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konrose

Awning or no awning?

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 back story: I had a 2005 Bailey pageant that I bought in 2017, hadn’t a clue what I was buying, knew the guy selling it, turned out it was rotten with damp. Got badly stung with it. 
apparently the offside awning rail was not sealed properly but the roof was bad too. I was lucky to get rid of it - huge financial loss though 
 

anyhow -  Last year I  purchased a 2016 swift conqueror. 

the bailey had a pyramid pole awning with it, I got shot of everything as I was feeling pretty bad about being caught. 
 

anyway I’m now debating whether or not to buy an awning. I’ve been told that the awning puts a stress on the rails, but with the HT construction of the swift I wondered if that would still be the case. 
I am considering an air awning, ( had enough of the poles to last me a lifetime) , and being still new to caravanning I thought I’d seek a consensus of opinion? 
 

there’s really only me and Mrs K in the van, but there will be the odd time of maybe 1 extra with us. 
I was thinking of the extra space to sit out etc 

 

I know I could make a case for no awning just as much as for getting one 


Thoughts anyone? 

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I’m no expert, far from it, having just bought our first awning for our first caravan. Awaiting our first trip away.

Its an air awning which we were intent on, having read the posts and reviews.
There’s only two of us plus dog. The main reasons for getting one were extra space to sit out / dine, drying wet clothes if the weather is bad and more space for the dog and somewhere to dry him and rid him of sandy beaches.


Towing: 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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We had an awning and used it for a 2 week holiday but found it too much bother putting it up, getting it down hoping it would not be wet, the weight of it, took up a lot of room when packed. So it was never used again and eventually I gave it away. If wanting to sit outside a couple of folding chairs can be taken but we tend not to stay with the caravan during the day. Until our daughter left home there was usually 3 of us, then 2 and often I go away on my own. The caravan is a 5 berth so reasonable size inside. However, many people like awnings so you are likely to get lots of opinions. In your case, I would use the caravan quite a few times before deciding if you need one.

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We find an awning is a boon and would far rather have one than be without. All depending what size caravan one has, the awning can double the usable floor area. 

 

We can leave the lounge bed made up and eat in the awning instead of the tiresome stripping the lounge bed every morning and remaking it again at night.

 

I know what you mean about the poles but is this not part of the fun of caravanning? :D

 

A friend of mine has an air awning and he reckons they are far better and superior to a pole awning and the only thing stopping me from probably buying one is that our pole awning is in excellent condition so not worth the cost in changing it just yet.

 

Part of our enjoyment is being able to unzip the whole front and look at the view in front of us, and I don't know off hand if you can do that with an air awning.

 

However, each to his / her own and besides, Mrs BOAC likes our awning and I don't want to to have any aggro that is inevitable with any major change to the lifestyle she is accustomed to. :rolleyes:

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When we toured, we had all sorts of awnings.

The one we used the most was a fiamma pull out thing, with two side panels which we sometimes used and sometimes didn’t.

It was the easiest to put up and take down, gave us shade from the sun and kept the rain off, and was an outside space for table and chairs.

We found the proper awning too heavy and awkward to use, and a small lightweight porch awning wasn’t much use except for keeping coats and walking boots in. We bought a bigger lightweight one but it proved too flimsy. We also had a heavy sun awning which was much like a proper awning but with no front, used it a lot during long trips to France but can’t remember using it in UK.

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Posted (edited)

when we first started  we rarely used the awning  in the first 5 years, we just couldn't get on with all the poles and it was heavy. We changed to a lightweight porch  and we have kept to porch awnings ever since.  We have an air awning now, wouldn't go back to poles, however some air awnings are very heavy which we found when we bought ours. We were all ready to pay for it  when we realised I couldn't lift it , so all thoughts of paying out for a good quality one went out the window and we settled for an outdoor revolution , it's 3.5m x 2.5m and it will be our 4th year this year with it, when we get out.  Our main need for it is wiping down the dogs and  for putting wet shoes and coats and for somewhere to sit if the weather isn't  too good. 

Edited by joanie

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Always had an awning of some sort and now have three options to use depending on circumstances. The van has a permanent Omnistor wind out sun canopy which is quick and easy to erect and great in good weather to provide shade and some protection. It's not so good in bad weather and wind. We have a full size Isabella awning which is fantastic once erected but obviously takes some effort. We use this if based in one place for a considerable time i.e. nearer 2 weeks. Finally we have a smaller Kampa inflatable awning which is useful for shorter stays. Quick to erect and provides sufficient space and weather protection.

I've always found awning space to be very useful and if warm enough prefer eating and sitting in the awning to being inside the van.


Life is not a rehearsal . . .:)

Porsche Cayenne S Diesel & Knaus StarClass 695. Previously Audi S4 Avant & Elddis Super Sirocco

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Posted (edited)

For us an awning is essential and where we spend most of our time all year round.

with the construction of the Swift the rail is integral with the body rather than just screwed on the side.

We use full and porch  Isabellas  for the quality and ease of erection. We tried air awnings but didn’t get on with them, ok for hanging coats in and drying the dogs but not places we wanted to spend any time in.

Edited by Tuningdrew
Punctuation
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2020 SsangYong Musso Rebel Auto towing 2016 Swift Conqueror 645.  

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We would not be without our a lightweight air awning, its been up in all weathers and survived. For us its just that extra space, wiping down area for the dogs, hanging wet stuff, putting smelly waste bags and then of course some shade when the weathers hot.. From unhitching to all done just under an hour, quicker taking it down, mid you I do keep my eye on the weather so I can pack it away dry..

Quote

 

 

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Awnings are great for putting your coats and boots in, especially in wet weather, they help keep the caravan interior clean and clutter free. If you are away for longer trips they are just about essential.

 

We have 3 which we use depending on what sort of trip we are on.

 

1. Lightweight Suncamp porch awning. Easy and quick to erect, can be taken down wet as it is easily dried. Lightweight to carry and store, can be erected by one person. Used for short stays (long weekend etc.). Can be used as a porch awning over the door or on the offside as  storage. Cost new, about £120.00

 

2. Kampa Rally Pro 330 air awning. Simple and quick to erect, but a 2 person job, quite heavy but no heavier than the equivalent pole awning (taken as a unit awning plus poles). Bulky to store, ours travels in the back of our truck. No forgetting poles. Brilliant in really windy weather. Used for stays of 7 days +. Cost less than £500.00, secondhand in 'as new' condition. Plenty of space inside for storage and sitting/eating in. We have the electric pump (recommended). Needs to be dry when taken down.

 

3. Isabella Shadow 5m Sun Canopy. Very quick and easy to erect by one person (less than 5 minutes) and quick to get down if it gets too windy. We purchased this for our Morocco trip (photo shows our set up at Marrakesh) and it was a great success.  We use this in conjunction with the Suncamp lightweight porch awning if needed. Cost £250.00 (new)

 

So, total cost of less than £900.00 we have all bases covered.

 

BH

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Thank you all  for your replies.

A point which was mentioned was getting it packed away dry. Thats another fear! if not totally dry I could possible ruin it.

Thanks Blackhart for your photos, given me some food for thought

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7 minutes ago, konrose said:

Thank you all  for your replies.

A point which was mentioned was getting it packed away dry. Thats another fear! if not totally dry I could possible ruin it.

Thanks Blackhart for your photos, given me some food for thought

Modern synthetic awnings are nowhere near as critical as the old cotton ones, even though a few owners still cling to the old ways even with new awnings.

A modern awning will easily cope with being folded wet for a week or so until it can be dried, unlike cotton which could begin to suffer rot and mildew in only a few days!

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We tried an air awning, it leaked the first time we put it up and the repair patches were no good.  Requested a replacement and that also leaked so we had had enough by then so asked for a refund.  So gave up with air awning.  Wouldn't mind another one if there was no chance of leaking but don't want to take the risk again.  Use an Isabella mid size awning.  New, they were £1400!  Managed to get an "as new" one from eBay for £700.  Now we are retired we go away for longer periods so always use the awning.  It now takes about 3/4 hour to erect and peg out.  Very useful as we cook in there, store food box, extra fridge, table and chairs and dog equipment etc.

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11 minutes ago, Stevan said:

A modern awning will easily cope with being folded wet for a week or so until it can be dried,

 

Good point, though it must still be dried. 

 

We are awning devotees, I would never want to be without one, regardless of weather or length of stay. The opportunity to set up the dining table in the awning and leave it rather than getting it out and putting it away every meal time, having somewhere to take off and store coats and boots outside the van, especially in wet weather is a real boon. 

 

We tend to use the awning of living space, and the van to sleep and cook. 

 

 

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Awning for long stays in France and Spain, don't bother for weekends or even a week


Les

 

 

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Posted (edited)

For long stays an awning is great. You can sit in the warm sun on a windy or not to warm day. You can take it down on a dry day and if its one of the light weight ones even a wet day.

When our kids stopped coming with us we found a large porch was adequate and the best we had was the Isabella Magnum. A superb bit of equipment in my opinion.

In recent years we have been using a canopy - a Isabella Shadow as Black hart showed, and the net front for hot countries. This is ideal for touring as its up or down in minutes. Typical high quality from Isabella. These are only 2.0M wide so are a bit limited for sitting space.

We have now sold the Shadow and are just about to buy a Thule Omnistore Canopy which will be 2.5M wide and hangs on the awning rail in a bag. These can go on the rail for the whole season. The 3.0M long version weights 11.5Kg.

Its just down to what you want to use it for and personal choice.

We havent used an air awning so can't comment on them.

Your concern about putting stress on the rail is unfounded so dont worry about that.

 

Edited by Ern

Ern

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Posted (edited)

Think of an awning as being a conservatory for your caravan! 

 

They give you a LOT of additional “living” space. Think of having to spend three days inside your caravan if the weather is inclement. With an awning you wouldn’t have to you could sit=Live in the conservatory. 

 

I have had both, poled and air. For seasonal use then a poled is best. For touring it has to be an air simply for the ease of erection.

 

Canopies are an option, but if it’s windy, or raining, then they don’t offer much protection from either.

With most awnings you can unzip the front/sides to give you just a canopy if it’s hot and sunny. 

 

Personal view, others will differ (some strongly ;))

 

Andy

Edited by Mr Plodd

Experience is an awful teacher who ends up sending you simply horrifying bills

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Surely it depends on how many people will be there, how big the caravan is, how much paraphernalia you take with you  and how you use your caravan?

 

We stopped using an awning when we realised we were taking ‘stuff’ for a ride, that rarely, if ever, got used.  Always found it a bit of a faff putting it up and taking it down. It blocked air and light to the caravan interior not to mention raising the humidity and robbing us of payload. Never saw the point of sitting in a sweaty plastic tent when the complete unfetted  outdoor is there
 

We took a hard look at ‘how’ we caravanned and bought a Fiamma sun canopy. Less hassle, just roll out and back. It gives sunshade if required; it gives rain cover for chairs and table.....all we have outside the caravan. 
 

Ok there are only two of us and our caravan size/layout has adequate interior space. We don’t have bikes and don’t barbecue. If we did we might consider the extra storage space of value.   Which just goes to prove we are all different and it’s how you caravan that dictates the equipment.

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  Being on my own, when I caravan in the UK, for me, it's not worth the hassle to transport the bags, or spend time erecting an awning.     However,  when I go to Spain in the winter, it goes with me and then it's up for three to four months.     Into it goes my kitchen range, loungers and electric bike.   Most mornings are spent in there, with the front half-rolled down.


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Simple answer to the original question is to buy a cheap (or used) awning and see how you get on. If you like it buy a better/newer one, if not flog it on! 

 

 


Experience is an awful teacher who ends up sending you simply horrifying bills

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Again, thanks for the replies.

 

Trying hard to justify one when its only 2 of us in a 4 berth van.  Think I'll leave it for a bit and see how we get on.

 

I had always put up the pole awning in the Bailey, but am really enjoying the relatively less hassle of no awning. I started to re-consider when I saw a guy pitch next to me on Thursday with an air awning - so much ease!

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We have had every type of awning over the years. Currently have Dorema sun awning for France. Isabella Magnum 340 for UK stays of a few days and a very small porch awning for stays of a couple of days. Only really good for storage really. 

We have just purchased the Isabella from someone who has given up Caravanning. Superb condition and includes Eclipse sun awning which attaches to the front. All for £250.

I previously invested in an Outdoor  Revolution Esprit Air awning. Top of the range and OK when up but so heavy I could not even lift it so sold it after 18 months. Always lived with the fear of having problems with them going down especially as they get older and sun damaged. 

 

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Had a few awnings in our caravaning life, from small cheap porches to an isabella Ambassador full awning. We now have the Amassador Seed and a Westfield 240 air porch awning. With two of us plus the dog (all retired) we always book at least 7 days away. The westfield has been used once and now sits mouldering in the garage loft, every time we go away now the Ambassaror is used. It is our conservatory, the dog loves it and it's a great place for wet clothing to dry (British summers) and it doubles our useable floor space. Takes me a 78 year old about 90 minutes to put it up (pegs are a bind) and get the furniture installed.

As I'm getting on a bit I looked at full air awnings as being easy to errect, but they were that heavy I couldn't pick them up.

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Due to work, we rarely get to go away for long periods.

 

The vast majority of our trips are 1pm Friday to midday Sunday, so only one full day. I always put our Kampa Grande 390 air up, fully sealed with a draft skirt and wheel cover. Also put the carpet down every time. It takes me about an hour to get it all done, I prefer to do it alone so the wife takes the little one for a walk.

 

It's a lot of effort for less than 48 hours, but it gives us so much extra room.


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Not for us - they strike Mr. D and me as more trouble than they're worth. Faff to put up, faff to put down, more bulk to transport, getting it dry if wet etc. There are three of us using the van, we fit in well, with discipline. If it's fine weather we have a folding table and stools set up with parasol plus folding comfy chairs to relax in. If not so fine, we stay in the van, with views all round without a blimming half tent blocking them. And being lashed and buffeted as we are here in Derbyshire, I'm even more glad we don't have one to worry about. 

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