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Caravan Awnings - Which is Best for your RV

Article by Peter Smith - Caravans Plus

When it comes to Caravan Awnings there is a lot of choices, first you need to decide on a style. Most awnings can be classed as either a roll out awning or a box awning. Fiamma awnings are the most commonly used box awning while Dometic awnings are equally as popular as Carefree awnings when it come to roll out awnings.

All awnings described below are very popular and of international quality with spare parts readily available. They come with instructions and can be fitted by a handy person, with a few common tools and a helper.

The abbreviation RV will be used to indicate any Recreational Vehicle in these descriptions. Where an awning is not suitable for all RVs, I will specify from Camper Trailer, Pop-Top, Caravan, Camper Van or Motorhome.

Brands and models

The largest selling brands available in Australia are Fiamma, Dometic, and Carefree.

Fiamma: make a number of styles and we sell the most popular - CaravanStore, F35, F45. We sell spares parts for those as well as some spares for the F65.

Dometic: we sell the 8300 and 8500 in roll-out awnings and PW1000 to PW2500 in box style awnings and spare parts.

Carefree: make the Fiesta & 12V Eclipse & Freedom awnings. These are also extremely popular and spare parts are not a problem.

Carefree Awnings

The Fiesta, or Simplicity Fiesta, is made in USA. This has an obvious roll at the top and the arms are held to the base of your RV by clips while travelling. Similar to a roll-up blind in operation, you easily unwind using a web strap. You then extend the legs to get the desired roof height, and extend the roof braces to hold the fabric taut.

The legs can be pegged to the ground, or left attached to the base of the RV.

One very nice feature for high installations is the remote lock used to allow the awning to rollout.

carefree

These are especially suited to Pop-Tops, Caravans and flat sided Motorhomes. They are unsuitable for Camper Trailers and many curved walled vehicles. Special legs are available for Toyota Coaster & Nissan.

Carefree Fiesta Awning

We have complete range of Carefree Awnings and Wall Kits to turn these into a complete Caravan Annex.


Dometic Awnings - A&E 8300 & 8500

Dometic import and support the A&E range of awnings. We offer two models and we also offer spare parts for 8300, 8500 and 9000 models of A&E.

These Dometic awnings are almost identical to the Carefree Fiesta in how they attach and operate. The differences are mainly cosmetic but spare parts costs are generally higher.

The 8300 model is the model most suitable for vacation usage where usage is lighter than the permanent user. The fabric is now a more heavy duty than early models and leg strength is identical to the 8500 model. Some simpler components are used to keep the cost down.

The 8500 model is more suited to continual usage and it also features some more elegant fittings.

We have complete range of Dometic Awnings and Wall Kits to turn these into a complete Caravan Annex.


Fiamma F45 Awnings & Fiamma F65 Awnings

Fiamma F45 Awning is a wind out awning that attaches to the wall of your RV. These come in a standard cross section profile for awnings up to 4.5 metres in length and a larger profile for 5.0m which have an L associated in the part number.

This awning appears as a solid aluminium case, with no protrusions and without any arms visible while travelling. A detachable winder handle is used to extend the awning. Winding allows the front face of the sturdy case to extend horizontally, like a verandah - pulling the fabric out as it goes. When extended you then unclip the telescopic legs from within the front face and wind-out the remainder.

It can be opened by one person. The legs are either pegged to the ground, or clipped to base of your RV.

F45 & F46 Awnings

These are especially suited to Camper Vans and Motorhomes that have vertically curved walls, and can also be used on all other styles of RV.

suited to camper vans and motorhomes

We have complete range of Fiamma F45 Awnings and Privacy Rooms to turn these into a complete Caravan Annex.

The Fiamma F65 Awning is similar to the F45 but fits above the corner of vehicle. Due to low volume sales within Australia these can be very hard to source so we sell spare parts only for the F65 we do not sell the complete awning.


Fiamma CaravanStore Awnings

CaravanStore is the style name of Fiammas inexpensive roll-out awning. Its main difference is that it is held in a vinyl bag, about 140mm deep, that stays attached to your RV (some people remove them when not on holidays). At set-up stage, the bag is unzipped along its full length and the fabric and roller is unwound by holding in the centre. The legs and braces slide from the ends of the roller to pivot into position. These are especially suited to windup camper trailers, and can also be used on all other styles of RV.

caravanstore awnings

These are especially suited to windup camper trailers, and can also be used on other styles of RV. See F35 Pro for the most suitable roof-rack mounting awning.

roof-rack mounting awning


Fiamma F35 Pro Awnings

F35 is the same as the CaravanStore however it is held inside an aluminium case, rather than the vinyl bag. This provides greater life span for the fabric and allows for more sturdy mounting, particularly on roof racks. At set-up stage, the case is opened and the fabric and roller is unwound by holding in the centre. The legs and braces slide from the ends of the roller to pivot into position.

F35

These are especially suited to roof-rack mounting, windup camper trailers & smaller campervans. They can also be used on all other styles of RV.

roof-rack mounting awning


Carefree Freedom 12Volt Awning

Very similar to the Fiamma F45, these were introduced into the Australian market in 2012. They are completely contained with the side mounted case and operate electrically with the touch of a button.

These are especially suited to Camper Vans and Motorhomes that have vertically curved walls, and can also be used on all other styles of RV. There are no matching walls sold in Australia to suit these.


Dometic: PerfectWall & PerfectRoof - PW1000, PW1500, PW2000, PW2500

The PerfectWall and PerfectRoof styles were previously called the Proctor awning. The operation and attachment is identical to the FIAMMA F45 and F65 descriptions shown below.

There are no matching walls sold in Australia at this stage.

Caravan Awning Parts

The most common error when selecting spare parts is incorrectly identifying what model of awning you have. If you need spare parts for an existing roll-out awning, use the pictures below to help you determine which type of awning you have, and allow you to find the correct spare parts and replacement vinyl rolls.

Awning roller end style

How to measure a rollout awning, if replacing the vinyl

For Dometic or Carefree rollout awnings do not measure the vinyl. This is true for new awnings and for the replacement vinyl. You need to measure from the centre of the arm to the centre of the arm. See the image below

Where to measure your awning

Do NOT measure the fabric


We stock a complete range Carefree Awning Parts, Dometic Awning Parts and Fiamma Awning parts. We have detailed Spare Part Diagrams to help you find what you are looking for.

One part we often get asked for is just a replacement fabric. In most cases this is NOT available as a separate part, except for Dometic 8300 and 8500. We have made a conscious decision not to sell these, except when fitted to the roller. The reasons are:

  • The cost of fabric alone is about 90% of fabric already on roller.
  • The springs and locks within roller tend to wear out at the same rate as the fabric.
  • The freight cost is identical as the the fabric also comes in a long cardboard tube.
  • The extra labour required to remove and add fabric to roller.
  • The springs needs to be re-tensioned if the fabric is removed. They are pre-tensioned when fabric is supplied on roll.

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