How to install a caravan awning support rafter

Why? Benefits of Awning Support Rafters

Have you ever had to get up in the middle of the night to roll up your caravan awning due to wind flap?

If you have then you will no doubt understand the growing popularity of awning support rafters on the caravan circuit.

Securing your awning with a rafter will help reduce wind flap protecting against damage to the awning, frameset, roller and fabric

Not only will a well placed rafter help reduce awning flap in wind but it will also give your awning added support in the rain. Helping to reduce water pooling. 

How many? 

The minimum recommended usage per awning size is outlined on the following table:

Awning Size Recommended
11' and under        1
12' - 16' 2
17' - 20' 3
21' and over 4

What you will need to install your awning support tension rafter 

Your awning rafter set will include a bracket, this is used to attach the rafter to the van wall. You will however need to purchase self tapping screws to secure the bracket to the van. These are inexpensive and available at standard hardware stores.

You will also need a drill. We also recommend adding some silcone sealant to the screw area when attaching the bracket. 

Key features to look out for

There are several rafter brands on the market. They are all pretty similar.

When talking to customers we always recommend the campsmart universal rafter . It has two main features that make it stand out. Firstly, it has rounded powder coated edges. The rounded edge helps protect the vinyl of the awning from wear. We have a picture at the bottom of the blog showing you this feature. 

The second reason is the bracket is also powder coated white. This is not essential to performance but it looks smarter when installed on most vans as the bracket blends into the caravan wall better. 

Steps to install 

1. Attach the bracket to the wall of your van at the appropriate location (approximately 20-25mm from the awning fabric) 

2. Roll out the awning to full extension making sure the awning roller is set to open

3. Drill a 3/8 hole in the awning roller bar approximately 20mm down from the underside of the fabric attachment point

4. Remember to de-burr the drill hole to protect your awning fabric

Other tips

Using ropes to secure the roller bar of your awning to the ground will also give your awning more stability in inclement weather. 

Standard caravan rafters as described here are not suitable for use with Fiamma Awnings. These require specific rafters, you can view our Fiamma Awning Rafters here. We have also included links below to our entire rafter range. 

Over time the use of a rafter can stretch the fabric of your awning. Before purchasing a rafter you need to consider whether the pros of reduced flap and support out weigh the cons of potential fabric stretch. As most awnings stretch over time anyhow many caravanérs find the benefits make a support rafter a very worthwhile investment. Ask around at the next park you're at and see what your fellow vanners think!





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