How to measure and fit caravan awnings

Caravan awnings are a fantastic and, most-importantly, simple way to increase the space of your caravan when holidaying.

To make sure the purchase and assembly of your caravan awning is as stress-free as possible, it’s vital to know how to measure a caravan awning, how to put it up, and how to look after it and keep it looking great for years to come.

How to measure a caravan awning

So, how to measure a caravan awning? To make sure you can get an awning that properly fits your caravan, you’ll need to get the ‘A’ measurement. As shown in the diagram, the A measurement is the distance from the ground up, all the way around your caravan’s awning rail, and back down to the ground.

Where to find the A measurement

If you’ve kept your caravan’s instruction manual in a safe place, finding the A measurement will be a simple and straightforward process, as all the dimensions of the caravan will be included within.

How to measure the A measurement

Unfortunately, if you don’t have the instruction manual to hand, you’ll need to measure the A measurement the old-fashioned way, with either a ball of string, a roll of 5mm rope, a ball of wool and a tent peg.  

Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Knock the tent peg into the ground parallel with the back edge of the awning rail directly under the caravan.

Step 2: Secure your measuring twine to the tent peg and begin to feed it through the awning rail, all along the caravan.

Step 3: Continue pulling your twine all the way to the ground, once it’s through the other side. It’s essential you account for this measurement to accommodate the full size of a modern caravan awning.

Step 4: Once you’re happy everything is secure, cut the twine as close to the ground where you finished measuring.

Step 5: Carefully remove the twine from the awning rail and measure it, ensuring you have the measurement in centimetres.

Does the awning have to be exact?

It’s important to try and get your awning measurement as precise as possible, however it doesn’t always have to be an exact fit as the manufacturers make their products to fit a range of sizes.  

For example, if your A measurement was 788cm, for certain manufacturers you would opt for an awning size of 800, while it would be 780 with other manufacturers. Most good caravan awning suppliers will be able to run you through the different options and help you decide on the best possible awning for your caravan.

How to put up a caravan awning

When it comes to learning how to put up a caravan awning, you should always be prepared and make sure you follow the key steps one by one. In terms of preparation, ensure you have the instructions to hand and that all the parts are present, including the awning itself, the inner tent and the poles.

All frames will be made up of three sub-assemblies:

  • The vertical legs
  • The front right and left sections
  • The roof poles

Before putting up a caravan awning

Before putting up and assembling a caravan awning, run through the following checks:

  • Ensure the awning rail is open all the way along and there’s nothing that may tear the material.  
  • Identify your poles and mark them with coloured tape to distinguish them from one another.  
  • Spray the awning channel/rail with a silicone lubricant.  
  • Read the instructions!

Assembling a caravan awning

Step 1: Start by threading the awning through the channel, beginning at the end at the back edge of the awning rail.  

Step 2: Have one person feeding it through from the start point and another feeding it along. The fact that you’ve already lubricated the awning channel should mean that you won’t need to force it.

Step 3: Ensure the awning is all the way through and positioned in the centre. Adjust it if you need to and get it in line with the middle of the caravan.

Step 4: Fit the front centre vertical pole through the roof canvas. Keep it at an angle to support the roof. Hold onto it if it’s windy while you’re assembling the awning.

Step 5: Insert a roof pole into the middle bracket pad, extend it and connect it to the centre vertical pole. Tension the roof pole and when it’s square with your caravan, lock it into position and leave the vertical pole at an angle.

Step 6: Fit the corner vertical poles to the extended front connecting pole, before extending the vertical poles to the ground.

Step 7: Insert the roof poles into the bracket pads, fitting them to the corner poles. Make sure you tension the awning in small steps to ensure that is secure.

Step 8: Add the guy ropes as soon as possible. Peg out the skirt starting nearest to the caravan and drive the pegs in at an angle.

Step 9: Add the draught skirt and curtains.

Maintaining your caravan awning

From regular use and from being placed on the ground before being assembled and when taken down, your awning will naturally become dirty and slightly grubby. With that in mind, do everything you can to continue to look after it.

You’ll want to store it in a dry and well-aired place – inside the caravan is fine in summer but not in winter – and never pack it away when it is damp or wet. It’s also worth storing canvas and poles separately.

How to clean a caravan awning

Choose a dry day and lay the awning out on a clean surface, gently washing the walls, draught skirt and wheel arch cover with warm water. Give the pegs a good wash with warm soapy water before wiping down the poles with a damp cloth. If there’s any oil and grease residue, wash with warm soapy water.

Fitting a caravan awning can completely transform your caravan – just remember to measure up correctly, choose the right awning, and look after it as much as possible.