Choosing a caravan awning

A full-size awning more than doubles the floor space of your touring caravan – providing extra room for storage and significantly increasing living space.

Awnings come in all shapes and sizes, from a simple porch canopy that provides shelter and extra outside storage to a full awning with addon bedroom annexes to extend your touring caravan’s accommodation and number of berths. Awnings attach seamlessly to the caravan using a cord fastener inserted into an awning channel or rail. 

The awning market has seen much progress with the introduction of new materials (lightweight fabrics, composite frames), technologies (notably inflatable tubes that replace rigid poles) and design concepts that stray from the traditional square-framed, pitched roof look.

The Club participated in revising the international standard for awnings, BS EN ISO 8936 (these letters mean it’s a British, European and International Standard). This grades awnings by use, with most UK models classified as either ‘Lightweight’ (L-suited to limited use) or ‘Touring’ (T- suitable for all year use but not in snow). It ensures good standards of safe design, durability and water and fading resistance. Look out for manufacturers stating that their products comply with this standard.

What type?

Before choosing, ask yourself some questions to decide exactly what you want the awning to do:

  • Is it a sunshade/wind break for holidays abroad?
  • Is it a place to store wet clothes and wellington boots for holidays at home?
  • Will the family want to eat and/or sleep in the awning?
  • Will it be put up by one person, or will several 'hands' be available?
  • Are you restricted by the amount of weight you can carry in car or caravan?
  • Is the awning just for the caravan you have now, or might you want to keep it for another caravan?

If you want an awning that combines a sunshade with a full awning for longer stops, some products feature removable side panels.

A full-size awning, tailored to fit the whole caravan side, provides the most space, but can be very heavy. Porch awnings offer limited space, but are lighter and easier to handle.

How often will you use it?

If you plan to use your awning frequently it needs to be durable. In winter, it will need high levels of weather resistance. Occasional summer-use awnings may feature a lighter construction and be lower in price.

What size?

The key measurements you need to know before choosing are the total length of the awning rail and the height of the caravan floor above ground.

Information

To calculate the exact length of awning, make sure the caravan is level and thread some nonstretch cord up through the awning channel so that it reaches the ground on both sides and measure this.   

Information - Awning colour

Remember that light colours tend to reflect more heat than dark colours and generally give a light, airy impression. If the awning is likely to serve as an extra bedroom, a darker shade may be a wiser choice.