If you’re in need of a new or replacement awning for your Caravan, Camper or Motorhome, the first thing you’ll notice is being spoilt for choice. Even if you’re an experienced caravanner the world of awnings can be overwhelming with the types and choices available.
Here’s a quick guide outlining the most popular awnings in Australia, the pros & cons of each and what they’re best suited for.
Roll Out Awnings include a rounded barrel at the end of the awning which the fabric wraps around when retracting. These are most popular with Caravans, Pop Tops and Motorhomes but can’t be used with Camper Trailers since the framework needs to be attached vertically to the side of the van when not in use. Roll Out Awnings are robust and quick and easy to set up.
Being the most popular, there are many accessories available to use with them including anti-flap kits, curved awning rafters, de-flappers, caravan privacy screens and annexe walls. The most popular brands of roll-out awnings include the Australian-made Aussie Traveller (Sunburst) & American brands Carefree (Fiesta) and Dometic.
Pros: Quick and easy to set up, robust, many optional accessories to choose from;
Cons: Expensive, relatively heavy, framework can get in the way of windows, hatches etc.
Box Awnings (sometimes referred to as Cassette Awnings) are a more compact design with legs that fold up and back into an enclosed casing. They are commonly used with Camper Trailers, European caravans and campervans and can be used on almost any RV. They are more compact and lightweight compared to roll-out awnings but are a little more fragile and more susceptible to damage in bad weather. The most common Box Awnings are the Fiamma F45 range & Thule Omnistor although Dometic and Carefree have a few models.
Side wall mount box awnings are the most popular while there are also roof mount box awnings (where side mounting is not possible)
Pros: Quick and easy to set up, lightweight & compact, vinyl protected by casing when not in use.
Cons: Can be damaged in bad weather, limited annexe options, expensive genuine accessories
Bag awnings are manually rolled out by hand and then set up with poles (stored separately from the bag awning). When not in use bag awnings roll up into their own storage bag and are left on the van. Bag awnings are most common with Camper Trailers (including the popular range of Jayco wind-up campers). Once set up and pegged out, they are very robust. There are many brands and types of bag awnings available.
Pros: Relatively Inexpensive, robust and normally come with the option of annexe walls
Cons: Accessories and walls are not compatible with different brands, a little more set up and pack away time/effort.
New to the market in Australia, inflatable annexes offer an awning and annexe in one which can be set up extremely quickly. Mainly designed for the Jayco style wind-up campers and smaller caravans with limited sizes currently available.
Pros: Quick and Easy to set up, includes the awning and annexe in one
Cons: Expensive, Bulky storage bag
Aussie Travellers are well known for their Sunburst Eclipse Roll Out Awnings, the most popular Australian-made awning. They also make top-quality bag awnings known for their strength.
American brand Carefree of Colorado are well known for its popular roll out awning currently installed by default with many Australian-manufactured Caravans including Jayco. Carefree also has a 12v powered rollout awning new to the market.
Along with Aussie Traveller and Carefree, Dometic is well known for its roll-out awnings. They also have a few other types of awnings although with only limited popularity on the Australian market.
Fiamma have the most popular box awning in the world, the Fiamma F45S and also stocks many other popular awnings including the roof mount F65, and the F35 (a popular 4WD awning) and have a budget range of bag awnings
Thule is well known for its highly refined and light-weight box awnings.
Jayco produces Bag Awnings specifically designed to fit their popular range of Camper Trailers.
There’s also the option of great quality zip-on annexe walls to suit each size.
Purpleline has recently released the Orbit range of inflatable annexes, some designed specifically to suit the popular Jayco Camper Trailers, both on-road touring and the taller Outback range.