Awnings in last weekend's storm!

Jul 31, 2019
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If anyone else is new to caravanning like us, you may or may not be sure what to do with your awning if a storm is forecast. With the forecasts for the storm last weekend to have winds in excess of 60mph, I can confirm awnings (and tents) where we were staying did not fare very well. The great awning graveyard has a few new additions, as you can see on the latest Wild Hippies blog post.

Does anyone know if there is a generally safe maximum windspeed for awnings or is it product / caravan specific?
 
Nov 11, 2009
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WildHippies said:
If anyone else is new to caravanning like us, you may or may not be sure what to do with your awning if a storm is forecast. With the forecasts for the storm last weekend to have winds in excess of 60mph, I can confirm awnings (and tents) where we were staying did not fare very well. The great awning graveyard has a few new additions, as you can see on the latest Wild Hippies blog post.

Do anyone know if there is a generally safe maximum windspeed for awnings or is it product / caravan specific?

There is no stated safe wind speed as there are too many variables such as air awning, poles awning, porch, midi or full. Storm guys or not? Then there is the location and position in respect of the wind direction, hedges, caravan(s). Etc

Mine withstood storm force in Cornwall a couple of New Years back. Normally I would have taken it down but the weather was so rough leading up to the overnight storm that it was too dangerous to take it down. Also what was supposed to be a gale morphed into a storm. But we were fortunate as the van was next to a high hedge and the van protected the awning too. So it didn’t really see the full force that it would have done on a more exposed site.

PS I thought your blog was really great. Of course the caravan camping and motorhome magazines only show happy campers in the sun, with some drinkies and a bbq. We know differently.
 
May 7, 2012
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It all depends on the quality of the awning, the wind direction and how exposed the site is. There is no real figure you can out on it but the better ones will have more resistance, an awning on the side away from the wind will do better and a site in trees will have less problem than an exposed one. Best bet if you are worried is take it down.
 
Jul 31, 2019
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Thanks Otherclive and Raywood. It seems what I asked is akin to 'how long is a piece of string?'. It certainly seems prudent keeping an eye on the forecast and taking the awning down if it's not in a sheltered position.
 
Sep 26, 2018
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As a sailor, there's an activity that one undertakes called "reefing" where you fold or roll part of each sail away as the wind gets up to stop the boat being overpowered. It's well known that human nature leads to sailors generally don't reef early enough, which means that when the reef is finally done the wind has got up and made it much harder.

If in any doubt take your awning down earlier before the wind means that actually doing so could risk injury...
 
Oct 12, 2013
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We are in France the moment , arrived nearly 2 wks ago , here for 16 days , on the 2nd day it was getting quite blustery ( bout same time as Ste had the bad luck with top window ) , i wasn't taking mine down , it had not long gone up but out came the storm straps sooner rather than later & its never budged , and there's been some quite heavy wind and torrential rain through the nights . B)
 
Sep 4, 2017
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Well having survived those gales, in a park right on the beech and reviewed all awnings in the park, the following points:
Firstly the way it is erected and especially pegged is most important. In the picture the one in the background along with many others stood their ground in 50+ KM winds for 36 odd hours. The one in the foreground speaks for itself!
I am sure the make also plays a smaller role as to withstand those gales it has to be well constructed with good materials.
Gale%20Awning.JPG


My little Canopy also stayed up throughout but was not facing the winds, it would have shredded!

Gale%20Canopy.JPG
 
Aug 26, 2014
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A lot depends on who put it up! I've seen storm guy pegs pointing towards the awning, heavy duty guys with flimsy wire pegs, flappy canvas. I'm not saying a well erected awning will withstand all weather, but your chances improve if it's put up properly
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Ah now from Sir Showerhead,

Sitting in a park just North of Aberystwyth on the windy coast and people around me have advised I should take my Suncamp canopy down because gale force winds are expected.. Now let me tell you this canopy withstood gale force in Cornwall once and the weak spot pegs have been replaced with longer ones. So after a bottle of wine I will sleep like a log tonight and in the morning if it is not still in place I will review weak pegging and try again!. Problem is there are such long waits between gales each time I almost have to start again not remembering the last event clearly. I told my 10 year old grandson who is with us that if the van takes off during the night we will be like Mary Poppins where we will be flying over the meadows waving from the windows as we go. Oops.
 
Mar 5, 2016
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I have been caravanning for 19 years and I have to say that was one of the worst storms i have encountered. I was on the isle of wight at the time and yes hindsight is a wonderful thing but I was toying with idea of taking my awning down, but due to the fact we had a week left I decided to keep it up. Big mistake. Despite being a brand new Isabella awning and pegging it, guy roping and using the Isabella storm stays my awning got damaged to the extent we had to take it down in the wind. Unfortunately due to the size of it, it ended up over the top of the van as my wife and 12 year old daughter could no longer hold it whilst I was dismantling it. It has unfortunately dented the side and front panel of our 5 month old van. An insurance claim is pending. I have now decided to get rid of the awning and buy an air awning as in all honesty these seemed to fair better than the poles ones.
 

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