Drive Away Awnings: The Ultimate Guide
Are you considering purchasing a drive-away awning for your camper van or motorhome? Navigating the market without the right knowledge can be a daunting task. Fear not! In this ultimate guide, we're here to equip you with all the essential information you need to make an informed decision.
A drive-away awning is more than just an accessory – it's a game-changer. While it may require a significant investment, the benefits it brings to your camping adventures are well worth it. Not only does it provide additional living space, but it also offers unmatched flexibility and storage options, all without tethering your vehicle to a specific campsite.
If you're looking to maximise the potential of your camping setup, exploring the world of WM Camping's drive-away awnings is a must. Whether you're a seasoned camper or new to the scene, this guide will steer you towards the perfect drive-away awning, ensuring an unforgettable camping experience.
What is a Drive-Away Awning?
A drive away awning refers to a self-supporting tent composed of two main components: the primary awning and the connecting panel. The connecting panel is designed to attach to the side of your motorhome or camper van. There are 3 main attachment heights, 180-210cm, Mid 210-245cm and Tall 245-295cm. We'll go into more detail on this later on.
When detached, it allows you to drive the vehicle away while leaving the freestanding awning pitched at the campsite.
Why should you consider purchasing a drive away awning?
Enhanced Flexibility - A drive away awning offers increased flexibility for both camper vans and motorhomes.
Extra Storage - By utilising the awning, you can create additional storage space inside your vehicle, freeing up room for other items.
Expanded Living Area - Awnings provide valuable supplementary living space, especially since camper vans often have limited room. They offer comfortable areas to relax, change clothes, or even cook, provided there is proper ventilation.
Additional Sleeping Accommodation - Most Drive Away Awnings can accommodate either two or four berth inners, effectively increasing the sleeping capacity of your setup. This allows you to invite friends or family to join you on your camping adventures.
What do you plan to use the awning for?
Are you looking to extend your living space, create additional storage, or provide extra sleeping quarters for guests who might join you on a camping trip?
It's important to clarify your specific needs and preferences for the awning. Many awnings offer a range of features, including the option to add sleeping compartments inside.
However, keep in mind that some awnings are primarily designed for storage purposes. Therefore, it's advisable to double-check and ensure that the awning you choose fulfills your requirements.
What are the options for connecting the awning to your van?
When it comes to connecting your van to the awning, there are four primary methods available, and we can provide all four types of attachments for our awnings.
Pre-Attached Kador Rail: All of our awnings come with a 6mm Kador strip attached to the connecting panel on the awning, allowing you to slide the kador strip into the side of your rail or C-Channel.
Alternatively, you can use a drive-away fixing kit for an even quicker setup. This is our preferred method as it allows you to attach the awning and detach it easily.
Pole & Clamp Kit: This method is ideal for older camper vans with a gutter. Simply thread the steel pole through the sleeve and use clamps to secure the awning to the gutter.
Storm Straps: Use the 8-metre storm straps that buckle into the awning. Secure the other end of the straps by pegging them down on the opposite side of your van or motorhome.
Velcro Tabs: If your vehicle has roof bars, the awning can be secured using Velcro tabs that attach to the roof bars.
How to Determine the Ideal Height for Your Awning?
When selecting the right awning, it's crucial to consider the height of the connection panel. We offer three distinct sizes of awnings, each designed to fit different heights of camper vans or motorhomes. While the overall size and shape of the awning remain the same, the connecting panel accommodates varying vehicle heights.
As a general guideline, camper vans typically require a Low awning, while motorhomes usually require a Tall or Highline awning. For those vans that fall between the standard camper van and motorhome heights, the Mid or Standard height awnings are the perfect choice. These awnings cater to the unique dimensions of such vehicles, providing a seamless fit.
By considering the height specifications and selecting the appropriate awning size, you can ensure a secure and properly fitted connection to your camper van or motorhome.
Low or Lowline (180 - 210cm)
The Low size is the most popular because it designed to fit Volkswagen T4, T5, Transporters and California vans.
Designed to fit a wide range of camper vans, this size is suitable for attachment heights ranging from 180cm to 210cm.
Standard or Midline (205-245cm)
Often overlooked, Mid or Standard Awnings are not as widely favored due to their limited compatibility with various vehicle styles. Specifically designed for vans with heights ranging from 205cm to 245cm, a Mid Awning provides a versatile option. To ensure a proper fit, it is advisable to consult the product listing and check the height recommendation before making a purchase.
Tall or Highline (245 - 295cm)
Perfect for motorhomes, Tall or Highline awnings are specifically designed to accommodate vehicles with attachment points typically reaching a height of 295cm.
For convenient installation, it is advisable to have a wind-out rail on the side of the motorhome. This allows you to lower the rail to a comfortable standing height, securely attach the awning into the channel, and then wind it back in for a hassle-free setup.
Styles of Awnings
Front Facing Awnings
A front-facing awning is designed to extend outward from the side of your van, as shown in the photo. This style of awning is favoured by those seeking a smaller, more compact option.
However, it's worth considering that in certain campsite setups where you are required to position the rear of your van towards the pitch, a front-facing awning may face directly towards the neighbouring pitch instead of offering a scenic view. While this arrangement can be a drawback in such cases, it is important to keep in mind the specific campsite layout and neighbours proximity when deciding on the orientation of your awning.
Side-ways Facing Awnings
A side ways facing awning is positioned alongside the van, providing a connection panel to its side. Sideways awnings offer ample space and are highly adaptable for attaching sleeping pods.
When opting for a sideways facing awning, it's crucial to choose the appropriate type that aligns the connecting panel with the correct side of the vehicle.
For instance, the Cove Low Poled model is suitable for most UK camper vans with a passenger-side doorway. It is installed parallel to the van, facing the same direction as the front of the vehicle.
Annex or Tail Awnings
The tail annex awning is designed to be attached to the rear of the van, providing coverage for the camper van's back doors. It is particularly suitable for VW or Fiat Ducato style vans.
Type of Fabric
Polyester fabric is commonly used in the production of drive-away awnings due to its lightweight and compact nature, making it ideal for touring campers. It offers convenience and portability.
This entry-level fabric is suitable for shorter camping trips during the summer season.
Vango Faros II Poled Low
150 Denier - 150 Denier: A balance between quality and weight, the 150 denier polyester fabric is thicker and stronger. It is perfect for those seeking an easily pitched awning with durable fabric.
These awnings are known for their strength and are particularly suitable for campers venturing out during early or late camping seasons. The fabric's durability is significantly higher, ranging from 420 Denier to 600 Denier, making it 245% stronger than 70 Denier polyester fabric.
Polycotton fabric is better suited for campers in colder or hotter climates as it adapts to the weather conditions. It offers enhanced durability, making it an excellent choice for long-term camping.
Ideal for Hotter Climates: Polycotton fabric breathes, making it perfect for use in hotter climates.
Naturally Waterproof: The fabric is inherently waterproof and adjusts to varying weather conditions.
A drive away awning is a great way to increase the living space, storage space, and flexibility of your camper van or motorhome. With so many different options available, you can find the perfect awning to fit your needs and budget.
Buy your drive away awning from WM Camping today!
We offer a wide selection of drive away awnings from top brands like Vango, Outdoor Revolution, and Kampa. We also have a team of experts who can help you choose the perfect awning for your needs.
Visit our website or call us today to learn more about our drive away awnings. We're sure we have the perfect awning for you!