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Car Awnings: Which One to Choose? The Ultimate Buying Guide

Nov. 16, 2023

If you're an avid traveler who loves maximizing space and craves outdoor adventures on four wheels, then investing in a car awning is a game-changer!


In simple terms, an awning is a shading apparatus installed on your vehicle's roof rack. It extends to cover a designated area near your car or van, shielding it from rain and providing shade on sunny days.


Why Invest in a Car Awning?


For newcomers to camping getaways, an awning might seem like an optional extra, easily dismissed. However, the reality is quite different. Here are four compelling reasons why purchasing your own car awning before your next outdoor adventure is a wise choice:


1. Versatile Shelter: An awning ensures constant shelter from both the sun and rain, providing a relaxing outdoor space wherever you roam.


2. Convenience and Compactness: Many models are incredibly easy to install and use. Some even boast compact designs when closed, ensuring they don't add bulk to your vehicle.


3. Expanded Space and Comfort: By attaching an awning to your van or car, you create additional sheltered areas for more people. With the right accessories, your vehicle can transform into a cozy mini-apartment, perfect for socializing and relaxation with friends.


4. Defense Against Insects: Awnings serve as effective barriers against pesky insects. If this is a priority for you, there are specialized awnings made solely of mosquito netting to keep those unwanted bugs at bay.


Remember, the outdoors is incredible, but it's even better when comfort isn't sacrificed!


Vehicle Awning and TarpVehicle Awning and Tarp

Customized Retractable Outdoor 420d Ripstop Camping 270 Degree Freestand Foxing Awning 

Guide to Buying the Perfect Awning for Your Needs


If you've come to appreciate the significance and advantages of having a car awning on your travels, we're here to guide you through the process of making the ideal purchase. Before you dive into selecting your awning, consider these three fundamental questions:


1. Type of Vehicle: Determine the vehicle you'll be traveling in—be it a car, off-road vehicle, van, or RV. The size and specifications of your vehicle play a crucial role in selecting the appropriate awning.


2. Travel Pace: Assess your pace of travel. Will you be changing locations daily or staying in one place for an extended period? For frequent travelers, an awning with simple opening and closing mechanisms is essential. Conversely, if you plan to stay put for longer durations, you might consider a more permanent or semi-permanent structure.


3. Intended Usage: Define the primary purpose of your awning. The ideal size and features will vary depending on whether it's for sheltering during quick stops, creating a cozy outdoor living space, or other specific uses.


Crucial Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Car Awning


When contemplating the ideal car awning for your adventures, several key features demand careful consideration:


 1. Dimensions:

The size of your awning, notably its width and length, is pivotal. Assess its intended use—will it accommodate the entire family, a solitary adventurer, or furniture like chairs and tables? Understanding its purpose will help determine the suitable size.


 2. Shadow Direction:

Decide where you want the awning to cast its shade—side, rear, or both sides. Side-opening awnings are common, providing shelter along the vehicle's side. Alternatively, tents covering both sides and the rear are ideal for extensive coverage, suitable for larger groups or families.


 3. Type of Awning:

Choose between self-supporting awnings and ground-mounted ones. Self-supporting variants are practical, swiftly deployable, and suitable for frequent travelers. They often come with parking legs for stability. Ground-mounted awnings, while requiring more time for setup, are lighter and less bulky when closed, fitting smaller vehicles.


 4. Material Quality:

Prioritize high-quality materials for durability and protection. Opt for a cotton-polyester blend fabric that is UV-resistant for sun protection and waterproof to shield from rain. Aluminum legs and frames are recommended to minimize weight without compromising on strength.


 5. Assembly:

Consider the assembly process as it varies based on the chosen model. Typically, car or van awnings mount on the vehicle's top or side, sometimes directly onto the roof rack or rail system.


Vehicle Awning and Tarp

4x4 Outdoor Pull Out Awning Change Room Tent 

Choosing Between a Car Awning with or without Walls


For many newcomers to camping or car camping enthusiasts, expanding the space in their vehicles often raises the dilemma of choosing between a car awning with or without walls. This decision is pivotal, especially for those seeking comfort and versatility in their outdoor experiences.


The truth is, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer as both options complement each other. Let's delve into the considerations:


 Awning without Walls

A simple awning offers protection from the sun and weather. It's lightweight and quicker to set up and dismantle. While it provides basic shelter, it doesn't enclose the space, limiting privacy and additional living area.


 Awning with Walls

Adding walls to the awning transforms your vehicle's area into a versatile space akin to a small apartment. The walls offer increased shelter, privacy, and expand the living space significantly. These walls can even include mosquito nets, ensuring an insect-free environment while enjoying the outdoors.


 Considerations for Usage

The choice between the two depends on various factors, including the type of vacation and prevailing conditions:


- Stationary Vacation: If you plan to stay in one spot for an extended period, especially with ample space available, an awning with walls would be ideal to create a comfortable and spacious setup.


- Itinerant Vacation: For trips involving frequent movements and where portability is essential, a simple awning might be preferable due to its ease of transport and quick setup.


- Climate Considerations: Destination weather matters. In colder or rainy conditions, an awning with walls provides superior protection. Conversely, in hotter climates, a basic awning might suffice.


Ultimately, the choice between a car awning with or without walls isn't about selecting one over the other but understanding the contexts in which each structure thrives. It's advisable to have versatile gear to adapt to different outdoor experiences seamlessly. Assess your specific needs, considering factors like mobility, comfort, privacy, and weather conditions to make an informed decision for a fulfilling camping adventure.

Vehicle Awning and Tarp

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