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Choosing an Awning

Monday, 28, Jun 2010 02:16

Awnings are the most important pieces of secondary kit for caravan and motorhome holidays. Larger awnings can double the living space and even the smaller alternatives provide extra living and storage space. They are invaluable in wet weather and provide a safe place to stash damp and muddy shoes.

Be it a full size awning, porch awning, sun canopy, drive-away or freestanding variant - awnings are great for motorhomes and caravan users alike. Awning designs come in any number of configurations. The larger models are likely to have several windows and doors, often with mosquito netting and the capability to hang curtains in the evenings if you want a bit of privacy, while smaller models will be lighter in weight and more portable.

With a vast array of models to choose from, Caravan Times looks at the different options available.

Full size awnings

Perfect for longer breaks or seasonal pitches. Full awnings run the entire length of the caravan and are a great way to extend your living space without having to buy a new caravan. You can further increase floor space by adding an awning annexe in place of one of the zip-up side panels. They are traditionally attached to the 'van or motorhome via an awning rail or inbuilt awning channel/ gutter.

The Isabella Commodore Royal is a popular model. Standing at 300cm deep it offers ample space for relaxing and family dining and adjustable ventilation panels help keep air circulating. There are two frames to choose from; the extra hardy Zinox steel frame suitable for permanent pitches, or the lightweight CarbonX fibre frame particularly good for touring.

Freestanding awnings

Freestanding awnings, or 'drive-away awnings' as they're sometimes known, have four complete walls and can stand-alone without the need for a caravan or motorhome to act as the fourth wall. Because they are by nature stand-alone awnings, drive-away's can double up as an extra bedroom.

There are a range of drive-away awnings popular with campervan and motorhome owners, which mean you won't have to dismantle the kit from an awning rail or gutter if you want to go sight-seeing for the day.

Porch Awnings

Porch awnings are smaller and lighter than their full sized cousins, but also attach to the side of your caravan or motorhome. Great for short trips, they pack up small and can be stored easily. Simple to erect, porch awnings provide extra space when you want somewhere to leave your outdoor clothes instead of taking them into the caravan. These can be put up by one person in good weather conditions.

Sun Canopies

Sun canopies are a good option if a full awning is not required and you just want partial cover from the elements. Some models have side panels for wind protection and added privacy. They can be attached directly onto the caravan or motorhome. Alternatively, with the use of an adaption kit, they can be attached to an existing awning.

The Dorema Solana Sun Canopy has a depth of 220cm and also comes with a draught skirt and wheel arch covers.

Accessories

Awning accessories can improve the performance of the main structure and provide an added element of luxury.

Awning annexes

Annexes are used as 'bolt-ons' for larger awnings. They attach to the main chamber usually via one of the zip-up side panels to create an extra room for sleeping or storage - great for the kids wanting their own space!

Inner tents and partition walls

Inner tents can be used in place of an annexe to create extra bedrooms within the awning - giving the occupant some privacy. Partition walls divide the annex and awning for storage room, or if you need to section off your awning for any reason.

Awning mats and groundsheets

A must have accessory to avoid mud and detritus being trod through the caravan. Caravan sites may require that you use a permeable awning carpet that allows the grass to survive. PVC groundsheets will kill off grass if left down for too long.

Here are some leading awning manufacturers to get you started:

Bradcot - www.bradcot-awnings.co.uk

Dorema - www.dorema.co.uk

Fiamma - www.fiammastore.com

Isabella - www.isabella.net

Kampa - www.kampa.co.uk

Omnistor - www.omnistorawnings.co.uk

Outdoor Revolution - www.outdoor-revolution.com

Pyramid - www.pyramid-awnings.co.uk

Sunncamp - www.sunnflair.com

Towsure - www.towsure.com

Ventura - www.ventura-camping.com

Comments - What do you think?
  • "Herzog and Dwt-zelte, why are these manufacturers ever mentioned? I have ordered the Herzog St. Moritze which is a all year round porch and it looks superb."

    Lorna Bane (Willsbridge) Posted: 16/12/2010 14:59:00

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