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How to measure a caravan for an awning.

Advice on looking after your tent.

Advice on buying a tent.

Try to buy your tent long before you intend to go away, just in case there are delays in getting the tent you have chosen

Immediately check the contents of your tent to ensure there are no parts missing or damaged.

Read through the instructions or if the tent has one watch the DVD prior to pitching for the first time.

Try to familiarize yourself with your new tent before you go on holiday, practice pitching it in your garden if possible.

Advice on picking your tent.

Choosing the right tent can be a daunting task, there are lots of different brands and hundreds of different models to choose from. It is impossible to give you a definitive answer to picking the right tent for you so we have given you a few simple common sense steps to follow to help narrow down your search.

What is the tent for?

Decide what you will be using the tent for and pick the size right for that use. For example, if you are planning to walk the west Highland way then you should consider models which are light weight, have a small pack size and are suitable for use in adverse weather. However, if you are going camping with your family to France for two weeks then weight is no longer such an issue as you will be putting the tent in the car. What would be more important is a tent with more head height and living space.

How many people will be staying in the tent?

Tent manufacturers use a standard calculation to establish the number of berths a tent has.  A berth is 60 cm so provided an inner tent is 120 cm wide then the tent is a two berth, a three berth would be 180 cm and so on. This does not allow for ‘elbow room’ or storage space, we advise if you have a family of four look at five or six berth tents.

Ease of pitching.

If you intend to go camping for weekends then you will be looking for a tent that pitches quickly, however, if you go away for two weeks a larger more complex tent may suit better.

Tent features.

Flysheet: - The fly sheet is the outer fabric of the tent.

Flysheet pitches first: - If a tent pitches flysheet first then the outer is erected first and then the inner is attached later.  The alternative to this is inner pitches first, in this instance the inner is erected first then the flysheet is placed on top.

Flysheet fabrics: - There are many types of flysheet fabrics available, but the three most popular are Cotton, Poly cotton, and polyester.

Cotton: - Cotton or canvas as it is sometimes known is the hardest wearing of all the materials used on flysheets; however it is expensive, heavy and bulky when folded. The main advantage of cotton though is that it has great breathability reducing the likelihood of condensation.

Poly cotton: - Poly cotton as the name would suggest is a mixture of polyester and cotton. Poly cotton is lighter than cotton, less bulky but still quite expensive.

Polyester: - This is the lightest and smallest pack of the three, is the cheapest of them and can have very high water resistance qualities. The main drawback to polyester is that it does not breathe, so condensation can be an issue. 

Taped seams: - Seams are an obvious area where there is a potential for water ingress, all the Polyester tents we sell have taped seams.  The tape is applied over the inside of the seams giving them strength and provides a physical barrier to any water ingress

Poles: - There are three main pole types, steel, fibreglass and aluminum.

Aluminum poles: - Alloy poles are used in lightweight back packing tents because they are lighter than the alternatives.  They are expensive so they tend to be used in the upper ranges.

Fibreglass :- This is the most popular of the pole types because they are cheaper than aluminum light, flexible and relatively strong

Steel: - Steel is becoming more and more popular, although they have a larger and heavier pack than fibreglass; steel gives a much more rigid structure than the alternatives.

Ground sheet: - Most tents come with a ground sheet for the porch or living space. They come in different styles, Standard, riser, or sewn in. A standard ground sheet is flat and usually pegs at the corners, a riser ground sheet comes up the sides and attaches to the bottom of the flysheet filing in the gap. A sewn in ground sheet is permanently attached to the flysheet.  Many manufacturers make an optional foot print ground sheet, this goes in under the tent to protect the tent ground sheet and give added protection against leaks.

 

Advice on looking after your tent.

Cleaning your tent: - The best way to clean your tent is to do it while it is still up.  You will have to do this on a dry day because once the tent has been cleaned it will have to dry and be re-proofed.  Check the tent for mildew or mould, if there is mildew this is a living organism which will have to be killed before it spreads and gets worse.  The most efficient way to kill mildew is to use a sterilising solution like Milton.  The solution should be mixed with water in a ratio of one part solution to ten parts water, once mixed try the solution on a hidden area of the flysheet to check it is OK. The Milton solution my not completely remove the mildew marks but it will kill it and stop it spreading. Mildew is formed when the tent is packed away wet and left, we will cover this later in how to store your tent.  Once you are ready to clean the tent choose a well known specialist tent cleaner, there are several on the market but we use and recommend Storm antibacterial tent cleaner. Follow the instructions on the bottle but when cleaning your tent always try to do a complete section at a time, this helps to cut down the chances of missing bits and reduces the risk of getting tide marks. Never put your tent in the washing machine, tumble dryer or clean it with anything other than a specialist cleaner or water.

Proofing your tent: - There is no exact rule as to when you should proof your tent, some people do it every year, some every two years and some leave it until the tent shows signs of leaking. If proofing your tent you should always clean the flysheet first and then apply the proofer. Like tent cleaners there are several on the market, again we use Storm Fabric Protector, but choose one which is suitable for the type of flysheet you have. When applying the proofer follow the instructions carefully as each one requires different conditions for application, for example, some water based proofers require the tent to be damp when applying while others like storm require the tent to be dry.  Each proofer also takes differing time to dry, please be patient and give the proofer the required time to dry, you will get a much more successful finish.

 

Packing your tent away: - Check the whole tent for any damage, the flysheet, the inner tents, zips, poles, pegs, guy ropes and ground sheet.  It is always prudent to carry spare poles pegs and guy ropes because you can maintain your tent as you go, if you do not have the parts to carry out the repair carry out the work as soon as you get home, some repairs may take time to carry out and you do not want to miss your next holiday because you forgot to get the damage fixed.  Clean off any excess dirt with a brush or cloth, clean your pegs and allow them to dry, clean and dry your poles, check your guy ropes are not frayed and are dry, and ensure your zips run freely. Zips are prone to sticking when they are packed up; there are specialist zip lubricants available if needed.  It is best to clean and dry the underside of your ground sheet.

How to store your tent: - Never pack your tent away when wet, if you have to then dry the tent as soon as you get home, if possible dry it on its frame as this will help to prevent shrinkage. If you arrive home and it is still raining then dry it indoors or pitch the tent anyway, it will be all right up in the rain, but if it is left in the bag wet it will mildew and rot. If you do not use your tent for a long time it is prudent to open it up and pitch it in your garden to give it a good airing and check everything is OK.

How to measure your caravan for an awning.

 

Measure your caravan as shown in the picture, the measurement from ground to ground A-B-C can then be checked with the chart to give you your awning size.  Please take care to measure your caravan as accurately as possible. If you are not sure please contact our awning department for further advice.

 

Size A-measurement
A-B-C
3 700 - 725
4 725 - 750
5 750 - 775
6 775 - 800
7 800 - 825
8 825 - 850
9 850 - 875
10 875 - 900
11 900 - 925
12 925 - 950
13 950 - 975
14   975 - 1000
15 1000 - 1025
16 1025 - 1050
17 1050 - 1075
18 1075 - 1100
19 1100 - 1125