It’s that time of year when the colder months are coming in and for those of us who still like caravanning at this time of year, we turn our attention to our awnings.
We moved onto a seasonal pitch this September, and since then we’ve had the awning up permanently.
But the recent bad wind from the tail end of Hurricane Ian has got me thinking about what awnings are best for such conditions.
Now, no awning is ever going to be 100% per cent stormproof, as it’s not a solid structure – but I wanted to give you guys a handful of really good awnings that have been proven to stand up to bad weather.
I’ve also added a quick buyers guide below with some points to consider before you go ahead and buy one.
We will find out this weekend whether ours has stood up to the bad weather – wish us luck!
You will notice that all the awnings listed are Air Awnings. This is for good reason. If for any reason the awning lifts and flips over the roof of the caravan there is a far better chance of both the awning and caravan withstanding any potential damage.
In my experience – air awnings can withstand wind better than their poled counterparts – this is because they lack rigid poles – the air beams can flex and sway with the wind, rather than taking the blunt force like a traditional poled awning would.
My mum had a poled canopy awning that took off in the night and pierced the roof causing a lot of damage and some expensive repair work was needed.
Lichfield Dakota Caravan Air Awning, Excalibur, 4 m
This so far has been the perfect awning for us as a family of three (including the dog).
It’s 4 metres long and is plenty big enough for us and fits nicely on the side of our Swift twin-axle. It gave near full cover on our old four-berth Bailey single axle.
We have had it up in some of the worst weather and with a bit of tightening of the storm straps and guy lines, it’s never budged, and it’s also never leaked.
There are four main beams to inflate and three inner beams that go in the roof to add strength. The pitch time is around 20mins.
It’s a lightweight 150D polyester material awning with taped seams, so it’s lightweight and completely weatherproof.
Because it’s made of polyester and not classed as an ‘all season’ awning it’s not as warm but this hasn’t been an issue for us so far.
We’ve never had any real issues with condensation other than when cooking in the awning but this is easily remedied by slightly opening the door at the top.
For under £1000 – I really think this is a great awning for its size and performance – we later also found out that this awning is also made by Vango under the Lichfield name – so a great awning for a lot less money!
Just make sure you’ve got decent pegs and you shouldn’t face any major issues with the weather.
The only thing missing that would make this perfect would be the addition of curtains.
I highly recommend this awning!
Vango Balletto Air 390 Elements ProShield Caravan Awning
The Balletto is very similar in design to our Dakota – but it does come with a few different features.
It’s durable enough to withstand poorer weather due thanks to the Sentinel ‘Pro-Shield’ Elements fabric which also uses ‘Colour Lok’ UV resistance technology to prevent fading.
The Balletto has a single point of inflation but multiple points of deflation making this a really quick and easy pitch, and also comes with additional bracer bars for added strength.
What I also like about is that you can fully take the panels out by unzipping them – turning the awning into a nice canopy in the summer months. New for 2022 are the additional curtains, which is great!
Everything is included with this awning – including the draught skirt and rock pegs!
It’s a lovely, bright, awning – simple to pitch, with plenty of space and made of some of the best materials available. Their AirBeam technology will also ensure that this awning will stand up to some of the worst weather to be thrown at it.
Well worth checking out!
Vango Tuscany Air 400 Elements ProShield Caravan Awning
The Tuscany is the biggest awning in the Vango range offering two sizes: the 400 and 500 giving as much space and light as possible with its ‘Bay Window’ style. Practical in its design, the Tuscany gives single inflation, and multiple deflation points allowing for super quick pitching and pack up.
Vango always gives you a lot for your money and this is very much the case with the Tuscany. It includes handy zipped in curtains, to allow as much light or privacy as you need. It also includes a roof lining that helps to reduce condensation, rock pegs, skirt and draught seal system.
They also included handy little extras such as a small canopy over the doors and extra large zips and buckle clips. You can even add on an additional annexe for guests!
Dometic Ace AIR All-Season 400 S Inflatable Caravan Awning
The Ace Air Pro came to the market when air awnings were first introduced and have continued to be a leader in superb awnings.
Suitable for both Caravans and Motorhomes, the Ace Air Pro has undergone some improvements this year. Coming in two sizes: 400 and 500, and a depth of 325cm – this is the biggest awning in their range.
Its verticle frontage and pitched-style roof give much more space for furniture and equipment and its oversized beams offer more support and structure when the bad weather comes.
It has a single inflation point and multiple deflation points for quick pitching and stress-free pack-up.
All of the front & side panels can be completely zipped out creating a nice canopy in the warmer months with the option to buy zip in mesh panels to keep the pesky bugs out. and
An additional solar shade/roof protector can also be bought that protects the awning as well as give great insulation in the winter.
It’s a superb awning in its flagship range and one that should be considered for seasonal pitching as well as touring.
Dometic Dometic Club AIR All-Season (2021) (330S)
The best-selling Dometic Club All-Season awning 330 is suitable for both Caravans and Motorhomes. With a pitch time of around 15 minutes, this awning is great for tourers and seasonals.
Its Dual Pitch Roof system gives a flat frontage allowing for plenty of furniture and equipment space and like the Ace, the panels can be zipped out to make a nice canopy in the warmer months.
Packed with features such as a single inflation point, multiple deflation points, double zips for additional mesh panels, traditional caravan-style curtains and interchangeable side panels and Dometic’s very own ‘AccessoryTrack’ system – you really do get a lot for your money.
Additional Extensions can be added onto either side of the Club to allow for guests, and a new optional Solar Shade (Roof Protector) can be zipped onto the awning to help with extending the life of the awning while insulating the inside at the same time.
The height of the awning can also be adjusted via a zip so whether you are on uneven ground or want to use it on a motorhome you can easily alter it – Dometic has really thought of everything!
Another great awning from Dometic – robust enough for year-round touring or seasonal pitches, but light enough to easily set up and pack away.
What to Look for in a Good Quality Caravan Awning
Buying a decent awning from a trusted brand is important. You want to be sure the company has a long history in manufacturing caravan and motorhome products. It should be made with high-quality materials that will stand up to the elements.
The fabrics used for the majority of modern awnings are usually made from polyester for lightness and durability.
These fabrics will resist water and are reasonably strong, though they will not be as strong as the ‘All-Season’ Awnings that are made from a thicker fabric called ‘TenCate’.
TenCate is both water, wind and UV resistant and will also keep your space warmer in the winter months. Both Kampa/Dometic and Vango use this fabric in their all-season awnings.
The performance of all of these materials depends on how well you look after them. Be sure to use the appropriate products as part of your regular awning cleaning and maintenance to ensure the longevity of the awning.
Over the years most awning manufacturers have included air awnings in their ranges in addition to the more traditional steel-framed alternatives.
Air poles or air beams are designed to be light, yet flexible and can better withstand the wind than steel poles because they can ‘go with the wind’ rather than against it.
The awning may collapse under wind pressure, but it can easily be popped back into position again.
You May Be Interested In:
How To Choose The Best Caravan Awning For Your Family
Should you Buy a Steel Poled or Air Awning?
It’s obviously your own choice as to which you would go for – but I personally would never recommend a steel awning. They are cumbersome, heavy and can do a hell of a lot of damage to a caravan.
Air awnings are really quick to pitch – usually in under half an hour. Some only have a single inflation point so all you need to do is slide on the rail, inflate, peg down and storm strap. They are a lot lighter too, which is good for your towing weights.
Whichever awning you choose to buy, the pegs that ‘come as standard’ will not likely be up to the task in strong winds.
For this reason, we only ever use storm pegs. You could have the best awning with the best storm straps, but it’s nothing without good pegs!
Storm Straps and Guy Ropes
Most decent companies supply storm straps and ropes with the awning. They should be sufficient enough, but it’s a good idea to add additional straps and rope if you are expecting some bad weather.
You know the old saying ‘prepare for the worst and hope for the best!’
Our awning has extra ‘clip’ spaces to add on extra straps. The ones below are what we have added (I only hope they have worked this week)!
What is the Best Awning to Buy For Windy Conditions?
Well, our pick is the one we have now! Honestly, it’s been superb for us in the time we’ve had it – and it’s been up in some pretty nasty weather.
You might think that a newer, more expensive awning with a strong storm strap would do the job – but that’s not necessarily the case!
Being expensive doesn’t always mean it’s the best! Check out the manufacturer, and always check reviews from other buyers.
Our awning was £750 and (touch wood) it hasn’t let us down yet! It’s made by Lichfield, which we later found is made by Vango. The only place you can buy these awnings that I’ve found is Amazon and they do regularly go out of stock, so if they do have it in, I’d recommend grabbing it as soon as you can.
Check if the awning you have, or are looking to buy is rated to cover certain wind speeds. You can check this in the awning storage cover label in most cases, or in the instructions included. Or contact the manufacturer.
At the end of the day (or a sleepless night), if you’re worried about your awning surviving the wind, it’s best to take it down until it (the weather) blows over. It’s better safe than sorry, especially with the cost of some awnings.
If it was me, and I was aware there were winds above 30mph, I’d take down the awning before hitting the sack.
Caravan Advisor is all about sharing in the joy of caravanning for those old and new to this great hobby.