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Motorhome awnings - What kind of vehicle? Inflatable awnings, lightweight or partial awnings?

After purchasing the motorhome or camping bus of your choice, the next question is: Which awning is right for me? First of all you should know that not every tent fits on a motorhome or bus. Fully retracted awnings are unfortunately not used here. There is no piping rail around the vehicle. If you have a canopy on the vehicle, this usually has a rail or a straight channel rail under the awning of the camper. Unfortunately there is no rail on most camping buses (e.g. VW Bus). However, some awnings are offered, such as the Dorema Traveller Air All Season, where you can lay the tunnel of the awning over the vehicle or glue a piping rail into the rain gutter. 

The information provided here is intended to give you an insight with background information and tips on the subject of motorhomes awnings & Motorhomes Annex and also serve as a purchase decision for your next motorhome awning. Here we try to clarify the most frequently asked questions:

  • Differences: Freestanding - Moving in motorhome awnings
  • Air awnings or partially drawn-in awnings - Lightweight awnings
  • Stability motorhome ? Air awnings
  • Differences: Freestanding - Moving in motorhome awnings
  • Can a piping rail be retrofitted?

Freestanding motorhome annex or retracted awning?

If you decide to buy an awning for your vehicle, you are faced with the question, which awning can be used at all? If the vehicle has a piping rail at a height of 235 - 255 cm, a partially retracted awning is no problem. However, you should not insert any air awnings into the channel rail of the piping of the awning, unless the air awning is expressly designed for this (as the Dorema Futura RM). (More below) A retracted awning expands the living area and creates a connection to the vehicle. You go directly from the motorhome into the awning. These tents are available with poles or air frames.

Another variant is a free-standing annex, where a tunnel can be pulled into the awning to connect it to the motorhome. If you don't have an awning and want a connection, you can either glue a piping rail or throw the tunnel over the vehicle (e.g. VW bus) and fix it with straps. The height of the awning or piping can vary from 180 - 330 cm. Here you go from the interior of the camper from the tunnel into the tent or without tunnel outside and then into the awning. Without a tunnel there is no connection between the awning and the vehicle. Without the connection you are exposed to rain and wind. But a Inflatable lightweight motorhome annex also has a decisive advantage. You can uncouple it from the motorhome and explore the area or do some shopping with the motorhome. Freestanding motorhome annex are usually of a semicircular construction. Another advantage is, that the freestanding tents can be used for let’s say parties and alike in your garden, or your driveway at home!

Inflatable awnings or awnings with poles?

There is a very clear trend in motorhome awnings, which is called inflatable air awnings. If you look at the sales figures at the camping trade fairs in England, Austria and Germany, which are attended by Vorzelte-Profis, the demand for inflatable awnings is growing every year. This is due to the advantages such as fast set up times and a high level of stability. In strong winds, an air awning only bends and then returns to its original shape. The air awnings have also proved their worth in snow. 14 days of winter camping is really fun with these. Snow has no chance and simply falls from the awning roof if you just shake it once. A winter awning or 4 seasons tent can also be used, but you should have a piping rail on the vehicle. If we should make a recommendation, the Dorema Air awnings are our go to tents at Vorzelte-Profis. Pole Awnings for motorhomes are usually supplied with glass fibre, steel, Aluminum poles or even as a novelty in the stable and lightweight Fibre Tech Plus. Extra awning poles can be found in our tent poles & accessories online shop.

Can I connect my awning to the channel rail of the motorhome awning?

The question cannot be answered with Yes or No, it depends on the motorhome awning. There are special motorhome air awnings such as the Dorema Futura Air RM All Season  (RM stands for motorhome) which can be inserted into the piping of the awning. But be careful, especially with air awnings that are NOT intended for motorhomes and motorhomes, the air struts will press on the awning and damage it over time or in strong winds. Here very high forces arise which make it impossible to use the awning later. According to information from Dorema there will be an inflatable air awning which can be used up to a height of 275 cm. (Futura Air All Season RM High) For all motorhome air tube tents intended for this purpose, proceed as follows: Extend the awning, then thread the motorhome awning into the channel rail of the awning. Then retract the awning again, inflate the air awning and tension it with the tried and tested Wurmi air hose set. If you don't want water and mud in the awning, you can order a Miru-Tec water protection tarpaulin for your motorhome awning.

You do not have a piping rail or awning cassette on your motorhome?

This is basically no problem, there are enough piping rails in Aluminum or plastic which you can buy to your required size or can be cut to size. Every good motorhome dealer of your choice should offer this service. If possible, the Aluminum piping rails should only be glued to enable them to be removed later and not to leave any holes in your motorhome. Now some campers will doubt that a glued piping rail holds correctly. In addition it is said however that even Airbus with its airplanes glues the wings and here is security far higher and more loads develop than at your camper. We can recommend products from Dekalin and Sikaflex as adhesives. However, please note the height of the awnings. The tentrail piping should have a height of 235 - 255 cm at Dorema in the normal version with a partial awning. With the new high tents it can be up to 275 cm. Exception: Freestanding awnings here even have a height of up to 330 cm. (Dorema Traveller Air XL)

Vorzelte-Profis Tip: If you decide on a motorhome awning, you should decide on an air awnings. This is supported by construction time and stability even in strong winds. Who would like to undertake tours with its vehicle should order itself a free standing air mobile home awning online. Here we can recommend the Dorema Traveller series. Accessories such as frames, air tubes and water protection tarpaulins can be found in the Dorema Accessories Online Shop.