Nothing says a relaxing campsite like having the option of shade. A drive-away awning is a perfect way to stay outside and protect yourself from the sun or rain.
In this article, we explore the best drive-away awnings for campsites and review their benefits and drawbacks. And spoiler alert, some even double as a tent for extra sleeping space.
Let’s get into it!
What Is a Drive-Away Awning?
A drive-away awning is a free-standing shade mechanism. You could call any tent a drive away awning, but some are designed specifically to attach to your vehicle or RV to provide a covered entryway. You can use it in your backyard, at sporting events, or a campsite.
Drive-away awnings are portable and typically lightweight with a storage bag — the best fold-up small enough to easily transport and stow in your camping unit or vehicle. Some are even inflatable to make setup as easy as possible and decrease the risk of damage if they do come loose in high winds.
How Does a Drive-Away Awning Attach?
Drive-away awnings vary in terms of how they are attached. Some are free-standing, like tents, and have their own poles and anchors. You can leave them at your campsite without detaching anything while you’re away on a day trip.
Other awnings attach to your RV, tent, or vehicle with something like suction cups, a zipper, snaps, ropes, or carabiners. Each awning has its own design and mechanics. In our list, we strive to provide high-quality options that are easy to set up and take down.
Pro Tip: Before you open up your awning and start relaxing, make sure you know How To Open An RV Awning The Right Way.
Can You Sleep in a Drive-Away Awning?
While most drive-away awnings lack solid sides, some are tent-like structures. Some awnings have screen sides or solid panels you can insert. These options can provide extra sleeping space.
What Are the Benefits of a Drive-Away Awning?
Drive-away awnings provide additional living space on your campsite. You can use it for socializing, working, or relaxing. It keeps you out of the sun and elements and protects you from tree debris and bird droppings.
The benefits also include an extra sleeping space for guests if you have an enclosed awning.
It provides a covered outdoor space to cook and eat. This prevents your camper from smelling like food or smoke. Cooking can be messy, making it ideal for keeping outdoors.
What Are the Drawbacks of a Drive-Away Awning?
While the benefits outweigh the drawbacks of a drive-away awning, there are a couple worth mentioning. The main negative is that it’s one more thing to transport and store. If you’re traveling in a campervan or small RV, your space is limited, and it’s important to strategize what to pack.
Another drawback is having to set it up and break it down. The fewer things you have to do to make camp upon arrival, the better. So, if adding an awning into your routine will make things stressful, you may want to avoid it.
Pro Tip: Building a camper van? Check out these 5 Best Camper Van Awnings for Your Van Build.
6 Best Drive-Away Awnings for Campsites
Are you ready to add a drive-away awning to your camping gear? Let’s look at six of the best options on the market.
1. OLPRO Cocoon Drive Away Campervan Awning
The OLRPO Cocoon Drive Away Campervan Awning is large, with five removable berth rooms and inner tents. It has a floor and a canopy in front of the tent for extra coverage. You can relax in the awning with sides or use it for sleeping space. The awning fits campervans with a height of 190 centimeters to 250 centimeters.
Customers give it high marks. Robert P. said, “It is a fantastic awning. The space inside is spacious and easy to put up. It is rain resistant. We had quite a few rain storms on our trip and all was good. The size fits everything in comfortably without it looking cramped.”
This Awning is available worldwide, but the company is based in the UK.
2. Dometic Rally AIR Pro 330 D/A
By far the most extensive and expensive options we are showcasing here, the Dometic Rally Air series of awnings offer a superior product for RV use. These awnings are designed to attach to the side of your RV and provide enough height to match the door (depending on the RV). They employ a dual-pitch design to provide a high height near the camper for the door to open before angling down.
These awnings are unique in that they are set up only with AIR. Yes, that’s right, they have inflatable columns and only need to be filled from one point. This makes setup easy and reduces the risk of injury or damage if the tent comes loose. The awning is also fully adjustable so that it can fit many different RVs or vehicles.
While a little is more complicated to set up, we think this is one of the best offerings for an RV drive-away fully screened-in room.
3. REDCAMP Waterproof Car Awning Sun Shelter
The REDCAMP Waterproof Cart Awning Sun Shelter can attach to a vehicle or camper and has two poles that stabilize it on the ground. It also has six ground stakes and eight wind ropes, so it’s not going anywhere. The lightweight awning fits into its storage bag and only weighs 9.7 pounds. It has UV50+ sun protection and is waterproof with tearproof fabric. The maximum height is 86.6 inches, and the awning is 197 inches when fully expanded.
Customers on Amazon, like Tommy, said, “We used this while camping at the beach and it was perfect for protecting us from the sun and rain. During heavy wind, the awning stood up without any issues. The build quality, light weight and compactness made it an excellent buy.”
This awning is not fully free-standing, but we have had success detaching the car side and just setting the tent on the ground just fine. This is easiest done with two people.
- MULTIPURPOSE: Universal Car Awning for Trailer,Van,Pickup Truck,...
- DIMENSIONi: Unfold size：126*90*86"/320*230*220cm, Package...
- DURABLE: Three-tier design. PU3000 waterproof layer make this...
4. VEVOR Awning Room Accessory, Fit 6.5′ x 8.2′, 300D Oxford Shelter Side Wall Room with PVC Floor
The VEVOR Awning Room Accessory attaches to the side of a vehicle or campervan. It has tear-proof and waterproof, lightweight 300D Oxford fabric with a polyurethane coating. The room is enclosed with a zipper door on two sides. It also has ventilated mesh panels and pockets and comes with a side wall room, two ropes, six pegs, and a nylon carry bag. The awning room is 8.2 feet by 6.5 feet.
An Amazon reviewer reported, “There was some slight sagging on the roof tent, from inside the room, but after using two telescoping tent poles with guy lines to hold up the biggest, one piece, wall flap the sagging went away. I’m debating on installing a piece of industrial strength velcro to the center, between the awning and the tent for added support when the flap is closed up. Other than that, I have no other concerns or issues with my tent room.”
- Vehicle Awning Size: 8.2ft (attached to car side) x 6.5ft...
- Tear-Proof Fabric: Made of lightweight 300D Oxford fabric with a...
- Private Zipper Door: Our awning rooms provide additional privacy...
5. Offroading Gear Waterproof Portable Vehicle Awning| Pop up Canopy
The Offroading Gear Waterproof Portable Vehicle Awning has an extra large side wall for privacy and protection from the wind and sun. It’s made of high-quality tent-grade polyester with UV coating. You can sit up to four people under the drive-away awning, which measures 124 inches by 85 inches. It’s easy to assemble by one person.
Customers give it high marks, like this reviewer on Amazon: “I bought this to use for shade and protection from the elements over the galley of my teardrop trailer – it fits the bill perfectly. This awning is very versatile since it can be used with and without poles when attached to the trailer.”
- With Side Wall - Enhance your outdoor experience with the...
- Ideal for Outdoor Activities and Tailgating - Whether you're...
- Spacious Protection for up to 4 People - Boasting generous...
6. ABCCANOPY Pop up Gazebo Canopy 3-Tier Instant Canopy with Adjustable Dual Half Awnings
The ABCCANOPY Pop-Up Gazebo with adjustable dual half awnings is a versatile option for your campsite. This is a standard gazebo, but it offers adjustable wings that make it good for setting it up next to your vehicle and providing shelter to the door.
Its dimensions are 204-inches-by-120-inches-by-114.5 inches. The canopy comes with a frame, polyester fabric top, four sandbags, four ropes, eight stakes, and a roller storage bag. It has a sturdy construction with a corrosion-resistant steel frame, UV protection, and water-resistant fabric.
One Amazon reviewer said, “I’ve been using this tent for the past month at the beach. It’s sturdy, easy to assemble (less than ten minutes) and not too heavy or bulky. It gives a family of five enough shade and it did not move with the strong wind at the beach due to the opening on the top. I like the extra shade on the sides. The material looks strong and durable.”
- ✮Extra Shade Area: ABCCANOPY 10x17 instant canopy designed with...
- ✮Premium Quality: Sturdy construction with a corrosion...
- ✮Super Vented Top: High quality 3 tiered waterproof and UPF 50+...
7. Gazelle Tents™, G5 5-Sided Portable Gazebo, Easy Pop-Up Hub Screen Tent
The Gazelle G5 five-sided portable gazebo is one of the most popular drive-away awnings among RVers. It’s easy to set up by one person without having to put together poles. The walls have tight-weave mesh to keep out bugs, and the polyester roof is waterproof with a UV50+ rating. It also comes with all-terrain stakes and guy lines. The gazebo is seven feet tall at the center, and the outside dimensions are 115 inches by 106 inches.
Owners of the Gazelle give it high ratings. One Amazon reviewer said, “I went on five trips with this gazebo. It’s awesome and very easy to setup and tear down. I camped for two days and didn’t have the side panels for it yet, as they were not available at the time. It rained for hours during the night and I figured I was going to wake up to find all the things inside the gazebo wet. But I was wrong! Everything inside was absolutely dry.”
- Room for up to four people and a table
- Hub design makes assembly fast and easy
- Lightweight and portable
Pro Tip: On the hunt for the perfect awning for your rig? Discover What Is a Batwing Awning?
Is a Drive-Away Awning Worth It?
A drive-away awning is worth it for any camping trip. From a covered outdoor seating room and cooking space to an additional sleeping room or workspace, it’s worth adding one to your gear kit. It’s a great way to stay outside but shelter yourself from the elements.
Which drive-away awning did you like the best? Tell us in the comments and if you use one on our list at your next campsite, share your experience with us by tagging us in a photo.
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