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Posted (edited)

Please forgive the complete ignorance of this question and the length of this post. ..

 

When we went to view our caravan, it was fitted with a porch awning. Unfortunately, the seller wanted to hang on to it for his next van (and I'm hardly complaining, it's one of the few things he didn't include!). With Katy looking at booking a weekend away for a trial by fire of caravanning, I am debating acquiring one for muddy shoes, extra space etc. However, I am struggling to get my head around a few bits.

 

1) the type. This is fairly easy, as it is pretty well documented. I'm leaning towards a porch awning for simplicity's sake, and probably one with poles for the sake of cost! What sort of size is best / appropriate for a 5 berth? Am I barking up the wrong tree wanting a porch? Is an air awning the way forwards instead of poles?

 

2) the size. This is baffling me slightly. The handbook lists the awning size as 935cm. That's for a full awning (as far as I can tell), am I correct in assuming that that's irrelevant for a porch? Will all (or most anyway) porch awnings fit our van? If not, what's the dimension I need to know on both caravan and awning, and how do I measure it?

 

3) rubbish. Or at least spotting something that is. Any tips on what to look out for? Bearing in mind that we'll probably be looking at second hand awnings - at least to start with. Anything that's a massive no go on them?

 

4) brands. Ok, this might be contentious, but any brands that are particularly good or ones to be avoided at all cost? 

 

All thoughts and advice gratefully received!

 

If you've made it this far - thanks for that if nothing else!!

Edited by PlanetHG

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There are two completely different ways of sizing awnings and neither is anything to do with the number of berths!

Full awnings are measured from ground to ground through the awning rail and your 935  cm is just such. Typically the awning maker quotes a range of track lengths for each of their sizes, so yours would need something like 925 to 940.

Porch awnings are normally sold by length and corresponds to the longest more or less straight run of awning track.

A 280  awning will fit any  normal caravan with the straight section longer than 280cm.

Poles or air? Entirely up to you, and there are fans and haters of both,

As to makes, Isabella are generally considered to be the best, and at the price they should be!  Cheap often goes with nasty but not always. Lightweight fabrics do not normally last as long as heavyweight ones and it is UV exposure that generally kills them.

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We have a porch awning, the one we use is a Kampa Air awning 4 Mt wide x 3 mt deep, its a great awning but to cheap, we also have a light weight Kampa 260 poled awning easy to put up for a quick weekend or longer.

If you measure from the gap between the front window & door the across the caravan wall past the side window, ( say its 3 mt you need one at least 3 mt wide) or longer  as long as it does not go past the straight part of the awning rail? 

the photo is of our air awning.

P1020083.JPG

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Thanks for the reply. Is the height of the awning rail irrelevant then? I don't want to get something that won't reach the ground when fitted!  

 

Is there a pros / cons summary of poles Vs air that you could possibly point me to? 

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If you really want something just for wet coats and shoes, any cheap new or used small porch will do.  From that you will work out what you really need.

 

A 935 cm is a full awning - porches start at around 200 cm and go to something like 500cm at the larger end.  Google porch awnings for a range of brands at varying widths, depths and prices - (height is generally the only non variable dimension).  

 

We currently have a 390 Kampa air which suits our needs (two adults in a 4 berth caravan) but following our most recent trip we are thinking of buying a little bendy rod type lightweight porch for just coats and boots in winter. .. quick to put up and take down and easy to dry indoors if necessary after getting home.   In the summer, the 390 Kampa is a delightfully sized summer room with table and four chairs, plenty of space for the camping freezer, drinks storage etc and it works well for us.  

 

In terms of brand, everyone has their own views and preferences but Isabella is arguably the best available (and priced accordingly) with quality and price points all the way down to the cheap and cheerful end of the market.

 

We have had Isabella (1), Dorema (2) and Kampa Air (1) with no real criticisms or complaints with any of them.  You need to get to an awning showroom or two and have a look at some different brands.

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1 minute ago, kiters61 said:

We have a porch awning, the one we use is a Kampa Air awning 4 Mt wide x 3 mt deep, its a great awning but to cheap, we also have a light weight Kampa 260 poled awning easy to put up for a quick weekend or longer.

If you measure from the gap between the front window & door the across the caravan wall past the side window, ( say its 3 mt you need one at least 3 mt wide) or longer  as long as it does not go past the straight part of the awning rail? 

the photo is of our air awning.

P1020083.JPG

 

Super, thanks for that! Looks smart, how quickly can you assemble it? Our van has two side windows, is it a problem (apart from unsightliness, I suppose) if the awning cuts across one of them? 

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Get a Isabella magnum and all your concerns will be over, expensive, yes, but this awning is real quality and will last you forever, I wish I knew when I started out over 40 years ago that an awning like this would have served out requirements for a long long time, we have spent a fortune on awnings over the years, you will not be disappointed with a Isabella Magnum, change your van and there is no need to change your awning  

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14 minutes ago, PlanetHG said:

Thanks for the reply. Is the height of the awning rail irrelevant then? I don't want to get something that won't reach the ground when fitted!  

 

Is there a pros / cons summary of poles Vs air that you could possibly point me to? 

All the current mainstream UK vans and quite a few others are near enough the same height and standard awnings fit.

The pros and cons of air v poles are covered at length in several recent threads.

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2 minutes ago, Stevan said:

The pros and cons of air v poles are covered at length in several recent threads.

 Time for me to start going through the posts then!

 

Thanks all for the replies, looks like I'm attacking the caravan with a tape measure tomorrow, and spending the evening on eBay!! :Thankyou:

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We have a porch awning for sale if you are interested, though you are certainly not close to us. Quest Elite Kensington.

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some awnings can be purchased with normal metal poles rf for a bit of extra money lighter carbon fibre poles. Isabella I think can supply both sets . we have a 4/5 berth and just use a porch awning as there is just the two of us.

 

macafee2

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45 minutes ago, PlanetHG said:

 

Super, thanks for that! Looks smart, how quickly can you assemble it? Our van has two side windows, is it a problem (apart from unsightliness, I suppose) if the awning cuts across one of them? 

We position ours just past the edge of the front side window between the door & it goes past the other side window, it take us about 15 mins to put it up + pegging down, height of my awning rail  is aprox 2. 4 mt, my other awning cuts across the the back side window but I can not use the side locker or open the window but this has never been a problem, a mate picked a 2 yr old awning up for his van (Kampa 390) on the Caravan and Motorhome Club site for £75. 00, best of luck getting one sorted.

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Posted (edited)

Planet HG,

this air awning is for sale on Caravan and Motorhome Club site for £300. 00 with pump, roof liner, rear poles etc, its a Kampa 260 air

Kampa Air 260.jpg

Edited by kiters61

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Posted (edited)

For the last 17 years we have used an Isabella Magnum an awning I would unquestioningly recommend for its practicality, durability and ease of putting up. Plus, it breaks into its separate pieces so can be used as a sun canopy with or without wind shielding sides and the separate parts ease putting up weight, packing and at home finding space to dry sections when that  inevitable "wet pack" occurs.

 

Mention has been made of options for steel or composite poles ( either carbon or glass reinforced resin ). Without doubt the steel will be very much heavier and from that in the long term become a curse, and so an ill judged cost saving. With the Magnum the extra strength the steel can offer is not needed in a touring use awning. It is an awning that can be used without the clutter of any guying at all, in all but storm conditions, it is that robust.

 

My recommendation would be to seek to buy one secondhand as this will save half the new price for even an "as new" example. Unless abused it will still be in good condition the fabric used is as ours bears witness all but immune to UV ageing, a feature some of the alternative offerings are very far from able to claim.   

 

An Isabella owned cheaper brand is Ventra and these embody much of the main brand's quality, their Marlin is the "sibling" of the Magnum with similar attributes.

 

I would definitely wait after buying a decent size porch awning a long while before even considering going for a full awning, nice as they are the "extra" bulk of canvas, particularly when wet can  kill any incentive putting it up for the weekend; great for extended holidays, but certainly in our case most trips are long weekends not four week stays.

 

 

Edited by JTQ
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10 hours ago, Les Medes said:

Get a Isabella magnum and all your concerns will be over, expensive, yes, but this awning is real quality and will last you forever, I wish I knew when I started out over 40 years ago that an awning like this would have served out requirements for a long long time, we have spent a fortune on awnings over the years, you will not be disappointed with a Isabella Magnum, change your van and there is no need to change your awning  

 

The "problem" with Isabella awnings is that the quality is so good, you'll never get your money's worth - Venture is an associated brand to Isabella using the same materials and designs.

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Hi Planethg 

 

Just for reference the awning you saw on the van was a suncamp 220 porch awning. We also have a bigger 390 air awning we use in summer.   Unless you are going for a full awning the height on any porch awning will be fine. You have the benefit on your new van of a long straight section of awning rail so should be able to fit anything up to a 420 'porch awning. Have a measure of the straight section to confirm.

The difference with awnings sold as 220 260 etc is that they only slide into the awning rail at the top of the van and are lose fit at the sides.   The awnings sold in track length slide into the entire track.  

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The Hight of a porch awning will depend on what caravan you have, the boat type roof were low height, but most caravans today will be the high ones.  With hind site I would also have bought a Isabella Magnum as it would have fitted every caravan I've had.  They're roomy and well made, a second hand one will outlast most other new ones.

 

I've had both poled and a couple of air ones, the first air wasn't brilliant and I went back to poles, this Venturer that I bought was more money but its a lot more awning, so good that I can't see me using poles again. 

There's also good and bad with poled awnings,

 

 

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I wouldn't look at an awning with metal poles, they are very heavy and the carbon poles are the better bet IMO. I have had  both types of poles but I now have an air awning. If you are going on site soon have a good look around at the awnings on site and Talk to the people there, ( we love talking about anything caravan related ) 

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11 hours ago, kiters61 said:

Planet HG,

this air awning is for sale on Caravan and Motorhome Club site for £300. 00 with pump, roof liner, rear poles etc, its a Kampa 260 air

Kampa Air 260.jpg

This is exactly the same awning we use, lightweight and is great for boots wet coats, drying the dog and generally keeping wet damp muddy stuff out of the van (well most of it!!). I was lucky and bought ours from somebody who was packing up and selling his whole kit.

We have a Vango Valkala 420 air awning for longer stays although I must admit we did not use it last year and just used this Kampa or our sun canopy.

Personally we would only have air awnings as I'm not the most patient chap and think pole types might test my limited patience!!

 

Good luck with your trial weekend, keep it close to home as your bound to forget something and need to make the home dash for it!! enjoy your new machine

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A couple of years ago we brought a secondhand Isabella Minor porch awning of gumtree, it was the older blue colour but had the carbonfibre poles and in excellent condition we paid £195. 00 and easy to put up.

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12 hours ago, PlanetHG said:

 Time for me to start going through the posts then!

 

Thanks all for the replies, looks like I'm attacking the caravan with a tape measure tomorrow, and spending the evening on eBay!! :Thankyou:

I strongly suggest you take you time and be in no rush to purchase an awning at present.   If you do go on an outing the chances of rain are very good and then you need somewhere to dry the awning.   We have bought loads of caravan stuff off Preloved.  

As has been suggested try and find an Isabella Magnum porch awning however expect to pay top dollar, but it will be worth it as the awning will last forever.   Another very good awning is the Ventura Marlin.   Ventura is a subsidiary of Isabella and also a very good awning but at a lower price.   Avoid steel poles at all costs.

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We are going to the NEC next month with the aim of buying a new full awning, just flogged a Kampa Air, absolutely  hated it.

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Tried Poled awnings and air, now firmly in the poled awning camp with a couple of Isabellas.   Air awnings have the percieved advantage that they go up in a matter of moments. They still take just as long to peg out and for us the disadvantages were that on a sloping pitch they dont 'sit' right as there's no adjustment for leg lengths. The Kampa we had used so many guy ropes to pull it into shape they were an annoying nuisance as a trip hazard. Condensation was a major problem. It collapsed in strong winds damaging stuff inside the awning and we found the curved front of the Kampa robbed us of headroom. Add to that the fact that the Kampa is made of a pretty low quality fabric which UV degrades very quickly and there is a very high risk of the bladders exploding (well documented on here).

We have a full Isabella Capri awning for anything more than a long weekend and a secondhand Magnum for overnights and weekends. With practise the Magnum is up in less than 30 minutes on grass including the curtains and furniture and packed away in half that time.  

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16 hours ago, Tuningdrew said:

Tried Poled awnings and air, now firmly in the poled awning camp with a couple of Isabellas.   Air awnings have the percieved advantage that they go up in a matter of moments. They still take just as long to peg out and for us the disadvantages were that on a sloping pitch they dont 'sit' right as there's no adjustment for leg lengths. The Kampa we had used so many guy ropes to pull it into shape they were an annoying nuisance as a trip hazard. Condensation was a major problem. It collapsed in strong winds damaging stuff inside the awning and we found the curved front of the Kampa robbed us of headroom. Add to that the fact that the Kampa is made of a pretty low quality fabric which UV degrades very quickly and there is a very high risk of the bladders exploding (well documented on here).

We have a full Isabella Capri awning for anything more than a long weekend and a secondhand Magnum for overnights and weekends. With practise the Magnum is up in less than 30 minutes on grass including the curtains and furniture and packed away in half that time.  

Agree with all of the above,plus found air awnings too heavy. We tried five different brands of air awning, have now gone back to a Isabella Ambassador full size awning.

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Agree with the  above,you won't go far wrong with an Isabella Magnum.

 

Having said that if you fancy something different,and a little cheaper,what about an Isabella Eclipse canopy.

 

We have used ours extensively since we bought it and wouldn't be without it.

 

https://www. isabella. net/uk/sun-canopies/details/eclipse

 

Easy to put up and take down and to dry if packing up wet.

 

Another good thing re: Isabella is that spare parts are readily available at most dealers.

 

Ian

 

 

 

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