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Tent Type Awnings V Traditional Awnings


klyne
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On caravan sites now you see a lot of what I call tent type awnings, flexible poles and lightweight fabric. It seems that they take as much time to put up and when I have tested the weight in caravan accessory shops I can't see there is much weight saving. Perhaps being more compact for storage is maybe one advantage. So please tell me the differences if you have had both.

 

David

David - Milton Keynes

Bailey Alliance 66-2 Motorhome for holidays and a Kia Venga for home.

 

Caravan Travels

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I'm also interested in this. At the moment we have a Fiamma CaravanStore that we use throught the summer months, and during other months will put up our very small traditional style porch awning, which could do with being a bit bigger for longer stays, so I have been considering one of the tent style ones. My concern with them is how they stand up to winter weather, wind in particular as i have seen the sides of them blowing in, although they may not have been up properly with guide ropes etc.

 

Sam

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i had a suncamp senic on my last van (gallery) & i found it very good for weekending as it was quick to throw up But longer to peg out :) & when the wind was up i pulled every thing away from the sides within the awning because of the flexability of the poles as things would to get thown about. It was very easy to dry of as well, just throw over the washing line :) . Because of the flexabilty the awning did stand upto some very high winds, One of the down falls is wearabilty mmmmmmmmm might be ripstop but zip do go, peg eyelet don't last long, i managed to get 3 seasons out of mine & i thight i was doing good :blink:

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Had a lightweight awning - but it was no good in the wind.

 

I managed to get a second hand traditional porch awning from a site warden - and have never used the other since. It's perhaps slightly more heavier, but much better at resisting the wind. Putting up is relatively quick too.

 

I would recommend getting the awning-rail stoppers for a porch awning, as these prevent the awning moving along the rail.

 

If you're on a very sheltered site the tent awning may be OK, but as you can't be sure, then I would opt for a traditional awning.

 

We cope with our porch awning all year round. Not certain we would make that much use of a full awning.

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The other posters are right the modern tent types are in my opinion

too flexible and very easily damaged.

After a real storm off the Bristol channel our proper awning (with a storm strap)

was the only one standing and many people had left, abandoning the wreckage

on their pitches. Fibreglass poles cracked and broken, fabric in tatters.

I have used the Khyam Classic Motordome and the Movlite Square in bad weather

and suffered cracked poles but I did rig the storm strap, and used and this is the

important bit proper triangular metal pegs for grass not the silly wire pegs supplied

which pull out too readily.

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Well i've had both types of awning as i'm notorious for damaging them! Currently using a "traditional" NR awning but if I was to get another it would probably be a lightweight however they both have their plus points and minus points.

 

The traditional awnings take me and OH longer to build but this isn't really an issue as we always have a seasonal pitch, however they feel alot stronger BUT they still come down in the wind and if the wind's stong enough usually tear so I don't think the'yre that much stronger personally. Here's why;

 

Last year we got our first "tent type" awning. A rivera 360 Great, easy to put up but the sides didn't attatch to the caravan. We ran it through the awning rail as normal but it was only the roof and a slight bit of the sides that tightly attatched to the caravan, the sides were open and left to flap about in the wind so when you got any wind it got right in and under the awning.

 

I put some extra eyelets and guy ropes on the sides and tied to the handles on the front of the caravan just so it was a bit more enclosed. Apart from this the awning was great rain, hail or shine. No water puddling on the top, no leaks and even stood up to the winds. I didn't get up to the site in time before the very bad snow last year at the end of season to take it down so when I eventually could get up to the site I knew it would be ruined.

 

It was ruined but to my surprise not as much as I though. There was snow coming past my knees and the awning was still arratched in the rail but the snow had dragged it down so I expected the poles to be snapped but no, seriously. After alot of digging the awning out and round about the poles sprung back up! The damage was a split in the roof and because of the thin material I didn't think it would be worth fixing or getting fixed but I couldn't believe how much stress the weather had caused it only to have a rip in the roof!

 

So this season I went back to just using my faithful old sun canopy, just roll it up when we leave as we're up most weekends. Love awnings, hate the hassle so I said that was me finished with awnings!

 

Then a couple on site got a lightweight awning like what we used to have as it's easier for her husband to pt up due to his health so they offered us their old traditional one. I said thanks but no thanks but she text me asking again if I wante it as they were just going to chuck it. By this time OH and the kids were practically on their knees so I said "right this is our final awning!!!" plus it was in far to good condition to chuck away which is what they were going to do.

 

So during the winds earlier this year the 3 of us on site who have traditional awnings were down / almost down. Thankfully mine wasn't damaged but one woan's was a bit torn and very bent poles and, not blowing my own trumpet, but it's lucky I had a bag of spares I said she could help herself to as the one pole she couldn't get anywhere I had (the middle roof one with 3 bits for poles to go into).

 

And the couple with the lightweight awning? Still standing as I type!

 

After hurricane Katia we got off lucky as everyone's awning was still standing, even the lightweight one with no damage at all so it's the lightweight awning for me - just get it down before the snow!

Compass Shadow 1988

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Snow weighs 352 lbs per cubic metre or 160 kg if you are metric.

 

As you say

 

"Just get it down before the snow! "

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Still trying to find the perfect pitch. ..110 amp Battery+ 65 watt roof mounted Solar and 25 watt Wind Turbine. LED lighting. Status Aerial 315. Loose chattels marked with UV,. Safefill Gas Fitted.

 

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I have not had both but have recent experience of both performing in really strong winds.

 

We are back from a THS in the Purbecks and endured the remnants of hurricane Katia which on the adjacent Isle of Wight had been recorded as gusting to 86 mph and averaging 60 mph. Our site was exposed and "did it blow" however our Magnum took the full force of it and whilst we could not sleep and were out checking it through the night it stood it as did a Ventura porch and Ventura full awning and another conventional porch on other vans. The Ventura porch did suffer a pair of fretting holes where unfortunately a leg pole wing-nut had been left positioned against the fabric and the wings of the nut had worn through.

 

There were three other of what you call "tent type" awnings up all three were removed by the owners sometime during the night and the steward later told me they were all damaged. The only owner I spoke to re this said his had been ripped.

 

A couple of years ago a friend had an early design with a horizontal high level hoop and he found this hoop's ends punched two sets of dents in his van's aluminium side.

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I s'pose it depends, to some extent, what you mean by 'tent-type'.

 

I've got a full Dorema with alloy poles and a Compactalite 250 porch (it's 2. 5m square).

 

The Dorema 'canvas' is heavy; the poles are light - the Compactalite poles are heavy (a mix of steel and fibre-glass) and the 'canvas' is light!

(I couldn't tell you off hand what the actual weights are, though)

 

The porch is sooooooo much easier to put up/take down (one person job if required) and I had it up at Hillhead CC earlier in the year in some very windy conditions but never started to get concerned or think about taking it down.

 

I've had some quality issues with the Dorema which will probably mean I won't get another of them when I change it and because of the Compactalite I shall certainly look at other full options from Outdoor Revolution.

 

 

t.

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Snow weighs 352 lbs per cubic metre or 160 kg if you are metric.

 

As you say

 

"Just get it down before the snow! "

 

That's right! I did often wonder if anyone used awnings in the snow but I found out the hard way clearly "no". Our site closes October 31st but there's no rush to take the awning down and the owner said if we liked we could use the van over winter although the electric would be off (which is the intention this year) But the awning will be taken down :rolleyes:

Compass Shadow 1988

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I've never had a 'proper awning' as you might say we have one of these lightweights http://www. starcamp. co. uk/magnum. php (390 model) which we find does what we need of it and it takes the two of us 20 mins to put up. If there is strong winds it doesn't go up as they simply wont stand up to extreme conditions but we like it as it is compact for travelling and no stress to put up. ..depends what you want.

Edited by sprite
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Hi David, We have one of each of the types, Our full awning is a Bradcot with easy alloy poles which I can put up on my own in about 45 minutes which we use most of the time. My lean to awning is used only on wet days away as it is easy to dry out and pack. Never had a problem with wind in either of them, It is essential that an awning has no slack whatsoever during windy times and we always leave a storm strap on no matter what the weather

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I used one similar to this Sport-Plus-green.png for 3 years, Worked out at 40p per night. Used for 8 days each of 3 Christmas periods. Withstood 4 inches of snow on the roof on two occasions. Thrown away last Christmas but served us well.

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I have two awnings, a traditional Dorema, which we tend to use for our jaunts away of a fortnight or more and a PDQ awning for shorter periods. Got to say, I LOVE the PDQ.

 

There are numerous reports about this awning, some bad, some good, but that can be said for all awnings from a couple of hundred quid to Isabellas at £1000+. I have used my PDQ for about 4 seasons now & yes, it is starting to look a bit tired but it has stood up to rain, hail, snow, (lots of it) and some bloody high winds with not a grumble.

 

Like the name of it says, its Pretty Damn Quick to put up and take down, all the poles, which are aluminium, are internal, so if its raining, you stay dry. The storm straps take 2 minutes to fit and bang into the ground and you're done. If you dont want to secure the 'skirt' around the awning base there is no need to as there are anchor points inside. It's big enough for a majority of your needs, (3m at rail X 2. 5m at the front), ample room for table, chairs, food larder, waste bin, 2 cool boxes & dog basket, (and dog)!

 

I have looked at a number of other 'tent' style awnings, but I can't see the point in 'pegging out' numerous guy ropes, (in the rain). Didn't we buy caravans because we got P'd off with doing that with tents in the first place?!!?

 

We have no 'end of season', so it will be in use throughout the winter months. ..Long live the PDQ!

Life in general can be a journey of chance with some winners and sadly some losers. Your outfit can never be left to chance. A short-while carrying out essential checks can ensure a long-time of happy & safe caravanning for all concerned.
Ignorance can often be bliss but is certainly not an excuse and when continually disregarded they can be totally disastrous for oneself and the innocent parties.

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I won't be having an end of season this year either but will have to take the awning down before the snow. Has anyone ever successfylly used an awning in the snow? Just wondering?

Compass Shadow 1988

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I used one similar to this Sport-Plus-green.png for 3 years, Worked out at 40p per night. Used for 8 days each of 3 Christmas periods. Withstood 4 inches of snow on the roof on two occasions. Thrown away last Christmas but served us well.

 

We used to have a full Ventura awning and it got left in the garage as it was too much of job to pull through the awning rail and used to do my back in every time now sold to a friend of the neighbour. The previous full awning went to the tip due to strong winds ripping the canvas and buckling the frame (not a cheap one either).

We changed to one similar to yours and have used that for about 4 years including in the snow last Christmas and it has worked well and still does. We decided to go a bit bigger and have just bought a Kampa Rally 260 It was delivered Thursday so Friday we tried it out from taking out of the bag to pegged down it took all of 12 minuets seems a bit more robust than the old porch awing but I am sure that if the wind got up too strong I would take it down.

Edited by dave11a
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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a Sunncamp vision XL - (320 x 320 so a reasonable size.)

Put up single-handed in about 10 mins - even in a a breeze.

Has with stood some proper Peak District weather.

Been used for about 16 weeks worth of camping so far and still looks new.

VERY easy to dry.

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  • 2 weeks later...

One key avantage of 'tent' type porch awnings is that you can pack away soaking wet into a big plastic bag. When home dripdry on the washing line or even hang in the garage (this I often do in winter) then hang in the stairwell in a warm house to completely dry before packing ready for next time. The roof section of traditional full awning is too big for this. We have a compactalite 250 for weekends, a Isabella Magnum for UK week trips and then a Dorema full awning for summer hols. The magnum roof section is just about manageable to dry on its own with the 3 sides zipped out. The Compactalite is our 3rd lightweight porch, previous 2 had no resistance to wind. Key difference is that most of the poles are heavy steel with only the top roof side ones being fibreglass. So this means the awning is quite light but the poles are heavy. In use it is very stable in high wind. It is possible to get a good seal to the van sides with the aditional poles similar to the Isabella method and this makes a considerable impact on wind resistance. It is very easy to put up on my own with most of the erection/dismanteling operation being inside the awning so great when its raining on arrival or departure.

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