The new standard designation is BS ENISO 8936 - awnings for leisure accommodation vehicles. This has been designed to be simpler than previous editions, combining test and product requirements into one document. Providing a single reference point for both manufacturers and consumers on the safety and performance of awnings.
There are a number of different awnings available on the market today, so before choosing an awning take the time to think about what you want to use it for, some things to take into consideration are: -
Ease of putting it up and packing away
Wether you want to leave it up on a seasonal pitch or use it in the winter, a more substantial awning would be best.
Take into consideration your payload
The space you are going to require it for, for example a dinning area, extra sleeping space or a boot room etc.
How many people will be on hand to assist in putting up the awning.
The types of awning to choose from are, full, porch, combi, inflatable or traditional pole type, each have their advantages and disadvantages, the choice is down to your own personal preferences and requirements.
Inflatable awnings have advantages of being faster to pitch and put away, may also be lighter as a complete system compared to ones with steel poles. They can be more difficult to feed into the awning rail as it is usually an all in one unit, so everything moves together. They are less likely to cause damage to your leisure vehicle in stormy/windy conditions, than the poled awnings. With some air tube systems, they are fully interconnected allowing a single point of inflation, they are bulkier in the bag. The downside being the awning may be sewn as a single piece construction making it not as easy to handle as one with separate poles and zip outside. The air tube technology is hard to beat for fast build, short term use awnings.
Traditionally all poles were constructed from steel, but their weight has led to other materials being used. Over recent years we have seen the introduction of thin flexible fibreglass poles, which are able to spring back to their original shape, allowing them to be curved applications, where the spring in the pole keeps the material under tension.
Whilst fibreglass poles are ideal for touring as an excellent compromise between strength and weight, for seasonal pitches steel is probably the best choice as its strength and weight can help to combat the worst weather conditions.