Introduction to campervan drive away awnings
This article looks at some of the best campervan drive away awning products that are available in 2022.
With campervan drive away awnings there is not a one size fits all answer for the best selection as there are so many different options and factors to choose from. Some will want speed and simplicity whilst others will want full sewn ground sheets to provide for extra sleeping areas.
The purpose of this article is to show you what is presently popular in the UK and will then hopefully help you make a more informed decision for a purchase.
The most popular drive away awnings in the UK 2022
- Manufacturer - Vango
- Model - Faros 2021 LOW POLED AWNING
- Best feature - Lightweight and quick and easy set up
- Weight - 9 kg
- Manufacturer - Outdoor Revolution
- Model - Outhouse XL
- Best feature - Small and compact
- Weight - 7.08 kg
- Manufacturer - OLPRO Outdoor Leisure
- Model - Cocoon Drive Away
- Best feature - Creates a 5 berth sleeping area
- Weight - 24kg
- Manufacturer - Easycamp
- Model - Wimberly drive away tunnel
- Best feature - Great for wet weather
- Weight - 11.7 kg
- Manufacturer - Outdoor Revolution
- Model - Cayman
- Best feature - Best-selling Cayman Classic
- Weight - 11.8kg
If you are not in a rush – One of the best places to view the full range of latest drive away awnings in the UK is at the annual NEC camping shows held in Birmingham.
Best drive away awnings for sub £200
The price for a decent drive away awning can range anywhere from £150 right up to £1k + depending on size, brand and features. The good news is that there are some fantastic low budget options that will provide you with a nice water proof extension to your living space without breaking the bank.
Two of the firm favourites for Transporter awnings that are sub £200 that you will frequently see being used on campsites in the UK are the Outdoor Revolution Outhouse Handi and the Outdoor Revolution Turismo Low Drive Away Poled Awning, both offer outstanding value for money, are lightweight and well tried and tested models.
You can’t really go wrong with either model however for damp occasions the Turismo does fair slightly better.
The latest drive away awning line up
There are a few new (and some improved) models that have been released below on eBay:
- Vango Galli III Air Low Drive Away Inflatable Campervan Awning
- Vango Faros II Low
- Outdoor Revolution Porchlite
- Outdoor Revolution Movelite T4 Air
- Kampa Tailgater SUV Drive-Away
- Kampa Rally 390 ‘Classic’
- Outwell Lakecrest
I will update on the new range later in the year when it is possible to go and kick the tyres and take them for a spin!
VW camper awning top 10
The models below are some of the best drive away awning options that are compatible with the VW Transporter T4 T5 and T6 SWB and LWB models as well as other campervans of a similar size.
These make up some of the best tried and tested options.
- Outdoor Revolution Outhouse Handi Low Driveaway Awning (View)
- Vango Faros Low Driveaway Awning – RANKED 1st for quick and easy set up (View)
- OLPRO Outdoor Leisure Products Cocoon Breeze 4.55m x 3.5m 5 Berth – RANKED 1st for family friendly (View)
- Skandika Pitea Mini-van Campervan Tent Awning 4 Person Man, (View)
- Skandika Camper Tramp Free-Standing Minivan Awning Tent with 2-Berth Sleeping (View)
- Vango Bondi Low (View)
- Easycamp Waterproof Wimberly Drive Away Awning Tent (View)
- Outdoor Revolution Cayman Campervan motorhome awning – RANKED 1st for dog friendly (View)
- OLPRO Outdoor Leisure Products Cocoon Drive Away Campervan Awning (View)
- Outdoor Revolution Outhouse Handi XL (View)
Campervan Drive away awning kit attachment
The majority of drive away awnings work best with a drive away kit attachment which essentially fits permanently to the side of your Transporter just above the doors.
The transporter attachment allows you to use the beading strip that will be installed along the joining edge of your awning to form a nice tight seal between the transporter and awning, it helps keep rain out and also prevents the wind from getting under the join.
The one that we have used is the OLPRO Outdoor Leisure Products 6mm – 4mm Drive Away Kit Campervan Motorhome Awning Drive Away Kit Attachment that is suitable for awnings with a bead of 4mm to 6mm (which is the majority)
How to find the best campervan drive away awning for you
The following points need to be considered to find the driveaway awning that is most suitable for you
- How much space do you need outside of your vehicle?
- How quickly do you need to be able to set up/take down?
- What kind of fittings will you be using to connect the awning to your transporter?
- Quality of seams and water proofing required (ie will you be expecting rain)?
- Preferred ground sheet design for water proofing/wind?
- Accessories required such as curtains & number of doors?
- Do you need lightweight and space saving?
- Do you need sleeping pods within the driveaway for extra berth?
Outdoor Revolution Outhouse Handi Low Driveaway Awning
- A very lightweight but study design coming in at just over 6.5kg using 120HDE high density all-weather lightweight fabric and a simple pole set up of fibre glass construction.
- Quick and easy design to put up and take down with only 2 poles to install forming a cross section. Can be put up within a few minutes
- The ground sheet forms a good seal between floor and sides of awning.
- The rear cowling has awning piping that is compatible with the Transporter fitting kit here which gives a really nice seal between the Transporter and Drive away awning.
- The drive away ability of this awning it really simple. Just slide the piping out of the fitting kit on the side of the vehicle and you are good to go.
- The head height is generous on this extension which is not always the case.
- Has privacy curtains meaning it is ideal for use as an extra sleeping space or an extra private area to get changed in.
- Has additional accessories that can be purchased to create a canopy at the front of the awning.
- At just over £150 this is a really good value option.
Vango Faros Low Drive away Awning
It is rare that I get excited about an awning however the Faros, for me at least, ticks all of the boxes.
It is light weight at 9kg but creates a really nice area outside of the campervan and now the 2021 model has a fully sewn ground sheet making it a great option for extra sleep space or for those with dogs.
In terms of space created vs folded up size and weight & quality you will struggle to find an awning better than the Faros.
Whilst asthetics shouldn’t be your deciding factor on an awning… You have to admit the colour schemes are very nice to!
For a sub £300 drive away awning, there are not many other contenders.
- Vango is a well known producer of quality awnings and the Faros 2021 model will not disappoint. There is always a huge demand for these when new models are launched (and usually suppliers take pre orders on them!)
- We tested the 2019 model on a VW T4 and it worked extremely well. As with most drive away awnings, it works best on flat land although can be pitched on a slight slope with a bit of patience.
- Creates a nice light space outside the Transporter to sit outside of the wind and rain.
- Uses a two pole design making it fairly straight forward to put up. Can be a little awkward to feed the poles through but once installed the pegs/guide ropes just need installing which essentially holds the structure up.
- The ground sheet on the older models uses elasticated toggles to fit nicely to the side walls of the awning creating a really nice water tight seal around the base of the awning. Even on saturated ground, the ground sheet creates a water tight lip roughly 2 inchs high. You would have to be pitching in a lake to leak over them! As part of the facelift however it is now sewn in (which I have not yet personally seen or tested but it sounds promising!)
- Comes with straps that can be used around the Transporter if you do not have a piping fitting kit to the side of your Transporter however this is best used when the wind is low as it does not give the best seal and wind can get under the join..
- The awning piping is suitable for a 4mm or 6mm drive away kit to create a strong water tight seal between the Transporter and awning.
- Good quality stitching and water proof fabric that is built to last heavy wear and tear.
OLPRO Outdoor Leisure Products Cocoon Breeze 4.55m x 3.5m 5 Berth
- This is a high end drive away awning and represents outstanding value for money with all features including a sleeping pod.
- Has a private “sleep area” as well as a porch area which are normally sold as extras. This one has it all as standard.
- Giving additional floor space of 4.55m X 3.5m this is one of the bigger awnings in our top ten and ideal for families.
- Weighing in at 24kg and packed size of 82cm x 43cm x 43cm (32.3” x 16.9” x 16.9”
- Takes roughly 15- 20 minutes to put it up and take it down on a none windy day. The more practice you get the faster you will be.
- Benefits from a sewn in ground sheet making it ideal with windy and rainy conditions.
- There are a lot of additional accessories available for this well supported awning.
Skandika Pitea Mini-van Campervan Tent Awning 4 Person Man,
- The Skandika adds and extra 3m X 3m living space to your set up and is compatible with all models of VW Transporter.
- Sold as a very cosy 4 person bolt on to your transporter. Definitely sleeps 3 easily, 4 people if you are small!
- Very nice value product at just over £170 with sewn ground sheet making it ideal for windy and rainy conditions.
- Sewn in ground sheet plus mosquito netting on the doors makes for a comfortable bug free night sleep.
- Extremely quick and easy to set up with 2 light weight poles forming the main structure. Can be set up in less than 10 minutes.
- Only weighs in at 9.3kg and packs small which is great if you are tight on space within your transporter.
- Windows have blinds built in, offering privacy when required.
- Connects to the Transporter using guy ropes and straps. It doesn’t form quite as tight a seal as those with the awning piping however it does mean that you do not need a drive away kit installed on your vehicle. Making this easily compatible with all transporters straight out of the bag.
Skandika Camper Tramp Free-Standing Minivan Awning Tent with 2-Berth Sleeping
- Another nice quality product by German manufacturer Skandika and a worthy contender in out top 10 drive away awnings
- An airy product providing sleep space for an additional 2 persons.
- Quality joins with breathable material used around the sleeping pod. Keeping it bug free but well ventilated.
- Sewn in ground sheet which is a firm favorite for keeping wind/rain and bugs out of the main sleeping area.
- Robust design that is easy to set up. Uses 3 flexible fiber glass poles as the main structure.
- Does not require a drive away channel to be installed on your vehicle making it compatible straight out of the bag. Guy ropes and suction pads form a nice seal to the roof of your Transporter.
- Great value quality product as just over £170
Outdoor Revolution Outhouse Handi XL Drive Away Awning
- A really great light weight product at only 6.5kg, This is one of the smallest and lightest entry level drive away awnings in the top ten for Transporters.
- The Handi XL comes with a separate peg down groundsheet which doesn’t make it the best choice for extra sleep space but ideal for creating extra storage or sitting space with shelter from the sun and rain.
- Fantastic pop up and go design that is sturdy. Taking less than 10 minutes to erect.
- Comes complete with awning piping installed on the rear cowling making it compatible with drive away kits such as the one here
- The blinds provide privacy if desired this can be used as extra space to get changed in or for storing/using a portable toilet.
- Comes with steel pegs which are ideal for use on hard ground. Light weight awnings usually sacrifice decent quality pegs – This isn’t the case here.
- Provides a good sized porch sitting area with a nice extension of shade for hot days.
OLPRO Outdoor Leisure Products Cocoon Drive Away Campervan Awning
- This is an absolutely stunning piece of kit by Olpro and one of our firm favorites for families requiring lots more space.
- High quality design providing extra sleeping area for 5 extra people!
- Pitching time is roughly 25 minutes (ideally 2 person job) and is a bit more complicated than some of the others reviewed however it is a much bigger area with lots of features requiring more structure to erect.
- Weighs 24kg and packs down to 82cm x 43cm x 43cm
- Sewn in ground sheet keeping wind/rain and bugs to a minimum.
- Compatible with 4mm and 6mm drive away awning kits (example here)
- Uses high strength, quality 150D Oxford material making it suitable for all weathers.
- Comes complete with canopy providing extra seating space outside with shade.
Vango Bondi Low roof
- A very popular product from Vango’s range offering a low roof campervan drive away awning option, ideal for a quick pop up and gp installation.
- Ideal for day use at the beach in your Transporter as well as overnight stays.
- Comes complete with piping for a nice weather tight installation using a drive away 4mm or 6mm kit (example here)
- For those without a drive away kit installed on the side of your Transporter, you can also seal the Vango with straps and velcro fasteners that are provided.
- Only comes with one light weight pole making it one of the quickest and lightest drive away awnings
- A nice level of privacy making for a good extension for getting dressed or housing a portable loo!
- The material has UPF 30+ level protection making this a log life product for use in all weathers.
- With it only being a one pole install, you cannot drive away and leave the awning pitched however it is very quick and simple to pack away for a day out.
Easycamp Waterproof Wimberly Drive Away Awning Tent
- A very robust medium priced campervan drive away awning offering sleeping area for as extra 2 people.
- The ground sheet is not sewn in however is secured using toggles and Velcro giving a reasonable seal to the elements.
- Gives a nice balance of private living area and extra seating space that is sheltered from the elements.
- Especially useful for extra changing areas and portable loo use.
- Can be put up in around 20 minutes ideally with 2 people helping. Slide the 3 colour coded poles into place, connect to the side of your transporter and then clip on the ground sheet> Final stage of putting the inner sleep area is optional.
- Free standing for drive away use.
- Robust weather proof design,
Outdoor Revolution Cayman 2019 Campervan motorhome awning
- A very nice looking campervan drive away awning option suitable for high and low roof Transporters.
- Light weight awning weighing in at 11.8kg but a next study cross sectional design using two fibre glass poles.
- A very well designed waterproof awning with sewn in ground sheet and fully taped seams. Great for all weather use.
- Ideal for use with dogs as it is fully sealed.
- Comes complete with black out blinds giving privacy if desired.
- Sub £300 product offering exceptional value.
How much does a Transporter campervan drive away awning cost?
Drive away awnings typically start at around £150 and go right up to £600 depending on brand, size and features. It is important to identify the features that are essential to you to help identify the budget to set aside for the correct drive away awning.
There are a few sub £150 awnings available that would be suitable for a Transporter however they are generally not compatible with “drive away” meaning you would have to take it down and re-erect if you wanted to go out for the day.
What features do you get on an expensive drive away awning?
So the things that you would expect to find on an higher end Transporter drive away awning maybe:
- Higher quality seals and material used to enhance waterproofing
- A sturdier structure to endure a wider range of weather conditions
- A high quality ground sheet with either sewn connections or quality joins to the main tent shell.
- Higher quality pegs for hard ground.
- Better quality components that make up the fibre glass rod structures and stitching of the rod channels is generally more robust to prevent tearing.
- A larger overall structure and some come with internal compartments for sleeping capacity.
- Better quality zips and fittings that are less likely to jam or break.
- A more quality overall design/look and feel.
As with most things you do generally get what you pay for. If you are looking for something to endure heavy use then it would be better to increase your budget accordingly. If you are a light user in fair weather then the cheaper options would likely be suitable.
There are of course a lot of other drive away awnings available on the market and the most important thing to check before you purchase is the length diameter of the tent vs the length of your vehicle.
A full guide on SWB and LWB dimensions can be found here
VW T4 Max Dimensions for a drive away awning
VW T4 SWB 4.707M Long X 1.940M High* X 1.840M Wide
VW T4 LWB 5.107M Long X 1.990M High* X 1.840M Wide
*High roof models 2.430M
VW T5 Max Dimensions for a drive away awning
VW T5 SWB 4.892M Long X 1.990M High* X 1.904M Wide
VW T5 LWB 5.292M Long X 1.990M High* X 1.904M Wide
*High roof models 2.477M
VW T6 Max Dimensions for a drive away awning
VW T6 SWB 4.904M Long X 1.978M High X 1.904M Wide
VW T6 LWB 5.304M Long X 1.976M High X 1.904M Wide
*High roof models 2.477M
Are campervan drive away awnings hard to put up?
No, not especially hard.
It will always be best put the drive away awning up in dry, none windy weather but once you get a bit of practice, you should be able to erect a decent awning in no more that 10-15 minutes in almost all weather.
The design of the drive away awning will have an impact on how easy this is however most competent individuals will be able to erect the awning without too much effort. Allow a bit longer for the first few times to erect it.
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