If you’re looking for an easy way to expand your campervan living space then an Awning is a great option! But which would suit you and your campervan needs the best?
The first thing you need to think about is what you will be using the awning for, and how much your budget is.
A great starting point is a multi/combi rail, which is permanently fixed to the side of your campervan. This rail allows any industry-standard freestanding awning to be attached to your campervan.
These rails are very sleek and hardly noticeable! We fit both the Reimo Multirail and the Vamoose Combi Rail. Prices for these start from £200 fitted and take approximately an hour to fit. They can be fitted alongside pop-tops as well as roof racks.
The rail allows you to attach a drive-away tent to your campervan. This can then be attached/detached when needed and usually leaves the tent at your campsite whilst you go off exploring. The tents become freestanding tents once detached which allows for flexibility when on the campsite. The biggest benefit to this is that it allows you to have additional living and sleeping space for your campervan. You can choose between an inflatable drive-away awning tent (pitching without the poles!) or a standard drive-away awning. It’s important to think about what you’ll need this space for, and if an extra sleeping area is a necessity then it might be worth considering an awning that has a separate compartment. Personally, we found this invaluable when camping with a baby as we had the additional space to accommodate all the extra bits you need with a little one!
Another benefit is that you can leave belongings (non-valuable!) at the campsite in your drive-away awning which takes the pressure of lugging it everywhere as well as securing your pitch at the campsite.
Lastly, it gives you a space to remove dirty/muddy clothes and footwear before climbing into your campervan. This includes being able to clean off your 4 legged friends before they go bouncing around too!
An additional benefit of the rail system is that it acts as a rain gutter to divert the rainwater from the sides of the doors.
A drawback to this is the storage of the tent whilst it’s not being used, which may take up valuable room in your campervan when you initially pack up for your holiday. They can be bulky and heavy and if they are packed away when wet they need to be sorted asap once home to make sure they don’t become ruined by mould!
If you are wondering where to shop for these Drive Away Awnings we always recommend the local company Devon Outdoors based in Ashford Garden Centre near Barnstaple which stock a variety for you to choose from.
We think these are a brilliant choice for those who know they'll be utilising the tents when on campsites. The rail itself is well priced and it leaves the decision up to you as to what drive-away awning you chose for your camping trips.
Wind Out Awning
These are vehicle-mounted awnings permanently attached to the side of your campervan but are also a discreet attachment! The awning has a telescopic hand crank which you use to wind out the canopy, and then use the two legs to support the structure at the front. These legs are easily adjustable too. You can buy lots of different attachments for these awnings to make a private room, a sun shade or a rain blocker. Each manufacturer offers a different accessory so you should research each to see which option would benefit you the most. These attachments are interchangeable and you can use whatever fitment meets your needs at that time.
The benefit of these is that you don’t have to carry any additional equipment if you purely want to use it as a shelter when you park up. It’s on the side of your campervan ready to go! This is especially great when needing some shade or a little bit of shelter from the rain.
Another benefit is they’re super speedy to put up and take back down again, which means spontaneous trips are always on the cards as immediate protection against the elements is given.
The only drawback to these awnings are that they cannot withstand medium to high winds as it could cause damage to the awning itself and when you want to leave your pitch you will always have to close it back up again.
Prices for the Wind Out Awnings start from £600 fitted, and can be done within a couple of hours! Once it's on you're done and ready to use on every adventure.
We generally fit the Thule Omnistor, the Fiamma F45S and the Dometic PW1500 to our Volkswagen T6/T6.1, Ford Transit Customs, Vauxhall Vivaro's and Renault Trafic's.
We think that the Wind Out Awnings are a brilliant solution for those who want a more flexible approach to sheltering whilst out in their campervan. They are really easy and quick to use and make light work of creating a shade whilst you enjoy the great outdoors!
So there you have it! The benefits of both the Multi/Combi Rails and the Wind Out Awnings! It's completely down to what you think you'll use the most and how much you want to spend, but we think either are a key accessory to anyone who owns a Campervan to make their outdoor living experience just that bit more practical.