What is a driveaway awning?

If you speak to any fellow campervan owner and they’ll quickly quiz you about what goodies you’ve got for your campervan.

I was asked by a few people if I’d bought a driveaway awning yet, but to be honest I didn’t even know what one was! My immediate response was… “Dave, what the bloody hell IS a driveaway awning?”

Well, a driveaway awning is essentially just a large tent that connects to your campervan when it’s parked up. It’s useful because it allows you to take your van on trips whilst leaving your tent (awning) erected.

It’s useful because:

  • It gives you extra living space in the form of a large tent
  • You do not have to take the tent down every time you drive away
  • Disconnecting and connecting an awning only takes seconds if you have the right kit
  • It gives you an additional living room or bedroom for visitors
  • Extends your vans living space whilst being entirely under cover

We’ve reviewed the best driveaway awnings for Transporter campervans. We outlined the best small overall, best for families, and best for couples including images – check it out!

How a driveaway awning works

Drive-away Fixing Kits
Connecting a driveaway awning kit
Drive Away Kits
Driveaway awning connection kit

Why do I need a driveaway awning?

Many people don’t actually have a driveaway awning. It’s not an absolute essential to have fun taking your van on trips away!

We wrote a Vango Kela review recently having purchased it second hand from Facebook Marketplace, so check that out if you want to see an in-depth guide on how we use it and what it’s like to own.

If you don’t have one, then you have a few options. If you really do need the additional space in the form of a tent, then you’ll simply need to just take a separate tent and erect it next to your van. It’s as simple as that.

The main benefit of the driveaway awning is that it allows you to extend your existing van living space instead of having to exit your van and enter a new living space (tent).

How do you drive away from a driveaway awning?

How do you attach a driveaway awning? The easiest and most common way to drive away from your awning is to to buy a kador strip kit.

The kador strip and figure of 8 loop allows your to easily connect and disconnect from your van. The bit circled in red below connects to your awning in the same way the opposite side of the strip is connecting to the figure of 8 strip. This makes attaching the awning super simple.

Three Zero Blog: Connection Methods For Your Drive Away Awning

A good kador strip kit will include a figure of 8 loop, which is a piece of plastic like in the image below:

Figure of 8 Strip | Camper Essentials

Can you sleep in a driveaway awning?

Yes! A driveaway awning is just a fancy name for a tent. We’ve slept in ours, and had guests sleep in it, plenty of times.

Which is the best driveaway awning?

There is a huge selection of driveaway awnings on the market. For the best awning check out our driveaway awning reviews to find out which may suit you best.

The key things to take into account when choosing an awning include:

  • Ease of erecting – The Vango Airbeam range have a very clever pump system that removes the need for any poles you’ll find on traditional tents.
  • Weight – Large awnings can weigh up to 30kg or more when packed away. They come in their owns bags, but they’re quite heavy to lug about everywhere.
  • Looks – This is subjective, but some simply look nicer than others. Our favourite looking driveaway awning is this beauty.

What do I need to buy if I want a driveaway awning?

Make sure you know what you’re getting into if you’re considering buying a driveaway awning. It’s not just a case of buying the awning and having fun with it.

You’ll need:

What if I don’t have a multirail?

The multirail makes it much simpler and more elegant to connect your driveaway awning, but it isn’t absolutel essential.

All good driveaway awnings come with storm straps that you can use to strap around your entire van. Instead of connecting to the van against a multirail, they latch on over the top and under the van as the connection.

Here’s a good guide to the various ways to connect without a multirail.

It’s worth noting that if you’re just looking for a little bit of shelter, then the VW California comes with an awning built on the side for basic shelter. Read our VW California vs Transporter guide to find out more.

Do you need roof racks for a driveaway awning?

No you don’t. A multirail is useful, but not essential.

Joe Tannorella

Joe Tannorella

Joe grew up wanting to live the van life. In 2020 he and his wife bought their first VW Transporter campervan (called Vinnie) and have been enjoying it ever since. Together they write about their experiences of van life and provide useful information, reviews, and more via their writing on Camperbrain.

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