A campervan awning is a great way to increase your van’s living space – it’s like an extra living room or kitchen right outside or sliding door.
A campervan awning provides shade and shelter for sitting, cooking and relaxing on warm days when you don’t want to be inside your van. Plus, an awning also helps keep the interior of your van cooler as the sun won’t be constantly beating on the metal.
Use an awning at night and hang up your Luci solar string lights to create a warm, candle-lit-style setting on warm summer evenings.
There are several types of van awnings – canopy awnings, drive-away awnings and portable awnings. We’re going to focus mostly on canopy-style awnings with one portable awning. Drive-away awnings aren’t commonly used with campervans.
Here are our top picks for the best campervan awning.
|Fiamma Awning||Check Price|
|Thule Hideaway Awning||Check Price|
|OVS Nomadic 180 Awning||Check Price|
|MoonShade Portable Awning||Check Price|
Best for Small Vans
|ARB Retractable Awning||Check Price|
#1) Best Overall: Fiamma Campervan Awning
- Fits: Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit and Dodge Promaster
- Operates: Manual winch or electric motor
- How to attach: Brackets, Factory Roof-Rails or Roof Rack
- Mounting Position: Wall or Roof
- Weight: 40-65 pounds
On campervan forum after forum, many van owners rave about the Fiamma campervan awning. These best campervan awnings are hardy, easy to deploy and are UV resistant, waterproof, and washable.
They feature extra-strong arms with a double steel cable, and there’s no way to roll the awning up incorrectly. Fiamma engineered a one-way roll system so you don’t damage your awning.
The most popular Fiamma awnings for campervans include the Fiamma F80S model and the Fiamma F45S. The main difference between the two is the F80S is roof-mounted and the F45S attaches to the wall of your van. A wall-mounted van awning will require you to drill holes in the side of your van. It also doesn’t take up precious roof space, which you may want to use for solar panels. However, you can also attach the F45S to a roof rack or roof rails.
The F80S awning is the newest model offered by Fiamma and is engineered specifically for campervans. It has better aerodynamic performance than previous models, is more compact and integrates closer to your campervan body. The F80S comes in several different sizes depending on the size and type of your van.
Both of these awnings have support legs, which you can either put on the ground or mount to the side of your van. Many van lifers like the body mount option as it can withstand higher winds. The body mount doesn’t absolutely require drilling – you can search for No-Drill Mountain Pads.
Fiamma awnings are our top pick for the best campervan awning. They are easy to deploy, come in a variety of sizes and the new F80S is designed for campervans with a more compact, streamlined design. This Italian-based company has been making RV parts since the 1980s, and is a trusted brand.
#2) Runner Up: Thule Hideaway Awning
- Fits: Large Panel Vans (Sprinter, Transit, Promaster), small cargo vans, minivans, etc, depending on size of awning
- Operates: Manual hand crank
- How to attach: Factory Roof-Rails, Roof Rack or Wall Mounting Brackets. This awning requires a mounting bracket, sold seperatly
- Mounting Position: Wall or Roof
- Weight: 40 pounds
The Thule Hideaway Awning for a campervan also gets top ratings in van build groups. It’s slightly cheaper and lighter than the Fiamma.
Unlike Fiamma, the Thule awning only comes with a manual hand crank option. You can set the legs on the ground or into wall-mount brackets on the side of your van.
Deploying the Thule Hideaway is super easy. You turn a hand crank, unfold the tucked-away legs, and extend the awning. It’s an easy, one-person job, which makes this ideal for solo travelers who might struggle with a two-person setup.
This lightweight camper awning can be installed directly onto the side of your campervan, or it can be mounted onto a roof rack. You’ll have to decide before you buy, though, as these are slightly different models.
The Thule Hideaway van awning comes in several different lengths ranging from 8.5′ to 12.3′. We recommend you check the awning’s leg height before you buy to make sure the legs will touch the ground. This is especially important if you have a high-roof campervan. Awnings provide 6.5 to 8 feet of coverage, depending on the size you order.
A spring-loaded tension arm absorbs movement and provides stability in the wind. You can set the awning’s angle, making it usable when your side door is open.
Many campervan and Sprinter van awnings can be paired with various side panels. Thule offers a range of side and front sunshades and rain blockers that easily attach to the HideAway.
To attach Thule to your roof racks, use this adaptor.
#3) Best Batwing Awning – OVS Nomadic 180
- Fits: Any campervan, SUV or truck
- Operates: Manual hand crank
- How to attach: Roof rack
- Mounting Position: Roof
- Weight: 50 pounds
The Overland Vehicle Systems 180-degree awning provides a whopping 88-square feet of shelter. If you’re looking for extra coverage, this van awning is for you.
Unlike other camper van awnings on this list, this is a freestanding awning that unfolds using aluminum rafters and poles. It deploys fairly quickly for an awning of its size and only takes one person to do the job.
This best campervan awning is made out of poly-cotton ripstop material with heat-sealed seams, making it leak-proof in the rain. This is the hardiest awning we’ve found for adverse weather conditions; you can use it in wind, rain and snow. You can also purchase walls for a complete outdoor enclosure.
Reviewers say this van awning is a well-made, sturdy product that’s easy to install and deploy. We also love the super long 4-year warranty on this camper van awning – better than any other awning we’ve found.
Keep in mind that with a high-roof van, you may need an extension ladder to set up and take down this camper van awning.
#4) Best Budget Awning: MoonShade Portable Awning
- Fits: Any van
- Operates: Manual
- How to attach: Suction cups, magnets,
- Mounting Position: Anywhere
- Weight: 8 pounds
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to the other van awnings on this list, you might want to check out the MoonShade portable awning. This is one of the easiest awnings to set up and take down, and provides 9′ by 7′ of shaded coverage.
The MoonShade lightweight awning attaches to your campervan using anchor points and gear tires, depending on what type of van you have. Some examples are suction cups, magnet anchors or anchors meant just for Mercedes Sprinter vans with roof rails.
If you have a high-roof van, the MoonShade portable van awning comes with several thin lines of paracord you can attach to carabiners to create cord pulls. This means you can deploy your awning from the ground.
This MoonShade awning folds down into the size of a yoga mat when not in use and is also lightweight at only eight pounds. Take it anywhere, even hiking, and attach to some trees for instant shade.
Unlike other van awnings on our list, you will have to detach and store this awning every time.
We love that you can also attach this awning to anything, including trees or fences. It offers shade during the day and a reflective surface bounces light back toward you at night.
This awning is a great option for those who don’t want one permanently mounted on their van.
#5) Best for Small Vans – ARB Retractable Awning
- Fits: Smaller or low-roof vans, like small cargo vans, minivans and “tradesman” vans, like low roof E350
- Operates: Manual
- How to attach:
- Mounting Position: Roof racks, rails or bars
- Weight: 40 pounds
The ARB Retractable Awning is good for smaller or low-roof campervans as that will ensure the legs reach the ground. Heavy-duty awning material is fully waterproof and offers a UV rating over 50.
The waterproof, dimmable LED light strip is ultra-convenient and can be simply rolled up with the rest of the van awning when not in use.
This ARB awning is a pretty easy install on most roof racks or roof bars, and thanks to the upgraded ARB Quick Release Bracket, it can now be easily installed on virtually any dual cab roof rack.
There are also easily-attached side panels if you’re looking for a bit more privacy or coverage from the harsher elements like wind, rain, or snow.
This self-standing van awning is easy to deploy with telescopic legs. There are several sizes available, so choose accordingly.
#6) DIY Awning (Cheapest)
Photo courtesy Cathal O’Malley
If you don’t want to shell out big bucks for a campervan awning, consider making your own. Cathal O’Malley made his own awning for his Promaster campervan using a piece of canvas and telescoping poles. The canvas is hooked to roof attachment points on the Promaster.
If you don’t have a Promaster, this same system would work using your van’s roof rails or roof rack. You can also find magnet attachment points for the canvas D-rings.
This entire DIY campervan awning cost just $80. Here are the products Cathal used:
How to attach a van awning
The installation of each type and model of van awning will have unique installation instructions. Make sure to read and follow the literature that comes with your unit.
In general, camper van awnings are either mounted to the side of your van, to the roof racks on top, or to the roof’s rail system. If you don’t have a roof rack or rail system, you can purchase one before mounting your awning. Check out Flatline Van Companys Low Pro Roof Rack or Safario Roof Rack for Sprinters and Transits.
Most people who have a roof rack or rail system prefer to install it on that instead of directly onto the side of the van. Installing into your van’s side is a much more permanent decision, where roof rack or rail installations can usually be taken off without damage.
However – installing the rack on the side of your van leaves space ont he roof for solar panels, sporting equipment and cargo boxes. You’ll have to decide which method is right for you.
Keep in mind that if you do a side mount for your awning, you will have to drill holes in your campervan.
The MoonShade portable awning doesn’t require you to mount it permanently at all. You can use suction cups or magnets to use your awning whenever you feel like it. This makes the MoonShade awning the most flexible on our list.
Tips on Choosing the Best Campervan Awning for Your Setup
There are several factors to consider before choosing a campervan awning. Here’s some food for thought to get you started.
What is your budget?
Camper van awnings can cost a pretty penny, with most of the more popular models $700-$1,300. The cheapest route is the MoonShade Portable awning or create a DIY awning using a canopy and telescoping legs.
How often will you use your van awning?
Think hard about how often you will truly use a campervan awning. We watched one interesting YouTube video where the van lifer said he used an awning way more with a smaller campervan. Once he got a Sprinter van he preferred to just sit inside the van on sunny days rather than deal with deploying an awning.
If you think you’ll use your awning all the time, you probably want to consider a sturdy awning that can withstand the test of time, like the Fiamma or Thule Hideaway. You also want your awning top be super easy to deploy.
The MoonShade portable awning is a great choice for outdoor space if you’re not sure how often you’ll use an awning. You won’t have to mount a permanent structure to your van.
What weather will you be camping in?
Some of the best campervan awnings on our list aren’t meant to be used in high winds or inclement weather. If you’re in a windy climate, you probably won’t be able to use most awnings. The Overland Vehicle Systems 180-degree Batwing awning may be your best bet for wind and rain.
Are you okay with extra wind noise and drag?
Keep in mind that anything you attach on the side of your van creates wind noise and drag, awnings not excluded. While the sound won’t be incredibly loud, you’ll most likely hear it.
Luckily, in most van life forums, we haven’t seen any impact on driving or maneuverability with an awning attached.
Conclusion on camper van awnings
Van awnings are an essential accessory for any campervan. They provide shade on sunny days and can make your life easier when you want to cook outside, shower or sleep in the great outdoors.
With so many options out there it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the different aspects that need consideration before deciding which is best for you.
We hope this article helped narrow down your list by providing insight into some key factors like budget, how often you plan on using your awning and what type of weather conditions will be present most frequently where you camp.
If we missed anything important in our post please let us know! We are always happy to help answer questions about campervan gear or give tips from experience if needed!
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