The BCH Awnings Buyer Guide

Consider the reasons why home owners spend their hard earned money on a conservatory: more light, more room, a connection with the outside world (with the added comfort of a radiator), a way to escape from the rest of the family… The reasons to invest in an awning for a caravan or motorhome can be very similar – well, maybe not the latter!
As you sit beside your camping stove with that essential cup of whatever takes your fancy, and you casually observe your neighbours’ accessories, fixtures and fittings, you will notice that a very high percentage of caravan and motorhome owners have awnings. The additional storage for equipment such as tables and chairs, a place to eat without fear of inclement weather, somewhere to dry the dog before being allowed inside, a place to shelter from the sun – yes, really – with the awning sides rolled up – these are all ways in which the camping experience is enhanced by having an awning.
If you have had a motorhome or caravan for some time, or you have decided to upgrade from tent life and you are now considering purchasing an awning, it can be quite daunting to know which size and type of awning is best for you. BCH Camping has the largest awning display in the South West at our Trowbridge store, selling reputable Kampa and Vango awnings, so this is The BCH Awning Buyer’s Guide to help you navigate your way through the process.

How do I know what size of awning I will need for my motorhome or caravan?

Motorhome Awnings, also known as Drive Away Awnings

To choose a Drive Away Awning for a motorhome or van you will need to know the “attachment height”, sometimes also known as the “connection point”. Motorhomes, camper vans and other touring vans usually have a gutter rail, or awning rail. You need to measure the height of this rail from the ground, ensuring you’re measuring it from flat ground to get the most accurate measurement.
When looking through our motorhome awnings range at BCH, we always specify the “standard height to fit vehicles” which is a range of measurements, for example 230cm – 295cm. If your attachment height is 250cm you know the awning will fit your vehicle.

Caravan Awnings

To measure your caravan for a full awning – an awning which stretches across the full length of your caravan - you need to measure the flat section of the roof line as per the below diagram:
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Many awnings are not full awnings however, some are porch awnings. All of our caravan awnings at BCH have their width measurements in the product description to help you make the right choice.
Please remember that if you need any advice with the correct size awning for your vehicle the staff at our Trowbridge store, where we have our impressive awnings display, will always be happy to give you any information you need. 

How do I fix my awning to my motorhome or caravan?

Fixing a Drive Away Awning to a motorhome or vehicle

Vehicles are fitted by using the Awning Channel, Awning Rail or Gutter Rail on the vehicle. BCH Camping have accessory kits such as Figure of 8 Extrusion and DriveAway rails to suit different applications.
Fixing an awning to a caravan
Awnings are attached to caravans using a cord called a Keder which threds around the caravan into the caravan’s awning channel. The Keder is fed in from the front then pushed along the channel until the awning is flat against the caravan side. Once this is in place you construct the frame and it is then pegged down like a tent.

Fixing a caravan air awning

Again the awning is fed through the awning channel and then gradually pumped into shape. Once it is self-supporting the pegs can go in.
The BCH Camping website has many videos to demonstrate our products and how they are put together, and as always our shop staff are on hand to offer advice if you would rather field your questions to a human!

Why are some awning fabrics thicker than others?

The thickness and weight of an awning fabric is measured in denier – the higher the denier, the denser the fibres and the heavier the weight. A heavier material does create a more durable awning, but a lighter material makes the awning easier to handle.

Other fabric matters to consider when buying an awning

Some of our awnings are made with Ripstop fabrics which is material interwoven with other fibres in a crosshatch pattern which makes them more resistant to ripping and tearing. Our Kampa awnings use Weathershield which is a coating used to improve the weather resistance and durability of the awning fabric.
The packed weight of an awning varies from 15kg to 41kg. The weights are to be found in our product descriptions on the website, so please ensure you check this before buying if it is a major factor for you.

What’s new in awnings?

The biggest development in awnings in recent times is the introduction of air awnings, of which we have a huge range at BCH Camping. In our January blog, we discussed the increasing popularity of air tents. Air awnings were the next natural development.
The advantages of using inflatable awnings are that they are lighter, pack down into smaller sizes and can be put up in a matter of minutes. Please see our website for all examples of our air awnings and also do remember that at our Trowbridge Superstore we have the largest display of awnings in the South West. Do visit us, if you can, to experience all aspects of the awnings for yourself:

8 - 12 Islington, Trowbridge, Wiltshire BA14 8QE, tel 01225 764977.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 9.00am – 5.30pm
                                Sunday 10.00am – 4.00pm