax. They often have large zipped doors and windows which in most cases are removable to open the space right out. When choosing a full size awning its integral that you are clear as to whether you are intending to be permanently pitched or just holidaying for 1-2 weeks at a time several times a year. This will greatly influence the range of awning you can choose from. Standard awnings are not manufactured in order to last months of permanent pitching, if you were to do so, you would void your manufactures warranty and any issues that arose would be costly to you. All season awnings are, however, designed to be pitched for longer periods of time, and to withstand normal weather conditions across all seasons. It must be noted that manufacturers will not cover you for freak or extreme weather conditions. Dorema do a great range of 4 season awnings at affordable prices.
These can be temporarily or permanently fixed to the side of your caravan. The permanent ones come with integral poles which act as legs and often come with fabric side panels. There are many different designs and often the height of your awning rail or van is a deciding factor. It is possible to simply have a sun canopy to provide a little shade or you can have a full functioning awning where additional panels simply zip on.
Points to consider when deciding which awning to buy.
• How much do you want to spend? This will determine the quality of fabric, poles, clips, fixings etc
• How much space are you looking to achieve? This will determine the size and configuration of your awning.
• What about side openings and windows?
• Do you want an integral groundsheet?
• Do you want an annex?
• Will you need a sleeping pod for extra guests?
When deciding where to buy your awning from, price shouldn’t be the deciding factor. Waudbys have a large range of awnings to choose from. Not only that, they are awning specialists and provide honest advise. Many of the staff are themselves caravanner’s and will provide you with personal experiences to support their expert knowledge. They are also trained directly with the manufactures on all products. Waudbys has a permanent display of awnings on the upper floor of the store where staff are more than willing to demonstrate.
For more information take a look at their awning range, better yet visit the store and speak to a member of staff. They would love to help you.
By Mark Brown – Avid Caravaner