Last Updated on December 31, 2020
For many van dwellers and travel lovers, having an awning attached to your van or motorhome can add so much value to your experience.
If you’re looking to expand your living space or are just using it to create some shade on warmer days, an awning can be really useful. The space created by an awning is super multifunctional so the possibilities are endless!
Whether you drive a transporter, transit, or tourer, an awning can be a great investment to make. Before you go ahead and buy your awning, there are a few things you need to consider.
To start with, you need to ensure that the awning is compatible with your vehicle. To check which size awning is suitable, you can measure the height and length of your van. Once you have this measurement you’re pretty much good to go.
The only thing left is to pick which awning to buy and there are so many options. To help you make your mind up, we trawled through hundreds of product reviews to bring you our top five best van awnings.
In a hurry? Here’s our top pick!
For our top choice, we have gone with the KingCamp Portable Awning. There are so many reasons why we love this awning beginning with the fact that it is multifunctional.
This awning is suitable for trailers, vans, pickup trucks, SUV, MPV, hatchback, and sedan. With this large variety of vehicles, we just had to make it our number one recommendation.
Another great thing about this awning is that it can either be attached to the side or the back of your vehicle. Being able to customize exactly where you want your additional outside space placed is really helpful especially if you are going to a new site to stay the night.
This awning product acts as a canopy so is perfect to keep you cool on warmer days. The cover is made from 210T polyester fabric with 1500mm PU coating which provides fantastic UV protection.
This product can help you out by keeping you safe from sunstroke whilst you’re cooking dinner for your family or it can act as a shaded area to keep your kids cool when playing outside. The durable material also protects the product from any surprise weather conditions.
We love how the KingCamp brand regularly considers its customers’ reviews to constantly improve their product range. This awning will be a delightful addition to your van dwelling and can easily be connected to your vehicle or you can even place it free-standing for a smaller area of shade.
As you can see from above we love this awning and that is why we made it number one on our list of recommendations. As well as the amazing above features, there are so many more to discuss!
This portable awning is so easy to use and comes with a handy zipper bag to keep all of the bits together when not in use. Included in your purchase you will receive the awning canopy, two ropes, two tent pegs, three tent poles, and the carry bag.
The awning measures 124 inches long and has a width of 85 inches. It has the ideal coverage for a table and chairs so be prepared to dine al fresco! Due to the measurements and ease of use, this product can be assembled by one person with no issues.
As this awning is portable, it can also be brought with you during days out. We love to use this awning on our vans but also love to take it with us to beach days and assemble it to act as a tent. This awning ticks so many boxes!
- Portable product.
- Easy to assemble by one person.
- Durable material in many weather conditions.
- May need additional pegs to hold down in high wind conditions.
Our next recommendation is a great option for someone looking to add another space to their van dwelling.
Not only does this awning have an overhead canopy but it also has mesh side panels that prevent any flies or mosquitoes from entering your space. If you’re prone to get eaten alive on your travels, this is an investment to make.
The outer panels are made from 300D Oxford Polyester and are UV treated. The awning is easily attached to a rail and is suitable for any 4X4 vehicle. The room measures 2500mm X 2500mm and allows for some added privacy when on a campsite.
A fantastic feature of this awning is that you can choose which walls to have open or closed by simply zipping open the walls. The product comes with a storage sack, two ropes, and six pegs which can be hidden away in the interior pockets.
- Creates an additional living space for your van dwelling.
- Mesh walls to keep mosquitos away.
- UV treated outer material.
- Requires 2+ people to assemble.
- THIS IS NOT A STAND ALONE PRODUCT. AWNING IS NOT INCLUDED AND NECESSARY. Design to only work with Compatible ARB 2500x2500 8.2' x 8.2' Awnings PN (814410, 814411, 814412A, 814108)
- Exterior walls are made from 300D Oxford Polyester outer UV treated
- Cross flow ventilated mesh roof, Midge-proof mesh side panels
- Heavy duty nylon hooks for awning pole attachment, Heavy duty, polyethylene waterproof floor
- Internal mesh pocket organizer, Accessories include nylon stuff sack for storage, 2 guy ropes, 6 pegs
Here is a driveaway awning that offers up to 11m² of additional living space. That is seriously impressive! It can easily accommodate any camping furniture whilst you drive to nearby sight-seeing points.
What makes this awning stand out from the others on our list is that it is compatible with many different minivan models.
All you need to do is fix the awning tent to your van with the ropes provided to either the chassis or windows using sucker pads which also come with your purchase. This ease of assembly makes it a popular choice.
Another feature which we are a fan of is the groundsheet that comes with the driveaway awning. This does give the space an ‘indoor’ feel and prevents any dirt from the ground from being transferred into your van.
- Large additional living area.
- Ease of assembly.
- This driveaway awning is ideal for longer trips.
- More expensive option.
- Spacious awning to upgrade your car or minivan for a top-quality camping experience with a two berth sleeping cabin with its own sewn-in groundsheet for maximum sleeping comfort
- The generous two man camping tent is a free-standing, drive-away addition to your vehicle which can be securely closed even when the car is not docked on to the tent
- The light and airy family tent has a comfy peak height of 210 cm and plenty of space for all your gear and camping furniture - an ideal extension for your car or van; with a matching groundsheet for the living area which helps prevent dirt from being carried straight into the vehicle
- The connecting channel is simply thrown over the roof of your vehicle and fixed with guyropes - either to the chassis or windows using the sucker pads provided or by tying them to the wing-mirrors or wheels - nice and simple and suitable for several different vehicle models
- Weatherproof with a water column of 3000 cm and high quality sealed seams; the sleeping pod is made of breathable material and the entrances allow for good air circulation; the porch is quick and easy to set up and stands safely, even without a vehicle docked on
This awning is another portable option which is fantastic for any traveler. This awning provides an overhead canopy and also comes with an optional sidewall.
The sidewall comes in handy when the sun is beaming and you need a little extra shade. It also acts as a barrier against any surprise rain showers!
Providing you with a large shaded space, you can comfortably fit up to four people. Great for small families or a road trip with friends!
Even better, this awning can be assembled in just fifteen minutes by one person. The instructions are sewn into the cover so you will never be left guessing.
Made from UV coated polyester, it is extremely durable and suitable for hot temperatures. Included with your purchase, you will receive the canopy, the canopy extension, six tent pegs, three tent poles, two ground poles, and four tie-down ropes.
- Provides UV protection.
- Portable and easy to pack up.
- You can fit up to four people under this awning.
- Only one side panel, leaving two sides open.
- INCLUDES SIDE WALL – Includes a extra-large side wall that is great for privacy, reducing billowing in the wind, and getting more protection against sun and rain.
- GREAT FOR THE OUTDOORS AND TAILGATING - This waterproof shelter is great for protecting you against the sun and rain whether you’re camping, at the beach, having a picnic, at the pool, at sporting event, tailgating, and more.
- EXTRA LARGE AND PROTECTION FOR UP TO 4 PEOPLE: Measuring 124'x85” the Offroading Gear awning provides protection and shelter comfortably for up to 4 people.
- EASY TO ASSEMBLE - With convenient sewn-in instructions so they don’t get lost, this shelter can be assembled in minutes with just one person.
- DURABLE AND BULT TO LAST: Made of high-quality tent grade polyester with UV Coating, it is built to last for many seasons and even in the harshest conditions.
We absolutely love this simple yet effective retractable awning. This easily attaches to your roof rack and is the perfect size for minivans or 4X4 vehicles.
It acts as an overhead canopy so creates that shaded space you need on your travels. It is also UV protected and completely waterproof. This brand also offers other attachments which you can add to this product to change up the way it works.
It can be assembled extremely quickly – in less than one minute! Your purchase also includes the following pieces to help set up your awning: pegs, guy ropes, mounting nuts, bolts, spanner and instructions.
Another feature which ticks our boxes are the telescopic legs. Yes, you heard that right! This awning’s legs can be adjusted to the height of your vehicle or to whatever height you wish.
Whether you are looking for a larger covered area or if you want to add some extra privacy by having a slanted roof, this is the product for you.
- Telescopic legs making it easy to adjust the height of the canopy.
- UV protected and waterproof.
- No side panels to this awning.
- This awning may be too small for bigger cars, please measure the car before purchasing this over 2500mm
- Mounts easily to the side of most roof racks or roof bars. Waterproof and uv protected
- Awning storage cover made from pvc lined polyester. Awning is secured in a heavy duty nylon reinforced pvc bag
- Comes with pegs and guy ropes for securing legs, mounting nuts and bolts, spanner and comprehensive instructions
- Self standing awning takes 30 seconds to deploy. Awning height adjustable with telescopic legs
Best Van Awning Buyers Guide
Types of Awnings
There are several different types of awnings on the market currently. Each type has pros and cons which we have touched on in our above recommendations.
However, if you’re still stuck on which type will be most suited for you and your van, keep reading below as we are about to summarize some of the most popular types.
Roll out awning
As the name would suggest, a roll-out awning rolls out from the rail to extend the shaded area. This type of awning is usually the most affordable due to its simple and effective design.
When you open out your roll-out awning, it will provide a canopy above your head. This awning does not provide any cover on the sides so is not suitable for bad weather.
We recommend using this awning in warmer or dryer climates to provide some much-needed shade to yourself and your family. It is ideal to keep kids cool in the summer months.
This awning is perfect for beginners who may not feel confident enough to install a more complicated type of awning.
The downside of roll-out awnings is that putting them into place is at least a two-person job and it is extremely manual. You will have to insert polls into the sides of the awning and secure them to the ground to get the best use from it.
Wind out awning
Wind out awnings are quite similar to a roll-out awning in the fact that they only provide an overhead canopy and no protection around the sides.
However, these awnings are slightly more expensive as some models work with just the click of a button! Doesn’t that sound like a dream?
These automatic models can be an investment but if you are serious about the van life then it could be worth your while. By clicking the button, the canopy part of your awning will unfold and all you will need to do is attach the polls and secure them into the ground.
The driveaway awnings are great for van dwellers who often like to leave where they are parked up to explore certain places nearby. Driveaway awnings mean that you can indeed, drive away. You didn’t see that one coming, did you?
Many van dwellers enjoy this type of awning if they are staying in one location for a long period as they can use it almost as a completely separate part of their van home.
The size of these awnings can range from small to large so it’s possible to choose one which will suit your needs.
Driveaway awnings will need to be treated like you would a tent. Ensure that your awning is properly secured to the ground in case of any bad weather. We also recommend never leaving any valuable items in your driveaway awning.
Van Awning Uses
Depending on the type of awning you go for, you can use them for a wide range of activities. The most common would probably be using it for shade in sunnier weather conditions.
If you are a van dweller, the last thing you want to be doing on a hot day is spending it either inside your van or in constant sunlight. An awning provides you with shade to relieve yourself from direct sunlight and keep you safe from any excessive UV rays.
If you have children, an awning is a great investment to keep them occupied outside but also keeping them protected from sunstroke or sunburn. We also recommend regularly drinking water and using a high SPF sunscreen to prevent these issues.
Another use of an awning is to extend your cooking space. If you have a van, owning a good quality grill will come in handy. Barbeque food always tastes better on the road!
Having the shaded outside space makes for a great cookout yard. It also helps to keep the cook cool whilst the ribs get grilling!
Last but not least, an awning can be used when camping. Popular choices of awning are the driveaway versions which can also double up as tents to provide you with an additional sleeping space!
Van Awning Rails
If you own a motorhome, then most of the time you can add on an awning rail to your purchase. If you are a van dweller or owner, then you may need to install your awning railing which can be simply done.
Before you think about installing your van awning rail, maybe you should select which awning you think is best for your vehicle first. Once you have made this decision, you will be able to easily select the rail which is compatible with your choice.
Each rail has different installation instructions so if you are thinking about attaching it by yourself, read them carefully before you attempt anything.
If you are unsure about attaching the rail yourself, then there are many companies that will be able to offer their services. Choosing to go with a professional also reduces the risk of damaging your vehicle.
Once your rail is installed then you will be able to mount your awnings with ease at any site you go to. Please note, if you decide to go for a driveaway awning then you will not require an installed rail.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you attach an awning to a van?
Depending on the make of your van, the way you attach your awning may differ. There are a few different ways to attach an awning but the most common and secure is by installing a fitted rail to the side of your van.
Using a rail to attach your awning provides a snug fit which means more protection from the weather. It’s great if the main purpose of your awning is to extend the living space of your van.
Once you have a rail installed, you will easily be able to slide your awning into place. When you are parked up, pull out your awning, and secure it to the ground.
When securing to the ground, we always like to step onto the pegs to ensure that the awning is pegged deeper down into the ground.
Can you sleep in a driveaway awning?
In short, it all depends on the size of your driveaway awning. If you have a larger awning which includes a groundsheet, then you will be able to sleep inside it.
Some driveaway awnings will state in their product descriptions how many people they can fit inside.
If in doubt, ensure the following are applicable:
- Groundsheet included
- Fully enclosed space which can be locked
- Large enough surface area to fit sleeping essentials like a sleeping bag, pillow and blankets.
If all three are good to go, then it’s time to get camping! Perfect if you have any guests, you could even take it in turns to sleep inside and outside of your van.