Downsizing your living space is one of the biggest pains of living in a campervan. But just because you have little to no interior space doesn’t mean you can’t utilize the great outdoors from time to time!
That’s why many van lifers choose to outfit their vehicles with camper van awnings. Not only do camper van awnings provide protection from the sun, rain, or wind, but they also make living outdoors a bit more comfortable.
We’ll be honest with you – buying an awning for our van was one of the single best decisions we made! Instantly doubling our living space no matter the weather conditions is simply fantastic.
That’s why we tell every van lifer they should add an awning to their set up.
Top Recommended Products
With so many different campervan awning choices we’ve narrowed down the list to our top 3 recommendations. But be sure to read on to discover more great awning options!
And while you’re at it, check out our guide on how to live in a van for our personal more expert advice.
Top Recommended Products
DOMETIC RALLY AIR PRO 330
Spacious Floor Plan
Durable Polyester Fiber
WHAT WE LIKE
THINGS TO CONSIDER
DOMETIC RALLY AIR PRO 330
The Best Campervan Awnings
Ok van lifers, let’s dive into the full list!
With the ability to be mounted three different ways (wall mount, roof mount, or rack mount), the Thule Hideaway is a universal van awning that’s a perfect fit for most campervan owners.
Not only is it super easy to install, but it’s also effortless to deploy when parked. With a simple turn of the hand crank, you’ll have sun protection and extra outdoor space in a matter of seconds.
The Hideaway is made from aluminum, meaning it’s just as lightweight as it is sleek. You’ll barely notice it on the roof of your campervan, which makes it a stealthy choice for travelers who don’t want to be weighed down with unnecessary bulk.
When it comes to durable, heavy-duty van awnings, you can’t beat the Hideaway. It’s one of the best camper van awnings available, thanks to its sleek appearance and ability to be attached three different ways.
The Fiamma F45 is a slim and compact van awning that works on both small campers and larger RVs.
It’s installed onto the side of your vehicle and provides adequate shade and wind protection for all your outdoor adventure (thanks to the reinforced arms and dual shock absorbers).
It’s a semi-permanent solution that doesn’t require any drilling since it comes with a set of 90 different brackets.
The shade can be easily rolled out – either manually or with the addition of electric control. It even comes wired with an LED light system, so you can still enjoy the great outdoors long after the sun goes down.
It’s not the cheapest model on this list, so isn’t the best for budget van life, but it’s so good that it’s the one we put on our own Sprinter campervan!
If the price isn’t a concern, then the friendly Fiamma F45 is a decent option for those looking at slide-out van awnings. It can be easily mounted to your roof rack and maintains a slim profile when not in use. And it also has cool features like LED lights and attachable canopies.
Dometic Rally Air Pro 330
The zip-out panels are perfect for those who want a bit of fresh air, although the awning also has Apex ventilation for improved air circulation. However, the best thing about this product is that it can be used as a stand-alone tent. That means you can detach the awning from your van to reserve your camping spot if you need to make a quick run.
It may not be the most affordable system on this list, but if you’re looking for an awning that provides decent shelter from the sun and harsh elements, then the Rally Air Pro is a good option.
This drive-away tent is more than just a van awning. It’s a separate room that could potentially double your living space! It’s great at blocking out rain, harsh light of the sun, and other weather hazards that could put a damper on your trip.
|* Detachable tent|
* Spacious floor plan
* Weather-resistant polyester fabric
|* Expensive price point|
If you have a large campervan or RV, it might be difficult to the right awning that fits a vehicle of that size.
But thankfully, Dometic released the 8500, which is constructed specifically for camper vans between 11 and 15 feet.
Even though it’s suitable for larger vans, it’s still the lightest awning on the market today since it’s made with 100% aluminum parts.
Once you found your spot for the night, the awning can be deployed easily with just one person. By default, it comes with a manual hand crank, although you can also upgrade to an electric motor opening. This awning also features patented locks (for extra safety while driving) and seamless vinyl fabric that won’t affect your van’s aerodynamics.
It also comes in a variety of colors, lengths, and extensions, so you can make sure that it fits the exact measurements of your van.
|* Affordable price point|
* Easy one-person opening
* Lightest awning option
* Suitable for larger vans
|* Lacking extra bells and whistles (no zip-off panels, no lights)|
As one of the most affordable campervan awnings available, the now legendary MoonShade Awning will only set you back a few hundred dollars.
At under $300, this revolutionary sunshade blocks out potentially harmful UV rays while also giving you extra outdoor space to eat, sit, or hang out.
Because it’s made from high-density twisted vinyl, this awning is super lightweight and durable. It’s also straightforward to install and set up, being one of the only shade cloths on the market that can attach to just about any RV or motorhome there is. Even just a normal car with their unique anchor systems!
And when you’re ready to hit the road, the entire thing folds up into a small storage bag that’s just a little larger than a yoga mat. So if you’re short on space or lacking extra room for more equipment, then the MoonShade might be the best choice for your travels.
|* Very affordable|
* Small and compact
|* Not the strongest in heavy winds|
* Must be set up each time
Exclusive for Van Life Theory Readers – Use the Coupon “moonfam43RrQA” at checkout on the MoonShade site to get $30 off your order!
Choosing the Best Campervan Awnings
There are several considerations you will want to think through before you purchase your campervan awning. These will include the type of awning you prefer, whether you want one installed to your vehicle or not, ease of install and the price you are willing to spend.
As the name states, a slide-out awning is permanently or semi-permanently attached to your van, making it easy to “slide-out” or open the canopy. The fabric is usually rolled up and contained in a cover on the outside of your van when it’s not in use.
Because of the slide-out feature, these types of awnings are incredibly easy to set up, either with a manual or electric handle. However, they do require more maintenance as they need to be cleaned from dirt and debris before being rolled back.
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If you’re not ready to install a mounted awning to your camper van, then you can always purchase a pop-up van awning instead. These portable canopies can be placed practically anywhere since they aren’t attached to your roof rack or camper van.
But since they aren’t mounted on roof racks or sides of the van, you’ll need to make sure you have enough space inside to carry them.
Tent/Drive Away Awning
For full-time van lifers, a tent or drive away awning is a Godsend. They are essentially portable tents or rooms that attach to the side of your camper van, giving you tons of plenty of room for dining, cooking, or living in general.
They also provide better protection against wind and other elements compared to shade awnings or simple canopy coverings.
How to Install a Campervan Awning
Not all van awnings are made equal, which means the installation and set up will vary depending on which model you have. But generally speaking, the awning will usually be mounted on the top or the side of your van.
Some models can be installed directly onto your roof rack or van rail system, which makes it easier to attach and/or remove. Installing your awning on the side of your van frees up your roof for other equipment, although it’s considered to be a more permanent solution.
If you’re looking for step by step instructions on how to install your awning, we recommend referring to the information and guide provided by the seller.
While a campervan awning isn’t a necessity, it does make living in your vehicle a whole lot easier. That’s why we recommend the heavy-duty Thule Hideaway for your next trip. It’s the perfect fit for anyone who needs a little more space while traveling in the great outdoors!
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