Did you ever think you’d need an awning when you bought your first campervan? Our guess is that you’ve come to discover how awnings can make your weekends or vacations memorable and worthwhile. As you choose between Thule and Fiamma awnings, let’s mention that it’s like picking your favorite restaurant – you’ll be spoilt for choices!
Thule awnings are visually appealing than Fiamma awnings. However, Fiamma are traditionally more sturdy coming with metal caps instead of plastic and handles that make expanding and retracting the awning significantly easier.
Read on for more insights into what you should look for when choosing awnings, the qualities of Thule and Fiamma products, and instances where either brand would be better than the other.
What Is a Thule Awning?
Thule is a household name when it comes to Motorhome or caravan awnings. The company offers a variety of awnings to suit your leisure vehicle. Thule awnings come in different shapes, colors, and sizes.
Here are some of the types of awnings you can get from Thule:
a. Wall-mounted awnings
They are designed to be installed on your caravan’s sidewall. They come with a range of adapters and are easy to mount on your vehicle’s rail.
b. Roof-mounted awnings
They are a great choice if your caravan’s space is restricted – they free up your vehicle’s rail for other uses.
c. Rail-mounted awnings
They are very light and do not require brackets to install. If you’re looking for flexibility, then you should pick rail-mounted awnings from Thule. They allow you to switch to your canopy since they are not permanently installed on your caravan.
Here is a list of 3 of the best Thule awnings on the market:
The Thule Hideaway awning is designed for durability. The all-aluminum construction makes it lightweight and corrosion-resistant. You can operate this awning alone using a hand crank, thanks to the stable supporting tension arms.
The awning is also easy to mount on aftermarket racks. However, you may need to purchase a roof rack adapter to do that.
The perfect tensioning makes the awning resistant to strong winds. Also, installing this awning is a breeze.
Caveat: You need to be careful when installing this awning. You must place the back place precisely as stated in the user manual. If not, it will be challenging to insert metal screws at the awning’s bottom once the installation is completed.
Thule Outland Awning is another bestseller worth mentioning. Users of this product note that the quality speaks for itself!
The awning has a high-strength polyester fabric and comes with an aluminum case. Because of that, you get a product that is both lightweight and durable.
Who would disagree that it feels like a rip off when you buy an awning, but its frame starts rusting after a few days of use? We cannot overemphasize the essence of aluminum’s rust-resistant properties when it comes to choosing the best awning.
The Thule Outland Awning is also easy to set up and operate. Because of its push-button, you won’t need to get an extra pair of hands during installation. We also like the Quick-Lock system that helps when setting up and adjusting the support legs. In our opinion, one word describes the awning: user-friendly.
You get perfect fabric tension, thanks to the high-end tensioning mechanism that comprises pump buckle technology.
Have we mentioned that this awning has telescopic legs? They can be conveniently stored on the awning’s lead rail, which allows for the attachment of accessories.
3. Thule Omnistor 4900 Awning
Thule 4900 is designed with high-quality, waterproof, and durable fabric. The light fabric helps in retaining the awning’s tension and reducing puddle buildup on its roof. Besides, the coating is resistant to UV and heat; thus, the awning keeps you cool.
The Quick-Lock system is another pro of the Thule Omnistor 4900. You can adjust the awning’s legs easily. You can also set its oval support legs vertically from the lead rail, reducing the chances of damaging your caravan’s sidewall.
The Thule Omnistor 4900 is equipped with both a sturdy roller tube and tension arms to provide superior stability. This makes the awning wind resistant.
You can choose different finishes, such as cream, anodized, anthracite, or white, thanks to the timeless design of the Thule Omnistor 4900.
Pros of Thule Awnings
Although I’ve mentioned the pros of specific bestselling awnings from the Thule brand, we consider it essential to let you know the general benefits of using Thule awnings. By knowing them, you’ll be in a better position to decide the ideal brand based on your needs and preferences.
Here are some of the pros of Thule awnings:
a. Easy to use
Most come with telescopic hand cranks, Quick Release systems, and support legs for easy use and to prevent these awnings from falling.
b. High-quality and durable fabrics
Regardless of your choice, you will get an awning with top-quality PVC fabric with 5 layers. Thule uses washable, durable, and watertight materials to manufacture its awnings.
c. Superior frames
All Thule awnings have aluminum frames to guarantee reliability, safety, and durability. The company has strict quality controls to ensure its products surpass the existing standards.
d. Wide range of accessories
Thule offers various accessories to fit your lifestyle and get more out of your camper awning. To enjoy the full benefits of Thule awnings, we suggest that you buy the following accessories:
- Thule Tension Rafter G2: For better fabric tensioning and wind resistance. Made of anodized aluminum and high-impact plastics, the rafter is durable and easy to install.
- Thule Rain Blocker G2 Side Panel: Comes in handy during a downpour. It’s also easy to install.
What Is a Fiamma Awning?
Fiamma pushes the envelope when it comes to the production of caravan and camper accessories. Rest assured, you’ll be using high-end caravan attachments when you buy this brand’s products.
Here are 3 of the best awnings from the Fiamma Brand:
The Fiamma F45Ti Awning – 300cm is one of the most elegant and user-friendly awning products from Fiamma.
Designed to be installed on your caravan or Motorhome’s sidewall, this product is noise-free – you won’t hear any irritating sounds during opening, closing, or traveling. They come with a patented Clip System for enhanced stability.
The following steps describe how you can install the Fiamma F45Ti Awning – 300cm on your caravan:
- Fasten the upper and lower parts together.
- Screw the knob to block the awning’s fabric between the lower and upper rail.
- Fit the special sponge that comes with the product vertically on the pack of the side panels.
- Use the aluminum telescopic pole to fit the sponge against your vehicle.
- Insert the front panel into the front rail of your awning and use the zip to join it with the side panels.
If you travel frequently or prefer short, weekend stays, then the Fiamma 07350-04 Awning is the ideal product to buy. You can install this lightweight air awning quickly. It’s also easy to use and comes with roof ventilation that makes it suitable for use during warm weather.
Flexibility and variety should come to mind when you think of this awning – it comes in different heights and weights and has versatile mounting. Because of that, the Fiamma 07350-04 Awning can be installed on both profiled and straight caravan walls.
This awning has a double roof and an integrated self-ventilation mechanism. Its sidewalls are also flexible – you can fully open or extend them using the optional aluminum rod kit. Besides, you can add a blocker to the front wall, enabling you to shelter from the sun’s heat. You can also use the shadow surface to protect your dog’s crate during hot weather.
The awning comes with a cross rafter for additional support, a mounting kit, tension straps, ground spikes, and a transport bag, making it worth the money.
Just like the Fiamma Awning F45 S 300cm, the Fiamma Awning F45 S 400cm is elegantly built and designed to be user-friendly. It is also silent and can be installed on your vehicle’s sidewalls.
The 400cm version also comes with a window on the front panel. You can roll it up for better ventilation. If you find yourself in a mosquito-infested zone, you can use the accompanying mosquito net.
Another pro worth mentioning is that the Fiamma Awning F45 S 400cm has an independent door that you can move onto either the right or left-hand side and a patented Clip System.
Pros of Fiamma Awnings
Here are some of the pros of Fiamma awnings:
- User friendly: These awnings edge out other alternatives when it comes to user comfort. The lightweight construction and self-ventilation mechanisms make these awnings worth purchasing.
- Safe: Fiamma awnings have patented Clip Systems, aluminum end caps and come with a mosquito net. The Clip System and aluminum construction make them sturdy, improving stability. The net is an indication of Fiamma’s customer-centric designs.
- Durable: The aluminum frames of Fiamma awnings are corrosion-resistant, making them a worthwhile purchase.
- Noise-free: Depending on the quality and make of their material, opening, closing, and transporting awnings come sometimes to be noisy. To avoid that, Fiamma offers several top-quality, noise-free awnings.
- A variety of accessories: Fiamma doesn’t lag behind in accessories. The brand provides several accessories, such as specialty roof rafters for extra strength and prevention of flapping and water pooling, privacy screens, and weatherproofing. We consider the following accessories essential:
- The Fiamma Tie Down S Kit: It allows you to anchor your awning to the ground for better stability. It can fit into the F45 and F65’s guides or on your Privacy Room’s side clip.
- Fiamma Awning Repair Kit Plus: With this kit, you don’t have to replace your awning’s fabric if it gets damaged. The repair kit comes with 3 transparent 150mm x 56mm PVC strips that you can use to repair your awnings and tents.
What Should I Look for in an Awning?
When buying an awning, you will come across different brands, sizes, and types. Therefore, you should take some time to consider their features, qualities, and best use cases.
Here are the factors to consider when buying an awning:
1. Type of Awning
Before you start worrying about the price, quality, or other features of awnings, it is highly advisable to consider the available types so that you can choose the one that best suits your needs.
Here are some of the options on the market:
a. Driveaway awnings
These types of awnings resemble your typical tent and have small tunnels that you can fix onto your caravan. You attach these tunnels to your awning’s rail or gutter. Thus, you can easily slip driveaway awnings on and off your camper.
b. Wind-out or Roll-out awnings
Unlike drive away awnings, wind-out awnings are permanently fixed on your camper – you can roll them out as and when you need to do so. They are easy to use, making them one of the most popular types on the market.
c. Air awnings
These are the latest innovations. Their structures are made of strong air-filled poles. Air awnings are easy to pitch or pack. These awning types are ideal for novice campers – they save you from the hassle that comes with conventional awnings.
How much space do you need? Will you be dining in your awning? These are some of the questions that you need to consider to make a better choice.
Often, awnings come in full or porch sizes. A full canopy provides more room – it can project your caravan’s side by up to 3.5 m (11.5 ft). Porches will give less space, but that doesn’t mean they won’t make your life easier. In fact, a porch-sized awning saves you from the hassle that comes with transporting a bulky, heavy, full-sized alternative.
Have we mentioned that you can set up and peg a porch down within 15 minutes with a partner?
In a nutshell, you should consider whether you need enough space for toys, dining, or somewhere members of your family can sleep if the caravan cannot accommodate all of you.
You will be spoilt for choices when it comes to choosing your preferred fabric. Awning fabrics come in different looks, weights, and strength,
If you prefer lightweight fabrics, then polyester is an ideal choice. It’s not only light to handle but also dries quickly. Besides, polyester awnings are easy to construct or pack away. Because of that, we recommend them for weekend stays.
Alternatively, you could look for acrylic awnings. Although more expensive, they look tauter, are more rigid, and are of high quality. It is advisable to choose awnings that are made of solution-dyed, also known as fiber-dyed fabrics.
Solution-dyed fabric is more durable – thanks to its ability to withstand the harmful effects of ultraviolet light.
At a closer look, especially in bright light, you may discover that the fiber-dyed acrylic materials are made up of different colors that are woven to create a predominant grey or blue appearance. You’ll also see shades of green and orange colors within the weave.
When choosing your awning based on fabric, you should consider its texture, density, weight, and tautness.
Of course, you want the best quality awning for your caravan. Therefore, we highly doubt you’ll fail to consider this essential feature before buying one.
That aside, let me specify what you need to look for when assessing the available awnings’ quality.
A high-quality awning is made from the right quality fabric and metal frames.
Specifically, you should look for materials that are:
- Resistant to ultraviolet rays
- Resistant to fading
- Easy to clean
Mostly, caravan awning frames are made of aluminum, steel, air, and glass fiber. Depending on your needs, you may choose one of these frame types. However, we prefer aluminum metal frames. This metal is strong, lightweight, and does not rust. This means aluminum frames provide better support, are lighter, easy to use, and last longer.
In short, you should think about the quality of the awning that suits your needs best. Generally, better quality awnings are more expensive.
Pro Tip: Always look for a seal of approval to determine the quality of your awning. Approval from a reputable company signals a high-quality product.
5. Ability To Withstand Variable Weather Conditions
You wouldn’t want harsh weather to ruin your weekend stay, right?
If that is the case, you need to determine your preferred awnings’ ability to withstand inclement weather. For example, if you camp in an area with strong winds, you’ll need stronger awnings than when camping in places with weaker winds.
Did you know that some awnings come with intelligent weather technology? For example, the Omnistor, a notable awning from Thule, comes with an in-built fabric tensioned system that significantly improves the awning’s resistance to winds. The accompanying rain gutter is another feature worth mentioning.
6. Visual Impact
Last but not least, you should consider your awning’s aesthetics.
You want something beautiful to look at, right? If so, choose an awning that you not only like but also suits your caravan’s appearance.
You could opt for an awning with closed or open sides, a waterfall type, a semicircular one, or a dome-shaped one.
When choosing colors, pick the one that complements your caravan’s overall look. We prefer lighter colors since they absorb less heat. That means less heat rash when in a light-colored awning, especially during scorching heat.
7. Warranties and Guarantees
One of the common questions awning buyers often ask is: What if I discover that my awning is faulty after purchasing?
This is where warranties matter. As a general rule, you should always ensure that you are protected if anything goes wrong after purchasing a product you will use for a long time. The manufacturer should allow you to exchange your defective awning with a functioning one if the fault did not arise from negligence, misuse, or abuse on your part.
What Is the Difference Between Fiamma and Thule?
If Thule and Fiamma awnings have such impressive features, what distinguishes them then?
We guess by now, you’ve probably asked this question.
To get you more informed before choosing your awning, let me mention some of the differences between Fiamma and Thule awnings:
- Thule awnings have a better visual appeal, while Fiamma awnings appear more sturdy. However, this does not mean that the former is more likely to break. Nonetheless, Fiamma awnings have better leg support to withstand strong winds and heavy rains.
- Fiamma’s awnings have handles that are easier to use. According to one user discussion forum, unlike Thule awnings, which have complex winding handles, Fiamma awnings have a simpler hook and eye arrangement.
- Thule awnings have plastic caps at the rear end, while Fiamma awnings have metal caps. Therefore, Fiamma awnings are more sturdy. However, the metal caps may start bubbling paint after some time.