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Vans and campervans are some of the most versatile and useful vehicles on the market. With plenty of storage space and room to move, they make excellent shelters for camping trips and travel in general.
However, being confined to your van can soon make a fun road trip feel like less of an adventure and more of a drag.
What’s more, setting up a tent outside your van often doesn’t make the situation much better. First, there’s the hassle of setting it up and then the lack of proximity to your van.
Ever tried running from a tent to a van and back in the pouring rain every time you want a snack or a beer from the refrigerator? It’s not ideal. Plus, you’re likely to feel just as cramped and isolated in a tent as you would in a van.
The solution? Van awnings! Awnings are fabric coverings that provide shelter over outdoor spaces. There are awnings on the market for driveways, porches, shop fronts, and yes, even vans!
Stay tuned to find out about the top 5 van awnings currently available, as well as top tips for choosing the best awning for your van!
Best Van Awnings
1. Best Overall: Versatility Teardrop Awning
Our top recommendation for van awning is the Versatility Teardrop Awning!
This awning is suitable for use on vans of virtually all sizes, from minivans to larger, full-sized vans. The only firm requirement for compatibility is that the van must be a hatchback model.
The Versatility Teardrop Awning provides a large shaded area that can be adjusted from 60+ square feet to 76+ square feet, depending on your intended use.
Thanks to the highly durable 210T ripstop polyester material, the Versatility Teardrop Awning is both tough and water-resistant, making it ideal for outdoor living. However, there are also air vents around the peak of the canopy, ensuring proper ventilation at all times!
Installing this van awning is a quick and easy process. All you have to do is rope the awning to the back of the van and, if desired, use the steel poles to prop it up for wider coverage.
The required ropes, poles, and additional sandbags for anchoring are included with the purchase, so you can start using your new van awning right out of the box!
With that being said, even though the installation is theoretically a simple procedure, the instructions that come with the product aren’t very clear.
This may cause some initial confusion over the process. However, there are video tutorials available online which may be more helpful.
- Compatible with hatch-door vans of all sizes – Widely compatible
- 60 – 76+ square feet – Large coverage area
- 210T polyester – Durable and water-resistant
- Peak air vents – Optimal ventilation
- Ropes, poles, and sandbags included – Easy installation
- Unclear instructions – Installation may be initially confusing
2. Best Waterproof: REDCAMP Waterproof Car Awning
All of the van awnings in our top 5 are water-resistant to a certain degree. However, if you’re looking for a fully waterproof car awning for camping in the wettest weather, the REDCAMP Waterproof Car Awning may be your best bet!
What makes this awning so waterproof, as well as tear-proof and UV-resistant, is its 3-tier design. The fabric covering is made of 3 layers that work together to provide protection from the elements.
The top layer is the PU3000 waterproof layer. This layer of fabric is not permeable by water, so it’s effective at keeping any rain and moisture out.
The second layer is made of 190T Ripstop fabric for tear-proofing purposes. The third and final layer is a UV50+ sunscreen. The sunscreen layer prevents any harmful UV rays from penetrating the awning.
All accessories required for installation are included with the purchase. There are 8 wind ropes and 6 ground stakes for secure anchoring.
However, the installation is recommended to be carried out by 2 to 3 people, so it’s possibly not the best option for solo adventuring.
A storage bag is also included to increase the awning’s ease of portability and storage.
The awning measures 320 x 230 x 220cm when unfolded, which is just over 3 x 2 x 2 meters. This should provide enough shelter for 2 to 3 people, with chairs and a small table.
- 3-tier layering – Waterproof, tear-proof, and UV-proof
- Wind ropes, pipes, and ground stakes included – No separate purchases necessary
- Includes storage bag – Easy storage and portability
- 320 x 230 x 220cm – Sizeable coverage
- Installation requires 2-3 people – Not for single-person use
3. Best Versatile: Mr. Strong Car Tail Tent Awning
Versatility is an important factor in any van awning. Weather is liable to change, and what might be the perfect angle for coverage on one day may not be on the next.
The Mr. Strong Car Tail Tent Awning is the perfect size for minivans and also happens to be extremely versatile!
This awning provides generous coverage, enough for a picnic table or several chairs. 3 to 4 people can shelter under the awning at any one time.
Moreover, this polyester awning features a waterproof coating that provides sufficient water-resistance for long-term, outdoor use.
The real benefit of the Mr. Strong Car Tail Tent Awning, however, is that it can be easily adjusted to cater to multiple uses and weather conditions. The awning can be raised or lowered to function as a tail curtain, sky curtain, or arbor.
Anchoring accessories, including rope and ground nails, are included with the package, along with a storage bag to enhance portability. Therefore, the awning is ready to install on delivery and can be easily transported to and from locations easily.
However, the anchoring utensils in the quantities provided do not stand up very well against strong winds, so extra nails and ropes may be required for use in particularly bad weather.
- Ideal for minivans – Useful extension for small spaces
- Waterproof coating – Resistant to moisture and rain
- Large covering – Room enough for 3 to 4 people
- Includes storage bag and anchoring accessories – Portable and easy to install
- Not very wind-resistant – May require some extra anchoring in strong winds
4. Best for Easy Installation: Napier Sportz Cove Awning
Despite making a very useful addition to vehicles for outdoor living purposes, van awning isn’t always the easiest to install. Often, multiple people are required for installation, and poor instructions can make the process even more difficult.
Luckily, the Napier Sportz Cove Awning is the perfect van awning for campers looking for an easy and stress-free installation process.
This is a relatively small awning designed to provide light shelter around the back of a van. Although the size of the awning may be perceived as a disadvantage depending on the desired usage, the upside is that the installation can be carried out by a single person. All you need are the ropes and poles included with the purchase.
The Napier Sportz awning also provides additional protection against the weather and insects, thanks to its integrated storm flap and mesh screen.
A storage bag is included with the awning to simplify transport and storage.
Unfortunately, this awning is not large enough for full-sized vans, although it’s perfect as an extension for cramped minivans.
- Small size – Easy, single-person installation
- High-quality polyester – Durable and weather-resistant
- Integrated storm flap and mesh – Extra privacy and protection
- Storage bag included – Effective transportation and storage
- Not for large vans – Only suitable for minivans
5. Best Heavy-Duty: Slumberjack Roadhouse Tarp Awning
Finally, if you’re looking for a robust, heavy-duty van awning for prolonged outdoor use in almost any weather, the Slumberjack Roadhouse Tarp Awning might be exactly what you need!
This awning is made out of a waterproof, nylon mesh tarp, which is highly effective at keeping rain and other forms of moisture out of the shelter.
Installation involved roping both to the ground using anchoring pegs and to the back of the van in question. Poles are also included for structural support.
With all of these installation tools, you can be sure that your awning won’t fly away even in moderate to strong winds.
Additionally, this awning is perfect for nature-lovers who want to feel as integrated into the natural world as possible. The camouflage color of the fabric blends inconspicuously into its surroundings for a peaceful outdoor living experience.
The Slumberjack Roadhouse Tarp Awning comes with a strong yet lightweight storage bag that makes outdoor van living more practical and convenient than ever!
Sadly, while this awning will work with compact van models, it’s not designed for taller vans such as Ford models.
- Nylon mesh tarp – Strong and waterproof
- Camouflage color – Blends into nature
- Poles, ropes, and pegs included – Sturdy grounding
- Includes storage bag – Practical transport and storage solution
- Not compatible with Ford vans – Not for taller van models
Best Van Awning Buyer’s Guide
Still not sure which awning would work best with your van and your adventuring needs? No problem!
We’ve put together this buyer’s guide to help you on your way to a more space-efficient van life!
The first thing you’ll want to consider is the size of your prospective awning. This factor should be considered in terms of the size of your van and the area of coverage that you’re hoping for.
Most larger vehicle awnings on the market right now will be suitable for installation on small vans, including minivans. Minivans, also known as ‘people carriers,’ are small-scale vans featuring several rows of reconfigurable or foldable seats. These versatile vehicles are ideal for travel because they can transport several people at one time as well as a good deal of luggage.
Now, where full-sized vans, campervans, and RVs are concerned, finding an awning of a suitable size can be more of a struggle. This is primarily because most vehicle awnings come with lengths of rope and, in some cases, poles included.
While this is, of course, a bonus, it also means that the pre-cut lengths of rope and pole may not be universally compatible with all vans.
However, our top choice, the Versatility Teardrop Awning, is large enough and comes with the appropriate anchoring accessories to fit vans of all sizes, including full-sized vans.
So, if you’ve got a larger fan (a Ford, for example) and want an awning to go with it, our best overall choice will be the right way to go.
There is also the option, for awnings that don’t rely on poles for front support, to lengthen the anchoring system with bungee cords or similar material.
However, altering a product such as this may void the warranty, and the stability of the structure will no longer be guaranteed. Therefore, we would recommend holding off until you can find an awning that fits your van out of the box.
In terms of coverage, you will need to judge your size requirements based on a couple of different factors. Firstly, how many people do you anticipate using the awning at any one time?
Additionally, will you be sheltering a picnic table or chairs under the awning? Your answers to these questions will determine what size awning you should choose.
We’ll start by using our best overall choice as a size guide. The maximum size of the Versatility Teardrop Awning, when extended, is just over 76 square feet.
Now, how many people you’ll be able to accommodate under an awning of this size will vary depending on everyone’s spatial requirements and the positioning of other furniture.
However, a good guideline is that a large awning of this size should be able to fit between 2 and 4 people with chairs, and possibly a small table depending on the number of people.
Some of the smaller awnings in our selection, such as the Napier Sportz Cove Awning, will only be suitable for a couple of people at any one time and won’t be ideal for sheltering larger items of furniture like tables.
The purpose of van awning is to facilitate the option for outdoor living directly from the back of your van.
Therefore, any high-quality van awning should be sufficiently resistant to the elements. In other words, it should be durable enough to withstand whatever the weather might throw at it.
Ideally, van awning should include a range of protective features, which we’ll discuss shortly. However, the single most important factor in awning durability is tear resistance.
It’s all very well having advanced waterproof coatings and mosquito nets, but if your awning ends up with a gaping hole in it, none of that will be of any use.
The strength (or thickness) of fabric material, such as those used in awning construction, can be measured in either Denier or Tex (D or T).
Both are measurements of mass according to length, although Denier is more commonly used in the United States, while Tex is used more often in Europe and Canada. 1 Denier is equal to 9 Tex.
Our top choice, for example, ranks at 210 T in terms of material thickness, which ensures a high level of tear-resistance.
Be on the lookout for the word ‘Ripstop’ in product descriptions. Ripstop fabric is woven in a way that ensures that any punctures or tears in the material will not spread.
It’s also a good idea to prioritize awnings that have been treated with a waterproof coating. If possible, try to opt for multi-layer construction. This will not only provide a thicker barrier between yourself and the elements but allow for several other protective features.
Now that we’ve got durability sorted, it’s time to think about the other protective features you can benefit from with van awning.
It’s important for van awning to be waterproof, or at the very least, water-resistant to make it appropriate for unrestricted outdoor use. The best way to ensure protection from rain and moisture is to prioritize
Even outdoor living enthusiasts may be unaware that the sun’s UV rays are able to penetrate layers of material, causing damage even through a fabric shelter. That’s why we recommend choosing an awning with built-in UV protection, as seen in the third layer of the REDCAMP Waterproof Car Awning.
Insects can be a pain when you’re trying to enjoy a relaxing day or night outdoors. If you want to protect yourself from creepy crawlies without completely blocking your view of nature, mesh or netting panels are the way to go.
It’s also important to consider how your needs might change from one day to the next when you’re out in your van. Some days, you might just need a light shelter, while at other times, a more complete level of coverage may be required.
That’s why adjustability is so useful in a van awning. An adjustable awning will allow you to lower the shelter (usually using the included lengths of rope and anchoring accessories) to protect against conditions like slanting rain and incoming wind as needed.
When the weather is fine, you can simply raise the awning again to enjoy all the beauty of your surroundings.