One of the earliest caravanning modifications used to maximise space plus comfort and cut costs are by putting up annexe. Moreover, with an annexe, you can spend more time exploring your destination with your family.
From retractable to roll out types, there are varieties of annexes to choose from. These are the best tips when picking an annexe and the easiest ways to set it up.
Just make sure you have someone to assist you because it’s difficult to set up an annexe alone, regardless of the how modern your caravan is.
What is an annexe?
An annexe is an extension of a caravan. It is built with fabric, poles and wires to stretch your camp space when you are parked. Popularly referred to as awning, the annexe is ideal to block the scorching sun in summer, yet have a warm evening’s sleep underneath. Setting up an annexe also ensures you have a private space when you are parked at a camping ground.
Benefits of Having an Annexe
Bringing together families is not the only advantage of having an annexe. Having an annexe is having the best resort in any exotic destination.
Make the most of your annexe during beach camping and primitive camping!
Annexes for caravans are available of lengths up to 7m. Choosing an annexe that suits your caravan will give you maximum space. For families, this is the smartest storage hack.
When parking in camp sites, it is impossible to keep neighbours off your space. The best solution for this is to set up an annexe. With this, you’ll have the sought-after quiet and convenience to relax without worry.
From drying your clothes to private garments or accessories, an annexe is a real space saver.
It can guarantee that you can comfortably relax next to a mountain or next to a lake as if you’re in an exotic resort.
When you add an annexe to your van, you take comfort with you!
Resist the Wind, Sun and Rain
An important benefit of using caravan annexes is extra safety from heavy winds to scorching sun and heavy rain. Yet another bonus is that you can also bask in the evening sun.
Choosing the Right Caravan Annexe for you
Picking up the right annexe is important to ensure that you’re not wasting space or adding clutter to the van’s total weight.
Type of material and Size
For the best annexe when it comes to safety, pick a sturdy one. Different types of caravan annexes are available in fabric, vinyl, shade or canvas.
As caravans made in Oz differ based on its length, it’s best to have a custom made annexe.
Weighing half as a canvas, vinyl is sturdy for lower areas. Canvas on the other hand is ideal for the upper half.
Colour and Layout
After choosing the size, you must next pick out the colour and design, may it be solid or has stripes. Note that you can save a lump sum, as the annexe colour does not contribute to its usefulness. Note that a caravan annexe’s layout is based on the total number of ventilations or windows as well as doors.
For full time caravanners, flared annexe walls are recommended because it can repel rain.
If you have a roll out awning, expenses can be limited. On the other hand, a minimum down payment is needed to buy the annexe. The price of an annexe hinges on the material, colour, layout, brand, warranty and type of caravan.
Protection and Warranty
Not all caravanning annexes come with exclusive warranties. Hence, it is necessary to use a credible and reputed annexe, preferably from your manufacturer. Annexes made exclusively for specific caravan models come with iron-clad warranties against manufacturing defects and damages. Ensure that your annexe is guaranteed that it would last a long time.
The type of caravanning you do is a factor in choosing the colour and material of your annexe.
If you’re a solo caravanner, a regular canvas type of annexe will do, while family or full time caravanners are recommended to go with custom-made or vinyl annexe for extra durability.
Based on your Itinerary
Also, consider your itinerary when choosing a caravan annexe. Your choice depends on whether you need a waterproof annexe (if you’re planning to camp on the beach to the lake), or a heat resistant annexe.
Moreover, think of the seasons when you will travel across Australia so your annexe suits the environment’s temperature.
Setting up annexe step by step
This can be a pain if you do it wrongly. Regardless of the type of annexe you’re planning to hitch to your rig, this is your guide for a hassle-free caravan annexe setup.
Preparing the Annexe
Using the tools supplied with the caravan annexe or roof rafters, open up and stretch out the annexe. This helps release the tension in the canvas or vinyl. Then, ensure the awning adjacent to your caravan is open so you can cross-check if it fits.
Sail the Track of Annexe to your Caravan
Using the sail track, roll your annexe fabric or vinyl upward.
You can also use a sealant such as silicone spray to hold the sails firmly to your caravan. Also called the annexe channel, sailing the track of the annexe is easy to do after finding the annexe bead and its leading edge.
Lay out the Side Walls
You can lay the side walls adjacent to the rig before fitting, to mark the right slots to screw in. Draw the sidewalls using the roof rafters with its edges levelled up until the ceiling. When drawing the side walls of the roller tube you can repeat using the silicone spray to make the walls firm.
Fit the Poles
After fitting the walls, zip the annexe edges. Now, using the holes of the roller tubes, fit the poles while rolling the doors of the annexe inward for preventing rain leaking into the annexe.
Starting with the centre pole for the roof, fix the caravan annexe frame firmly.
Ensure the Awning is Well Fitted
Using ‘stayput’ connect the edges of the walls to the annex and check if all the edges are firmly fitted. Double check if the awning is levelled and on a horizontal terrain. Ensure that the mudwall is properly tucked inwards using pegs.
Tie Down for Extra Safety
An important part of every caravanner’s arsenal, ‘tie down’ is a safety measure used to tie the annexe strongly to the ground to fight strong winds from disturbing the caravan balance.
Also popular as storm straps, these are essential for a safe parking and setting up of the caravan.
Enjoy your annexe!
Caring for an annexe is easy if you do it regularly. From treating stains on a fabric canvas annexe to preventing scratches on vinyl, there are many steps to keep your caravan annexe safe and durable.
The golden rule is to service your caravan annexe once every year and avoid using toxic chemicals to clean it. For it to be comfortable and warm during heavy rains, you can smudge wax over the zipper and stitching to prevent water leaks!