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Can you sleep in a Van Awning?

You can sleep in your van or campervan awning if you have the correct set up, space and the campsite allows you to do so. But there are quite a few factors to consider to make sure you have everything set up correctly to make sure you are as comfortable as possible.

In this article we go discuss what may restrict you from sleeping in your van awning and a guide to making sure you have the right set up.

Key takeaways:

  • Adding extra comfort to your awning tent can expand your sleeping area and can be much more comfortable than your van.
  • Whether you can sleep in a van awning depends on the campsite rules.
  • Concerns with safety, especially in busy campsites may restrict campsite visitors from sleeping in their awning tent.
  • Best to check ahead with the campsite to make sure you purchase the right space and the rules allow you to do so.


Are van awning tents good to sleep in?


Are Van Awnings good to sleep in?

Van awning tents can be a great solution for sleeping in compared to a traditional tent or inside your van.

  1. Extra Space: Using an awning increases the living and sleeping space available to you. This is particularly beneficial if you're traveling with a group or family and need extra bedrooms to accommodate everyone comfortably.

  2. Ventilation and Comfort: Sleeping in an awning can provide better ventilation compared to the inside of a van, especially on warm nights. The open-air experience, while still being sheltered, can enhance the comfort of your sleep.

  3. Closer to Nature: For those who love to be close to nature but still want some level of comfort, sleeping in an awning offers a compromise. 

  4. Flexibility and Versatility: An awning can serve multiple purposes. Besides sleeping, it can be used as a shaded area during the day, a dining space, or a place to relax and socialise. This flexibility is a significant advantage for those looking to make the most out of their outdoor space.

  5. Protection from Elements: Modern awnings are designed to offer protection from the elements. Whether it's sun, rain, or wind, an awning can provide a sheltered outdoor space, making it possible to enjoy the outdoors even in less-than-ideal weather conditions.

  6. Privacy: Some awning setups come with sides or screens that can be attached to create a more private area. This can be particularly appealing when camping in busy areas or when you prefer having your own secluded space.

  7. Easy to Set Up and Take Down: Many modern awnings are designed for ease of use, with quick setup and take-down processes. This convenience means you can easily move from one location to another without a lot of hassle.

  8. Personalisation: Awnings come in various styles, sizes, and configurations, allowing you to personalise your camping setup to suit your needs and preferences. 


Is sleeping in a van awning allowed?

You may sleep in a van awning tent if you a van awning that has the right space and weather resistance and if the campsite you're staying allows you to do so.

We recommend focusing on the following:

1. Size: Select the right capacity for the number of people you plan to sleep in the awning tent. Most campervan awnings can sleep at least two adults.

2. Weather Resistance: You want a sturdy van awning with good water resistance so you don't have to worry about the bad weather when you sleep.

3. Check campsite rules: Check before you book whether the campsite allows you to sleep in your awning tent.


Reasons why sleeping in a Van Awning may not be allowed

Sleeping in a van awning generally depends on the rules of the campsite or area you're staying in, and the type of awning setup you have.

Here are some things you should consider:

Campsite Rules

If you're staying at a campsite or a designated RV park, they will have their own set of rules regarding what is allowed. Most campsites that accommodate vans and RVs do allow the use of awnings as part of your setup, as it's considered an extension of your living space. 

Potential accidents

  • For busy campsites there is less space and other visitors will be coming in and out of the park which may lead to accidents and poses health & safety concerns. This is especially true since there are a lot of larger vehicles.

Fire hazards

  • Fire hazards are possible as many campsite visitors have open flames to keep warm and utilise camping stoves and grills for cooking food.
  • The fire hazard may also be due to campers using heating sources inside their awning tents


Guide to choosing the right Van Awning to sleep in

When considering van awnings for your campervan or motorhome, it's essential to understand the different types available and how to select the right size and material for your needs. These elements will ensure you maximise comfort and functionality when you decide to sleep under your awning.

Types of Awnings

  • Driveaway Awnings: These awnings detach completely from your vehicle, allowing you to drive away while leaving the awning in place. Ideal if you wish to reserve your campsite spot or explore without dismantling your setup.
  • Inflatable Awnings: With the ease of setting up via a pump, these awnings reduce setup time considerably. They're surprisingly sturdy and quite popular due to their convenience.

Choosing the Right Size and Material

  • Size Considerations:

    • Measure the length of the awning rail or the suitable area on your vehicle to ensure a proper fit.
    • Bear in mind that a larger awning provides more space, which can be beneficial if you are planning to sleep within its shelter.
    • Most van or campervan awnings will indicate how many it can sleep. Choose the awning tent with ample space.
  • Material Choices:

    • Polyester: Common due to its lightweight and quick-drying properties.
    • Durable Fabric: For frequent usage or harsh weather, a fabric with higher durability might be preferable.
    • Hydrostatic Head Rating: This measures how water-resistant the fabric is; a higher rating indicates better protection from rain. Look for a material with a hydrostatic head of at least 3000mm for effective water resistance.
    • Lightweight awnings may be very portable but may lack in weather resistant materials especially wind resistance.


Setting Up Your Awning

When you're ready to create a comfortable outdoor living space, the correct setup of your van awning can make all the difference. You'll need to handle poles, doors, and other accessories with care to ensure safety and stability.

Make sure your awning is installed properly

Depending on the type of Awning you purchase this may take up to 10-15 minutes but it is crucial to make sure that you set up the awning correctly so you don't have to worry about it disconnecting or falling whilst you're relaxing inside. 

Follow all instructions provided in the product manual when setting up the awning and double check each step after installing the awning the first time to make sure everything is connected and attached tight.


Safety and Stability Measures

To secure your awning:

  • Peg down the storm straps at a 45-degree angle to the ground. They provide additional resistance against wind.
  • Position steel poles (if included) at vital points around the awning for extra support against weather conditions.
  • Adjust the doors and openings, ensuring they close properly to maintain stability in case of strong winds.
  • Double-check that all connection points to your vehicle are secure, particularly if using a freestanding structure which can be more susceptible to movement.

By following these specific steps and regularly checking the structure for stability, you'll ensure that your awning remains a safe and enjoyable extension of your living space.

Creating a Comfortable Sleeping Area

To ensure a restful night's sleep in your van awning, focus on insulating and ventilating the space efficiently while enhancing privacy and protection.


Insulation and Ventilation

Your van awning can serve as an additional sleeping space, much like a tent or a bedroom annexe. To keep this area warm and comfortable, proper insulation is key. Start by laying down insulation mats or foam panels on the floor, ensuring they are cut to fit the contours of your awning for maximum coverage. For the walls, preferable is the use of reflective insulation, which can bounce back body heat during cooler nights.

Ventilation is just as crucial as insulation. Your comfort can be easily compromised by condensation and dampness. Aim to create a consistent airflow using mesh ventilation panels strategically placed in your awning. They allow air to circulate, preventing the buildup of moisture, yet keep the interior cosy. Remember to adjust the size and openness of these panels based on the outside temperature to maintain the desired warmth inside.

Enhancing Privacy and Protection

Privacy in your van awning translates to peace of mind. Invest in a bedroom inner tent, a tent-like structure, to define your sleeping area. This not only adds an extra layer of insulation but also creates a private and secure bedroom within the larger canopy space.

For protection, it's prudent to have sturdy side walls or zip-up doors for your awning. These barriers add a protective shield from the elements and unwelcome wildlife. Furthermore, thick curtains or blackout blinds can be utilised to block out light and retain a sense of seclusion. Don't forget to confirm that these fit snugly over windows or doorways to prevent gaps and keep your annex safe and private.

Additional Features for Convenience and Comfort

Your van awning can be transformed into a more comfortable and convenient extension of your living space with the right add-ons. These enhancements offer storage solutions and expand your living area, ensuring that your campsite feels like a home away from home.

Storage Solutions

Optimise your space with clever storage solutions specific to van awnings for flexible living. You can integrate mesh organisers that hang on the awning walls, keeping essential items within reach without cluttering your living area. Foldable storage units are also a brilliant choice; they can hold everything from kitchen utensils to family games, and when not in use, they tuck away neatly.

  • Mesh Organisers:

    • Ease of access for frequently used items
    • Space-saving and avoids clutter
  • Foldable Storage:

    • Versatile—accommodates a variety of items
    • Convenience—collapses for easy storage when not in use


Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we’ll address common inquiries regarding the use of van awnings as sleeping quarters, considering practicality, safety, and specific requirements.

Is it feasible to utilise a caravan awning as a sleeping area?

Yes, it is feasible. Caravan awnings can be adapted into a sleeping area for additional accommodation, especially with the use of an inner tent or additional sleeping compartments.

Are drive-away awnings suitable for overnight accommodation?

Drive-away awnings are designed to stand independently from your vehicle, making them suitable and convenient for overnight use as they can remain erected when the vehicle is in use elsewhere.

What are the safety considerations for sleeping in awnings at caravan parks?

When sleeping in awnings at caravan parks, you must ensure that the awning is properly ventilated, secured against weather conditions, and complies with park regulations for fire safety and spacing between units.

How does sleeping in an awning tent compare to a traditional tent?

Sleeping in an awning tent usually offers more space and the convenience of being attached to your caravan, whereas traditional tents are freestanding and might provide different levels of comfort and protection from elements.

Are there specific requirements for using air awnings for sleeping purposes?

Using air awnings for sleeping generally requires ensuring that the awning is inflated to the correct pressure for stability, and that it is suitably weatherproof and fitted with appropriate sleeping compartments.

Do you require an inner tent or bedroom compartment when sleeping in an awning?

For added privacy and protection from insects, an inner tent or bedroom compartment is highly recommended when using an awning as a sleeping area. It also helps to define the sleeping space separate from the living area.

Gary Cheung profile picture

Gary Cheung

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Owner & Director at Outdoor Roadie in the UK. Passionate about helping people get outdoors and travelling. Knowledgeable in all things roof tents, caravan awnings and camping gear.