"Going to have to embrace the roll out awning"
During both the week at Pier Cottage campsite on the bank of Lake Coniston and the week at Church House campsite in Melverly, one thing that caught my attention was the popularity of the roll out sun blind awnings that are permanently attached to the side of the unit. What really got me about these roll out awnings is that they were very popular with both caravans and motor homes – I naively thought they were more of a motor home thing, it obviously appears I am very much mistaken.
I always thought the roll out awnings were only used for touring, however it appears that I was wrong about this too. On both sites there were motorhomes and caravans using roll out awnings that were on site for several days, just like we were.
Given that we confirmed for definite the Kampa Travel Pod Air mini awning doesn’t fit to the Elddis Accordo 120 and can only be used as a standalone storage tent (we can now draw a line under that one!) it got me thinking that maybe using our roll out awning is the way forward for us. We have a Dometic roll out sun blind that was included in the Brownhills dealer special package, but we have yet to use it. During the handover demonstration when we collected our Accordo 120 we were given several warnings by the bloke doing the demonstration to ensure the legs were always down, to ensure that it wasn’t too windy (and even the tiniest breath of wind was too windy) and to never leave the awning out un-attended, otherwise we were likely to damage the awning and the side of the van. The bloke basically made us afraid to use it in all but perfect conditions, which for a pair of newbies buying their first motor home is not really fair.
In the Lake District our awning was being battered by the wind whereas a couple of caravans about 10m from us had their roll out awnings out, and they weren’t even using storm straps. Okay, the caravans were the right hand side of our van (with our awning on the left hand side of our van) and they were more sheltered than we were, but still, there was wind ripping through the entire campsite. The wind was less over by the caravans (I did wander over to them to investigate further) but it was far from the gentle wind we were told our roll out awning would struggle with.
There was far less wind at Church House campsite than there had been in the Lake District, but there was still a breeze for a lot of the week. At Church House there was a seasonal pitch holder who had a roll out awning attached to their caravan who left it out permanently for three nights – so much for not leaving the awning unattended!
My observations surrounding the roll out awnings has got me thinking that I need to have a proper play with mine and see exactly what it can, and cannot cope with. We have got some storm straps (from our old folding camper days) that will be perfect for the roll out awning.
The only reason we take our Kampa Travel Pod awning is to store stuff, and I do struggle to see how I can store our stuff with the roll out awning. My biggest worry about leaving stuff under a roll out awning is that it is in full view and there is the potential of theft, and it doesn’t take much for someone to swipe something as they walk past the van to on route to the toilet block for their night time pee. I know there are loads of people who say that theft isn’t a problem and doesn’t happen in campsites, but then I have heard (and read) of some real horror stories.
When we go away in the motor home we take our bikes and fishing gear, for things to do, as well as the relaxing outdoor chairs. If I woke up one morning to find my chilling chair had been half inched during the night or my rod/tackle bag (or any of my fishing equipment for that matter) had gone walkabout or my bike was missing I would be massively p****d. My wife is even less trusting than I am and flatly refuses to leave any of our belongings (other than the step and our slip on shoes) outside. My wife is so distrusting of people she even bought a fold up bike (a Brompton) that she leaves in the cabin at night rather than locking it to mine in the awning.
If we go away without the bikes, the fishing stuff and the relaxing chairs the roll out awning would be fine, but this hasn’t happened yet. The thing is I really get the whole roll out awning thing and I want to embrace it, but I can’t see what to do with all our stuff. The fishing gear and the chairs can be put under the van under a tarp – although I am going to have to convince the wife they will be safe, which isn’t going to be easy. My bike is the biggest problem because it is expensive, everything is quick release and comes off (seat, handlebars and wheels) and it is the only one I have. Maybe if I traded it in for a Brompton I could leave it in the front of the cabin as well? There’s a thought.
As well as many other things, the two weeks away in the Accordo 120 have shown me that I need to do a bit more research and reading up on using roll out awnings and see if there is a way that we can use ours more and reduce the reliance on the Kampa Travel Pod Air.
About the author
A total motor home newbie with a six year camping background in a folding camper. A keen blogger sharing my experience of researching, choosing, buying and owning a motor home. and every thing that goes with it.
The Motor home