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Newbie saying Hi


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Just a quick hello from a newbie


Well I say newbie , we could be classed as 'born again' motorhomers


There's myself , my wife , 4 1/2 year old son and our 2 dogs. We've had a number of MH's in the past up to 4 years ago when my wife was taken seriously ill whilst on holiday in Cornwall. (later diagnosed with MS).


After that event we thought that towing a caravan was the only option to us as we need transport of some description when away. We somewhat went in to a flat panic sold our 6 month old Hymer and px'd for a 4x4 and caravan.


I never really liked towing a 'van and after a couple of scary near misses I had enough. I really missed the flexibility of the MH and the quickness we could get up and gone. So after a lot of sole searching and research as to how we could manage with a MH (i.e using public transport , hiring a car , towing a small car) we've finally got our new baby.


We picked up our 2007 Auto-Trail Apache 700 SE last weekend and cant wait to get out and about again.


We'd like to hear from folks as to how they manage with mobility when away , as mentioned my wife has MS so cant walk great distances , often junior and myself need to take ourselves off for the day to leave mom to rest.


We'd also like to learn a bit more about what awnings people prefer as we need somewhere for the dogs too. The Apache has a roll out awning so we're considering either a safari room or a drive away.

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If you are planning as you say to leave your wife at the van to rest I wouldn't recommend using a roll out awning they take of in anything more than a light breeze , even with an anchor kit they are worrying in anything more than a light wind. I don't have any experance of them with a safari room fitted but I wouldn't want to find out how they perform the hard way.



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Safari rooms do give you extra space but are heavy to carry and are not that easy to put up. You certainly would not want to take down and then put up again a safari room just for a trip to the shops. A drive away awning would most probably suit you better.
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Hi again Rog


Thinking about your situation, a safari room would be much easier for you to put up and take down on your own, after all once you've unrolled the awning you are just attaching panels to it (think of it like hanging up large items of washing!).


It is true that an attached awning can be a problem in windy weather but, as I understand it, when they have safari rooms attached it turns them into a 'proper' type of awning and, so long as you ensure you peg it down and use straps to anchor it (much as you would with a normal 'caravan type' awning), there shouldn't be any problems with it. Clive Mott Gotobed (good old 'Clive' on here :-D ) has used safari rooms so perhaps could confirm how stable they are and what conditions it is safe to use them in.


Failing that, I would suggest one of the light weight 'attached' awnings might be the next best thing if you want something fairly easy to use and set up, here's an example:


attached awning


A freestanding awning might cause you more problems than it is worth and I would suggest is only really the way to go if you do intend to take the 'van out regularly from the site. Aligning the 'van up with the awning each time you return can be a pain in the b*m, especially if its dark and you're having to try to do it on your own - only you will be able to answer how 'skilled' you would be at this!


The answer to all of this is for you to really think hard about how you are going to use the 'van and an awning too - for example, are you going to need to store any kit in it? Are the dogs going to be left in it 'unsupervised'? Dogs are great escape artists so how secure the bottom of any awning would be is something to consider (you'd also need a skirt for the bottom part of the van too with an attached awning).


It might be worth seeing how you cope on a few trips away and chat to other motorhome owners about the pros and cons of each set up and see them 'in the flesh' so to speak - the awnings, not the owners! :$


There is a large motorhome show at Peterborough in April, if you can wait until then I'd strongly suggest you arrange to go, at least for a day visit, as you will see many awnings for sale, as well as thousands of motorhomes camped up with all manner of 'shelter' arrangements to peruse.

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Hi Roger & welcome back to M/H's


An alternative you may wish to consider is wind curtains to fit your roll-out awning. They allow filtered sunlight through & airflow but eliminate breeze and may be preferable to a full Safari Room for your dog(s). They are available in end panels &/or front panels of various lengths. Weight is insignificant, around 1kg per panel + an expanding pole for each end Compared to a Safari Room weight & price are insignificant.


I bought a set at Lincoln Show last September, from a company based near Hull and find them very easy to put up.

I will look out the info, as I have never seen them advertised.

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many thanks for the replies , really appreciate them (I've asked similar questions on another forum and got no responses).


Anyway its food for thought.


Essentially we want an awning for the added space , mostly so we have a dry area for us and the dogs when the weathers wet , also an added area so we are not falling over each other and junior has a safe place to play when needed. As we probably wont need the MH for days out moving it daily isn't a major concearn.

(PS dogs wont be left in the awning when we're not there so escapism isn't an issue and they're not that type of dogs anyway - they cant be bother to be honest to much effort for them!!)


From our caravanning days we had a full awning and I had to put it up by myself so you can image how 'jacobs' I was after a long drive and 2-3 hours of getting us sorted.


Our MH already has an omnistor fitted so a bit of a bonus , I can see us not relying on this for long trips or when the weather rubbish so the driveaway is looking logical. I prefer quick and easy to put up as I cant guarentee my wife being able to help.


Certainly will see if we can get to Peterborough , seen it advertised a few times and often thought we'd like to go. We're also off to the NEC so will see whats on offer there also. I'm not rushed into sorting it yet , just need something before our main weeks away in the summer.


Once again really appreciate the replies.





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Hi Rog


Enjoy the shows, just make sure you hide your wallet well so that you can't get at it easily ... very, very easy to 'spend, spend, spend'!!!


I forgot to say that the 'attached' awning which I did a link for slots into the channel which should be in the front of your fixed Omnister awning so you won't have to have anything else fitted to your van - there are I believe 2 sizes of beading (fat string) so make sure you get the right one - the best way to attach these is to unroll the awning a bit and put it at just above head height, you can then easily reach to slot the beading in the channel easily (similar to feeding a caravan awning into the channel on the side). You just roll in the fixed awning and finish off the job.


Also be aware with the drive away awnings that attaching them to your van can be an absolute b*gger!

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Hi Roger

additional info on my previous post.

The type I described are:-

"Windblocker Sunshades" by Lillypad Leisure, 32 Eastbank Road, Sunk Island, Ottringham, Hull HU12 0Q.

Phone 0845 2305260

Unable to find a website for them.


End panel 200cm high Front, 249cm high rear 226cm wide.

Front panel 200cm high available in various lenghts x 1m.


Lincoln show price (Sept-09) was £39.00 each end panel, with Pole & £33.00 for 3m front panel.


Very easy to erect, End panels loop onto a telescopic pole which goes inside the Roll-out Awning & Front panel slides into the Awning front rail.


I have no connection with the company, just a satisfied customer who greatly appreciates their light weight & that I can fit the panels in around 5 minutes.

(My wife is disabled so unable to assist)

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