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Freestanding VS Side Awnings: What You Need to Know

Freestanding VS Side Awnings: What You Need to Know

Are you planning your next camping getaway but feeling overwhelmed trying to decide between a freestanding or side awning? With so many options on the market, choosing the right 4x4 awning can be tricky (even for the experienced outdoorsman). Picking the right one is critical to maximising shade, weather protection and enjoyment during your adventures outdoors. So, let's dive in and discover which awning is best for your next adventure!

What is a Freestanding Awning?

A freestanding awning is a type of awning that can be set up from your vehicle. A great example of high-quality freestanding 4x4 awnings is the DARCHE Eclipse 270 Freestanding Awning. Its freestanding and compact design makes it easy to transport and set up. This all-weather awning features a heavy-duty aluminium frame and a waterproof, UV-resistant canopy.


The Pros:

  • A freestanding awning provides more coverage and protection than a side awning, as it can cover the side and rear of your vehicle.
  • They’re simple and easy to set-up with no poles required like a traditional awning.
  • A freestanding car awning can be set up within minutes.

The Cons:

  • Freestanding awnings can have a higher price point due to its additional features and components.
  • They can be heavier and bulkier than a side awning as they have a larger frame and canvas and take up more space on your roof rack or in your vehicle.

What is a Side Awning? 

A side awning, also known as a traditional awning, is a perfect blend of durability and convenience, providing instant shade and protection from the elements. Designed for easy installation, traditional awnings like the DARCHE Eclipse Slimline are made from weather-resistant materials, ensuring they stand up to the toughest conditions. They’re Ideal for camping, picnics, or beach trips and enhance any outdoor adventure.


The Pros:

  • A side car awning can be more affordable than a freestanding awning, as it has fewer features and components and requires less materials and craftsmanship.
  • It’s lighter and more compact than a freestanding awning, thanks to its smaller frame which makes it a great option for vehicles with a lower weight limit. 

The Cons:

  • Unlike the freestanding awnings which can provide up to 11.5m² of coverage, the pull-out design of traditional awnings provides less, making them best suited to solo travellers or couples rather than big groups or families.
  • While we still recommend using poles with freestanding awnings, side awnings always require support poles which have the potential to get in your way and add time to your pack up and pack down process.  

Which 4x4 Awning is Right For Me?

A freestanding awning offers flexibility, versatility, and greater coverage, making it ideal for remote camping and accommodating big groups. On the other hand, a side awning is known for its simplicity, ease of use, and compactness, making it perfect for quick setup and limited storage space.

When it comes to deciding which 4WD awning is right for you, factors like camping site location, vehicle size, and budget should be considered, but also weather as well. Why? Well the DARCHE Eclipse 270 Freestanding LED Awning is wind rated to 30 km/hr in freestanding mode, so if you prefer to camp in locations with unpredictable weather, it’s important your 4x4 awning could handle these conditions.  

By carefully considering these factors and weighing the advantages of each type, the choice between a freestanding vs traditional awning comes down to your personal preferences and needs. 

Wrapping It Up

Choosing the right car awning for your outdoor adventures can make all the difference. 

Freestanding and side awnings each have their pros and cons, and choosing the right car awning for your outdoor adventures can make all the difference to your next outdoor adventure. Matching specialised designs to your camping style, vehicle, and budget ensures enjoyable protection from the elements for years ahead. 

If you need more advice, our friendly and experienced staff are always ready to help you find the perfect awning for your next camping adventure. So drop in today or browse 24/7 online to kickstart future outdoor memories! 

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