Which awning suits you best? Do you need a roof awning, a wall awning or is a light sack awning sufficient? We would like to give you some help when buying an awning and limit the huge range.
The little awning what-is-what
What is a sack awning?
The sack awning is a side wall awning that is packed in a case. Sack awnings are relatively light and you can use them on small vehicles such as mini campers, camper vans, SUVs and small caravans. You can attach the sack awning to the piping rail of your vehicle. Here you simply pull in the sack awning like an awning.
What is a cassette awning?
Here you wind up the awning neatly into a cassette. Cassette awnings are a bit heavier than bag awnings, but they are also more stable. Cassette awnings are available in many lengths and designs for your motorhome. They are the most well-known form of RV awning.
Support foot or self-supporting?
Motorhome awnings are also available self-supporting or cantilevered. This means that when you extend your awning, it is held to the vehicle wall alone. Reinforced articulated arms replace the missing support feet. The chic cantilever awnings are usually equipped with a wind sensor. To avoid damage, the awning is automatically retracted when the wind is too strong.
The awning with support leg is the traditional thing. When cranking out, you fold out the supports, which are anchored to the ground or, if that is not possible, to the outside wall of your mobile. In strong winds, you can give your awning more support and stability with a storm protection.
Awning motor or hand crank?
Depending on the awning, awning motors are installed ex works or can be retrofitted as a motor kit. Depending on the awning manufacturer and the type of awning, the motors are driven with 12 V or 230 V. Don't worry, if something should really go wrong, you can effortlessly open or close your awning with a so-called "emergency manual operation".
The traditional way: With the hand crank on the side of the housing, you can easily crank your awning up and down.
You probably also want some light under your awning. You can attach your awning lighting as a light bar or LED strip under the awning cassette directly on the vehicle wall, under the front profile and, for some brands, under the articulated arm. The LED awning lighting provides economical and pleasant light for reading, playing or relaxing.
The awning fabric is very robust and usually consists of a water-repellent PVC fabric that is printed and coated. This keeps your awning colourfast, waterproof and washable for a long time. Many manufacturers offer repair kits, if you really break your awning, you can easily patch it up again.
Awning tent, front wall, side wall, rain and sun protection
The accessories are just as versatile as the awnings. With a complete awning awning, you turn your awning into an extra room on your motorhome. Depending on the version, the front wall protects against prying eyes, rain or sun. In most cases, the side walls are intended as privacy and wind protection. As you can see, you can design your awning individually.
Which awning fits your mobile home
First you have to figure out how to attach your awning to your camper. The shape of the roof edge is crucial here. It is particularly important that the vehicle door does not get caught in the awning when opened. Standing up under your awning is also a pretty desirable aspect. It should also be the right length, after all it shouldn’t protrude at the front or back.
Do you need a roof awning?
This type of attachment was developed especially for camper vans and vans. Panel vans have the sliding door on the passenger or awning side. Since the awning cannot be attached there, it is attached to the roof. If the awning were attached to the side wall, your sliding door would get stuck in the awning if it could be moved at all.
Does a wall awning fit you?
Traditionally, you attach your awning to the side wall of a mobile home or caravan. A side awning is also often installed in camper vans and vans with a high roof. Of course, you also have to make sure that all the doors can still be opened after your awning has been set up.
Do you need an adapter?
All awnings come with an adapter for straight walls, i.e. for mounting with a straight wall or roof. However, there are many different constructions of camping vehicles, the high roof mentioned above is one of them. If you would now attach the awning with the straight adapters provided, it would open diagonally upwards into the sky. You also have to buy a suitable awning adapter for high roofs, with which you can attach the awning horizontally. You should also keep an eye on roof beads and other bends in your vehicle. Many adapters are offered specifically for common motorhome models. But there are also universal solutions that you can tinker with a bit.
How long should the awning be?
The rule of thumb is that an awning should extend from the rear garage to the body door. Then you can see how much straight area in front of and behind is still left for fastening. Simply measure this straight surface and you already have the maximum length that your awning can have. Choose measured size or smaller when purchasing, anything else will not fit. If you choose an awning awning, that means more usable living space.
Do I have to take my new awning to the MOT?
No, because an awning does not count as a vehicle part. The awning counts as a load, just like a roof rack or bicycle rack, for example. This means that you are responsible for securing and fastening your "awning load" as well as possible.
You should think about this before installation
Of course we have to tell you that when you install your cassette awning, you drill holes in the outer skin of your motorhome. There can be problems with the tightness guarantee. Depending on the manufacturer's guarantee, it may be okay if you can prove that a suitable specialist workshop has installed it.
1. Determine the attachment points for your wall awning. Make sure that your mounting height harmonises with the door.
2. When your motorhome is level, it is best to draw a horizontal line on the motorhome where you can attach your awning brackets.
3. Using the installation instructions that come with the wall awning, mark your attachment points. To be on the safe side, take a look inside and see where you are drilling before you start drilling.
4. Once the way inside is clear for drilling, you can start.
With the roof awning, you attach your adapter directly to the roof, usually in an existing bead or gutter.
The assembly of your awning
The adapter plates for wall awnings, but also for some roof awnings, are screwed to counter plates in the wall or on the roof. Check whether the hole pattern fits and you can fasten all screws without any problems. Then spread a sealing paste or something similar on the adapter plate, you should also seal or glue the screws. The neater and tighter you work, the fewer problems will arise later.
Fix the adapter from the inside with the counter plate and tighten the nut. You can then hang up your awning. The weight finally pushes the plates into the correct position. See if you need to re-tighten from the inside. The cover plates can then be mounted on the inside. If necessary, the awning is now screwed to the adapter depending on the bracket and brand. The glue should then have a chance to dry.
Caution: One of the most common mistakes is over-tightening the screws.
Here you can perhaps help yourself with a small aluminum tube, a thin piece of heating pipe or something similar. Simply putting this in the drill hole and then running the screw through it will support your wall and protect it from collapsing.
Accessories for awnings
In addition, a tension rod can be used to ensure that the awning fabric is optimally tensioned and increases wind resistance.
These clamps almost completely reduce the annoying "flapping" of the awning fabric caused by the wind. The awning clamps hold the fabric in place without damaging it.
A roof strap prevents the awning and protective tent from being blown up. As a result, the awning is perfectly secured.
Awning foot weight
Hose that can be filled with water for weighing down awnings and pavilions on pavement, concrete or asphalt.
Suction cup for attaching the awning base
With these two suction cups, you can attach the awning supports to the wall of the caravan or mobile home. Ideal when you are standing on a hard surface such as pavement, asphalt, etc.
Note: The suction cups must not be placed on stickers.
Sun and privacy protection
Mesh front panel. Provides additional shade when the sun is low in the sky and absorbs 85% of the light. For pulling into the keder rail.
The awning fabric is washable. Yes, you heard right! You should give your awning a little love and care every now and then. This includes washing with an awning cleaner and impregnating. Regular cleaning keeps the color of your cloth fresh and delays new soiling such as rain streaks and mold stains.
Please always let your awning fabric dry before you roll it up again!