Last updated: 16/10/2022

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The caravan awning is the camper’s weatherproof outdoor hotel room. In the mobile living room, utensils can be easily stored and there is enough space for guests. The independence of location is particularly appealing to families. Wherever you park your caravan, the awning is easy to put up and take down again.

With our awning caravan test 2022 you can get an overview of the jungle of offers and at the same time receive valuable tips on buying an awning. To support you in the purchase decision process, we have compared awnings with and without poles. In this article you will find the most important advantages and disadvantages. We want to help you find an awning that is perfectly adapted to your needs.




Summary

  • A caravan awning can be attached to the caravan and extends the living space when camping. The awning is rain and wind resistant and available in different sizes and price categories.
  • There are different types of awnings. A distinction is made between those with poles and those with air ducts.
  • The caravan awning is not only suitable for frequent and permanent campers, but also for larger groups and families. Because it takes only a few minutes to set up, an awning is also suitable for camping beginners.

The Best Caravan Awning: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for caravan awnings

In the following we will give you an overview of various aspects of caravan awnings. This will help you to find your way through the many different products on offer and will help you to make a decision about what to buy You can use these criteria to compare caravan awnings with each other:

In the following paragraphs we explain the criteria and what is important in the product comparison.

Size / Circumference

The size of the caravan awning determines the number of people it can accommodate and the amount of leisure items that can be stowed away. This makes it an individual parameter whose role you should be aware of before buying. The awning size is determined by the circumference of your caravan. This measurement is the length from the ground to the left outer edge of the caravan, along the upper edge and over the right outer edge back to the ground.

It depends on the caravan manufacturer, model and shape. You can usually find information about the circumferential dimension in the vehicle registration document. However, you can also find out the circumference of your caravan on your own. You can find out how to measure in the guide section.

There is no standard size table for awnings that takes the circumference into account. Most manufacturers therefore have their own sizes. They usually start with size 8 and end with 23.

To determine the optimum awning size, it is necessary to know the circumference of your caravan.

Weather resistance

The awning is exposed to the various weather conditions without protection and must withstand them. Ideally, the caravan awning creates a space in which it is safe to stay, regardless of the weather. Weather resistance is a key criterion when buying a caravan awning and includes the following sub-aspects:

  1. Rain resistance: How waterproof an awning is depends on its water column. It indicates how much water the material can withstand before it drips through. An umbrella, for example, is considered waterproof with a water column of 800 mm. Awnings are usually coated, which means that the average water column is 2,000 mm. This value is sufficient for European latitudes. If you are planning a longer holiday, look for a water column of at least 3,000 mm. Apart from the water column, (double) covered zips and taped seams are a must if you want your awning to be rainproof.
  2. Wind resistance: Most awnings offer sufficient wind resistance by tightly tensioning them with long pegs in the ground. If you have special storm straps, the awning is additionally secured. Use customer reviews as a guide and don’t be afraid to contact the manufacturer. Caution is advised in stronger winds. Very few awnings on the German market are storm- and hail-proof. Sharp-edged hailstones can damage the fabric and make it leaky. We therefore recommend a brief material check after every storm.
  3. Snow resistance: Regular awnings are not winterproof and therefore not snowproof. The cold and the weight of the snow can damage the material, cause the guy ropes to become brittle and the zips to freeze. All-season tents are available for winter and long-term campers. They have a special impregnation, steel poles, a special outer material, a thicker roof and fewer opening options to remain usable even under extreme conditions. As a guideline: From a temperature of -25 degrees Celsius, you should refrain from using an awning.

The ideal material for an awning is temperature-resistant, tear-resistant, water-repellent and elastic. Keep in mind, however, that the maximum stability of the caravan awning can only be achieved if it is properly erected and carefully maintained. If guy ropes are loose, the poles have come loose or a large amount of air has escaped, the awning is less weatherproof.

Inflatability

There are different types of awnings. Some are inflatable and get their shape and stability from air channels, others are held in place by a pole. The inflatable version does not have any poles and does not require the individual poles to be stuck together, as is the case with tents. The erection of awnings with air channels works with the help of a pump and is therefore particularly easy.

Type Special features
Awning with air channels easy to set up, small pack size, low weight
Awning with poles stability independent of fabric condition, replacement poles can be purchased at low cost

Tip: If you have chosen an inflatable awning, fill it with air before your trip and check for leaks. This way you can avoid a nasty surprise when you arrive. The type of awning you ultimately choose depends on your personal preferences. Wind and weather resistance do not depend on the inflatability of the awning.

Equipment

The equipment does not contribute to the basic functionality of the caravan awning and is therefore a soft purchase criterion. However, because customers are becoming more and more demanding in terms of comfort, some manufacturers have adapted their equipment accordingly and we would also like to give you tips on useful tools before you buy. In principle, you can equip (or have equipped) your awning as you wish. Among other things, you can adjust the following:

  • Zips: not covered at all, single or double covered
  • Number of ventilation inserts
  • Presence of fly screens
  • Roof shape
  • Roof material: firmer roofs are more snow-safe
  • Colours
  • Bay window installation

On the websites of some manufacturers you can configure your awning individually and equip it according to your wishes. The suggestions provided are particularly suitable for camping beginners. This way you won’t forget anything important and won’t be annoyed at the end that you overlooked something.

Decision: What types of caravan awnings are there and which is the right one for me?

When buying a caravan awning, there are two types of product you can choose between:

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Awning with poles high stability, low purchase cost lightweight, quick to set up
Awning with air hose tedious to set up, can damage caravan regular inspection of material for cracks or holes necessary, loses air

With a caravan awning, you have a choice between two types of frame. One gets its stability from metal poles, the other from air ducts. Both types of product have advantages and disadvantages. Which product type you prefer depends on the purpose of your trip, your desired comfort and your personal preferences. In the following section, we will give you more information about the different types and make your decision easier.

Awning with poles

Awning with poles

The basic frame of an awning with poles consists of metal poles. These poles are either made of steel, aluminium or carbon and give the awning its shape. They come in different thicknesses (25-28 mm) and are easy to put together and take apart again.

Following the instructions, the different poles are combined with each other and passed through the matching fabric loops. This is repeated until the basic shape of the awning is in place. It may be necessary to trim the surrounding fabric until it is under tension.

Advantages
  • high stability
  • inexpensive
  • spare parts available
Disadvantages
  • longer structure
  • can damage caravan in storm
  • high weight

The erection of this type of awning requires a sure instinct and can take several minutes, depending on your skill. It is therefore recommended that two people set up the awning. If poles – especially aluminium poles – become deformed due to misuse or strong gusts of wind, you can easily get replacements online. Spare parts are available in various sizes and from the most popular manufacturers at reasonable prices.

The awning with poles is initially more complex to erect, but overall it is robust and durable. The poles increase the weight of the awning by 10 to 45 kilograms, depending on the material. If you have chosen a caravan awning with poles, you will probably be able to use it for several years without hesitation.

Awning with air hose

Awning with air hose

Unlike the caravan awning with poles, the basic shape is not determined by metal poles. There are air channels and chambers on the outer edges that fill up when the awning is inflated. There are no metal or fibreglass poles in this type of product that could damage the caravan in high winds. Because there are no poles that could tip over or be run over, the risk of injury is reduced at the same time and the awning becomes more family-friendly.

Advantages
  • Lightweight
  • small pack size
  • quick to set up
  • sustainable, reduced risk of injury
Disadvantages
  • Regular check necessary
  • loses air
  • without pump, no awning

Although inflatable air bars are often housed in a double-walled and robust sleeve system, material damage cannot be ruled out. Especially after long periods of storage and continuous use, you should regularly check the awning for small holes or cracks.

If you discover larger scratches, dents or similar during your quality control, you can patch these areas as a precaution. A bicycle repair kit, for example, is suitable for this purpose

The awning with air ducts depends on the presence of a pump. If it is forgotten at home or breaks down on the way, the awning can neither be inflated nor refilled. The air awning does not need any poles at all. Due to the resources saved in manufacturing, the air awning is more sustainable. If your focus is on easy set-up, less luggage and sustainability, and you are willing to spend more time maintaining your awning, the air tube awning is the right choice for you.

Shopping Guide

If you are thinking about buying an awning for your caravan, you will certainly have some questions. In our awning guide, we answer the most important and frequently asked customer questions. The following sections should help you understand what an awning is and what you can look out for. This way you will know all the background information and find the perfect caravan awning for you.

What is a (caravan) awning?

An awning is an additional space extension to an existing vehicle that can be erected and dismantled. It can be attached to a camper, van, caravan, bus or car, or it can stand completely free. The awning is characterised by a basic structure, which is either provided by a frame or by air ducts. The roof and side walls are usually made of a synthetic material such as acrylic or PVC.

Vorzelt für den Wohnwagen-1

Awnings can be flexibly erected and dismantled. They also allow individual design and use of space. No camping trip should be without an awning.
(Image source: Chris Holder / Unsplash)

The additional space can be used according to individual preferences: Whether as a kind of winter garden, dining area, kitchen, living room, meditation room – there are no limits to your creativity.

How big should my caravan awning be?

Just like the caravan, the awning is available in different sizes. The size of the awning depends on the circumference of the caravan. You can find out how to find out and measure this below.

Accuracy pays off! If the awning is too big or too small, it cannot be fitted to the caravan and will leak.

Vorzelt für den Wohnwagen-2

In the close-up you can see two gas bottles placed under the rear window. You regain your eye for detail when camping.
(Image source: Isaac Moore / Unsplash)

A uniform size chart for awnings of any kind has been lacking up to now. Sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. If you are unsure which size is best for your awning, ask an expert in a specialist shop for advice. He or she can explain all the differences and answer your questions in detail.

What does a caravan awning cost?

The price of a caravan awning varies depending on the size, even within the models. The smallest size is usually the cheapest, the largest the most expensive. In this example, we’ve picked out prices for new. If you are looking for used awnings, the price will be adjusted downwards accordingly.

The prices are approximate and change depending on the market situation. In addition, the price ranges in this example are very large. It is best to orientate yourself on the editorial team’s favourites and find the perfect model on this basis.

The prices also vary so much because the accessories included vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Not everyone includes the same number of individual parts in the package. If an awning is particularly cheap, it is likely that you will have to buy various additional parts separately. Plan your budget accordingly.

What are the alternatives to a caravan awning?

You don’t necessarily need an awning to spend a relaxing holiday with your loved ones. If you want the feeling of openness and “sleeping under the sky” coupled with the security of not being caught in a rainstorm at half past three in the morning, you can resort to alternatives. To inform you about the wide variety of products, we give you a brief overview of possible alternatives to the caravan awning.

Tyo Description
Awning The awning is used to cover the caravan apron. Because it has no side walls besides the roof, it protects against direct sunlight, but not against wind and rain.
Pavilion The pavilion is the ideal companion for the summer. It does not need a house or caravan wall and is free-standing. It is best suited as a shelter for guests or as a conditionally weather-protected dining area in your own garden.
Tent Unlike the awning, the tent can stand alone. In most cases, it has a groundsheet and is closed all around. This makes it rain- and windproof.

The awning is mounted directly on the motorhome with a specific attachment and offers the owner a shady spot. The pavilion has the same purpose. It is often somewhat larger so that a whole group of people can find space under it. The tent was originally used for sleeping, but at the right height and with the right equipment it can be a cosy living room replacement.

As with the freestanding awning, you have the option of pitching your tent wherever you want to be. This can be very close to the caravan or a few metres away. If you have a permanent pitch for your caravan for several days, you can even travel with the tent to environments that are further away from your “base”.

Vorzelt für den Wohnwagen-3

You can see a pavilion, two tents and a car in front of a camp hall. If you want a few days of peace and quiet, it is a good idea to sleep in the tent at night and enjoy the atmosphere with your fellow holidaymakers in the pavilion during the day.
(Image source: Danielle Rice / Unsplash)

How do I find out the circumference for my caravan awning?

The circumferential dimension, also known as the unrolling length, is crucial when buying an awning. Without this size, the awning may not fit the caravan perfectly. Normally, you will find the measurement in the vehicle registration document of your caravan. However, because this is not always the case, we explain below how you can easily measure the circumferential dimension yourself.

Caution: The height of the caravan changes with the load. This must be taken into account when measuring.
  1. Preparation: To measure the circumference, you need a tape measure or a non-stretchable string with a weight at one end. If you are alone, you can use the string. If you have support, use the tape measure.
  2. Procedure: Place the cord or the circumference measurement on the floor directly under the rear edge of the caravan. Now place the measure over the caravan. Then go to the front edge at the caravan snout. Here you stretch the measure or string to the ground to read the length.
  3. Special features: Do you have an “aerodynamic” caravan with a curved front? Adjust the height and pull the measuring tape over your caravan until the distance between the ground and the measurement is only 1.85 metres. From here you go vertically towards the ground and you have your circumferential measurement.

What should I pay attention to when caring for my caravan awning?

Proper care of the awning is important and affects the longevity of the product. Therefore, you should pay sufficient attention to your awning and accessories before and after each use. In this chapter, you will find out what to look out for when caring for your awning. In most cases, the material of the awning consists of polyester fabric coated with PVC on both sides. This synthetic material is washable and rot-proof. You can wipe off various types of dirt with a damp cloth:

  • Rain strips
  • Pollen residue
  • Green cover
  • Insect residues
  • Tree resins

Allow the awning to air dry well afterwards – we want to pack a clean and dry awning. When you are not using your awning, take it down and store it in a dry and dark place.

There are special caravan and motorhome cleaners that you can also use on your awning and accessories. This works just as well as the cloth. It will not remove coarse dirt such as dried mud near the ground.

By following these care tips, you can enjoy your awning for a long time without having to worry about storage damage, porosity of the material or fading of the colour.

Photo source: welcomia/ 123rf.com

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