Camper van awnings extend the living space of your van or overland vehicle. There’s nothing quite like hopping out, kicking your feet up and enjoying the outdoors in the perfect shady spot.
We’ve created a complete guide to help you select the best camper van awning including our top awning recommendations and a detailed guide of all the important things to consider below.
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What are the Best Awnings for Camper Vans?
In a hurry and just want to know what the best camper van awnings are right away? These are our top 11 awnings for vans and overland vehicles. You’ll find a detailed review of each one below.
- Rhino Rack Batwing Awning – Largest coverage van canopy
- Rhino Rack Sunseeker Awning – Easy installation
- Overland vcl Nomadic Awning 180 – Best 180 degree awning
- Thule Hide Away Awning – Easiest Sprinter Van Awning Set Up
- ALL-TOP Vehicle Awning – Best quality for price
- VEVOR Car Side Awning – Low budget awning
- OVS Nomadic Awning – Easy to use 270 degree awning
- ARB 4×4 Awning – Fastest setup
- ARB Black Aluminum Awning – Most durable
- Tuff Stuff Rooftop Awning – Ideal for overlanding
- Smittybilt 2784 Awning – One of the lightest
The 11 Best Camper Van Awnings
Rhino Rack Batwing Awning (Largest coverage van canopy)
One of the most impressive designed campervan awnings you can get your hands is the Rhino Rack Batwing Awning.
This awning gives you 270 degrees of shade and rain protection around your vehicle adding almost 120 square feet of coverage. If you want to go really big an extension piece is also available.
The legs are adjustable, lightweight and can be easily put in place solo within minutes. Putting the awning away is also a breeze.
It’s been designed for easy use. The awning is made with durable and light weight materials and the batwing is made with durable and water resistant materials.
- The awning covers 120 square feet
- The batwing shades 270 degrees around vehicle
- Accessory items like an extension piece, side walls and floorpan can be purchased separately
- Not ideal for super windy conditions
Rhino Rack Sunseeker Awning (Easy installation)
A great option for your campervan or adventure vehicle like a Jeep or a Tacoma is the Rhino Rack Sunseeker.
With a generous amount of canvas, this camper van canopy creates an abundance of shade no matter where the road (or trail) takes you!
The design is simple enough that you can set the whole thing up in just a couple of minutes with only 1 person.
It also comes set up with guylines to help secure the awning to the ground in case of a sudden wind gust, which will keep your awning from blowing away and potentially damaging your vehicle.
Accessory items like an awning extension, side wall and sidewall with zippered opening are also available and easy to use.
- Large shade space provided
- Lightweight for easy installation
- Small enough to fit camper vans or off-road vehicles with roof racks
- Only comes in one length of 8’2”, making it difficult to customize the length to your vehicle
Overland vcl Nomadic Awning 180 (Best 180 degree awning)
The Overland vcl Nomadic Awning 180 is an ideal camper van awning that gives you 88 square feet of coverage along the entire side of you vehicle rain or shine.
The awning is self supporting and designed to fit with most factory roof racks.
For additional support, it comes with pivoting aluminum adjustable poles.
It’s fast and easy for one person to set up and quick to put away.
- Covers 88 square feet
- Works with most roof racks
- Does not require support poles
- Retention straps and tie downs/stakes are not included
Thule Hide Away Awning (Easiest Sprinter Van Awning Set Up)
Thule is well known for creating high quality roof racks and roof rack accessories. They continue this legacy of excellence with the Thule Hide Away Awning.
If you’re looking to get plenty of shade in no time at all with just one person available to set up, this is the awning for you.
The manual retraction with hand crank is easy to use. The fabric is made out of some of the highest quality canvas available, providing plenty of shade for years and years of use.
This may be the best canopy for campervan use.
- Spring-loaded awning casing helps guide awning fabric back into the casing
- Plenty of space created by the 8’6” length of awning
- Maintenance can be tricky if the spring-loaded retracting mechanism gets damaged
ALL-TOP Vehicle Awning (Best quality for price)
A great option for the weekend warriors out there is the ALL-TOP Vehicle Awning.
This affordable awning is 8’2″ X 8’2″ and creates plenty of shade for just about any sized vehicle out there.
The telescoping poles help to adjust the angle of the awning to create the maximum amount of shade, keeping you comfortable all day long!
- Small enough to be great on an off-road capable campervan or jeep
- Lightweight and durable
- Telescoping poles help to create new angles to create the maximum amount of shade at any time of day
- May need to drill into roof rack for mounting
VEVOR Car Side Awning (Low budget awning)
Looking to block out the maximum amount of sun with an affordable awning? Then look no further than the VEVOR Car Side Awning.
The poles extend over 6 feet high, which can create a ton of shade when the sun is high in the sky.
It also comes with all of the hardware that you need to install it, making mounting this great awning on almost any size camper van or even small SUV a breeze.
- Cavernous amount of shade created with adjustable poles
- Great for camper vans and small SUVs alike
- May be a bit too short for high roof sprinter vans
OVS Nomadic Awning (Easy to use 270 degree awning)
One of the most impressively designed awnings on our list is the OVS Nomadic Awning.
Most awnings only cover the area immediately in front of its mounting points.
While companies have attempted to create more space by making the awning longer, the problem of fabric dipping became very apparent.
The OVS Nomadic Awning solves the issue of limited shade by creating more shade though the innovative design of larger angles!
Fabric dipping isn’t an issue and you get a lot more coverage than a standard van canopy.
- Designed to cover 270° around the vehicle, creating a ton of shader a campervan sun canopy
- 600 D Rip-Stop fabric makes up the awning for long lasting durability
- Is a bit heavy, which can take up weight capacity on your vehicle’s roof rack
ARB 4×4 Accessories Awning (Fastest setup)
The most common place that awnings for vans or off-road vehicles are installed is along the sides of the vehicles.
While these are great places to put your awning, that means that if you need to access the rear of the vehicle, you must leave the coverage of the awning.
With the ARB 4×4 Awning, you can create shade wherever you feel you need it the most, including the rear of the vehicle!
ARB also has a great reputation for creating quality gear, so you know you’ll be getting an awning that you can depend on for many years of use.
- Rugged design of case and awning fabric for off-road use
- Short enough length makes it easy to mount on any side of the vehicle, including the back
- Only comes in one color, so customization is limited
ARB Black Aluminum Awning with Dimmable Lights (Most durable)
ARB continues to come up with amazing innovations, making awnings for camper vans and off-road vehicles even more useful.
The ARB Black Aluminum Awning has some of the most durable aluminum hardware on the market, making it pretty much bomb proof.
The lights that come built into the awning create plenty of light so that you can continue to enjoy the shelter the awning provides at night.
And if that wasn’t cool enough, the lights even dim, so you can create the ambiance of your choosing!
- Rugged construction and parts make this a durable awing for years of use
- Lights included in the awning to create a great shelter no matter what time of day
- The zippers for the casing are a bit fragile, so be careful when setting up and putting away
Tuff Stuff Rooftop Awning (Ideal for overlanding)
A great affordable awning for desert trips is the Tuff Stuff Rooftop Awning.
This great little awning creates plenty of shade and is simple and light enough for one person to deploy and pack it back up.
The poles can be adjusted to create the right angle for plenty of shade, regardless of the time of day!
Just be careful to watch the sky for signs of rain, as the cotton in the fabric is not going to keep you dry for long!
- Simple design makes for easy maintenance
- Lightweight, making it an ideal awning for a van, jeep, or small SUV
- Fabric contains cotton, so best to only use this awning in sunny weather
Smittybilt 2784 Awning (One of the lightest awnings)
One of the most easy to install and easy to use awnings is the Smittybilt 2784 Awning. It’s a retractable awning that can be ready for use in a matter of seconds giving you instant shade.
It’s dimensions are 8.2ft wide X 6.2ft long and can be installed on a lot of different vehicles.
Smittybuilt has been around for 50 years. They’ve designed this awning so it can go with you on your vehicle in all types of terrain.
- Waterproof storage
- Not very sturdy in strong winds
Things to Consider When Choosing a Camper Van Awning
When choosing a camper van awning, here are the variables to consider.
The first major consideration is budget. The lowest cost for a good quality awning is around $100 and the highest we’ve recommended is around $1,000 depending on the kind of outdoor experience you’re looking for.
One of the biggest price influences is whether you choose a manual or automatic awning. Manual retracting awnings are generally lower in cost and require a little more effort to set up.
Automatic retracting awnings are more expensive due to the built-in motorized element plus the cost for an electrical connection. But setting up your awning at the push of a button is pretty nice.
Most awnings are rack mount awnings that are designed to mount to your roof rack. If you don’t have a roof rack, you still have the option for a wall mounted awning by using mounting brackets.
180 Degree is the most typical awning. It gives you awning coverage on one side of your vehicle, with the the perfect place to relax. Best of all it’s easier to set up and weighs less that the 270 degree option.
270 Degree – This awning has the most coverage and wraps around 3/4 of the vehicle. If you really want a lot of covered outdoor space or the ability to cover the side and back of your vehicle, this 130 sq. ft. awning is for you.
How to choose the right size awning.
- Determine the minimum and maximum width at the desired location and the amount of room you want to cover.
- Determine the maximum height at the desired location so you can make sure you have the clearance needed since some sprinter vans have a high roof.
Weight is always a consideration with overland vehicles and camper vans. Obviously the larger the awning the more it will weigh. Make sure to check your roof rack weight limitations before making your purchase.
These are helpful things to know when you’re doing a camper van conversion or adding on to your camping vehicle.
Final Thoughts About Campervan Awnings
A camper van awning is one of the best investments you can make when building out your rig. And with all the options over the last several years, there are plenty to choose from!
Whenever you’re shopping for an awning for a campervan, sprinter van, or any other adventure vehicle, always make sure to measure your vehicle first.
There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to install your new awning only to realize that it won’t fit on your vehicle.
Also, be sure to know your roof rack’s weight rating and never exceed it. If you do, you risk potentially damaging your roof rack or causing it to fail while driving, which might result in your awning and other gear to fly off your vehicle!
So long as you take the proper measurements before buying, you’ll be sure to find a great fit with for your needs with any of these choices! Let us know which one you go with by dropping a comment below!