1 Jun

Very early on, when we were still contemplating whether to buy a caravan, having an awning was a given. It was obvious, wasn’t it? Why wouldn’t you want to double the size of your living space? After all, the cockpit of Seren Môr complete with bimini (sunshade) and sides as required was the most used ‘room’ on the boat. A week after taking possession of the caravan and we were not so sure.

We had yet to put up the full awning that came with the caravan. It was either too windy, too wet or not worth it as we would be moving on soon. I’ve been assured the process is frustrating and time consuming, not to mention marriage-destroying, until you know what you are doing. In the meantime we sat outside on sunny days and were very comfortable inside when the weather was not so good. So I asked the question on Caravan Chat: Do we need an awning? It was labelled a ‘hot’ thread as it became clear that opinion was pretty divided.

Some wouldn’t be without their full awning. I could certainly see how it would be essential for those with children – space for them to play and somewhere to store their bikes etc – and really useful for those with dogs. But as we’re travelling with neither this didn’t really apply to us. The arguments that most struck home were made by gumdrop: “If you have a fixed bed or like to leave the bed made up then an awning is useful ….keep (the) caravan private, and entertain holiday friends in the awning” and by mw3230 “for a longer stay in the sun a full sized awning would be preferable to accommodate table and chairs for eating out and recliners for relaxing”

Most of the comments, by far, were in favour of a porch awning rather than a full one: “A porch awning is super handy and very quick to put up.  Just means that you have somewhere to leave wet stuff or to dry towels during the day without the van getting too damp” from newbievanner and “somewhere to keep muddy boots and wet coats also stops the cold wind blowing into the van when the door is opened nice to sit in when the wind is on the cool side” from Sorento man were typical. Some had changed from a full to a porch awning or only used the full one on longer stays.

The newer, lighter-weight, porch awnings were obviously very popular and there is one in particular we are eyeing up (the new neighbours have got one). It does come at a price, however, and annoyingly has lots of ‘extras’ that are really essentials which bumps the price up even more.

So we’ve made a decision. We’re taking the awning back to the in-laws’ garage. As IainM1970 said “We haven’t used an awning in about ten years … a very liberating decision!” We don’t have to go that far but it is liberating. And we can still change our mind next season.


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