AWNING INFO - About AwningsMounting an Awning to Your Vehicle

Mounting an Awning to Your Vehicle

If you like being outdoors an awning is a great accessory for your vehicle. It keep you out of the sun when you stop for a break, shelters you from the rain and makes a great place to sleep, especially if you add a mozzie net or tent. It isn’t something you can just throw in the back when you’re packing though. It has to be securely installed on your vehicle, and that needs a bit of planning and some work.

Camper enthusiasts usually mount the awning directly on the side of their vehicle, but that isn’t really an option with a 4wd You’re going to have to attach it to whatever you use for carrying loads on the roof. The easiest option is a roof cage, but if you don’t have one of them don’t worry – you can do a good job with roof bars as well. It just needs a couple of brackets.

Almost all awnings are based on an aluminium extrusion that fits to your vehicle. The awning itself along with its framework and storage bag is all attached to this base. That’s all happening round the front though, and as long as you don’t install it upside down you don’t need to worry about it right now. What matters is on the back of the base. Almost every awning has two T-profile channels that run along the back. Slide the head of a mounting bolt into one of these channels and it can be moved freely along it until it’s fitted with a nut. Your awning will usually come with four or six bolts.

If you have a roof cage, all you have to do now is measure the distance between the centre of the tracks (or get it from the instructions that came with your kit) and mark up two or three of your cage’s uprights with the correct spacing. This is where you’ll drill the holes. Make sure at this point the lines of marks are parallel to the ground or your awning’s going to be on a slope. Now get a drill bit that matches the bolts and drill through the cage uprights. Slide the mounting bolts along the tracks until they marry up with the holes, get the bolts through then fasten them with the supplied locking nuts. That’s you done.

If you have roof bars it’s slightly more complicated. Your awning may come with a pair of L brackets, or you might have to buy or fabricate a pair. Bolt the brackets to the back of the awning base do they line up with your roof bars. Now you have to fasten them to the bars themselves and how you do this will depend on the design of your bars. If they have a channel along the top you might be able to slide bolt heads in there and fix the brackets to them. Alternatively you might have to drill through the bars themselves to get the bolts in.

Rear awnings can be the trickiest of all. The best method is to have a roof bar at the rear of the vehicle. Aluminium mounting rails – which should be supplied with your awning – clamp to the bar with sandwich clamps and you can then bolt the awning to those.

Mounting an awning isn’t a difficult job. All you need is a ruler, a marker pen and a drill, and you should easily be able to do it in an afternoon. Just remember it’s best to measure twice and drill once. Don’t rush, don’t do anything until you’re sure what the results should be and if you have any doubts ask for advice. Remember all that and you’ll be fine.