Awning tips from Coast

If you’re a regular caravanner or are planning an extended holiday in your tourer or motorhome, an awning is a great way to give you extra space. In addition to providing a seating and storage area, it can be used as sleeping quarters if you’re holidaying with a large group, offer shelter in bad weather conditions and give you somewhere to store muddy shoes in order to keep your leisure vehicle clean and tidy.

When purchasing an awning, there are a few things to bear in mind. Firstly the material: for those of you who are planning to use it regularly, it’s worth spending an extra bit of money to make sure your awning is made of thick, tough fabric that is water resistant and offers UV protection.

You then need to think about the size of your awning. If you’re planning to use it predominantly as a storage area, a smaller awning – known as a porch awning – should be sufficient. If it’s just for protection from rain then you might be interested in a canopy awning, which acts as an outdoor roof. However, if it is going to double up as living space than a full-size awning running the length of your caravan could be a better option.

Bear in mind that you will have to transport and put up the awning, which could affect the size and amount of fabric you purchase. In most cases you will also be able to select the type of poles accompanying the material and also whether you would like a groundsheet to accompany it.

In order to make sure your awning is the right fit you need to measure your caravan. Start at the front of the van, placing your tape measure or piece of string on the ground directly under the tip of your vehicle’s nose. Run the tape measure up to the nose, tracing the edge of the caravan along the front window, over the roof and down the back of the caravan. Drag your measuring device down to the ground, in line with the rear tip of the caravan. 

The majority of awnings will fit a standard touring caravan or motorhome, providing it is constructed to the same dimensions you measured, however unusually shaped vehicles may require a bespoke awning to be made.

When you’ve decided on and purchased your awning, it’s advisable to have a ‘dry run’ at putting it up before you set off. If the ground underneath you is wet or muddy, place the groundsheet or a piece of tarpaulin down and unfold the awning on top to avoid dirtying it.

In good weather, leave side panels zipped in place to reduce the time it takes to put up your awning. However, when conditions are windy it is advisable to remove these panels in case of rips or uncontrollable masses of fabric.

Finally, when you set off for your destination, the best place to store your awning is over the front axle – making sure it’s secured in case you change speed or direction suddenly.

An awning is a significant investment, which means you may want to make sure it’s covered within your caravan insurance or motorhome insurance policy. Our motorhome insurance covers awnings as standard, while it is available as an optional extra with our touring caravan insurance*.

For a free of charge insurance quotation from Coast, call our UK based sales team on Freephone 0800 614 849 or click here for an online quotation.

*Standard policy terms apply