If your awning has the structural integrity of a paper hat in the rain, or provides as much sun protection as a single fig leaf on a crowded nudist beach. Or perhaps all you want is your van and, by inference, your awning to have so much sex appeal that just walking into it feels like a sin, then knowing what’s what in the awning stakes is quite a trick.
When your awning has gone bung, given up the ghost or become shade for the choir invisible then hold on to your hat, you’ve got a dead awning and it’s time to navigate your way through the fascinating array of sun-busting, innovative awnings on offer nowadays.
Just in case you think that sounds a little daunting, here’s a little help finding an awning that has so much innovative charm, practical potential and swagger that it should be illegal.
DOMETIC POWER AWNING
The Dometic Power Awning features a polyester-reinforced vinyl in granite colour. Suitable for the majority of motorhomes and caravans, this 12V motorised awning easily opens and closes at the touch of a button via a wall-mounted switch.
It features heavy-duty UV-protected materials for longer life, even in harsh conditions, while a hydraulic mechanism ensures smooth movement.
Ergonomic lock knobs, positioned low for easy use provide single-person operation, while vinyl-cushioned lift handles, a patented PermaLoop pull strap and an extruded alloy one-piece heavy-duty roller tube all form key elements of the package.
Price: Power awnings range from $1680 to $2100
DOMETIC PERFECTROOF PR 2000
Dometic PerfectRoof PR 2000 is one of the most popular choices in roof-mounted awnings. It’s suited to panel vans, smaller motorhomes and caravans while leaving room for RV extras such as solar panels.
Dometic’s ‘Easy Lock Flipper’ system ensures it’ll cope whatever the weather. Dometic boast that once the “PR 2000 is up, it stays up.”
Operated by a telescopic crank, this awning features seamless, high-quality awning cloth, support legs neatly stored in the front rail that can be easily folded out by a spring lock and a wide choice of adapters that help make the awning fit on nearly all types of vehicles.
Price: PerfectRoof 2500 RRP range from $1599 to $3399
JILLAROO AUTOMATIC FOLD-OUT AWNING
This is a full cassette automatic-awning with a 12V motorised control system and a manual override if needs be.
The awning is supplied with an easy-to-fit DIY kit including an instruction booklet and instruction video link.
This high-quality PVC awning fabric incorporates heavy-duty aluminium frames that are powder coated white with adjustable height settings. Aluminium fold-down support legs provide extra stability during hostile weather conditions.
FIAMMA 3.5M F45S AWNING (ROYAL BLUE)
New to the Fiamma line, the F45S Royal Blue has a more compact design with low-profile metal end caps rather than plastic. The new design houses a revamped crank-system which Fiamma promises is both more durable and smoother to operate. The lead bar now includes two tracks which allows for multiple uses such as installing and privacy screen, LED lights or awning hangers. The design also has guides built into the arms to allow the hiding of LED lighting cabling.
The fabric is UV resistant, waterproof and washable with a modern pattern design which will match nicely with any caravan.
The awning includes reinforced arms with twin cable, dual shock absorbers and a folding crank handle. Also supplied are wall brackets for legs and hooks to secure legs to the ground with fitting brackets to suit a flat surface and full fitting instructions.
ZEMPIRE ROADIE 4 PRO
Zempire Roadie 4 Pro provides that extra room for when the grand-kids, or a couple of mates come to stay at your camp.
Constructed of durable waterproof fabric, the awning is fully seam sealed to keep you cosy and dry in the elements. The material also has an SPF 50+ rating which will provide some protection from the harsh sun.
Inflatable poles and the zip on and off attachment for your roof rack rail bar make set up and pack up easy. A double-action pump inflates the poles while an included pressure gauge makes over-inflating the poles difficult.
This awning offers full head height and has internal doors and windows for ventilation. Once set up, the awning has lantern rigging, power cord access and a heavy-duty poly-oxford floor and a sewn in groundsheet for your comfort and convenience.
The wet weather vestibule and access allow you to keep the interior dry, and the reflective guy ropes and glow-in-the-dark zip pullers make it easier to avoid tripping over them at night.
ZEMPIRE AEROBASE 3 SHELTER
Although technically not an awning as such, the Aerobase 3 is an interesting awning alternative. Rather than cumbersome poles, it inflates.
The Aerobase is a 3.5×3.5m shelter with near vertical walls that allow you to make the most of the campsite space. Each Aerobase shelter comes with one zip on wall. This wall features a large internally operated window to allow adjustment of airflow and privacy. Extra walls are optional. The shelter can be instantly dropped by opening the inflation valve.
MEET THE AUTHOR
David Gilchrist is a Brisbane based journalist, author, radio presenter/producer and documentary filmmaker. As a filmmaker, David has worked with ABC Landline, ABC Compass and ABC Open. In radio he has worked in community radio as a presenter, a 4EB producer and ABC local radio as a community correspondent. David has produced on-line video content for ABC and several magazine and content providers. Beyond video production for his business 4G Production, he has written for a variety of publications including The Independent in London, Australian Geographic, Outthere and The Australian Newspaper, The West Australian and The New Zealand Herald, Caravan World and Camper Trailer Australia. The Queensland Hotels Association published David’s first book Raising the Bar and Penguin Random House published his second book Life in the Saddle which became a best seller in its genre.