AWNING INFO - Which Awning?Side Awnings

Side Awnings

The market for awnings seems to be growing pretty fast and there are some interesting new designs appearing, so it can be hard to decide what style is ideal for you. Until you know that it’s going to be difficult to decide what models to look at, so you need to have at least a rough idea about that. One of the biggest decisions is whether you want your awning at the side or rear of your vehicle. Of course you can have both, in which case congratulations! You’ve already made that decision, so head on over to our awning reviews. If you’re still not sure, though, here’s some info about side awnings and why you might want to choose one.

The single biggest advantage of a side awning is that it’s placed on the longest dimension of your vehicle. That makes it easier to mount it really securely. It also means you can park the vehicle to act as a windbreak and protect the awning from a lot of the weather, and that makes a real difference if it’s windy or wet. You can also get a lot more space under a side awning. A rear awning is limited to the width of the roof, and there’s only so long you can make it before it becomes unstable. With a long base bolted to the side of your roof rack you have a lot more space to play with, though. Rear awnings are usually limited to 1.4 by 2 metres, but side-mounted ones can be a lot bigger. Tough Toys do one that’s 2.5 metres wide and 3 metres long, and that’s covering a good sized area. If you plan on sitting round a table with a few mates a side awning is probably the way to go.

Most side awnings follow pretty much the same design, with a long rail mounted to your roof rack that acts as a base for all the other components. A second rail acts as the end bar, and usually the legs are hinged to this. A pair of struts swing out from the base and clip in to each end of the end bar; these struts give the whole thing stability and also let you clip or strap the edges of the awning to them so it doesn’t flap around so much. If you’re adding a tent or mosquito net it usually attaches to them as well. Other features to look for are channels on the bottom of the base and end bar, which can be used to attack many nets.

A good side awning is an extremely versatile accessory for your vehicle. They’re so quick to set up that even if you’ve just stopped to brew up or stretch your legs for a bit you can set them up and get some shade. They make perfect spaces for cooking or relaxing in the evening, and with a tent added they’re also great for sleeping. Of course if you like to rough it you can just sleep under the awning itself, either in a swag or if it’s not too wet and windy with a sleeping bag and mat. As a way of extending the space that’s not quite outdoors they’re pretty hard to beat.