Motorhome Awnings Guide

Everything You Need To Know To Help You Choose The Right Motorhome Awning For You

Motorhome awnings can be a maze of choices, but fret not! Our comprehensive guide is here to help you navigate through the options and choose the perfect awning for your motorhome adventures.

From sizes to types, and everything in between, we’ve got you covered!

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Maybe you find yourself craving just a smidgen more space or perhaps a cosy nook to kick back in while on the road? A motorhome awning can turn your humble abode on wheels into a sprawling palace (okay, maybe not a palace, but you get the drift). From drive-away awnings to fixed porch sunshades, we’ve got the lowdown on how to pick ’em, pitch ’em, and make the most of ’em. So, buckle up, and let’s get awning-savvy!

How to choose an awning for a motorhome?

Typically, you’ll find two popular types of awnings out there: the wind out canopy and drive-away motorhome awnings. But let’s not forget about the underdogs— we have safari rooms, the wind out awning in a bag, fixed porch motorhome awnings, and fixed sun canopy awnings all contending in the motorhome awnings space. With so many options this article aims to inform you of what’s out there, how to measure and get the best fit, and making the most of your motorhome adventures come rain or shine!

Motorhome Awnings Explained

Drive away motorhome awnings

Driveaway motorhome awnings are the go-to choice for doubling up your space, offering free-standing structures that you can leave behind while you explore for the day.

If you’re familiar with tent camping, you’ll find these awnings similar to family tents in design.

Driveaway awnings are incredibly versatile. Use them as a dining area, storage for camping gear, a kids’ play zone, or even extra sleeping space. They’re designed for easy setup and takedown, often featuring lightweight materials and inflatable beams for hassle-free assembly.

motorhome awnings
The Vango Galli III Tall Driveaway Motorhome Awning

One of the best perks? These awnings let you keep your motorhome mobile. Once the awning is set up, you can drive off for day trips leaving the awning to hold your spot and your gear. Check out our review of the Vango Galli III Tall Awning.

How do I attach my driveaway motorhome awning?

To attach your drive away awning to a regular awning rail, you’ll need a 6mm to 6mm Driveaway Fixing Kit. If you’re working with a Fiamma or Thule Omnistor Wind-Out Winch Canopy, a 4mm to 6mm Driveaway Fixing Kit is what you’ll want.

Motorhome Porch Awnings

Can you put a porch awning on a Motorhome?

Fixed porch awnings are the stay-put cousins of the more nomadic drive-away awnings. Ideal for those times when you’re planning to park up and chill for a while. Plus, they’re generally easier on the wallet.

Fixed Porch Motorhome Awning
The Isabella Air Cirrus North 400 Motorhome Porch Awning

These motorhome awnings come in all shapes and sizes, usually aimed at caravans, but suitable for motorhomes! And they’re not shy on the extras. We’re talking integrated lighting for those late-night games of dominos, zip-in groundsheets for a cleaner living space, and even thermal insulation for those chillier evenings.

They’re your go-to for longer stays, providing a sturdy and weather-resistant haven. Whether you’re dining al fresco, lounging with a book, or stashing your muddy hiking boots, these awnings a Motorhomers best friend. Check out our Isabella Air Cirrus 400 North Review.

Sun Canopy Motorhome Awnings

Sun canopy motorhome awnings are the straightforward answer to your sunny day dilemmas. Attach one to your existing rail, and you’ve got instant shade. Simple as that.

Why are these canopies a solid choice? They’re particularly handy when you’re parked up in sunnier climes—think a lazy afternoon in the South of France.

Motorhome Sun Canopy Awning
Dometic Sunshine Air Pro 300

These motorhome awnings do more than just block out the sun. They offer a designated spot for your outdoor furniture, making it a comfy place to kick back and relax. You can also add side panels!

The real perk? They’re low-maintenance. No need to fret about extra weight or complicated setups. It’s all about enjoying the sun responsibly.

Wind Out Motorhome Awnings

Wind out motorhome awnings are wind-out canopies housed in a box on the side of your motorhome. You can unroll them manually with a crank handle or electric versions use a motor. Some electric models are self-supporting and don’t require legs!

While these motorhome awnings don’t take up internal storage space, they can add to your motorhome’s payload, sometimes by as much as 50kg or more. They’re ideal for folks who are always on the move, offering a quick setup and pack away.

Windout Sun Canopy
Our Windout Fiamma Awning

These windout canopy awnings come ready to attach to the side of your motorhome. While you could go the DIY route, it might be wise to let a pro handle the drilling to avoid any mishaps.

Windout motorhome awnings are sensitive to strong winds. So, make sure to secure them well with storm straps and be ready to retract them if the weather turns sour.

Never leave your windout awning out if you are away for the day.

Wind Out Awning Upgrades – The Safari Room

Commonly referred to as Safari Rooms or Privacy Rooms, these motorhome awnings are lighter and easier to put up than poled or air awnings, and are ideal if you’re pitching up and staying put.

Imagine turning your windout awning canopy into a fully enclosed living space, and you’ve got yourself a Safari Room.

Motorhome Awning Safari Room
Isabella Safari Room Open Front

The Safari Room typically comes with side panels and a front panel that attach to your existing awning canopy. Come rain or shine, you’ve got a cosy spot to chill.

Motorome Awnings in a Bag

The “Canopy Awning in a Bag“, aka the Dometic Revo Zip 400 is a nifty little number for motorhome owners who want a sun canopy awning but don’t want to go to the hassle of having a Windout Awning Installed.

Simply slide it into your existing rail, and voila! No need for drills or bolts. It’s a quick set-up and pack-down affair, with a durable fabric that’s weatherproof and colourfast.

The Dometic Revo Zip 400 Awning in a Bag, and shown with Privacy Room

This awning is up in minutes, and comes with guy lines & pegs. There’s optional accessories like a privacy room and sun screen too.

Motorhome Awnings: Pole Awnings or Air Awnings?

If you’re all about that easy-breezy life, air awnings are your thing. Just plug in the manufacturer 12V compressor, and you’re basically sipping a cuppa while the awning sets itself up. Just remember, the compressor’s got rulesdon’t crank up the pressure beyond what the awning maker says, alright?

Now, if you’re a bit old school and counting the pennies, pole awnings are your ticket. They’re lighter on both your motorhome and your wallet. Plus, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be pitching these awnings almost as fast as the inflatable ones (esp compared to manual pumps).

But let’s talk drama — poles can snap like a dry twig, and air tubes might decide to let out a sneaky leak. The good news? If your air awning starts hissing, patching it up is usually a doddle if you’ve got a repair kit handy. Poles might be a bit trickier to replace there and then so something else to bear in mind.

Pro’s and Con’s of Pole v Blow Up Air Awnings

Pole awningsAir awnings
Can be lighter
Fiddly to set up
Replacement poles may be needed
Easy to set up
A bit pricier
Modern designs
Usually heavier
Easier to repair

Motorhome Awnings – Fabrics Explained

Choosing the right fabric for your awning is crucial. The materials range from light and airy polyester to high-end, colourfast acrylic. The weight, appearance, and texture can differ significantly, and what you pick should align with your awning’s intended use.

You’ll want to opt for materials that are durable, allow for airflow, and dry in a jiffy.

PolyesterPolycotton(PC) / Technical cottonAcrylic
Quick to dry
Lightweight to handle
Cheaper than Polycottton & Acrylic
Still good levels of waterproofness
Longer to dry than polyester
A bit heavier in the weight dept
More breathable / less condensation
More insulation, keeps you cooler in summer/warmer in winter
Taut and rigid appearance
Long-lasting, expect many years of use
Higher price point but offers superior durability

Motorhome Awning Measuring Guide & FAQ

How do I know what size awning I need for my motorhome?

If you’re wondering how to measure for a motorhome awning our handy visual guide and steps below should help.

Motorhome Awning Measuring Guide

Measurement A in RED: To determine which height you need – measure the height of your awning rail or blind, to the actual slot, not the casing. This should be measured from the ground at each end, in centimetres – making sure you’re parked on flat ground. The bigger of the two dimensions is the important one. Most motorhomes are higher at the back than the front. If your vehicle has a levelling system, have it in neutral position while measuring.

Measurement B in BLUE: To determine which SIZE you can buy, eg. 260, 330, 390 etc, measure the full length of your awning blind or rail slot (not the casing), in centimetres. You must have enough awning blind or rail to hold the size of awning that you want to buy. For instance, if the motorhome awning is 330cm long, your awning blind or rail slot needs to be at least this long.

Measurement C in GREEN: To determine whether there’s sufficient space for an Air Tube to fit against the vehicle without the door catching on it when being opened – measure the distance between the awning blind or rail and the top of your door when closed. You will need at least 12cm between the door and the blind or rail.

What awning will fit my motorhome?
Things to bear in mind…

Compare the 3 dimensions above with those of the awnings being considered, and check that the awning’s walls would sit clear of your motorhome’s door, windows, storage hatches or anything else that protrudes.

Remember that a narrower awning can be positioned – more left or more right – on a wider awning blind or rail to help fit around these.

While it might be tempting to go big, remember that motorhomes have limited payload and storage. So, consider the awning’s weight and your vehicle’s payload capacity when making your choice.

How do you attach a driveaway or porch awning to a Motorhome?

If you already have a windout awning, your existing setup can serve as the anchor point for various other awning types, including drive away and porch awnings. Many motorhome awnings come with a bead that has both 4mm and 6mm already attached. If not, there’s a handy kit to switch a 4mm channel to the 6mm one that most driveaway awnings need.

How do awnings fit to motorhomes?

If you don’t have a windout awning already fitted, and you don’t want one, but want a drive away awning, air sun canopy, or even a fixed porch motorhome awning, you can simply have a rail fitted. Most motorhomes these days usually have a canopy or rail already fitted. If you don’t, then that’s an investment you would need to make. We don’t recommend the use of magnets or straps, we feel they are more suited to campervans than motorhomes.

What are the best motorhome awnings?

With so many motorhome awnings on the market, it’s difficult to pick the best motorhome awning. We have put together a list of popular, reliable motorhome awning brands, with some of the top picks. Remember, the factors that you are considering can vary wildly and everyone has different needs. What might be the best motorhome awning for you, could be the complete opposite for your campsite neighbour!

Key considerations when choosing a motorhome awning

What will you be using it for?
Do you need extra sleeping space?
Where would you be likely to use it?
How long do you usually go away for?
Will you be using it year round?
How much do you want to spend?

What extras should you consider for your motorhome awning?

dometic rally air pro 330

Variety of pegs for different terrains, from grass, hardstanding, and soft sandy ground.
Breathable floor membranes, liners and carpets for added comfort.
Optional inner tents and annexes for more functional space.
Specialised lighting options, usually with low-energy LEDs.
Roof liners for insulation and help against condensation.
Electric heaters for those chilly months.

Check out the Best Motorhome Awning accessories article here.

🚐💨 Wondering what awning is the perfect fit for your motorhome? Let us guide you! As proud Brand Ambassadors for A&E Leisure, we’re well-versed with the all of the awning brands. Before we went full time van life, Rich used to work there! He’s now an online Leisure Vehicle Specialist, so if there’s anything you need, he’ll be able to help! Fancy a natter? Send us an email or ping us on Messenger. And here’s a little secret… we’ve tucked away an exclusive *A&E Leisure discount code just for you. So, come on over and let’s make your motorhome journey even more special! 🌟

Motorhome Awnings – Double Your Floor Space

So there you have it, folks! You’re now equipped with the wisdom to choose an awning that’ll turn your motorhome into your own snug retreat on wheels. Whether you’re looking for a cosy nook for alfresco dining, evening chill-outs or just some extra room to stretch your legs, the right awning can make all the difference. Remember, it’s not just about the awning; it’s about the memories you’ll make underneath it. Safe travels and let the good times roll!

Check out these fab resources designed to make your motorhome adventures a breeze ⬇️

  • We’re brand Ambassadors for A&E Leisure. Before we went full time van life, Rich used to work there! He’s now an online Leisure Vehicle Specialist, so if there’s anything you need, he’ll be able to help! [sshh, he also can get you an A&E Leisure Discount code, let’s keep that between us ;)] Just drop us a message on Messenger or Email to get the conversation started.
  • Check out our Pre-Departure Motorhome Checklist to make sure things are plain sailing from the off!
  • You also have the Mega Motorhome Checklist for everything from the nuts and bolts, kitchen supplies and entertainment.
  • Like to document and journal your travels? We have scoured the web for the best Road Trip Journals for Motorhome and Caravan Lovers.

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