Guide to caravan awning types

17th May 2013


Our “caravan awnings” video guide offers a buyers’ guide to the different types of caravan awning available in the UK today. The video covers all the main awning types that Shield caravan insurance customers are likely to come across (including porch, combi and full awnings) and features expert contributions from caravan journalist, Andrew Jenkinson and Steve Biggs of Isabella Awnings UK.

Transcript to caravan awnings video guide

Caravan awnings, well let’s face it, this has been the godsend to the modern caravan.

I’m a firm believer that 70% of the caravanner’s life is actually in the awning and not in the caravan, this is your home. This is where you will eat, entertain, and the children will play.

There are three types of awning: there’s a porch awning, a full awning, and a combi awning.

Porch awnings

A porch awning is very small, it covers the doorway of the caravan, it’s easy to erect, you can have a porch put up in about 15 minutes without any problems at all.

Porch awnings now, the roof generally slides into the end of your caravan, and you move it along the caravan to where you actually want it to fit. The biggest advantage with a porch awning: if you change your caravan two or three years down the line, there’s a good possibility that it’s still going to fit your caravan.

Here we are – we’re in a porch awning. The great beauty about a porch awning is it’s absolutely ideal if you’ve got a dog.

Combi awnings

Well a combi awning goes in your awning rail, and at a certain point it drops out of your caravan channel.

This is absolutely ideal to put up on your own, actually. Also, it’s ideal if you’re away for a bank holiday weekend, or if you’re away for a week. Put a couple of deck chairs in, maybe a bike, maybe a barbecue, you know, instead of putting them in the caravan.

Full awnings

With a full awning, it’s designed to go all the way around your caravan channel, and give you a nice feel, and use the full lengths of your caravan for your living accommodation.

If you want to entertain people, especially if you’re on site, and you’ve got friends with you, and it’s nice weather especially, you can have the full awning, you can have it open, it’s just like having a conservatory on your house actually. It’s very good. So a full awning is very good if you like entertaining and take a lot of stuff with you. I’ve even seen people put a classic car in a full awning, that’s how good they are.

You’ve got to remember of course with a full awning, it will take a little bit longer to put up, and also you will need a helper. It’s absolutely worthwhile to have something like this if you’re staying in a position, you’re not going to be travelling around, and again if you’re bringing a lot of bikes, and the patio set with you, a full awning basically, is quite essential.

Latest innovation

There’s different frames, you get steel frames, fibreglass, carbon fibre, flexi poles and now there’s also air as well.

This is a new inflatable awning, it just shows you nothing really does stand still just when you think it has. It’s very innovative, it’s literally put up in ten minutes and taken down in about the same time, it’s quite lightweight as well. It looks very simple to do, is this the future? Well it’s an alternative. I think we will just have to wait and see, but there is certainly a lot of interest in it, it could take a lot of pain out of putting a normal awning up.

Choosing an awning

My advice is go and look exactly what you’re after, how much your budget is, go for an awning, a good top-quality awning if you’re going to leave that awning up for a long period of time. If you’re going to use that awning, say only a couple times a year, because you’re going to put it up when you’re actually on holiday, and not in between times, then probably it’s not a good idea to spend a lot of money on it.

So do a little bit of research, because they are a lot of money and a good awning will last you a long, long time.

Taking care of your awning

When an awning is taken down it needs to be folded correctly, protect the windows and always make sure it’s clean. Years ago, awnings had to be dry before you put them away, because it’s all manmade material now, there is not great rush to get out and dry them but clean all the mud off the pegs and everything, and always separate the poles from the canvas. Never put the two together because the window could attach to the poles and mark the windows.


An awning is a significant part of your caravanning kit; it goes towards your sums insured and what you pay overall for your insurance premium for your caravan.

The way we work it out is, we split it into four components; Your caravan itself, the contents of your caravan, the equipment, things like your gas bottles, batteries, etc, and then the awning. So please remember if during the course of the season you decide to change your awning or decide to upgrade it form a porch awning to a full awning, please notify us of the new value otherwise you wouldn’t be insured in the event of a claim.

For further guidance and support, see our guide to buying a caravan awning or check out our step by step instructions for assembling your awning.

Ensure your awning is in the safest possible hands with touring caravan insurance from Shield. For comprehensive cover for your caravan and awning, whether at home or on tour in Europe. Get a quote today, or request a callback at a time that’s convenient for you.

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