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Choosing a caravan awning

Choosing a caravan awning is the perfect way to allow you to enjoy holidays any time of year. If you’re lucky enough to own a caravan you’ll enjoy spending time out and about but when you arrive and pitch up, sometimes you need a bit more room. Choosing a caravan awning will increase the amount of living space and create a real home away from home.

Awnings come in all shapes and sizes, from a simple sun canopy that provides shelter or shade, to a porch awning perfect for a bit of extra space and outside storage, to a full awning with add on bedroom annexes to extend your touring caravan’s accommodation and number of berths.

Before you decide which awning best suits your needs, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you a tourer? ie are you going to be moving around with your van or only going to pitch up for a week or two?
  • Are you going to be pitching up more permanently? For example on a seasonal pitch.

There are three common types of awning for caravans and motorhomes, the full awning, the porch awning and the sun canopy.

• A full awning is designed to maximise the floor space of your caravan – providing extra room for storage, significantly increasing your living space and increasing sleeping capacity, by using the whole awning rail. These awnings need to be bought in the correct size (see how to measure for your full awning below).  These awnings are great for longer term pitching, as they provide a very good weatherproof living area, and tend to be stable in bad weather.  Quite often these awnings are available in a tougher fabric and therefore are great for seasonal pitches.

Isabella Ambassador Dawn Caravan Awning
The Isabella Ambassador Dawn Full Caravan Awning

A porch awning offers less space than a full awning (although the larger models still afford you a good amount of space), but they are lighter, easier to handle and quick to erect.  These are often available in a light weight fabric but can be available in a tougher, seasonal fabric too.  

Dometic Rally Air Pro 330S Awning 2021

A sun canopy offers an extra bit of shelter or shade and can be attached to the rail of your van, providing a quick and simple set up for temporary use. 

The Sunncamp Protekta 10 Roll Out Sun Canopy

Q. What size awning do I need?

Most new caravan manuals will tell you what size awning you need but you might not have this information.

To measure for a full awning, make sure your caravan is level and thread some cord (non-stretch!) up through the awning channel. Make sure it reaches the ground on both sides.

If you’re thinking of buying a porch awning, you need to take these key measurements:

A. The horizontal length of the awning rail (the flat part before it curves)

B. The height of the caravan from ground to awning rail
When choosing a porch awning you should take into account where the windows and doors or lockers are. You want to make sure if possible that the edge of the awning doesn’t impede accessibility.

If you’re going to use your awning frequently throughout the year, or if you have a seasonal pitch, then it really needs to be durable. Particularly in the winter it will need to be highly weather resistant.

If you’ll only be using your awning occasionally through the summer, then it’s not necessary to go for such a durable product.

Q. What frame type is best?

Like a tent, there are two frame types for an awning – a traditional poled frame and an inflatable tube (air awning).

A traditional metal poled frame tends to offer a more stable awning in bad weather. They are generally heavier and can take a bit more time to erect. A carbon fibre frame will be lighter and generally less expensive, using flexible poles, like many tents.  The poles will come in a separate bag so will make transportation easier.

An inflatable air awning is very easy and quick to erect and is usually lighter than a traditional full awning, although the airtubes remain fixed to the awning at all times, so bear this in mind when you are thinking about the weight.

Our experienced team can help you with choosing a caravan awning that’s perfect for you. We have an extensive selection of caravan awnings on display and we’re always happy to take time to discuss your requirements and show you around.