Camper awnings have three basic functions. They protect you from the sun, the rain and the leaves falling in your morning cup of coffee. Well, don't forget the early morning dew, just in case you want your camping chairs nice and dry in the morning.
There are roughly three different types of awnings available on the market, each one tailored out for various needs and camper van types.
They all serve to their purposes, but let's take a
closer look at them, just to see what each camper van
awning has to offer.
A simple sun shade or sun sail camper van awning is a large piece of processed rip-stop polyester or similar material which slides into an appropriate profile rail attached to the roof edge of your camper van. Sun shades require at least a couple of poles, and few strings and pegs to stand erect. They come in various shapes and sizes and will fit almost any kind of vehicle. An optional awning part, such as the side-wall is available depending on the model.
From my personal experience I can say that it offers protection from the sun, light rain and the morning dew. The sun shade is a fairly cheap camper accessory, so don't expect anything more than stated above. And when really harsh weather comes in, you'll be better off packing everything in the sack.
The whole sack is about the size of a small
camping tent, so when all is packed up, it does use a
fair amount of space.
The "all in one case" camper awning is one of the most practical camper awnings currently available on the market.
Permanently mounted on your camper van and available
at all times. They come with integrated and durable
hinged supporting arms and adjustable legs, which can be
alternatively fitted to the vehicles wall if you wish so.
The fabrics used are high quality color resistant polyester. They are waterproof, washable and will not rot.
The awning slides out using a special lever and can slide out as much as you want, which is very handy in tight spaces.
Optional side and front walls are also available and suitable for a longer or permanent stay. This way you get more privacy and a lot of spare room, but it does require some time to set everything up.
Different sizes and mounting brackets are available
allowing the use of this particular camper awning on a
large variety of different vehicles. The prices are
slightly higher, but the practical simplicity pays it
The drive away camper awnings are very similar to an ordinary camping tent. They come in many shapes and sizes and can be used as an ordinary awning, storage space or additional sleeping room.
They're all self supporting and come fixed to the camper van either with the roof railing or vacuum cups. The smaller camper van awnings can be placed either by the side door or the rear door of your camper van.
When the kids came around we needed some more storage room. So I bought this awning from Reimo, which is quite easy to handle with. It takes about 20 minutes of my time to assemble the whole tent. I needed some time to get it all in my head though.
I stretched the whole tent on the ground and got both of the fiber poles in position. It takes a bit of work, but there are only two poles holding the tent together. The whole thing looks like getting up a regular camping tent, it's just a bit larger (280x300cm).
Being the size of a camping tent it includes poles, strings and pegs so there is some work to be done. If I stay just for a few days and expect good weather conditions...well then it's just the main strings and pegs. If required, the connection can be dismantled and I can use my camper van to wonder around and keep my camping gear in the awning.
The camper awning/tent is attached to the van with the panel to the roof railing and a couple of strings or ropes on the bottom attached to the front and rear bumper.
A very handy piece of equipment if you have a couple of kids and a lot of camping gear. Ooohh, the kids sleep in the van of course, and so do their parents!
Khyam tents has a large selection of quality camper van awnings that come in different shapes and sizes and are a great addition for most camper van conversions.
The sun shade is a relatively priceless camper accessory. If you don't mind searching for an appropriate ground to hammer your pegs down and spending a little bit of extra time getting the poles together, you'll find it more then appropriate.
On the other side the slide-out awning is much more
practical and durable camper accessory. No poles, no
strings and no pegs kind of thing. Just use the lever and
slide it out whenever you want in a matter of
minutes. Companies like Fiamma have it all.
And just a reminder for those more wild specimens among us (including myself). The case of the this camper van awning sticks out just a little bit on your camper van, so be careful when discovering those off the beaten track roads, with low hanging tree branches and bushes, because you might just loose it on the way...
As for the drive away camper van awnings, just as I mentioned before. They are made for a permanent stay in one place and are great if you have kids. They offer a lot more spare room to play with. But If you plan to be constantly on the move, you'll have a lot more daily work to do...