I built my sprinter van in the winter of 2015.
3 months later, our third child was born,
so immediately our van was too small…….
That little boy is now three;
which means more coats, more bikes, more food, more boots,
and MORE MESS!!!!
It was simple;
I needed an extra space to store that mess while we are camped and this drive-away awning for our sprinter-van from EBAY just worked a treat.
Let me show you how our awning solves our space problems,
and makes our holidays a whole lot more enjoyable!
What is a drive away awning?
A drive away awning is a tent that attaches to your campervan and covers your sliding door.
This creates a ‘porch’ to do everything from storing bikes and boot’s to drying clothes and keeping food.
The awning is erected the same way as a tent, and has a connecting panel of material to seal the connection to your van.
Why is this so great you might ask?
you can drive-away from the awning with ease, it can be zipped up and locked while your gone for the day,
and you don’t have to pack away everything before you go on a day trip.
When you come back, just re-attach the baffle and hey presto, your home!
Do I need a drive-away awning?
Here’s my short answer;
I tried going without a campervan awning for a long time,
in the end, I knew I had to get one, to make our trips more enjoyable and easy.
Before I got an awning for our van, we used to store all the essentials on the bed!
There is just no other available space for everyday items when you are on the road in your camper van.
Especially when you have kids.
Boots, jackets, containers and every other sort of item get tossed up onto the bed until ‘later’.
And at bedtime, you pull all the mess off the bed and onto the floor,
because you will clean it up in the morning! – YA RIGHT!
That clean up never happens,
because, when morning comes you are on the go, and that’s how it should be.
You need an awning to deal with the ‘over-flow’ and maintain a clear living space inside the van.
It does the trick nicely and can double as an extra bedroom if needs be!
We decided against fitting a toilet in our camper conversion for the very same space reasons, we use this portable chemical toilet and we keep it stored in our drive away awning.
That saves the kid’s from getting lost in the campsite at night while trying to find the toilet block!
How do I know if a drive away awning will fit my van ?
The main rule of thumb is to make sure the awning connecting panels will cover your van’s sliding door.
Most panels are reasonably wide, so it’s a minor issue.
My own awning fits very well to a larger sprinter van, so you can be sure it has enough coverage.
It is a good idea to measure the opening of your sliding door and then check that the awning will give you enough coverage.
it is a question of how much extra space do you need inside your awning.
There are five of us in our van………and the awning dimensions suit us fine.
Height (cm): 220cm
Length (cm): 300cm
Width (cm): 300cm
Our awning add’s an extra 9m^2 of space to our camping setup.
It has standing / sitting room for four adults easily,
and is a nice place to relax with a glass of wine in the evening when the kids in dreamland!
How does a drive-away awning work?
The awning is pitched exactly by your vans side door and acts like an entrance porch or utility room to your house.
- First you park your van in the desired location.
- Then roll out your awning outside your sliding door with the connecting panel facing the door.
- Erect the tent with the poles provided.
- Pin down the base of the awning as you would with a normal tent.
- And finally, use the guy ropes to connect the panel to the van.
How does an awning attach to my campervan?
There are a few methods to attach the awning to your van.
Awning Rail / C Rail:
The rail has a C-shaped profile and is usually fitted as standard to new caravans, but you can buy it for aftermarket fitting on ebay.
The awning comes with a bead that pulls through the c rail and attaches the fabric to the van.
A Gutter rail connection:
Some vans come with a gutter built in along the top edge of the roof.
You can connect an awning to this gutter using a figure of eight connection strip.
The connection strip slides onto the awning and then hooks to the van gutter.
Simple tie over awning:
My own awning can be connected using either of the above methods but I usually go for the simple tie over method.
I take the connection flap up and over the top of the van roof.
And the material ties over the roof with guy ropes.
It is an easy system and does not require any extra fittings.
What advantage is a Campervan Awning?
A drive-away awning will double your living and storage space in your campervan setup!
You get more storage space,
a nice sheltered area to sit out of the hot sun or on a rainy day,
And most importantly, more room for the kids to play in, especially if you have toddlers.
If you want to go off on a day trip somewhere, then you don’t have to worry about keeping you pitch in the campsite.
Just detach it from your van and off you go.
It takes about 3 minutes to re-attach the awning when you get back.
Are there any disadvantages to a Campervan Awning?
I dont find any disadvantage apart from having to pack an extra bag in the van when you go!
The awning takes about 10 minutes to setup when you arrive at a campsite,
and again about 10 minutes to put away before you leave the campsite.
The advantages far outweigh any drawback.
How long does it take to erect a campervan awning?
The awning takes about 10 minutes to setup when you arrive at a campsite, and again about 10 minutes to put away before you leave the campsite.
After a few goes, you will master erecting the awning in less that that time.
What awning do I recommend?
This one is easy!
I wanted an affordable and easy to use awning.
So I use the OLPRO Camper Van / Motorhome Awning awning – it does the trick nicely and can double as an extra bedroom if needs be!
they come in various sizes and compartment layouts so you are spoiled for choice.
So whats stopping you?
Get yourself an awning and relax!