Campervan and caravan awning types explained

Author: Your RV Good Guide   Date Posted: 12 January 2023


Campervan and caravan awnings are often one of the first motorhome accessories new RV owners will buy. RV shade awnings not only provide protection from the weather but help create a comfortable, relaxing outdoor living area. In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the benefits of having an awning. We’ll also talk through some of the most common types of campervan and caravan awnings. Here’s what we’ll cover:


                Types of campervan and caravan awnings


What is an awning

A campervan or caravan awning is similar to the porch awnings many people have at home. It extends from the side of your campervan to provide shade and create an outdoor living area. A campervan awning is usually made from vinyl or acrylic fabric and can be either permanently fixed or temporarily attached to your RV.

RV Super Centre has a wide range of campervan awnings from brands like Fiamma, Thule, Vango, Dometic, Coast RV and Camec. An awning offers vital shade and shelter from the elements. There’s an RV shade awning to suit every caravan, campervan, and motorhome.


What are the benefits of a campervan awning or a caravan awning?

A campervan or caravan awning is one of those ‘must have’ motorhome accessories that can transform your holiday experience. Some of the great benefits include:


Weather protection 

When the sun is out and the weather is warm, you naturally want to enjoy sitting outside. But as we all know, summers in New Zealand can be very hot. So, it’s important to be sun smart. An awning provides the ideal summer holiday solution, providing cool shade and shelter. For extra protection, a sun/privacy screen can help you make the most of your awning. Conversely, when it’s drizzly or wet outside, it’s nice to have some cover. A protective awning allows you to still enjoy a meal outdoors, read a book in the fresh air, or have extra space for the kids to play. For extra protection from rain and wind, the Thule Rain Blocker helps keep your outdoor space extra dry and warm.


Extra room 

A campervan awning does a great job of providing a defined outdoor space. If you choose an awning with sides, this can provide an extra ‘room’. This area can be used as a play space for the kids, dining area, or somewhere handy for storing extra gear, etc.


Water harvesting 

A great solution for harvesting water is to choose a campervan or caravan awning that is designed with in-built guttering. Many motorhomers who spend a lot of time on the road find these very useful!


What is the difference between a campervan awning and a caravan awning?

Campervan awnings and caravan awnings are very similar. Many caravan owners tend to opt for an ‘attached’ awning, while campervanners may choose a free-standing awning. This means it’s possible to leave the awning set up at your campsite while you drive your campervan for a day trip somewhere. You’ll also have to take sizing into account when considering an awning, as sizing will differ.

An awning is a big investment, so it’s a good idea to check in with the experts at your local RV Super Centre. Our professionals can help you choose the best one for your RV.


Types of campervan and caravan awnings

As you’ll discover once you start looking for a caravan awning or campervan awning, there is a lot of choice! That’s good news because you can find the perfect awning for your travel style. But it can also be a bit confusing to know which one is best! To help you narrow down your choices, we’ll take a closer look at the main types of awnings:


Inflatable awnings 

If your main priority is to extend your living space, an inflatable campervan awning is a great choice. They’re compact, light, and portable which makes them easy to transport.

One of the great advantages of an inflatable awning is that they’re easy to put up and take down. There are no poles to fiddle around with. You simply need to use an inflatable pump and then attach it to the camper and the ground using pegs. Inflatable awnings are ideal for campers who:

  • need extra living or storage space
  • want full privacy
  • are travelling with others who can help with set-up
  • use their campervan to leave the campsite on day trips.


Cassette awnings 

A cassette awning is where the awning fabric retracts into an aluminium casing unit. Cassette awnings come in variable lengths, so there’s one to suit every size of caravan or campervan. This type of awning is fixed permanently to your RV. They’re sturdy and can be easily operated by inexperienced travellers.There are two types of cassette awnings: wall-mounted or roof-mounted. If you have a caravan with minimal wall space, you may need to opt for a roof-mounted cassette awning.

Cassette awnings are usually operated with a wind-out winch. Some cassette awnings include drop-down legs, which can be strengthened with built-in locks and tie-down ropes or cables. For the ultimate in ease-of-use, electric awnings can be deployed and retracted at the push of a button. Cassette awnings also have the benefit of not taking up any interior space. However, they are often quite heavy, weighing up to 50 kg. Cassette awnings are ideal for campers who:

  • want a quick and easy awning set-up
  • travel frequently from place to place
  • mainly want good sun protection and shade.


Wall-mounted bag awnings 

As the name suggests, bag awnings come in a bag rather than a protective case like other permanent wall-mounted awnings. This type of awning is temporarily attached to your caravan or campervan in a similar way to an inflatable awning. Bag awnings are ideal for campers who:

  • are looking for a lightweight, budget-friendly option
  • have a small campervan
  • travel frequently from place to place
  • mainly want good sun protection and shade.


How to erect a mounted campervan or caravan awning

Mounted cassette awnings are extremely easy to erect. As a general rule, the awning winds out from the cassette (either manually or electrically) and is held in place with fold out arms. Depending on its size and type, the awning may or may not include stabilising legs and tie down ropes. Here’s a helpful video on how to erect a typical mounted awning:


How to erect an inflatable campervan or caravan awning

There are many different types and brands of inflatable awnings available. However, this is a basic explanation of how to set one up:

  1. Start by putting the rope through the rope rail and pegging down the back pegs, (the ones closest to your camper van).
  2. Use a pump to inflate.
  3. Attach pegs and ties firmly.

Here is a helpful video on setting up a Dometic inflatable awning.


How to install campervan and caravan awnings

The process for this will depend largely on the type of campervan or caravan awning you choose, and the type of vehicle you have.

Inflatable awnings are easy enough to set up on your own. However, a wall-mounted awning may require assistance, especially if it requires you to drill and attach new brackets.

Wall awnings require a flat section across the side of your vehicle. Roof awnings are popular where you don’t have that flat section. However special mounting brackets may be required to fix the awning to the roof. To get the job done professionally, the friendly and expert service team at your local RV Super Centre is happy to help.


The range of campervan awnings and caravan awnings available at RV Super Centre

At RV Super Centre, we have a wide range of caravan and campervan awnings available. We also stock a range of RV awning parts. Our quality, trusted brands include Thule, Aussie Traveller, Carefree, Coast RV and more. You’ll also find a wide range of different-sized awnings to suit your particular model of caravan or campervan. Our helpful team can help you find the perfect size for you that suits your intended purpose. You can even narrow it down to the case colour and gazebo colour you are after.

awning in scenery family


Keen to make modifications to your motorhome? 

Installing a new motorhome or caravan awning is a great way to enhance your RV travel experience. Now that you know what some of the options are for doing this, the next step is to check out the range at your local RV Super Centre.

Have a chat with our friendly team to find the one that best suits your needs. And if you need the installation done professionally, book the job in with our service team. You’ll be enjoying all the benefits of your new awning in no time!

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