Owning an awning was not high on my Want List until I spent a full day trapped inside my Vanagon as a storm passed through while camping. I kept thinking, if only I had an awning we could be sitting outside in a chair enjoying the sounds of the rain instead of watching movies inside. As soon as I got home I decided to finally pull the trigger on an awning I’ve had my eye on for awhile. It’s a Bus Depot EZY Awning Plus which measures 8′ wide by 11′ long and sells for $149.95.
The EZY Awning Plus stores in a nylon bag much like a tent and is not permanently attached to your van. The awning attaches to the rain gutter of you van by way of 3 rain gutter clips that hold one of the two main support bars in place. It really is a neat design and the amount of space it covers for the price is great! I love having the awning pretty much cover the entire length of my van.
One of the things thats a major plus in my opinion is the raised center portion of the awning. The awning is flexed upwards via 2 long flexible fiberglass tent poles which gives the awning plenty of head clearance underneath. Many of the other, more expensive awning on the market do not have this bow on the roof of the awning which can be a bit of a problem for taller campers.
If you’re looking to purchase one of these awnings my biggest suggestion is to spend another $12.95 and add on a pair of Rain Gutter Clamps. Yes the awning comes with 3 clips but I found it to be much more secure with a total of 5 clips holding down the awning support bar to my van. 3 gets the job done but still allows the support bar to flex out of the rain gutter quite a bit. 5 clips keeps it all in place.
A couple of items I’ve purchased to go along with the awning are a 9’x12′ Reversible RV Mat from eBay and about 5 strands of these really cool 12v LED Christmas Lights. These light strands are about 10ft long and run about $10 per strand. What’s really cool is that they can be daisy chained so you can run as many as you like end to end and only use one cigarette lighter plug to power them. I absolutely love these things and in fact I may end up buying a few more. 5 strands is more than enough to cover the perimeter of the awning so I just hang the left over length in the van from the roof vent on the fiberglass top. This helps illuminate the interior very nicely.
I’ve camped with this awning about 4 times now and yes the process of getting the awning up has gotten a bit quicker but it is still a bit of work, especially if you’re doing it by yourself. The awning comes complete with guy wires and metal stakes so that you can tie down the corners for added stability in windy environments. At one time the wind was so heavy that I had to place an full ice chest in between the two outer legs and attach guy wires from the ice chest to the horizontal support pole in order to make sure it didn’t fly away. I was still a bit nervous.
As with any awning or tent I would never recommend storing it wet. One camping trip I had to break down the awning in a light rain but once I got home I simply hung it over the fence and let it dry out. This durable, light weight nylon dries very quickly and it’ll be ready to be packed up before you know it.
Would I recommend this awning to anyone? Yes. I would… BUT. One thing is worth mentioning, if you plan to be on long road trips where you may be camping in different spots on a daily basis I do not think this awning is for you. It just becomes too cumbersome to set up and take down and I can’t imagine doing it daily if its needed. Now if you go camping for 2-4 days at a time in a single spot then yes, I highly recommend this awning. I mean for the price you simply can’t go wrong. Are there awnings out there that can be set up much more quickly and easier to handle? Yes but then you’re talking about awnings in the $800-$1,000 range. That’s a big jump up from the $165 or so with this EZY Awning Plus and extra Rain Gutter Clamps.
Highly recommended if you're an average camper needing shade and/or cover from the rain on trips. Not recommended if you're a hard core #vanlife guy who travels and sets up camp in various places every other day or so.
May 11, 2014 9Owning an awning was not high on my Want List until I spent a full day trapped...