Even the most ardent caravanner may at times find it hard to deny that any typical caravan, be it tourer, static or motorhome, might at times be a little short of space.
Admitting that space may be an issue though is not the same as saying that nothing can be done about it or that you should just accept cramped living conditions as part and parcel of your caravanning holiday.
Also, the lighter your caravan, the easier it is to tow up hills etc.
One obvious solution therefore is to invest in an awning for your caravan. Their versatility is shown by the many different uses they serve:
- for the additional space which it is always helpful to spill over into, even if you have quite a large caravan;
- as a place to store additional pieces of kit and equipment which might otherwise clutter the interior of the caravan;
- as a “wet room”, where you are able to shrug off wet clothing and muddy boots when the weather is inclement;
- as a shady retreat when the sun is high – but still open to gentle breezes if the awning’s walls are rolled up; and
- choosing an awning with a little individual taste and style and it may even be a way of putting a distinctive personal touch to your touring or static caravan.
These days, awnings come in all shapes and sizes and typically consist of a steel or aluminium framework over which a waterproof cover is stretched. They can no longer be looked on as being just a glorified tent.
They come with windows and zippable doors and can easily be fitted on to your caravan structure. You may find that your awning can double the living space your caravan provides and might be a more cost effective and flexible way of increasing your living space than buying a bigger caravan would be.
Types of awning
What makes an awning still more versatile is that it may be bought in different sizes and designs to suit particular purposes:
- a full awning, for example, typically runs the full length of your caravan, to which it is attached by the built-in channel of the caravan itself – your handbook normally specifies the length of this channel, making it easy to determine the size of the awning you need;
- a full awning may even give you the option of creating a tent within a tent – also known as a “pup tent” for use as an additional bedroom;
- a porch awning, on the other hand, is a more compact version and may be appropriate is payload weight is an issue when towing a touring caravan;
- lighter still is a simple sun canopy, which might extend the full length of the caravan but is designed simply to provide shade and may or may not come with removable side walls or those which may be rolled up out of the way.
If you are unable to afford a new awning or simply want to try one out before committing to such an investment, the Caravan Times suggests a search of the second hand market in order to find one in which you might be interested.
If you are planning to buy a used awning, of course, it repays to give it a careful inspection, paying particular attention to any tears in the canvas and ensuring that seams are still watertight.
With so many potential uses and versatility, it may be easy to imagine how your awning quickly becomes an indispensable piece of kit.
As with anything you do not want to go without for long, awning insurance, therefore, may be seen as a priority.
The problem is that not all caravan insurance providers may offer cover for awnings at all and you’ll typically find that those that do might attach specific terms and conditions to their cover.
It may be sensible therefore, when looking at caravan insurance, to compare what provision is or is not made. At Cover4Caravans for example, our policies typically have a separate listing on your policy schedule relating to your awning.
This is needed because while it may, of course, be very tempting to regard the additional space that an awning provides as just another part of your caravan, it is a separate and less secure structure.
You might wish to keep in mind therefore that even the most sophisticated awnings may be easy prey for thieves and that there may be very specific conditions laid out in your policy document, including:
- the contents of your awning, apart perhaps for garden type tables and chairs, not being covered at all;
- storm damage to the awning only being covered if you are present at the time that it happens.
It may simply be just plain common sense to get into the habit of not keeping any valuables under the awning and of stowing it away when you are not actually present at the caravan itself.
If you need further help or advice on cover for awnings or what your obligations are, please feel free to contact us.
To find out more, check out our handy guide on buying, installing and using your awning.