AWNING INFO - About AwningsDIY Awnings - Make Your Own 4x4 Awning

DIY Awnings - Make Your Own 4x4 Awning

There’s no shortage of awnings on the market if you’re looking for one. They’re available in a wide range of sizes and quite a few styles, so for most of us there’s a model that fits just what we’re looking for. Is buying one the only option though? Is it possible to make one yourself? Yes it is, and it’s not even all that difficult.

So why would you want to make your own awning? The first reason is price. With a bit of ingenuity you can make a pretty decent awning for under $60, which is a big saving on any commercial ones. You also have a lot more flexibility when you make it yourself. You can decide exactly what size you want, which can be useful.

If you want to make your own awning there are three things you need to produce. There’s the awning itself, the support frame and something to store it in. Starting with the awning, you need a tough waterproof sheet. A tarp is always a good choice. These are available in lots of sizes and weights. Choose a size that suits you and make sure it’s a good fabric weight, about 300 grams per square metre. Look for one with eyelets down the edges. You’ll be needing those, and while you can add them yourself it saves a lot of work if they’re already there. Don’t go crazy on the size. It’s tempting to make the biggest awning you can, but if you try to go more than about 3 metres out from your vehicle it will get hard to keep things stable.

Next you need a frame. The first thing you’re looking for is a pair of telescopic aluminium tent poles. Look for ones that open out to about 2 metres and have spikes on top – that will make it much easier to secure the awning to them. Those are your upright poles. Now head along to the garden centre and find some fibreglass stakes. These need to be the length of your tarp along the sides that attach to the vehicle and the poles. You could also use more aluminium poles here. Use the eyelets to tie these to the edges of your tarp. If you’re going for aluminium you can flatten the ends in a vice then drill holes to take the spikes on the uprights.

Your awning is basically complete – you can now use bungee cords to fasten one end to your roof rack, support the other on the poles then use a pair of guy lines to hold it all up. You still don’t have anywhere to store it though. Of course you could just throw it in the back or lash it down to the roof rack, but that’s not idea. A better idea is to get a length of 100mm PVC pipe the length of your longest poles, and two screw-on end caps. Fit the end caps and securely fix the pipe to the side of your roof rack with straps. Heavy duty luggage straps with ratchet buckles are ideal; you can crank them down nice and tight. Now just roll up your awning round its poles, slide it into the pipe and screw the cap back on. Bingo – you have a hard case awning set. The PVC pipe is completely waterproof and will protect your awning from low branches much better than the normal storage bag will. To speed up making camp you can tie toggles and bungee loops to one end of the awning, so all you have to do is unroll it, pass the loops round the pipe and hook them over the toggles, then pull out the other end and one at a time set up the poles and guy lines.

Making your own awning is pretty simple, and as well as being cheap it’s satisfying. You’ll have saved yourself at least $100, which you can spend on other stuff to make your camp more comfortable – maybe an LED lighting set which you can stick to the storage pipe. If you’re feeling handy give it a go.