How to choose an awning

Motorhomes can offer great mobility when holidaying but the limited living space can sometimes be an issue, even for very large units. The simplest way to increase your living space is to use an awning, which brings part of the pitch next to your unit under cover.

Currently when browsing the market there are three main styles. The canopy awning the porch awning and the full awning. These three types also come in many variations.

Just like choosing a tent, choosing an awning is quite similar. To start you’ll need to decide on fabrics, types of poles you’ll need and whether you’ll need a groundsheet or not.

The canopy awning

canopy awning

A canopy awning can be permanently or temporarily fixed to the side of your caravan. Permanent ones extend like a blind and usually have a couple of integral poles that fold down to provide more stability.

At the top end of the range, you can fit fabric walls to a canopy awning to enclose the space underneath.

Fitting a permanent canopy awning is generally a specialist job, so it’s worth discussing this with your local caravan dealer.

The porch awning

porch awning

A Porch gives you a place to leave your wet wellies and coats in comfort before getting into your caravan. This in turn helps to keep your motorhome mud free.

They also protect your door from heavy winds and rain and grants you a dry place to store your bikes.

When the sun is out most porch awnings are large enough to allow a couple to sit at a table and enjoy the view.

And they’re also great for leaving buckets, spades and body boards after a beach day.


There two main things to take into account when you go to buy a porch awning are:

Your caravan’s height – measured from the top of the awning rail to the ground.

Next it is important to check if your caravan has a window close to the entrance door? If so, you may discover the edge of many porch awnings come down over this window. Its down to you if this is a serious problem or not. Would it be awkward to have that window closed at all times? For example, is it above the hob? If so, you may need to open it for safe ventilation when cooking.

The Full Awning

awning 1

A full awning will normally double the living area of your caravan, giving you space to relax comfortably under cover – whatever the weather.

They come in a variety of sizes, qualities and fabrics. Some even have extra sleeping cabins and others have removable panels to let in extra sunlight. Others even come with show room style curtains.


When you look for a full awning you’ll need to consider two measurements, the awning’s depth and your caravan’s ‘A’ measurement.

The depth of an awning is the distance from your caravan to the awning outer wall. Most measure between 2.1m and 3.5m deep. Clearly, the greater the depth the more floorspace inside – but also the larger the amount of fabric you’ll need to transport and erect on site.

Your caravan’s ‘A’ measurement is usually noted in the owner’s manuel but, if not, you can measure it yourself. First make sure your caravan is level. Then take a length of non-stretch string and run it through the awning track of your motorhome – the rail that runs around the caravan on the door side and through which you will eventually thread your awning.

The string should project from each end of the rail – maintaining the exit angle of the rail – to meet the ground. If you have an older motorhome, note that modern awnings are not designed to follow the underside contours of the rail.

Fasten one end of the string to the ground, then tension it to find out how much string is needed to reach the ground at the other end. Measure this length in centimeters to give your caravan’s ‘A’ measurement.

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