How to measure and fit a caravan awning

Written by Nick Grant


Published on 30th January 2023


Last Updated on 23rd February 2024


Read time: 7 minutes

chairs by caravan

When fitted correctly, caravan awnings can offer a way to extend living space and enhance your design aesthetic. Thankfully, you don’t need to be a caravan expert to fit an awning to your mobile home.

We have a few tips to help you quickly set up a caravan awning, covering a range of information, from the different types of caravan awnings to how to measure and fit.

What is a caravan awning?

Essentially, an awning is a tent-like shelter you connect to the side of your caravan. Typically, caravan owners use these as living spaces, additional bedrooms, or extra storage.

Different types of caravan awning

Generally, there are two main types of awnings to choose from: a full awning or a porch awning. What you choose largely depends on your caravan’s size, your budget, and how you want to use it. Let’s discuss the differences:

Full awning

A full awning covers the entire length of a caravan’s side, providing maximum room for extending your living space or bedroom. However, they can take a while to put up, so they can be best suited if you’re planning an extended stay at a holiday park or are carrying large belongings with you. Remember, full awnings are specifically fitted to your caravan, so if you change it in the future, the awning may not fit correctly.

Porch awning

A porch awning is a smaller extension attached to your caravan’s doorway. Rather than using the whole side of your caravan, it extends part of your doorway.

Since they’re smaller, porch awnings are easier to put up and take down, but they don’t offer as much space. However, even if you upgrade your caravan further down the line, your porch awning will likely still fit correctly, which can make them versatile.

How to measure for a caravan awning

So, how do you know what size caravan awning you need? The first step is to measure your caravan. To find the awning size, look in the owner’s manual – it should be listed there. If the manual isn’t in your caravan, a quick online search may help you track it down.

Alternatively, you can measure it manually if you don’t have access to the manual. First, you’ll need the ‘A’ measurement, which measures the distance from the ground up, around your caravan’s awning rail, and down to the ground again. Getting the ‘A’ measurement can be fiddly, so we’ve outlined a step-by-step guide below to help you.

Calculating the ‘A’ measurement

To calculate the ‘A’ measurement, follow these steps:

  • Get a tent peg and a ball of string.
  • Locate the awning rail at the rear of the caravan.
  • Knock the tent peg into the ground, ensuring it’s directly below the awning rail.
  • Attach the end of the string to the awning rail.
  • Direct the string through the entire awning rail, then down to the ground at the front of the caravan.
  • Cut the string accurately at the point where it meets the ground.
  • Measure the length of the entire string to get your ‘A’ measurement.

How to measure a caravan for a porch awning

Measuring a porch awning is easier. You only need two measurements:

  1. The awning height – measure from the ground vertically to the awning rail.
  2. The awning length – measure the length of the straight section across the top of the awning rail.

To ensure the porch awning covers your doorway, include the caravan door within the length measurement. You may also want to account for any windows and whether you want these surrounded by the porch.

How to put up a caravan awning

Although it might seem daunting, you can fit a caravan awning yourself. Here’s a detailed guide to get started.

1.Prepare to put up the caravan awning

Before putting up the awning, it’s worth preparing your caravan and checking you have all the necessary parts. First, ensure the awning channel is open and in good working order – look out for any sharp edges that may damage or tear the awning.

Identify your poles and label them, so you know which ones you need at which point.

Generally, a caravan awning is made up of three parts:

  • Vertical legs
  • Front, right, and left sections
  • Roof poles

Read through the instructions thoroughly, so you know what’s involved – and whether you need extra help!

2. Assemble the awning

Once you have everything you need, it’s time to assemble the awning:

  • Spray the awning channel with a silicone lubricant to help you attach the awning.
  • Lay the ground sheet down and peg all corners.
  • Thread the awning through the available channel – start at the end to make it easier, or at another wide entry point.
  • Once threaded through, ensure the awning is positioned centrally.
  • Attach the bracket pads to the centre and either side of your caravan.
  • Secure the awning to the bracket pads.

3. Put up the awning frame

Ensure everything is secured in place before putting up the awning frame. Then, you should:

  • Find the centre roof poles and begin to assemble them – start in the middle and work your way to the outer edges to help keep the awning stable.
  • Attach the centre leg to the awning, being sure to angle it towards the rear of the caravan, so that the frame doesn’t collapse.
  • Attach the side and front poles, angling them in the same way as the previous step.
  • Adjust the leg heights until the top of the awning’s side panel is horizontal.
  • Zip in the front panels.

4. Make adjustments as needed

If your awning isn’t quite ready to turn into a living space, you can move things around to get it looking right. Adjust the tension on the front poles if needed. If there is a centre leg, ensure it’s central to the awning.

If the roof is sagging slightly, check the tension of the roof poles. If they’re not tight enough, the fabric might give way.

5. Peg the caravan awning in

Once everything is in place, you can peg the caravan awning:

  • Start at the rear point and slot in the tension peg.
  • Hammer it halfway in, checking the tension as you go.
  • Adjust the tension if needed, then hammer the peg down.
  • Repeat with the front corners, followed by the rest of the peg points.

At this point, your awning should be up and ready to enjoy.

Why is it essential to ensure your caravan awning is correctly measured and fitted?

Porch awnings can be flexible, so you can fit them to caravans of varying sizes. That said, they still need to be the correct measurements for your caravan.

If an awning is too large, the roof might sag, causing it to collect rainwater. Eventually, it may collapse and flood your porch area. On the other hand, if the awning is too small, you won’t be able to peg it out properly – leaving you with restricted space and an increased risk of damage.

You’ll also need to measure the height and width of the awning correctly, so it doesn’t block windows and doorway access. Decide which windows and doors you want the awning to cover before you get started.

How to maintain your caravan awning

Maintained and properly managing awnings can help them to last longer. So, clean it regularly to avoid a build-up of dirt and mould. You should also let it dry thoroughly before taking it down and putting it away.

Protect your caravan with Intasure

Consider investing in caravan insurance to protect your investment. Although it’s not mandatory, caravan insurance can be worthwhile to help safeguard your property against damage and theft. At Intasure, we offer mobile and static caravan insurance policies that can cover contents, vandalism, theft, and even public liability claims. To get a quote, contact the team by calling 0345 111 0680 or get a quote online.

The sole purpose of this article is to provide guidance on the issues covered. This article is not intended to give legal advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. We make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or in the links which were live at the date of publication. You should not act upon (or should refrain from acting upon) information in this publication without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited trading as Intasure accepts no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in this publication, nor will we be responsible for any loss which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein.

Nick Grant is a Business Development Manager at Intasure with 10 years of insurance experience.