Camper van awnings have the potential to almost double the living space of your van conversion. We guarantee that extra space will be put to good use, too. Whether it’s fleshing out your cooking area, providing cover for an outdoor shower, or just a place to stretch your legs in the shade, camper awnings make off grid living a little easier.
Today, we’re running down the list of the best camper van awnings on the market this year. If you’re a full-time vandweller looking to make your mobile tiny home a little less tiny, this is the page for you.
The 8 Best Camper Van Awnings in 2020
There are a lot of great van life ideas out there. But we’re particularly fond of camper van awnings as an affordable way to add a spot of luxury to your experience.
To help you with your comparison shopping, we’re going to take a look at eight of the best van awnings. We go over the pros and cons, and give our personal take on why each model might be right for you.
|Easy to mount onto your
|Can be installed onto a
|One-person set up|
First on our list of the best camper van awnings is the Thule Hideaway Awning. This company also produces roof racks and shock-proof luggage, but they are squarely on top of the awning game.
Its sleek and stylish design will enhance the aesthetics of your vehicle and turn it into an off grid adventure beauty. Everything you need to set the awning up stores within the mount itself, which easily affixes to either the side or roof of your camper. The lack of loose poles frees up precious space for your other van life essentials.
Once installed, you can deploy the Thule by simply turning the telescoping hand crank. This releases the awning, which allows you to extend it fully then flip down the integrated support legs.
There’s a nifty elbow support system that stabilises the tarp even in heavy winds. Moreover, it’s fully waterproofed, and provides incredible shade from the sun. How’s that for all-weather performance?
On the down side, The Thule Hideaway Awning is a little costly with prices starting at $850. This is substantially more than many other camper van awnings included on our list. However, this is a product that should last as long as your campervan, so there will be no need to replace it further down the line.
|Provides shade on three sides||Expensive option|
|Self supporting||Standard size only up to 3m|
|Easy to set up|
The BunduAwn wrap around awning from the mighty BunduTec is a cool bit of kit. It can provide shelter from the elements on not one, not two, but three sides of your vehicle: Front, back and one side of your choosing.
This means that there is plenty of space to comfortably seat the whole family. And, it’s the perfect place to cool off, and not just because of the shade. Bundutec’s canvas awning is finished with a reflective coating that deflects the sun’s heat away from your sitting area. Yes, this is the perfect choice for hot climates!
But, it’s also a trooper in rough weather, as well. With rugged aluminium supports, the BunduAwn can withstand abuse from heavy winds. And, thanks to its naturally water-resistant material and sloped design, rain simply rolls off rather than pooling on the canvase.
The Bundutec awning is one of the easiest awnings to set, and can be ready for use in a matter of minutes. Simply unzip the casing and unroll the awning, then just walk to each corner of your vehicle and fasten to the opposite side. The BunduAwn is self-supporting, meaning it doesn’t need any legs or pole to hold it up and is completely free-standing.
This is a high tech bit of kit and does come in at a rather high price. The cheapest BunduAwn model will set you back £1080 and is 2.45m long. The next size at 2.95m is £1225. If you need an awning any bigger than this–which you probably will unless you have a Land Rover or small truck camper–then custom size prices start at £1375.
|Affordable awning||Slower set up time than
|Fun colour scheme||Has to store in your van
when not in use
|Provides shade in minutes|
|Can be used in the rain|
Next on our list is a more affordable option for all the family – the Debus campervan awning. This shady character comes in at just £109.99–a tenth of the price of our previous recommendation.
And it performs admirably especially considering the price, offering ample shade and shelter. You can also really afford to spread out under the Debus, which measures 240cm along the van, reaches out 300cm, fanning out to a total 290cm. This makes for an awesome camping space! Now, did somebody pack the guitar?
The Debus awning comes in a fantastic range of colours, our favourite being bright orange. The awning is waterproof with fully taped seams and can withstand most weather conditions. It can also be set up as a free-standing structure away from your campervan if needed, making it perfect for taking down to the beach!
By parting with less cash you are compromising on some features. For one, the longer set-up time. It doesn’t permanently fix to the side of your camper and therefore needs to be manually erected each time you reach your campsite. It also takes up precious space in your already-tiny home.
The Debus campervan awning can either be attached to your camper using its roof gutter rail or tied on using the guy lines provided. If your camper doesn’t have a roof gutter rail, then tying an awning on may not be the most sophisticated awning solution for your van. However, at just £109.99 it might be worth a shot…
|Affordable awning||Less sturdy and durable than
|Boasts a sleeping pod and porch|
|Use as a stand alone option|
The Skandia Camper Tramp is a great way to essentially add an extra room onto your camper. It includes a large porch area, where you can set up a full dining space. There’s also a sleeping pod for two, complete with groundsheet and fly net.
So whether you’ve got a growing family, or just want to invite some guests to experience living the van life firsthand, this campervan awning greatly expands your living space without punishing your budget.
As a stand-alone awning, you can set the Skandia up and drive away for a day trip without needing to dismantle and pack it away. This is great if you are staying on a campsite for a while; you can make a home base in the awning that will be ready and waiting for you after a long day of outdoorsy adventuring.
This awning can attach to your camper using suction cups and guy ropes which easily detach to allow you to drive away. Of course, when leaving the awning to head out on a day trip it zips shut to become completely watertight.
The Skandia Camper Tramp comes in at just £159.95 which is a very attractive cost. However, the lower price means this awning is likely to be not as durable as more expensive models and could struggle in extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain and wind.
|Stand alone awning||Longer assembly time|
|Can be secured to the side or the
rear of your van
|Inner tent not included in the cost|
|Attractive size and spacious|
The next exciting product on our list is the Vaude Drive Van Awning. This awning is slightly different from the others, as it can be fitted to either the back or the side of your campervan.
By fixing the awning to the back, you can sleep with your door open, allowing more airflow for those warm summer nights. With this setup, you’re essentially creating an extra room for your tiny home, and a comfortable space to stretch out in.
The Vaude Drive Van is a sturdy awning, designed more like a regular tent with poles and guy lines to secure the structure. You can be sure it will still be standing when you return to your campsite after a day out in the countryside. However, this does also mean the awning has a longer set up time as you need to put it all together like a tent. If you’re not a fan of playing with poles and pegs, then this might not be the awning for you.
This awning comes in at £430. However, if you intend to use the Vaude Drive as an extra bedroom, you will need to spend another £130 on the mosquito proof inner tent and sleeping pod, taking the total up to £560. This is fairly pricey for an awning, but if you’re looking for an extra room to extend your camper van then this could be a good option.
|Affordable price||Needs to be unrolled manually|
|Reputable company and brand|
|Attaches easily to your roof rack|
|Large surface area|
An exemplar of their legendary catalogue, the Smittybilt 6.5′ Tent Awning is a simple solution to provide shade and shelter while on the road. It easily attaches to most roof racks, and stands up to all-weather conditions thanks to the two support legs and guy ropes.
This Smittybilt Awning is very affordable at just $199.99, meaning you can enhance your overland adventures without breaking the bank. On top of this, Smittybilt offer extended warranty on most of their gear and will cover you if something goes wrong with your product.
Smittybilt have been around for over 50 years, providing accessories essential to any keen overlander. With this experience comes quality products that have been tried, tested and improved over the years.
The only downside to the Smittybilt awning is that set up process will take longer compared to the more expensive, but similar Thule model. It is not on a winch system, but needs to be manually unrolled for assembly. This is not too much of a problem, but your set up time is going to be closer to ten minutes than five.
|270 degrees of shade||Expensive option|
|Earth magnet locking
|Attaches easily to your
|Coolest looking awning|
If you’re looking for extensive shelter from the elements, then the Rhino Rack Batwing range is for you. This awning provides a whopping 270 degrees of shade, covering an entire side plus the rear of your vehicle. It can be purchased to fit either the right or left side of your vehicle, depending on your preference. Either way, you’re getting 11 square metres of sun-free cool.
The Rhino Rack Batwing easily mounts onto the roof rack of your vehicle, and is compatible with all Rhino Rack and Thule Roof racks. Being able to mount the awning onto your roof rack mean it is simple to install yourself. And, all of the components that you’ll need to use it store neatly away inside the heavy duty case on the roof rack.
Batwing provides protection from sun, wind, rain, and snow, so you can enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather. The awning itself is made from a lightweight ripstop material that is water and mould resistant, meaning it is durable and will provide shelter for many years to come.
An earth magnet locking system ensures the awning is stable in all weathers, and pegs and guy ropes are provided for windier days.
The Rhino Rack Batwing Awning comes in at $700+, which is a little on the pricey side. However, with a higher price tag you do gain much more shaded outdoor space to enjoy a cool afternoon with your friends.
|Low-cost option||Not suitable for heavy rain|
|Great for campers and cars||Not a very sophisticated
|Can be easily mounted in
Great for light summer use, this Hukoer Awning is also the cheapest option on our list at only £99.90. It provides shade for four people and can be mounted on the back or side of your vehicle. Additionally, it can also be used as a stand-alone shelter on the beach or at the park.
The Hukoer would make a perfect shade solution for keeping baby vanlifers cool while out in the wild. It would also make a nice picnic spot in an alternative living commune set up with you and your friends.
Unfortunately, the Hukoer Awning is best suited to sunnier conditions because it doesn’t provide the best shelter on rainy days. The design isn’t as sophisticated as some of the other more expensive options on our list, so it all depends on whether you value form over function.
If you’re looking for a cheap awning to keep you cool, or to extend the interior living space of your small travel trailers, then this bad boy would certainly do the trick.
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