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Eliza Doolittle

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Hi everybody


Me again!!! Because I am new, I have a 1001 questions!


I have two small children, one nearly two and one just 7 months, and I have a lot of baggage, that I do not want to keep in my nice clean camper van, i.e. buggies with muddy wheels.


I am therefore looking at getting an awning for next season. I am looking at getting a drive away awning as sometimes we may move the van offsite to visit nearby attractions.


Our motorhome is a Hymer 524 gt. Does anybody own one of these? Can anybody recommend a suitable driveaway awning?





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Hi again Eliza


The first question you need to answer is:


Do you want to be able to 'attach' it to your motorhome when on site, or are you happy for it to just be on the same pitch as you at the side?


If you want to attach it you'll need a 'proper' drive away awning with a tunnel part from it which you attach to your motorhome, usually with cords etc. We've had one of these and they can be a pain in the bum especially on taller vans. They tent to cost a fair bit of money too, there are some examples on these websites:





If you just want somewhere outside of the van to basically store stuff, there are a lot of free standing awnings with zip up fronts and rears, or sides, that would suffice, such as what is sometimes termed a 'kitchen' tent. Don't go for the type of gazebo that you'd use in your garden though as they are generally made of less robust material and you'll end up with a giant kite or a great heap on the floor in windy weather! There are some on the following websites:






Once you've decided what type you want/need, have a good shuftie round the private ads and ebay as you can get some real bargains - usually they've hardly been used or are 'as new' but at a fraction of the shop price paid.


I picked up a lovely utility tent from a car boot sale, hardly used, for £8!


I forgot to say, don't forget that whateer you get you'll have to allow for the weight within your payload and also the size for storage in the motorhome whilst travelling from site to site etc. Some awnings you can store 'wet' so it doesn't matter if it's wet when you put it away, but others will need to be dried out to prevent them rotting as soon as you get home - have you got room to do this?


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You are fountain of knowledge. Thank you so much for your help once again.


I have a lot of sites here to look at. We were thinking of getting an awning that attaches to a motorhome, because we thought the only other alternative was, say a zip type awning. But now you have me thinking.


Thank you once again. I will have a look at all the websites you suggested.





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Ey-up! Do you have a 'dual' personality? First you were Eliza Doolittle, now Forest Gump ... ???


If you are going to the Lincoln show you should be able to see some examples of different awnings there, you can't beat actually seing them in the flesh (or cloth!). :-D

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Hi Mel


I realised what I did when I replied. I was using husband's PC.


He is Forest Gump. I am Eliza!


Sorry about that.


Easier if we had one account, but I felt silly being called Forest and he says I have a different way of putting things than he would, so we agreed on seperate names - and then after setting myself up I went and used his - silly me :-)


We are going to the Shepton Mallet show which is on next weekend and are going to look at any awnings on display there. We checked out your links and found them most helpful.


The problem is, my husband is now saying he thinks a Fiamma Zip privacy room or Omnistor Safari room will suit us better. So many choices, and I don't want to rush in, especially given the price of the zip/safari rooms.


I guess seeing them in the flesh in the show will help us in our decision.


Thank you again so much for your help and sorry about the confusion over the names.



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Eliza Doolittle - 2009-09-06 8:42 PM


I have two small children, one nearly two and one just 7 months, and I have a lot of baggage, that I do not want to keep in my nice clean camper van, i.e. buggies with muddy wheels.


I am therefore looking at getting an awning for next season. I am looking at getting a drive away awning as sometimes we may move the van offsite to visit nearby attractions.


Hi again


Whilst a safari room may seem what you want be aware that should you need to move off site you have to take it all down, no leaving all your stuff in a secure shelter and pootling out for the day, you'd have to pack it all up into the van, safari room and all. From your original posting (extract above), this would seem to be the opposite of what you want/need?


There are a lot of people who have bought safari rooms and then sell them in the classified adds as 'hardly use', or 'only used twice'. If you do decide to get one then I'd suggest getting a second hand one as they are a lot cheaper than buying new.


If you really can't decide, I'd suggest getting a cheap storage tent and trying that out first, if it does the job, great stuff, if not, then you haven't lost a lot (you can always sell it on). On the other hand if you buy a safari room and then find it isn't what you need you're likely to loose a fair bit of money, even buying a second hand one doesn't mean you'll still be able to recover all your outlay.


What I am saying is: really have a good think about exactly how you use your van and whether having a 'fixed' safari room would stop you doing the things you want to do. Eg, on a practical note, if you ran out of baby food, milk etc at tea-time, would you have another way of getting out to the shops to get the items you need without moving the 'van?

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I understand and agree with everything you are saying Mel thanks for your help and advice, it is really appreciated.


I think we will have a long hard think before we buy anything and certainly have a look at all our options in the flesh so to speak.


I think my husband is thinking the safari room route will give us a seamless finish to the van and no chance of rain water coming in. His concern with the drive away awnings is from the pictures he thinks he may experience difficulties connecting it to the van efficiently.


I really hope they have some on display at show and not just stand alone as we have seen once before.


I know this is going to sound mad, but we thought if we did go down the safari room route, we may buy a small pop up tent that we would put up in the corner of the SR and that way if we did want to move we could just undo the sides and front and away we go, this may sound easier said than done!!!! Anything lying around we pop in pop up tent that we leave behind. Also pop up tent will be play tent for our very playful little boy!


I am so undecided and husband keeps changing his mind which is not helping. :-)


Anyway, hopefully the show this weekend will help us in our decision and of course a lottery win would help towards the cost of a SR!


Thanks Mel.


Eliza and Forest

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Hi Eliza, i also wondered about the two names!!!

We have a Fiamma SR, and a Fiamma zipped Awing, needed for the SR.to attach to. Its not to difficult to put up, but don't forget when putting it away it takes time to "fold up tidy"One thing you need a ladder to reach the top part of zip, we use the over bed one. As stated before, unless you stay in one place, and have other transport, its fine. Ours has been used as sleeping accomadation, but a bit drafty, also fairly heavy, and as you will have a lot of other extras, with the young children, don't forget the weight issue!


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Me again! :D


The idea of a tent to put your stuff in anyway is a good idea to keep it out of your nipper's reach if nothing else - we have a beach tent that we can use if we stay on a site to put the bikes, chairs, BBQ etc in, it only cost about £7 and whilst not something that would last if used extensively, does the job and is very small and lightweight.


I still wonder though if removing the safari room would be that easy, especially if it was wet or was raining etc. To my way of thinking a safari room is great if you go to a site, set up for the week and then take it down when you leave at the end, using public transport/cycles etc to get around (hopefully in good weather) or with enough 'entertainment' on site so that you don't need to go out.


You don't actually have to attach drive-away/freestanding awnings to the motorhome, you could just have one close by - no matter how well attached you try to get it unless you really go to town on pegging it down, putting in a skirt along the bottom edge of the motorhome etc, etc, you're not going to avoid draughts etc ... perhaps getting hubby a nice pair of long-johns would suit? :-D ;-)

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If you are after information about a heavier material awning,(which may be an idea if you have small children getting more mobile as the months go on ;-) )


Lighter material awnings may be a little too light !



Take a look at my website for some photos of how the awning is errected, and what is involved. (Click on the thumbnail images for larger pictures)


Any queries, just ask






Just add (seeing you are a newish member, Welcome !) that this thread running alittle while ago may be of interest ;



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Hi Tony


Thanks for your help and links.


I am looking forward to going to the show tomorrow and seeing what is available and what might be the most suitable for us.


I have taken on board what everybody has said which will most certainly assist us in our search.


Lets hope my two little angels behave themselves long enough tomorrow to let me have a good look around.


Fingers crossed!!!





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