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Review of Caravans Plus Service
Adding an awning to your caravan, horse float or 4x4 is the easiest way increase your living space and get the most out of the outdoors. We have a full range of high quality awnings for sale from trusted brands offering you the perfect solution to your travelling needs. Caravan awnings are a great addition in all conditions. Not only do they protect you from the harsh Australian sun, keep you and your gear dry, but you can also add a privacy screen or annex walls to customise your living space. Most caravan awnings can be easily set up by one person in under 5 minutes. This means you can take full advantage of your surroundings whether you are just stopping for lunch or a week camping.
Caravan awnings are generally divided into two main categories:
Roll out awnings like Dometic & Carefree require 2 separate components for a complete installation. The hardware kit which attaches to the side of your caravan and the roller with fabric. You will also need sail track for new installations which can be found at most hardware stores. This style is generally a more sturdy awning in bad weather, but the hardware must be permanently mounted down the side of the vehicle which can cause issues for installation on campervans or 4x4's.
Box awnings like Fiamma are fully enclosed in a strong metal casing when stowed. While they are a very popular caravan awning they can also be attached to roof racks on cars. They are an ideal choice for camper trailers or vehicles with a curved wall profile due to the variety of mounting brackets available.
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.
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.
Fiamma is an Italian based company that manufacture a full a range of RV products, with their box style awnings taking a large share of the global market. The most popular overall model is the F45, while the lighter weight F35 and CaravanStore bag awnings are favoured by 4x4's and offroad campers.
There is a huge range of awning accessories available from Fiamma to customise your outdoor living space. Specialty roof rafters add extra strength, and provide more tension to the awning fabric to combat flapping and water pooling. Walls and privacy screens can be added for increased comfort and weatherproofing, while a LED lighting is the perfect night time solution.
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.
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.
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.
The CaravanStore series is Fiamma's popular range of inexpensive roll-out awnings. As the name suggests the main point of difference is this awnings is held in a vinyl bag when stowed. It is attached to your RV by a sail track and is about 140mm deep. Normally you leave them permanently attached to your RV, however some people prefer to remove them when not on holidays. At the 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 other styles of RV. See F35 Pro for the most suitable roof-rack mounting awning.
F35 is the same as the CaravanStore however it is held inside an aluminium case, rather than the vinyl bag. These Rollout awnings with aluminium casing provide a 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.
These are especially suited to roof-rack mounting, windup camper trailers & smaller campervans. They can also be used on all other styles of RV.
Carefree are an American RV company which specialises in awning manufacturing. Well know for their Fiesta range of roll out awnings they have acquired a huge market share both in the Australia and the USA. Designed to be simple to setup and highly durable they are commonly found installed on Jayco caravans.
Carefree also produce the Freedom range of 12v box awnings, while in the past they have not been as common as the Fiesta their popularity is growing. Carefree awnings are imported by 2 major suppliers and a full range of spare parts is readily available.
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.
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.
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 are well known for the A&E range of roll out awnings, they are an international market leader and are fully integrated in the Australian caravan industry. In the past there were three models available: 8300, 8500 and 9000. In recent years Dometic Australia has discontinued the less popular 9000 model, and simplified the ranges by creating universal hardware kits.
Dometic have also expanded their awning family by adding a range of box / cassette awnings. Previously known as Proctor Awnings, Dometic have rebranded and created the PerfectRoof and PerfectWall series, which are in direct competition with Fiamma F45 and F65 awnings.
As always Dometic have a good reputation for holding a complete range of spare parts to support their products, however they are generally seen as overpriced in Australia.
The 8300 model is the model most suitable for vacation usage where usage is lighter than the permanent user. In recent years the difference between the 8300 and 8500 has reduced. The fabric is now a more heavy duty than early models and hardware has been standardised across the lines. The main difference now is the torsion spring /assembly and some simpler components are used to keep the cost down. We have found it is by far the more popular of the two versions.
The 8500 model is more suited to continual usage, it has stronger spring and also features some more elegant fittings. The new style universal hardware kits are still made with the high strength design of the earlier 8500/9000 kits but have been updated to also accept the 8300 style springs / awning roller. The hardware kits are available in white or black with 3 sizes to suit a variety of wall heights.
Short and Ultra Short Kits are generally installed on pop-tops.
Tall kits are generally installed on full height caravans and motorhomes
The PerfectWall and PerfectRoof styles were previously called the Proctor awning. The operation and attachment is identical to the FIAMMA F45 and F65 Awnings.
There is a range of options are available for both models to accomodate almost any installation. Options include:
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
A common error when selecting awning spare parts is incorrectly identifying your existing model. 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.
Now that you know what size and model of awning you have we have everything you need. To help you select the correct spare part be have put together a complete range of clickable spare part diagrams.
If you already know what you need check out our complete range of spare parts for Carefree, Dometic and Fiamma awnings.
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