AWNING INFO - Which Awning?Rear Awnings

Rear Awnings

If you’re looking at fitting an awning to your 4wd there are two choices about where to put it – that’s down the side or at the back. Of course you can always do both, and a lot of people do, but let’s look at why you might want to go for a rear mounted awning.

Side awnings are great for cooking and relaxing in, and plenty people sleep under them too, but if you want to add a small sleeping area to your camp a rear awning has a big advantage – it’s a lot easier to get at your camping gear in the back of the vehicle. If you’re using a tent kit with your awning you’ll find that most of the ones designed for rear mounting have a door at each end; one lets you outdoors and the other gives you access to the vehicle’s rear door. If you wake up in the middle of the night and just can’t do without one more tin of VB from the cooler there’s no need to go blundering around tripping over guy lines.

Rear awnings tend to be smaller than side ones; the width is limited to the width of the vehicle, so most of them are 1.4 metres wide, and when you’re building something out of light aluminium poles there’s only so long you can make it before it becomes unstable. For rear awnings that limit’s about 2 metres. That means they give sleeping space for one person, or two if you’re very friendly. That’s not their only use though. With a tent kit fitted they make great changing rooms for a day at the beach, and if you need to work round the back of your vehicle a lot they give you some very welcome shelter from the elements.

Most rear awnings follow the same basic design as side awnings. The base is an aluminium rail that’s fixed above the back door of your vehicle, usually to a roof bar or a pair of blocks. On the rail is a zip-up protective bag or cover containing the awning, one end of which is attached to the rail. To set it up you unzip the bag, swing out a pair of telescopic side struts then extend the awning, which is usually rolled up around the end bar. The struts then fit into the end bar. The legs – again telescopic, so they can be adjusted for height – are hinged from the bar, so you simply swing them down and open them out to the right length. Finally there are usually Velcro straps along the edges of the awning that let you fasten them to the struts for extra stability. It’s a fast and effective system that lets you get some shelter up in a couple of minutes.

Rear awnings don’t offer as much space as side ones, but they do have advantages. If you already have a side awning then adding a second one at the back can give you more options for setting up your camp, or create privacy for family trips. Think about what you want an awning for; you might find that a rear mounted one is exactly what you need.