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Best Awnings?


cracar
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We've just returned from a lovely week in Marton Mere, Blackpool and it was fantastic. The only problem is our awning has seen it's last trip! It is starting to rip when going round the rail and is not as waterproof as it should be so we've decided to get a new one as the kids will be goin out into it to sleep next year so I'd love to hear what everyone else uses and what is not recommended. We'd prefer one with a zip on sleeping compartment and I love the ones with the opening windows but any advice welcome.

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We've just returned from a lovely week in Marton Mere, Blackpool and it was fantastic. The only problem is our awning has seen it's last trip! It is starting to rip when going round the rail and is not as waterproof as it should be so we've decided to get a new one as the kids will be goin out into it to sleep next year so I'd love to hear what everyone else uses and what is not recommended. We'd prefer one with a zip on sleeping compartment and I love the ones with the opening windows but any advice welcome.

 

As with most things, you get what you pay for. Of the popular 2. 5m awnings, I think Isabella are the best, they are the also the most expensive but little things like how the curtains attach are much better and the window foil is reinforced, followed by Trio then the rest: Inaca, Dorema, Bradcot, Harrison are all much the same.

 

If you can afford it go for a fibre frame though.

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Don't bother with an aluminium frame - they bend in the wind and can't be straightened - choose from steel or fibre, depending on your budget.

 

Isabella are universally regarded as the best - but you'll need to do a lot of caravanning to get your money's worth - even at 17 years old the Isabella for our previous caravan was still in excellent condition despite being used for 500+ nights with a considerable number in high winds.

 

Venture are made by Isabella, to the same designs, but with fewer features, sometimes lighter fabrics and considerably lower prices.

 

NR are excellent value - we now have their Coniston Luxe porch.

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Guest Surfer

Can't recommend Dorema at all however the Ventura is part of the Isabella stable and makes a very good buy plus it is easier to clean. Personally I would not recommend fibre glass poles as there are problems with the them and cold. Also I have read many tales on thsi forum and others of them breaking under strong winds. We have always used steel poles and will keep on using them.

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We've just returned from a lovely week in Marton Mere, Blackpool and it was fantastic. The only problem is our awning has seen it's last trip! It is starting to rip when going round the rail and is not as waterproof as it should be so we've decided to get a new one as the kids will be goin out into it to sleep next year so I'd love to hear what everyone else uses and what is not recommended. We'd prefer one with a zip on sleeping compartment and I love the ones with the opening windows but any advice welcome.

 

If you want the best then buy Isabella with the fibreglass poles. In second place look around for a secondhand Isabella with Fibreglass poles. Ventura awnings are made by a subsidiary of Isabella using the same materials as Isabella use but manufactured in a different country with some of the little detailing ( which generally make it stronger ) missing.

 

I have tried all sorts of poles steel ( strong heavy but rust if they get damp ), Alloy ( lighter than steel but not strong enough to stand up to extremes of weather ) and fibre glass ( lighter than steel, do not rust, strong enough to stand up to the most extreme weather and much easier to handle than all the others ).

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as someone who refuses to struggle with anything unnecessarily, we have an Isabella. Yes its expensive but its idiot proof to put up and thats just how I like it. Never had a prob with the fibre poles but have noticed a couple of the plastic fixing collars have broken - just a niggle not a major issue.

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Thanks for all the replies! It's really helpful when you have tried and tested and are willing to share your opinions. I think awnings are really expensive but we are going to wait till winter and see if we can get a bargain and we really make use of out awning space what with having 5 people in the caravan and we have the table in the awning too as the kids are not allowed food in the caravan as where you eat is also where you sleep so I don't fancy laying my head where the kids have spilt juice! And as baby number 4 is on the way the older kids will be going into the tent insert you can add to the awning next summer so if you see us remember and park a bit away!!!

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I've used Bradcot and Harrison and had two Dorema awnings. I'm on my second now and I have a tall annexe which is super. All are pretty much the same in terms of quality and 'does the job'. From what I've heard, Isabella are probably the best . . . and most expensive.

 

Neil

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We've had all sorts, but I reckon the Ventura has been the best. I would love an Isabella but they are expensive (though probably worth it). The Ventura is made by an Isabella company in Poland and it's very good quality.

 

If you've got a long awning (ours was 975, extended to 1000) then I'd recommend buying a couple of extra rafter poles . .. not cheap but they enable the awning to retain a better shape for dumping water off in our wonderful summers.

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Hi All,

 

I'm now onto my second awning, after the first went with the first caravan. My wife and I have gone with the Isabella Capri Lux 2. 5m awnings both times. For us it is an expensive awning, but as other have said you get what you pay for, we have had the Carbon X pole system on both of ours and have never had any problems with them. They are very strong and very light. Also the blue colour scheme is very popular and sells quick.

 

If you can wait until the 2009 models are released then there are some really good discounts around, about £300 off a £1000 awning. We couldn't wait, and all the 2007 models in our 975 size had all gone !!!!!

 

What I like about Isabella is that the awning is of a much better quality, fittings like the curtain 'hooks' are first class, with plenty of spares in case of breakages, the zippers worked easily, and the main thing for us was that either of us could drag the awning around the rail on the van, so putting up the awning became a simple pleasurable experience rather than one that caused some 'raised' voices.

 

It's also very easy to just open up your space as well, and it looks OK with one or two of the panels taken out.

 

I would definitely get another if I had to. But it's your own decision. ....

 

CAD

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used a Bradcot with easy alloy poles for five years without any problem in all conditions, takes about 20 mins to put it up on your own after a few go's.

 

 

I'm not very good at it obviously. Please share how you put up and peg out an awning in 20 mins on your own. :ph34r:

Edited by SuperMike
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I'm not really bothered about time scales of erecting the awning as me and hubby seem to be a good team with this as it normally takes about 30 mins with our old, stiff, ripped one. I have been looking on ebay and their seems to be a lot of second hand awnings for sale. What do you guys think of second hand awnings? I could get a better quality awning for my budget as oposed to a lesser quality brand new. What are you guys thoughts?

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Guest rob_jax
I'm not really bothered about time scales of erecting the awning as me and hubby seem to be a good team with this as it normally takes about 30 mins with our old, stiff, ripped one. I have been looking on ebay and their seems to be a lot of second hand awnings for sale. What do you guys think of second hand awnings? I could get a better quality awning for my budget as oposed to a lesser quality brand new. What are you guys thoughts?

That's a difficult question to answer and invites the question "Why would anyone sell an awning?"

 

It could be because it's worn out or tired and needs replacement - and that awning is probably best avoided.

 

It could be because the owner has changed caravan and the old awning won't fit - and most people would think that's OK, but unless you ask you have no idea what life the awning was exposed too - was it permanently erected on a seasonal pitch or was it only used for a few weeks each year? Those two situations should affect the sale price. ..

 

But in general terms, you're right - a pre-owned top quality awning (Isabella) should work better and last longer than a lower quality awning - providing it hasn't been abused.

 

Robert.

 

And the best awning?

 

I'm afraid Isabella isn't even close - that honour probably should go to Karsten in Holland (who don't sell awnings to the UK) who make just beautiful quality caravan awnings that don't use conventional poles - rather a compressor inflates "air-poles" integrated into the awning. And each Karsten awning is test fitted at the factory on your caravan to get that perfect "bespoke" fit. Price? Starting at around 2000 Euro (cough)

 

Then manufacturers like Fortex - that use oversize aluminium poles (no problems with poles bending in severe weather), really top quality fabric, and allow the user the choice of 50 different fabrics and 6 different roof materials. Certainly cheaper than Karsten, but since each awning is unique, these are not a volume manufacturer.

 

But of the volume manufacturers - then yes - Isabella is a great choice. ..

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Isabella is the best ! Imagine having a Karsten and say a screw or collar broke, at least with Isabella, all dealers have a stand with packs of small spares which you may need in the many years of owning one. That cannot be said about any other make.

 

Isabellas always look a good tight fit, again, that can't be said for other awnings. Dont take my word for it though, just look around at any site and you'll see instantly what I mean !

 

If you can't afford new, secondhand via the likes of ebay, has some cracking bargains. But like everything, do your homework first.

 

Finally, if it's new you want, then Ventura, made under licence in Poland to an Isablla pattern is next best !

 

Just my own personal view which has been formed through experience. ;)

Edited by Bigdrinks
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obviously not, there's no secret, just common sense, don't know what awning you have but the easy alloy poles do make a difference ;)

 

We have an Isabella Commador Alpha 1048 x 3 Metres. Sorry don't get the common sense bit. No matter how hard I try, on my own, it takes me around 2 hours to put up properly, including a least 20 Min's just to peg it out. Which means that either I'm getting old, or am doing something wrong in the erection department ( :ph34r: ). In which case helpful tips are welcome, clean comments only please, after all I'm very delicate. :unsure:

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Gee Mike if it took me 2 hours to put an awning up I think I'd lose the will to live, 3m projection is a big awning though, haven't used the Bradcot since I got a new van but the easy alloy poles are really easy, just pull them out and let go. ...the only way Ive ever put it up is, thread through rail, attach poles, zip on sides and front, peg corners next to van, peg outer corners, fill in pegging the rest, retention poles, hardly ever bother with curtains, think they look 'twee' just my opinion.

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Thanks.

 

Big awning as you say. It has seven roof poles, but is a super bit of kit. We are off next Tuesday on our Scout Summer Camp, so it becomes the main storage area. That is the only time the awning goes up in double quick time, because the Sccouts do it and I sit there with Leaders Apple Juice and intruct. Anybody else with tips to help this "Old Man."

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  • 2 weeks later...

I assume Leaders apple Juice is still the same thing as when I was in the scouts, I think its other name was Cider!!

 

 

***** 2 hours to put an awning up, in two hours I could have picked the van up from storage, driven to a site, pitched levelled, filled the water, set up the waste, put up the awning, finished a pint of "leaders apple juice" and made a start on tea!

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