AWNING INFO - Awning AccessoriesAwning Tents

Awning Tents

An awning is a great addition to any expedition vehicle; it’s a quick and easy way to give yourself a pretty decent sheltered area, whether you want to relax out of the sun or keep the rain off while you’re cooking. It can also act as a base for plenty of additional accessories, and one of the most common – and useful – of those is a tent.

By adding a tent kit to your awning you create a comfortable enclosed space that’s perfect for worse weather or for sleeping. Many people are happy to simply sleep under the awning in a swag or just their sleeping bag, but sometimes it’s nice to have some more shelter or privacy. A tent is so easy to add that it’s a perfect solution. Conventional tents consist of a frame, an inner tent and usually a flysheet for extra weather protection. With an awning set up you already have a frame and a waterproofed roof, so getting the rest in there isn’t difficult.

There are two basic types of awning tent. The simplest and cheapest is a set of walls which attach round the edges of the awning. Some of these also have a floor; some just consist of side walls. These usually fit to the base and end bar of the awning with sail tracks, then get secured to the side struts with Velcro straps. They’re light and compact, and let you create an enclosed space quickly. If they don’t have a floor you can be left exposed to wet or dusty ground, though. There’s a bigger problem as well, and that’s to do with the side fastenings. Because the walls are held up with straps looped round the side struts they never seal properly along the tops. Usually they close up well enough to keep the weather out, but insects can still find their way in.

The other way to do it is with a complete tent room which is suspended from the awning frame. These have a floor and their own roof, and just rely on the awning for support and a waterproof top deck. With the doors closed and the mozzie nets over the windows done up any flying nasties are completely sealed out. On the down side this style of tent is heavier and bulkier.

What other features should you look for in a tent? Breathable fabric is good here. We don’t like it for actual awnings because it’s never as waterproof as canvas, but for a tent it reduces condensation and makes things more comfortable. Look for one with both front and rear doors so you can get easy access to your vehicle from inside it. A heavy duty PVC floor will protect you from damp ground and resist damage from stones or thorns.

We’d say a tent is maybe the most versatile add on you can get for your awning. It gives extra uses to the space under it, and unlike a mozzie net it gives you privacy and a wind break as well as keeping the bugs out. If you’re looking for ways to make your camping more comfortable a tent should be the first thing you get.