Archive for the ‘Transporter’ Tag

How to Connect a Drive-Away Awning to a VW T4, T5 or T6 – Which Drive-Away Kit?   1 comment

How to Connect a Drive-Away Awning to a VW T4, T5 or T6 – Which Drive-Away Kit?

How do I connect a drive-away awning to my VW T5 campervan? Which awning drive-away kit do I need for my VW California rail? What’s the best way to attach an awning to a VW T4? These are some of the awning connection questions that we get asked all the time, so whichever post 90’s model VW Transporter you own, T4, T5 or T6, we’ll talk through the connection options in this post.  For earlier VW Vans see our How to Connect a Vango AirBeam Awning to a VW T2 Bay, Splitscreen or T25 post.

What is an Awning Drive-Away Kit?

There are two basic ways to attach a drive-away awning to a van without an awning rail fitted – using the Throw-Over Straps that are supplied or the Roof Bar Tabs sewn in to the connection edge.

If your van has a C-profile type awning rail already fitted, the Kador beading on the top edge of the awning connection tunnel can be slid directly into it before pitching the awning. This connection method is fine if you don’t plan to drive the van out while your awning is pitched.

To drive a vehicle out from a pitched awning is definitely a two-person job and a very awkward manoeuvre which we don’t recommend attempting. One person has to hold the awning Kador whilst the driver tries to drive straight out without tearing the expensive new awning or running over the other persons feet. You then have to try to do it all again when you attempt to connect up again… maybe in the dark!

An awning drive-away kit allows one person to easily detach from the awning in just a couple of minutes and drive the van out for the day. It only takes 2 or 3 minutes for one person to drive back into position and reconnect to the awning.

Top Tip: always mark your position on the driver’s side before driving away. Use a Drive-Away Awning Guidance Strip or peg a guyline next to your tyres (approx. 5cm from the edges).  Peg the front of the marker at your front wheel centre so you know exactly where to stop.

VW T4, T5 & T6 Awning Connection Methods

Yes, there are quite a few different awning connection options depending on the configuration of your vans roof and whether you have an awning rail or wind-out canopy fitted. We think we’ve pretty much covered every Volkswagen Transporter van set up below so just scroll down the blue titles until you find yours.

VW T4/T5/T6 Vans without an Elevating Roof, Roof Bars or an Awning Rail Fitted

Connection Options: Throw-Over Webbing Straps, Limpet Suction Drive-Away Kit or Magnetic Drive-Away Kit

All Vango, Kampa and Outdoor Revolution drive-away awnings are supplied with either adjustable throw-over webbing straps or guylines which clip-in/tie into the top corner edges of the awning connection tunnel.

This is a quick and easy way of connecting to any van that doesn’t have an awning rail fitted. Many of our drive-away awning customers are happy to use the throw-over straps indefinitely or at least try them a few times before thinking about having a rail fitted.

Simply position the adjustable straps over the top of the van roof and peg them down on the other side.

Top Tip: if it is very windy and you are concerned about the straps rubbing on your vans paintwork, you can use a couple of tennis balls with a cut halfway through or short lengths of foam pipe lagging to protect the edge of the roof.

Alternatively, a Limpet Suction Drive-Away Kit or Magnetic Drive-Away Kit can be used to attach to flat or very slightly curved surfaces of the van roof.  These sort of kits have been much improved over recent years, although they do need to be connected to a flat surface of the van roof and do fail sometimes in windy weather.






If you would like to know more about fitting an awning rail to your van – see our How to fit a C-Channel C-Profile Awning Rail to a VW T4, T5 or T6 post or How to Fit a C-Channel Awning Rail Under a VW T5/T6 Elevating Roof on out ‘How To Guide’ page.

VW T4/T5/T6 Vans with an Elevating Roof but without an Awning Rail Fitted

Connection Options: Throw-Over Webbing Straps

The throw-over webbing straps can still be used on vans with an elevating roof as they are spaced about 2.5m apart on the awning connection tunnel allowing them to be positioned around the front and rear of the Pop Top. Simply peg them down on the opposite side of the van and adjust the tension.

Unfortunately, Limpet Suction and Magnetic Drive-Away Kits will not secure onto the curved outside corner edge of a VW Transporter roof.

VW T4/T5/T6 Vans with Roof Bars but without an Awning Rail Fitted

Connection Options: Roof Bar Tabs

All Vango, Kampa and Outdoor Revolution drive-away awnings have 2 or 3 hook and loop Velcro tabs sewn in to the top edge of the connection tunnels. If you have roof bars or a roof rack fitted to your van, simply attach the awning to them using the Velcro Tabs. You can take a ‘belt and braces’ approach and use the roof bar tabs in conjunction with the throw-over webbing straps which can be either pegged down as above or tied to the other roof bar.

As with the throw-over straps, many of our customers are happy to use the roof bar tabs connection indefinitely or at least before considering having an awning rail fitted.

Unfortunately, Limpet Suction and Magnetic Drive-Away Kits will not secure onto the curved outside corner edge of a VW Transporter roof. Roof bars also tend to lever them off if they are positioned towards the middle of the roof.

Top Tip: you can make the roof bar connection a bit more weathertight using a couple of lengths of foam pipe lagging to block the gap between a van roof and the roof bars.

If you would like to find out more about choosing and fitting an awning rail to a van with roof bars – see our How to fit a C-Channel C-Profile Awning Rail to a VW T4, T5 or T6 post.

VW T4/T5/T6 Vans with a C-Profile type Awning Rail Fitted

Connection Options: 6mm to 6mm Drive-Away Kit

If your van has a Reimo Multi-Rail or C-channel awning rail fitted, you can  use a standard 6mm to 6mm Drive-Away Kit to connect an awning. The kit includes 1 x 3m length of Twin Kador and 3 x lengths of Figure of 8 plastic extrusion.

Slide the Figure of 8 onto the drive-away awning and then slide the Twin Kador into the rail and the other channel of Figure of 8 to connect. Simply pull the Twin Kador out to detach and drive away.

VW T4/T5/T6 California Vans with a VW  Multi-Rail Fitted

 Connection Options: 6mm to 7mm Twin Kador with Figure of 8 Channel or Pole & Clamp Drive-Away Kit

The aluminium T-channel rail is fitted to most VW California roof as standard. These rails are also available as an aftermarket product so can also be found fitted onto any other converted VW van.

This aluminium T-rail is designed for mounting a cassette type wind-out sun canopy on (see below section) or a rubber multi-rail insert that slides in to create an awning connection. We have had many customers over the years that haven’t known about this additional rubber insert part and have been frustrated that standard 6mm Kador pulls out of the aluminium T-rail.

There have been issues with the rubber insert that have been well documented over the past few years on various VW forums and we too have had quite a few frustrated VW California customers calling us for advice. As the insert is made of rubber, the C-profile section can flex and release standard 6mm core Kador… we have even experimented with larger diameter Kador and this too pulls out. It is not unusual for the connection to feel okay and then pull out overnight in windy conditions or during the day when the rubber heats up in the sun.

If you have the rubber insert fitted and are concerned about the C-profile not retaining the Kador style drive-away kit, we recommend using a Pole & Clamp Drive-Away Kit as an alternative. The pole slides through a pole sleeve on the awning connection tunnel and sits in the top gutter part of the rubber insert, it is then secured with the clamps. We have many Customers who are happy to use this connection method as it is quick and easy to attach.

If your van just has the aluminium T-rail or you have the rubber insert but would prefer to connect directly to the aluminium rail, you can use a TWIN 6mm to 6/4mm drive-away kit.  Slide both Twin Kador sections into  the T-rail together and stay secured… cutting out the need for the expensive rubber insert.

VW T4/T5/T6 Vans with a Cassette Type Thule Omnistor, Fiamma, Dometic Wind-Out Sun Canopy Awning Fitted

Connection Options: TWIN 6mm to 6/4mm Awning Drive-Away Kit

Many VW Campers have a Fiamma, Thule Omnistor or Domectic cassette type ‘wind-out’ sun canopy mounted onto the aluminium T-rail.  Many of these wind-out sun canopies have a small diameter 4mm C-profile on the front leading edge… sometimes the canopy needs to be wound out slightly to see it.  We do also occasionally see wind-out sun canopies with larger 6mm diameter C-channel and now recommend customers buy a TWIN 6mm to 6/4mm Awning Drive-Away Kit which is guaranteed to fit.

Top Tip: if there’s a gap beneath your wind-out sun canopy and the van roof, you can make the connection a bit more weathertight by blocking it with a couple of lengths of foam pipe lagging.

VW T4/T5/T6 Vans with a J-rail fitted

Connection Options: Figure of 8 Channel

J-rail, J-profile rail or similar is sometimes fitted to high-top vans and T4’s to create a simple lip.  You can connect an awning onto the lip using Figure of 8 Channel – slide 3 x lengths onto the awning Kador and hook it over the J-rail lip. This method does rely on the tension of the fabric pulling away from the van to stay attached and can sometimes come off in windy weather.

We hope this blog page will help you and your drive-away awning to connect better with your Dub!

How to fit a C-Channel C-Profile Awning Rail to a VW T4, T5 or T6   10 comments

The most secure and weathertight way of connecting a drive-away awning to a VW T4, T5 or T6 is to fit a C-Channel Awning Rail and connect via an Awning Drive-Away Kit.  Sun canopy type awnings will slide directly in to a C-profile type rail.

How Do C-Profile Systems Work?

C-channel describes the ‘C’ profile of an awning rail which can be fitted to the side edge of a van roof in or next to the roof gulley of a Volkswagen Transporter.custom-cut-length-of-c-profile-c-channel-awning-rail-length-100cm-to-149cm-length-6556-p

Awning Kador beading which is sewn-in to the top edge of all drive-away awning connection tunnels will slide directly into a C-profile awning rail to create a secure join between the awning and the van. However, if you plan on driving out for the day, an Awning Drive-Away Kit is necessary to allow one person to easily detach and reconnect – for more information on how to use an awning drive-away kit, read our blog page How to Connect a Drive-Away Awning to a VW T4, T5 or T6 – Which Drive-Away Kit

Which C-Profile Rail Should I Fit?

There are a few different types of C-profile rails on the market and they differ significantly in price, fitting position and how they’re fitted. These rails can be put into two categories C-channel awning rails and multi-rails which incorporate a C-profile rail. Use the information below to make an informed decision on which rail would be right for your particular Bus.

Reimo Multi-Rail Profile

Reimo Multi-Rail


The more expensive options are the multi-rail type awning rails which are usually bonded and screwed to the edge of the roof just above the top of the doors.  These rails are known as multi-purpose because a drive-away awning can be connected using either the C-channel with a Kador Drive-Away Kit or via the gutter using a Pole & Clamp Drive-Away Kit.

Some manufacturers also claim these rails disperse rainwater… although we feel this is a negligible amount as the side roof gully will usually disperse the majority of roof rainwater on most vans.

These aluminium rails are normally very good quality and come in matt/satin black with plastic end stops. If you’re confident… and capable enough, multi-rails can be DIY fitted, although most owners tend to get them fitted by a VW conversion company or vehicle body shop.

One of the most popular awning multi-rails is the Reimo Multi-Rail which is also the best quality.

VW Mult Rail with C-profile insert 1

VW California Rail

Important: the Volkswagen multi-rail fitted to most VW California campers is for use with a rubber C-profile that inserts into the rectangular profile part of the aluminium rail and is sold as a separate part… we have had many Cali owners calling us over the years frustrated that their drive-away awning or sun canopy keeps detaching.  However, if your Cali doesn’t already have the rubber insert fitted, don’t waste your money (£75-£90).  The C-profile part of this rail does not retain 6mm core industry standard Kador as used in all drive-away awnings, sun canopies and awning drive-away kits.  The rubber flexes especially when it heats up in the sun and allows the awning Kador to detach.

If you already have the rubber insert part fitted you can use a Pole & Clamp Drive-Away Kit in the upper ‘gutter’ part to securely connect an awning.  Alternatively, slide both twin sections of a TWIN 6mm to 6/4mm Awning Drive-Away Kit directly into the aluminium channel rail.  

Pros: High quality anodised aluminium, good fitting position for use with a drive-away kit and can be used with a 6mm Drive-Away Kit or Pole & Clamp Drive-Away Kit.

Cons: Expensive, rail is always visible and the side of your van will need to be drilled or have adhesive used on it. The rubber C-profile insert of the VW California rail is too flexible and will not retain the Kador connector on camping products.

C-Channel Awning Rail 

C-Channel in T5 Roof Gully

Aluminium C-Channel Awning Rails are normally much cheaper to buy than multi-rails and can be fitted inside the roof gully of a VW T5 or T6 day van using the existing roof fixings to connect.  As T4’s don’t have any fixings in the roof gully a C-channel awning rail will have to be bonded into position.  Whichever van you have, if your roof gully is free to use this is a great option as it won’t change the look of your van at all – the rail is concealed in the gully.

If you have a VW Campervan with an elevating roof, the roof gully fixings will usually be already used for the scissor hinge and gas strut of your ‘Pop Top’.  In this case a C-Channel Awning Rail can usually be bonded vertically to the side of the roof gully just in front of the hinge and strut so it is concealed when the elevating roof is closed – see bottom section for more details.

If your T5/T6 has roof bars fitted, you can buy a pre-drilled rail with an extended C-profile and wider base specifically designed to sandwich under roof bar connections at the existing roof bar fixing points.

Pros: Inexpensive and low profile aluminium rail which can be fitted in the van roof gulley with or without roof bars or under an elevating roof.  Usually very easy to fit.

Cons: Sometimes a bit more awkward to fit under an elevating roof.

What Length of C-Channel Awning Rail Do I Need?

Drive-Away Awning Connected to a VWT5 via 6mm Drive-Away Kit 2The Kador connection on most drive-away awning connection tunnels is around 250cm in length but your C-Channel Awning Rail can be shorter than this as the Figure of 8 extrusions of the drive-away kit are made from rigid plastic. The Figure of 8 extrusions can extend out at each up to 25cm further than the end of an awning rail and still keep the connection tunnel fabric nice and taught – so 200cm is probably the minimum length of C-Rail needed to connect most drive-away awnings.

How to fit a C-Channel Awning Rail to a VW T5 or T6

These instructions can be used to fit a C-Channel Awning rail to a van that has the roof fixings available to use (no elevating roof or roof bars fitted).   For vans with pop-tops see our ‘How To Guide’ – How to Fit a C-Channel Awning Rail Under a VW T5/T6 Elevating Roof

  1. Remove the existing roof blanking bolts or roof bar and clean the roof gully.
  1. Put some gentle bends of 30mm to 40mm downs towards the front and rear 40cm of the rail to roughly follow the curvature of the van roof – don’t over do it as this is just to help the rail ends sit better in the roof gully.
  2. Fit the standard profile rail using the blanking bolts or sandwich the extended profile rail under the roof bar connection points.  We have always fitted the rail directly on the roof surface and never had any issues, leaks etc. on any of our vans, however, if you are concerned that this may be an issue, you can use thin rubber washers or a small amount of silicone under the rail at the fixing point.

How to fit a C-Channel Awning Rail to a VW T4

These instructions can be used to fit a C-Channel Awning rail to a T4 van without an elevating roof or roof bars/rack.

  1. Lay the C-Channel rail in the roof gully approximately 5cm from the rear doors with the C-profile against the outer edge of the roof gully and stick a few pieces of masking tape on the van roof to mark the edges of where the rail is positioned. Mark the front and rear of the rail with a pencil approximately where the roof profile starts to curve downwards.
  1. Gently bend the front and rear 40cm of the rail downwards 15/20mm to follow the curved profile of the roof.
  1. Two parallel strips of masking tape can be stuck along the length of the roof gully to protect paintwork from any excess adhesive. Follow the guide pieces of tape and leave a 30mm gap where the rail will be positioned.
  1. Use Sikaflex 221 or similar automotive adhesive to bond the rail to the roof – apply a bead along the length of the gully and position the C-Channel rail.
  1. Wipe away any excess adhesive and apply a few strips of masking tape to keep the rail in position. Weight the rail where necessary and allow at least 24hrs+ for the adhesive bond to cure properly – always follow the adhesive manufacturer’s instructions.

*Please note: it is important to position the rail as far towards the rear of a SWB van as possible as a drive-away awning needs to be pitched practically back to the rear van pillar to allow enough room for the sliding side door to open fully without snagging on the awnings connection tunnel.

How to fit a C-Channel Awning Rail to a VW T4, T5 or T6 with an Elevating Roof

These photos show some examples of where our customers have fitted our C-channel awning rails under an elevating roof.

Depending on the type of roof you have fitted to your van, sometimes there is enough space to fit C-channel flat behind the roof gully. Alternatively, the rail can usually be fitted vertically along the outer edge of the roof gully, and if necessary, bonded on in sections (as in the photos of the blue T5).


c-channel fitted to side of VW T5 roof gulleyIt is a bit more tricky to bend the C-Channel Rail in a vertical position but still only takes a 5 minutes or so to get it close to the curve of the roof.

Put pressure on each end of the rail simultaneously with a wooden block positioned in the middle/where needed… this is obviously easier to achieve with two people and/or secured in a work mate/work bench vice. Offer the rail up to the roof 3 or 4 times to check the contour in between bending it just a centimetre or so at a time.

Many of our customers have fitted our C-Channel Awning Rail under their vans elevating roof.  However, as there are so many different types of Pop-Tops on the market, with some of the designs also changing over the years, unfortunately we cannot give a definitive answer as to whether it will fit on a particular roof make.

However, there are only 3 possible positions where you can fit a rail under any elevating roof and is usually just a process of elimination – see our How to Fit a C-Channel Awning Rail Under a VW T5/T6 Elevating Roof on our How To page for more in depth information about selecting and fitting.  If still in any doubt, we recommend getting a C-Channel Awning Rail Sample before ordering a full length to make sure it will fit under your particular elevating roof.

The Funky Leisure Team





2017 Vango AirBeam Drive-Away Awning – Comparison Chart   Leave a comment

We’ve compiled the 2017 Vango AirBeam Drive-Away Awnings Comparison Chart to help VW Transporter owners make a more informed decision and choose the right Vango drive away awning for their needs.

All models listed below are Low connection height versions which are best suited to fit Volkswagen Transporters. If you have a lowered or slammed Bus lower than the minimum recommended connection height, it’s still possible to connect and keep the fabric taught by just splaying out the side edges of the connection tunnel.

Vango AirBeam Comparison Chart 2017

*TOTAL AREA includes main living area, connection tunnel and porch.

**PITCHING TIME is the time it takes for a well-practised, experienced operator to pitch the awning.

For the new range go to our latest review for all current prices and bundle deals visit the Vango AirBeam Awning section of FL’s shop.


Vango AirBeam Drive-Away Awnings – Review of the New 2016 Range   4 comments

This review is a basic overview of the new 2016 Vango AirBeam Drive-Away Awning Range highlighting new features and updates. We have only highlighted the AirBeam (aka AirAway) models that we consider to be the most compatible with VW Transporters.

Vango Airbeam logo

Overview of New 2016 AirBeam Models         

Idris II and Kela III

The ever popular Idris and market leading Kela continue as the base models in the new AirBeam range and for 2016 have been renamed the Idris II and Kela III respectively. As with last season, they both have identical dimensions and the floorplan sizes are also the same as last year, although the maximum head height is now 230cm slightly lower by 3cm across the whole range.

Vango AirBeam Idris II - Low

Vango AirBeam Idris II – Low



Vango AirBeam Kela III - Low

Vango AirBeam Kela III – Low










As with the first Idris, the Idris II is based on the Kela III but comes in a lighter fabric with a ‘linked-in’ (detachable) groundsheet, lighter/smaller pack size and a price tag £100 less than the Kela III. The Idris II now has connection tabs for an inner tent sleeping compartment if required. Both models are available in the new LOW connection height which we’ll discuss in more detail below.

Kela III XL and Kela III Deluxe 310

Vango have consolidated the 2016 AirBeam range around their bestselling awning by using the Kela as the base model (everybody recognises and knows the Kela now) and adding the Kela III XL and Kela III Deluxe 310.  Although this may seem slightly confusing at first, we’ll explain…

Vango AirBeam Kela III XL – Standard

Vango AirBeam Kela III XL – Standard


The Kela III XL is the extra-large version (the clues in the name) and has an additional main air-beam with bracer beam that offers extra living area. The Kela III XL is available in STANDARD height connection only.  The Kela III XL has basically superceded the Sapera model from previous seasons and has the same floor dimensions. If you own an earlier model Sapera, the Kela XL footprint and carpet will fit perfectly or if you upgrade to the new Kela XL you could use your existing footprint and carpet.


Vango AirBeam Kela III Deluxe 310 - Low

Vango AirBeam Kela III Deluxe 310 – Low



The Kela III Deluxe 310 comes with zip off front sun canopy and a porch over the side door, and this model has superceded last season’s Attar awning.  The Kela III Deluxe 310 has a slightly shorter connection width than last year’s Attar 380 which means it will now fit a SWB VW T4, T5 and T6 as well as LWB Transporters. The Kela III Deluxe 310 is available in LOW and STANDARD connection heights. We can still order in (with 2 or 3 days notice) the Deluxe 380 for any customers that prefer an extra wide awning. The Kela III Deluxe 380 is available in STANDARD height only.



The Galli AirBeam Awning is a completely new design from Vango and the flagship model of the 2016 range – we like it a lot! It’s Vango’s first drive-away awning design to run perpendicular to the vehicle which means that the front of the awning faces the same way as the front your uber-cool VeeDub… obviously this would be the reverse on LHD’s offering easy access to the rear tailgate/barn doors.

Vango AirBeam Galli

Vango AirBeam Galli



Vango AirBeam Galli - dimensions

Vango AirBeam Galli – dimensions









At the front of the Galli is the main entrance door with integrated porch, perfect for sitting out and watching everybody run for cover in a summer shower and an instant shelter while you unzip the door if you return in wet weather.

The Galli is also the first drive-away awning from Vango that can accommodate two double sleeping compartments with the layout still offering easy access to the connection tunnel and a decent amount of living area.

Call into our Twickenham showroom to see a Vango Galli on display and either connected to our 79’ Bay or T5.

New AirBeam Awning Updates

New LOW Height Connection Option

Vango have been a bit slow to offer the option of a lower connection height awning tunnel but better late than never. This hasn’t really put off VW owners too much as AirBeam awnings have been embraced by the scene since they were first introduced. It is possible to get a Standard connection tunnel nice and taught on a Transporter, it just takes a bit of practice.

Although Vango’s new LOW height connection is an improvement when it comes to tightening the adjustment straps at the top of the connection tunnel, we do think it’s more important to set-out the awning properly in the first place. Watch this blog page for tips on setting up an AirBeam drive-away awning – coming soon

New Fabrics

Vango have drawn on their 50 years of tent manufacturing experience and created new Sentinel high quality fabrics for their 2016 AirBeam awnings.  The Idris II uses Sentinel Active 70 in its construction which is a 70 denier polyester combining strength to weight to provide a compact pack size.

All other awnings in the AirBeam range are now manufactured using Sentinel Pro 420 – an incredibly strong 420 denier double rip-stop fabric that will withstand all weathers. This high-density base fabric combined with high tech coatings ensure AirBeam awnings are durable, fully waterproof and will have a long life.

New Colours                                                                                  

The Idris II now comes in a cool Sky Blue colour with Black detailing with the rest of the collection finished in a much lighter Cloud Grey/Black colourway.

New Universal Sleeping Compartment

Bedroom inner tents aren’t included as standard with the 2016 range and they are now an optional extra. We can understand why Vango have done this as in past years many of our customers have bought AirBeam awnings for just living/storage space and the bedroom was surplus to requirements. The new universal double bedroom fits all 2016 models and is reversible.

AirSpeed Valve System

Vango have improved their AirSpeed Valve System by tweeking the pump adaptor slightly to make inflation 30% more efficient… which equates to 30% less effort or same effort and 30% faster inflation… yes, even faster!  We do have a few of these new adaptors to give away to any of our 2015 AirBeam customers who call in our shop.

TBS II                                                                                     

All 2016 AirBeam’s still have Vango’s patented Tension Band System (TBS) which is what makes them the most stable drive-away awning on the market.

Just email your address to with the title AirBeam for a FREE 2016 Vango AirBeam Awning brochure and pricelist.

The FL Team

For the new range go to our latest review for all current prices and bundle deals visit the Vango AirBeam Awning section of FL’s shop.


VW Camper Sun Canopy Awning Instructions: Connections, Set-Up and Top Tips   31 comments

VW T5 & Bay with VW Sun Canopy Awnings Attached

VW T5 & Bay with VW Sun Canopy Awnings Attached

Our versatile sun canopy awning can be quickly connected to almost all VW Transporters from a 60’s Split Screen through to the current Volkswagen T6. Depending on which VW Transporter model you own and whether you have an awning rail fitted, there are a few connection options and ways of attaching to a VW Campervan which we will explain in more detail below.

Basically the fabric on the van connection edge of our VW Camper Sun Canopy Awning has Kador strip beading, a pole sleeve and guyline tabs sewn into it to provide universal connection options to most Volkswagen vans.

VW Transporter Connection Options

VW T4/T5/T6 Transporters fitted with a C-profile type rail – the Debus VW Campervan Sun Canopy Awning has standard 6mm core Kador beading sewn into the rear connection edge, this will slide directly into a C-profile awning rail like our VW T4  VW T5 T6 C-Channel Awning Rail and VW T5/T6 C-Channel Awning Rail for Roof Bars which is fitted in the roof gully or a Reimo Multi-Rail which is fitted just above the door line at the edge of the roof.

VW Camper Sun Canopy Awning connected to VW T5 with C-channel awning rail fitted

VW Camper Sun Canopy Awning connected to VW T5 fitted with C-channel awning rail

Tip: When measuring Kador or Keder strip beading or C-channels, remember that the measurement used by the outdoor industry refers to the PVC core size – standard size Kador strip has 6mm core which has an overall size of 7mm.

VW Split, Bay, T3/T25 & Brazilian Transporters with a roof gutter rails – our VW Campervan Sun Canopy Awning also has a pole sleeve sewn into the rear connection edge for attaching via a Pole & Clamp connection Kit which is sold separately.  Just slide the pole through the pole sleeve and place into the roof gutter, secure at each end and in the middle cut-away with the 3 x pole clamps. Just hand tighten the wingnuts and angle them upwards slightly so doors can open and close without obstruction.

VW Camper Sun Canopy connected to Vw Bay via Pole & Clamp Kit

VW Camper Sun Canopy connected to VW Bay via Pole & Clamp Kit

Tip: The pole clamps have rubber sleeves to protect the paintwork on the underside of the roof gutter – some V-Dubbers who are very precious about bodywork even wrap gaffer tape around the pole to protect the inside of the gutter. Although we have never noted any damage to paintwork in almost 10 years of using this connection method on our Bay.

If you want to drive out for the day and leave the sun canopy awning freestanding, just undo the pole clamps and peg down the pole at each end to drive the van out of position. The awning be left like this with a single pole at the front for rainwater runoff or alternatively, once you’ve driven out you can peg via the connection edge guyline tabs.

Tip:  Mark the ground on the drivers-side with a positioning marker before you drive away to enable you to reposition your Dub correctly when you drive back and reconnect.


Figure of 8 hook onto a VW Bay roof gutter rail

Figure of 8 hooked onto a VW Bay roof gutter rail

VW Transporters with J-rail awning rail or 2 roof racks fitted – one side of Figure of 8 Awning Channel can be threaded onto the Kador strip beading sewn into the van connection edge and the other side of the Figure of 8 hooked over a J-rail. The Figure of 8 can also be cut to length with a hacksaw to hook onto a gutter rail in between and either side of roof racks.

Tip: The canopy fabric needs to be tensioned well via the guylines to keep the Figure of 8 Channel hooked onto the rail – it relies on this tension to stay attached.


VW Transporters without an awning rail or roof gutter rail – our sun canopy awning can also be attached by positioning the 3 x rear guylines over the van roof and pegging down on the opposite side.

Awning guyline tabs

Awning guyline tabs

This method can also be used to attach to campers with elevating roofs but without rails, just tie the middle guyline to the gas strut or scissor hinge and thread the corner guylines around the front and rear of the pop-top and over the roof – peg down as above.

Tip: If you’re tensioning guylines over your van roof and are worried about possible abrasion to the bodywork in windy conditions – use Guyline/Webbing Strap – Vehicle Paintwork Protectors or cut two thirds of the way through a tennis ball and thread on to the guyline to protect the paint, alternately place some soft cloth under the contact areas.

Basic Awning Connection & Set Up – 3 Poles

When you first take your new awning from the bag, loosen off the 3 x front and 2 x side guylines ready for tensioning.  If you don’t plan on using the awning in the freestanding drive-away configuration you may also want to untie and remove the rear connection edge guylines and stow them in the peg bag. Make up all 3 x upright poles and adjust them to the same length, lay these out roughly where the front of the awning will be (3 metres from the side of the van) with 3 x pegs and a mallet. The adjustable part of the pole is the end that goes through the eyelet.


VW Campervan Sun Canopy Awning - 3 Pole Set-up

VW Campervan Sun Canopy Awning – 3 Pole Set-up

1. With your side door closed connect the awning to your roof using one of the methods described above.

2. Pull out the front middle guyline tab and insert a pole through the eyelet, position the pole straight upright with the fabric taught and gently push the bottom pole spike into the ground – peg the guyline out straight from the vehicle.

3. Pull out each front corner guyline tab and repeat as above pegging at about a 45 degree angle to the van.

4. You can now peg both side guylines, they only have to be tensioned very slightly in the 3 x pole set up to keep the shape. Check the tension on the front guylines – now grab yourself a beer and chill!

Important – Single Pole Ridge Shape Configuration

It is very important to set-up the canopy with just a single pole in the front middle eyelet and the 2 x front corner and 2 x side guylines tensioned to form a ridge shape at the front.

VW T5 with canopy set up in single pole ridge shape

VW T5 with canopy set up in single pole ridge shape

This ridge shape will allow rainwater runoff at each side of the canopy and is very stable in strong winds. It’s only takes a couple of minutes to loosen off each front corner guyline, remove the corner poles  and re-tension the guylines into this single pole ridge shape.

To avoid rainwater pooling and damage to the canopy fabric, always set the awning into this shape overnight and whenever you’re away from the van as you never know when there’s going to be a sudden downpour… and it’s Sod’s law it’ll be in the middle of the night or when you’ve just walked to the local pub.

Tip: When you remove the corner poles just stow them out of the way under the van for safe keeping – we lay them down the middle of the van so there’s no chance of running over them just in case you do forget that there.

*We have seen some cheap copies of our sun canopy on the market over the past couple of years.

Please note: We use a well-established (over 50yrs) UK camping equipment company to manufacturer our sun canopy awnings in their own factory – to maintain the excellent quality and ensure our products are made in a responsible way in a safe environment where workers are treated fairly.

Also, you get what you pay for!  If you’re considering buying a cheap copy of our original 3 poled waterproof canopy – check that it has the following features.

  • Strong Fire retardant 150 denier fabric
  • 30+ SPF sun protection
  • Height adjustable powder coated poles with quick adjust mechanism
  • Large 8 square metre design for maximum shelter
  • Waterproof to 3,000HH with fully taped seams
  • Pre-attached reflective guylines
  • Line-Lok Guyline Runners that lock securely, release simply and perform in all conditions
  • Heavy-duty rock pegs with luminous heads
  • Pictorial instructions sewn into carry bag
Awnings in single pole ridge shape

Awnings in single pole ridge shape

We hope you enjoy your Funky Leisure awning (which is now actually made by and branded by our sister company Debus) along with the freedom it offers to leave the side door open on your Bus and experience the sights, sounds and smells of nature during a summer shower – it’s your planet… go find it!

The Funky Leisure Team