RVers know the benefits of using an awning, whether on a camper van or any other type of rig. That is probably why almost all manufactured recreational vehicles come from the factory with them pre-installed. But those who have built customized Class Bs or van conversions may overlook that piece of equipment during the van build.
You may want to remedy this, as a camper van awning adds protected outdoor space to everyday travel. It can provide shade at a particularly scorching campsite and cover from the rain in inclement weather. It can even double the living space with an awning tent attachment. Let’s look closer at the best camper van awnings available today.
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Can You Put an Awning on a Camper Van?
Awnings provide shade and protection and even designate an outdoor living space. Most manufactured RVs include them when delivered from the factory, but camper vans are a special category. Many vans on the road are conversion vehicles.
Many solo and couple travelers renovate cargo vans into motorhomes to experience #vanlife, a lifestyle craze that has swept the globe. Awnings may become an afterthought, but you can easily add them to almost any van build.
Do I Need an Awning for My Van?
Since most camper vans are on the small side at 21’ or less, outdoor living space becomes an important addition to the meager indoor square footage of the vehicle. And an awning can immediately extend that room.
It usually provides comfort from the elements wherever you make camp. You can have more space in the shade to have lunch or lounge by a lake. Or sit outside during a drizzle, enjoying the smell of fresh rain. For those reasons, it makes sense to add one to your van.
An often-overlooked benefit of camper van awnings is to keep them cool in warmer weather. Especially if you are parked off-grid and unable to run an air conditioner, awnings can keep sun off the side of your van and from coming in your windows.
5 Best Camper Van Awnings for Your Van Build
You can consider many options for a camper van awning. Some involve do-it-yourself designs, while others provide ready-built ones you can attach to your vehicle. Here are five factory-made ones that will give you all of the benefits of shade and protection.
1. Thule Hideaway Awning
Thule has a top-of-the-line awning that mounts to your vehicle’s roof or on a roof rack. Its aluminum construction and spring-loaded tension arms make this the most durable and sturdy awning for a camper van adaptation. The fabric stays taught with a tension-controlled roller tube. And you can easily hand-crank it open or closed. This lightweight camper van awning also has corrosion-resistant materials.
- Light weight and corrosion-resistant due to the all aluminum...
- Easy, one person operation with hand crank and awning supporting...
- Easily mounts to aftermarket racks with roof rack adapter sold...
Additionally, you can mount it on vertical flat surfaces or to an existing roof rack with adapters sold separately. It comes in 8.5’ and 10’. The awning has several additions, including rain and sun blocker shades for the front and sides and an entire zippered room that can provide an enclosed space underneath.
Price: $1,000 for the 8.5’ and $1,250 for the 10’.
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2. Fiamma F80S Awning
For an awning that fits nicely on a Sprinter and Dodge Promaster chassis, the Fiamma F80S hits a homerun. It comes in two sizes, 10’ and 13’ long. The company brags that it has a smaller cross-section than its previous designs, making the F80S a perfect fit for the contour of the van.
The awning legs can support the fabric on the ground or the side of the vehicle with the included leg wall-mounting brackets. It has a manual crank, but you can use an optional electric motor. Furthermore, this camper van awning has sun and rain blocker shades and a screened add-on room that you can order separately. Fiamma offers LED strip lighting to fit either length for an additional $135. You can get it in white, silver, or black.
Price: $1,050 to $1,320
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3. OVS Nomadic 180 Awning
The Nomadic 180 provides more coverage on the side and back of your vehicle and attaches to any existing roof rack. It has 88 sq ft of covered shelter. This camper van awning measures 7’ 4” long but increases to 20 ft. The wings extend from the van on the side and around the back.
- Features: 88 Square Feet of Freestanding Covered Shelter, 600D...
- What’s included: 180 Degree Awning With 4 Built-In Aluminum...
- Opened: 240" x 78.5" Closed: 88” x 7” x 6”
This awning will stay put in the wind with four aluminum rafters, three pivoting support poles, and two extendable poles. It has a poly-cotton ripstop material with heated seams, so you won’t have leaks. And it stores in a PVC cover that you can mount on a roof rack rather than directly on a vehicle.
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4. Moonshade Portable Awning
Weighing only 8 lbs, the Moonshade Portable Awning is the lightest on our list. This camper van awning uses flexible tent poles for extension, with two telescoping support poles on the ground and an assortment of ways to attach it to your vehicle.
- LIGHTWEIGHT & PORTABLE: Heavy-duty, but not heavy. The MoonShade...
- DURABLE & PROTECT: Made of durable water-resistant polyester...
- VERSATILE & MULTIPURPOSE: The MoonShade vehicle awning was...
The company has included two small and two large suction cup anchors, but you can also tie the awning to an existing roof rack. It only measures 28” x 6” when stored but stretches out to 9’ x 7’. It has ripstop polyester with a UV protective coating.
5. ARB Retractable Awning
The ARB Retractable Awning is a hardy piece of equipment that you can attach to any roof rack on a larger vehicle like a camper van. You can order the protective cover in aluminum or PVC, and the extended end of the ripstop poly-cotton material has a sizable aluminum bar for sturdy support.
- LED LIGHT STRIP IS INCLUDED. install once on the Awning Sleeve...
- Mounts easily to the side of most roof racks or roof bars....
- Awning storage cover made from pvc lined polyester. Awning is...
Measuring a respectable 8’ 2” x 8’ 2”, this camper van awning includes an attachable LED light bar with two color settings of amber and blue. Additionally, it has reinforced corners for strength and longevity. ARB also offers several sidewalls, windbreaks, awning rooms, and floors to enhance your outdoor space.
Is a Camper Van Awning Worth It?
Don’t forget about your outdoor space if you have started a camper van build. The insides of these tiny motorhomes don’t provide much room for gathering or hanging out. However, you can instantly create a covered area worthy of parties and campfire hangouts. Don’t miss an opportunity to double your living space, throw some shade, and stay dry while enjoying a camper van awning.
You can find a variety of sizes, shapes, and accessories to fit almost any vehicle. In fact, it’s the optional piece of camping equipment that really shouldn’t be optional. Make it essential to every camping trip by adding one to your van.
Are you going to install a camper van awning on your build? Tell us in the comments!
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