How To Choose The Best Caravan Awning For Your Family

A caravan is a great choice for a family holiday, but it will have limited floor space – especially for larger families, not to mention the pets! A caravan awning is a great way to increase living space. It covers a portion of your pitch directly next to your unit.

There are three types of awnings on the market today: the complete awning, porch or awning, and canopy or awning. However, you will find many variations of each theme. So which awning should you buy?

Today we show you how to choose the best caravan awning for you and your family.

The process of choosing an awning is similar to selecting a tent. It is important to choose the fabric that you like, as well as the poles that you prefer and whether or not you require a groundsheet.

You can find awnings that fit most types of caravans. However, if you have a unique unit such as a pop-top caravan or folding caravan you might need a special awning.

The ‘Complete’ Awning

A full awning will usually increase the living space of your caravan by more than twice, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors in comfort, no matter what the weather.

The awning rail runs the length of your caravan, covering one side. It is therefore sized to suit your specific caravan model.

You can choose from a wide range of sizes, fabrics and quality for these tent-like structures. Others have additional sleeping areas, while others can be removed to let you enjoy the sun whenever it shines. Some curtains would look great in a showhome.

Measuring For A Full-Sized Awning

Two measurements are important when looking for a complete awning. The awning‘s height and the caravan’s A measurement.

Awning Size Guide - CARAVANS | Norwich Camping
  • An awning‘s depth is the distance between your caravan and the outer wall of the awning. A majority of awnings measure between 2.1 and 3.5m in depth. The awnings are generally between 2.1m and 3.5m deep. However, the deeper the awning, the more space inside.
  • This also means that you will need to transport and erect the fabric on-site. You may want to limit the size of larger caravans to 2.5m in width and 5m for a Club pitch. Instead, opt for awnings 2.5m or less deep so that your entire unit can fit on a pitch.
  • The ‘A’ measurement of your caravan is usually provided in the owner’s manual. However, you can take measurements yourself. First, level your caravan.
  • Next, take a length of non-stretch string and run it through your caravan’s awning track – the rail that runs around your caravan from the door side and through which your awning will be threaded.
  • Each end of the rail should have a string that extends to the ground. This is necessary in order to maintain the rail’s exit angle. Modern awnings cannot be used with older caravans that do not follow the rail’s underside contours.
  • Attach one end of the string to the ground and then tension it to determine how many strings are needed to reach the ground at its other end. This measurement will give you the ‘A’ measurement of your caravan.

This is a great video that explains how to measure up for an awning really well:

How To Measure for a Caravan Awning

The Universal Or ‘Porch’ Awning

The large or universal porch awning covers the entire caravan’s side and connects to the majority of the top horizontal portion of the awning rail. It can be easily moved from one caravan model to the next.

The majority of air-tube awnings can be used in all types of weather.

You Might Be Interested in: The Best Caravan Awnings: 2022 Season

The porch awning can be attached to the top of the awning rail, providing cover for the caravan door. If you are only staying for a few nights, pitching is usually quicker and more straightforward.

These provide a comfortable place for you to remove your wet clothes and wellies before you get into your caravan.

Porch awnings keep the worst of rain and wind away from your door, and can also be used to store bikes in the rain.

When it is warmer, many offer enough room for two to sit at the table.

Measurements For A Universal Or Porch-Awning

Two things are important to remember when buying a porch awning:

First, measure the height of your caravan from the top rail to the ground.

Second, take note of where your caravan windows are located and what outlets might be blocking the awning‘s side. This is your decision.

Isabella Universal 360 Dawn - Porch Awning

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Will it be awkward to keep the window open at all times? Is it, for example, above the hob or stove? It may be necessary to open it if you want safe ventilation while cooking.

The Canopy Or Cassette Awning

You can attach a canopy or ‘cassette’ awning to your caravan either temporarily or permanently. They can be folded down to form legs and unfurl like a roll-blind.

You can attach fabric walls to create a canopy awning at the top of the range.

Installing a permanent canopy is a complex job. You can do it yourself, but It’s worth talking to your local caravan dealer if possible to get the right fit for you.

We used to have a Fiamma canopy Awning on our old Bailey and whilst it was great in the summer as a sun shade – it was no substitute for a proper awning. For the price I would always go for a either a porch or full awning.

Hardstandings And Awnings :

Can An Awning Be Pitched On a Hardstanding?

It will be difficult to set one up on a tarmac, slab pitch or stone pitch however, and the majority of hard standings are made from gravel or a plastic grid that allows for grass growth.

You can still pitch an awning. However, you will need to use hardened steel rock pegs for gravel hardstandings.

Blue Diamond Screw Tent Pegs – 20 pack, Purple, One Size

Blue Diamond Screw Tent Pegs - 20 pack, Purple, One Size
  • Compatible with Cordless Drill and Pegs ‘Screw-In’ Requires 13mm Drill Adaptor
  • Corkscrewed Shaft for Extra Grip
  • Fantastic on Hard-Standing or Shaley Ground
  • Heavy-Duty Plastic Head to Firmly Grip Guylines with 13mm Bolt Head
  • Includes Robust Plastic Carry Case with 20 Pegs Inside
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Our Awning Top Tips

  1. Use a groundsheet or old tarp to cover the ground if it is too muddy for you to erect the awning. This will allow you to lay the fabric without making it wet or muddy.
  2. For speed, it is best to attach an awning with the side panels zipped in. If it is windy, remove the panels first to avoid wind-blown fabric in large areas or worse, damaging your prize possession.
  3. Winter caravanning is something you should seriously consider. Snow can be quite heavy, so make sure your porch has the ability to carry it. Snow can be shed by awnings that have a slope towards the roof, which could cause it to split.

Here’s a really helpful video we found on how to correctly pitch a Porch Awning:

How to pitch a porch awning: Camping & Caravanning

Happy Caravanning!

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