No matter how spacious and well-designed your Sprinter van conversion may be, the option to add a little more living space is always going to be attractive.
That’s why a Sprinter van awning can be such an awesome addition to your Sprinter van setup! There are just so many advantages to having an awning, especially during the hotter summer months when shade is at a premium.
To begin with, you can create a separate outdoor living space with chairs, a table, and even cozy LED lights. Not only that, you’ll often have the option to add side screens to create a wonderful bug-free outdoor sleeping area. Just imagine sleeping comfortably under the stars when it’s too stuffy inside your van!
In this article we’ll take a look at the best Sprinter van awnings we could find. We’ll also discuss a few things to think about before buying an awning and touch on some tips for installing an awning on a Sprinter van.
Here are our top picks for the best Sprinter van awning.
Fiamma awnings are probably the most popular among Sprinter owners and for good reason. The Italian manufacturer has been in the awning game for a long time, consistently producing high-quality, durable products.
The Fiamma F80S is the company’s newest offering and provides better aerodynamic performance than previous models, thanks to the fact that it sits closer to the van’s body.
Featuring high quality engineering and materials, the Fiamma F80S is lightweight and durable. The awning itself is made from UV resistant and waterproof fabric and the aluminum support legs are reinforced by double steel cable.
What’s really cool is that you can mount the support legs to the side of the van, making the whole thing more stable in windy conditions.
Available in two different lengths, both providing over eight feet of extension, this awesome Fiamma awning comes with brackets for mounting on your van’s roof rails. With that said, if you prefer a wall-mounted awning the Fiamma F45S is another great option to consider.
Almost as popular and even more lightweight, Thule Hideaway awnings definitely give Fiamma a run for its money. Speaking of money, you’ll pay a little less for a Thule awning, although it’s certainly in the same ballpark as the Fiamma F80S.
The Thule Hideaway is easy to install and setup, especially for one person, making this an attractive option for solo travelers. The manual crank operation is a simple affair and the awning legs can be set up on the ground or attached to the side of your van using wall brackets.
The Thule Hideaway’s spring-loaded tension arms do a great job of absorbing movement, meaning this awning can withstand moderately windy conditions. Plus, the awning’s design includes a drainage system that discourages water from pooling on the fabric.
Available in two different lengths, the Thule Hideaway provides eight feet of coverage, which is more than enough for an awesome outdoor living area. One thing to be aware of is that you might have to get a bit creative when installing the Thule Hideaway, even when using the manufacturer’s rack mount adapter kit.
Costing an entirely reasonable $350, the awesome MoonShade awning is the most affordable Sprinter van awning option on our list by a long shot. That’s why it was pretty much a no-brainer to name this the best budget option.
There’s a caveat, though — the MoonShade awning can’t be permanently installed. That means you’ll need to put it up each time you want to use it. However, if that isn’t a problem, the MoonShade could be a fantastic option.
The MoonShade is super lightweight and durable. Not only that, it folds down to the Size of a yoga mat so you shouldn’t have a problem stowing it when not in use. Made from 420D ripstop polyester, the MoonShade has a UV protective coating on top and a reflective coating underneath. Plus, this awning gives you a whopping 9×7 feet of coverage!
Installing the MoonShade is fairly straightforward and the awning comes with suction cup anchors, stakes, and guy lines. You can also purchase anchors that have been specifically designed for Sprinter factory roof rails. Don’t fret about installing this awning on your high roof Sprinter, either — the Tall Connect system allows you to connect the awning from the ground by using paracord and carabiners.
Dometic produces a whole host of awesome van life products including van refrigerators, roof vent fans, and air conditioners. As it turns out, the manufacturer also makes a pretty fantastic awning, too.
The Dometic 9500 Patio Case Awning comes in two different lengths, both of which are ideal for Mercedes Sprinter conversions. The rugged metal case features forged steel shoulders, giving the awning a super solid support system. What’s more, the case has a brush seal that cleans and seals the awning fabric.
The fabric itself is made from tough, 4-ply vinyl that’s been designed to keep you cool and dry. Plus, you’re able to choose from a variety of colors so you won’t have to deal with unfortunate color clashes!
The Dometic 9500 is side-mounted, and can easily integrate onto your Sprinter roof rack. We love that this awning doesn’t have support legs; the tough lateral arms have been designed to withstand extreme wind. In case you’re worried about that, the powered version has a sensor, so the awning will automatically retract if wind speeds are too high.
If you spend a little time checking out Sprinter van forums, you’ll quickly start seeing owners talking up Carefree awnings. Carefree might not be the most well-known manufacturer of camper van awnings, but it’s definitely well respected.
The Carefree Freedom awning is housed in a sturdy white or black aluminum case, with several sizes available. Even better, you can purchase a unique Sprinter roof mounting kit that comes with specially designed brackets.
The acrylic awning canopy is available in tons of different colors and is really easy to operate. The awning arms fold out of the lead bar once they come within reach and can be easily mounted to the side of your van. Best of all, you don’t have to extend the awning all the way, which is great if you’re parked in a tight space.
A nice feature of the 12 volt powered Carefree Freedom awning is the manual override function, which means you aren’t in trouble if something goes wrong!
The OVS Systems Nomadic 180 awning is one of the most durable and rugged options on our list. Providing a massive 88 square feet of coverage, we think this Sprinter van awning will be ideal for desert rats who need plenty of shade during the day. Not only that, the Nomadic 180 is great for those who want to travel well off the beaten track in all kinds of weather.
This super strong Sprinter awning is free standing — it uses aluminum rafters and poles, plus oversize metal hinges to keep things nice and stable. The awning fabric is made from waterproof, heat sealed 600D poly-cotton ripstop fabric that’s been designed to withstand pretty much anything Mother Nature will throw at you!
The OVS Systems Nomadic 180 comes with a bracket kit for attaching to most Sprinter roof racks, and the awning is easy for one person to deploy. With that said, you’ll most likely need to use a ladder if you plan on installing the Nomadic 180 on your high-roof Mercedes Sprinter
What To Consider Before Buying a Sprinter Van Awning
There are quite a few things to consider before committing to an awning for your Sprinter van camper. For starters, you’ll need to decide which type of awning will work best for you.
Most Sprinter owners opt for a case-style awning that’s permanently mounted to the van, although the MoonShade is a great portable option. Let’s take a look at some other things to think about before buying an awning.
Do You Really Need One?
Whether or not you need a van awning really depends on how you’ll be using your van. Just because an awning seems like a van life essential doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a lot of use out of it.
For example, if you spend a lot of time stealth camping in cities, an awning probably won’t be a good idea. After all, an awning mounted to the side of your van is definitely going to give the game away!
This is another major consideration, especially given that most of the awnings on our list cost well over $1,000. With that said, if a Sprinter awning is going to impact your van life in a positive way and you’ll use it on a regular basis, you might decide that it’ll be worth every penny.
Not all camper van awnings are created equal, and if you spend a lot of time boondocking in windy areas you’ll need to choose carefully.
No matter what the manufacturer says, most van awnings don’t stand up well to constant wind, so spend a little time perusing Sprinter owner forums to see which brand has the best reputation. The same goes for rain and snow; if you want to use your awning during the winter you’ll want to make sure it has a good drainage system.
Manual vs Powered
Many of the awnings on our list offer manual or powered options. As you’d expect, the powered options are more expensive, but they’re much easier to use. Still, most manual awnings use a hand-crank system which doesn’t demand too much muscle power. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about a failing motor!
Tips for Installing a Sprinter Van Awning
Installing an awning on your Sprinter shouldn’t be too difficult, but each model comes with different hardware and mounting instructions.
Unlike a Ram ProMaster or Ford Transit, the biggest challenge with a Sprinter is finding a place to mount your awning. Newer models are usually too curvy to allow wall mounting and the sliding door reaches almost to the van’s roofline.
The best solution is to bolt your awning to the van’s roof rails or to mount it to a roof rack. Many folks prefer the roof rack option, as it doesn’t involve drilling into the body of your van. However, having a roof rack can mean it’ll be more difficult to install solar panels and vent fans.
Remember that YouTube is a fantastic resource, as are forums such as Sprinter Source — there’s tons of great advice out there from Sprinter owners who have overcome the challenges involved in mounting awnings to their vans.
Conclusion On Sprinter Van Awnings
There’s no doubt about it, if you’re going to be spending a lot of time boondocking off-grid in your Sprinter, an awning is only going to improve your quality of life. Just think about all that cool shade you’ll have to enjoy when the temperature starts to rise!
With that said, there are tons of Sprinter awnings out there and it can be difficult to choose the right one for your setup. Still, we feel confident that any of the options on our list will be a fantastic choice for your van life adventures!
We hope you’ve found our guide to the best Sprinter van awnings useful. Please feel free to leave any thoughts or questions in the comments section!
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