Best material for annex walls

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 20, 2010 at 10:01
ThreadID: 79495 Views:10541 Replies:4 FollowUps:6
This Thread has been Archived

Related Pages

Hiya folks
Wanting to put an annex on my poptop Coromal caravan. Seem to primarily be made of canvas (ie. Aussie Traveller and Kakadu) or PVC (seems to be mainly Kakadu).
While I like canvas, I've certainly noted that I see very few caravans with annexes made from it that aren't dirty or mouldy. Not having much to do with the PVC (apart from having the Carefree awning out of it), I'm open to suggestions on the best material, specifically for long life, mould resistance, wear/tear and durability, etc. How's PVC hold up long term? Is it easier to maintain and clean? Does it go mouldy?
Appreciate the info
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Cruiser .- Sunday, Jun 20, 2010 at 11:31

Sunday, Jun 20, 2010 at 11:31

We had an annexe made about 18 months ago and ended up choosing canvas.

I am from the old school of thought when it comes to this sort of stuff. I choose canvas for 1 simple reason, it breathes.

I have been in my brother inlaws annexe which is PVC or vinyl as some call it, and it always seems to be hot to me.

We lived in our van for 4 months from Oct last year to Feb this year while we had a new house built and naturally we had the annexe erected for more living area.

During this period we experienced a higher degree of humidity than we normally get, yet the annexe was no hotter inside than outside. At the same time our neighbor in the park (who was also building) had a PVC annexe and he did nothing but complain about how hot it was inside it and spent a fair amount of time in ours for that reason. (we got to know them fairly well)

As for mould, sure, canvas will go mouldy if you dont dry it our before folding it up and putting it away, but then again so will PVC.

The PVC is easier to clean, but we wiped our annexe down with a clean cloth in clean water about once a week and its still ok despite constant use for 4 months.

I think it comes down to how you look after it.

By the way, when I had mine made, there was no difference in the price for either PVC or canvas.

Thats my experience and I am sure someone else will have a different opinion re PVC, but at the end of the day all you can do is take on board what others have to say and go with what you think is best.



AnswerID: 421526

Reply By: DesF - Sunday, Jun 20, 2010 at 14:35

Sunday, Jun 20, 2010 at 14:35
Hi, I have a Jayco Eagle van and it came with a annex roof only ( Grey canvas ). so I just bought some same colour canvas and made up skirts, ( you can sew it on a normal sewing machine , the wifes old one) one end and two fly roofs, made the other end and fly skirts from 90% shade cloth, that was 10 years ago and they are still in great condition , the roofs have a few stains from birds and trees, but no dirt or mould stains,
Always dry completely before folding to put away,
Cheers Des.
AnswerID: 421536

Reply By: carlsp - Sunday, Jun 20, 2010 at 14:52

Sunday, Jun 20, 2010 at 14:52
Hi Scott,

My last business was making annexes for caravans and the rule "No free lunch" is true here. So some questions first. Are you travelling around or are you going somewhere and then setting up the annex to stay. Something like a fishing trip where you will stop for a couple of weeks? Are you only going to use this in warm weather or are you thinking of a camping trip to the Snowy.

So if travelling around and following the good weather, like a trip around the country, you want easy to put up but not really total protection from the cold. Therefore light weight materials and easy to handle. Otherwise it becomes a major pain in the rear end.

If you are going to squat in one place like some grey nomad on the sunshine coast. Then heavy duty materials that offer better protection from the rain and wind. This makes it hard to put up and not something yuo want to do every day. Here you get materials with a high GSM (grams per square metre). ie heavier and thicker material.

So PVC or Canvas or other material.

PVC does feel hotter than canvas. You tend to feel sweatier under it. It however is easier to maintain, does not rip, waterproof, can be welded, cleans better, does not get as moldier, can be cleaned with bleach, makes more noise when flapping in the breeze.

Canvas breathes better and does not feel as hot, gets moldy, harder to clean, cannot be cleaned with bleach, can be sewn for repairs, quieter in the wind, fold up easier to store, does not come as wide as PVC or as many colours.

If you are making a annex for protection from just wind, insects and sun (not rain) there are some other materials you can use. PVC coated fiberglass is one and shade cloth is another. Shade cloth is cheaper, many colours, light, easy to store, offers some protection from rain, harder to see through, hard to sew and put door / windows into, does not last as long, holds creases.

PVC coated fiberglass is insect proof ( some types migi proof), super strong, looses creases, looks new much longer, more expensive, heavier, can put door and windows into, easier to look through, good wind protection but allows breeze, does not give you that locked in feeling, harder to fold and store (particually in very cold weather), rip proof, offers goo suns protection.

One is often counter to the other so you need some good advice. The internet is a great source but always go and look and feel the material. Sometimes they appear different on the internet. Also remember the annex maker (if he is not you) is making this more for himself and his wallet than you overall comfort. So when he says it cannot be done or you cannot have it, you get where I am going here.

Finding suppliers of materials if you want to do it yourself can be hard as well. The overall fun is worth the effort as well. Remember if you make one yourself and it works, your mates will want one too. This can be a pain in the rear or a neverending source of beer/ scotch or just owed favours. Good luck
AnswerID: 421539

Follow Up By: Rocko Wallaby - Sunday, Jun 20, 2010 at 15:55

Sunday, Jun 20, 2010 at 15:55
Thanks for the replies, guys. Excellent info

It has to be convenient enough for a single person to put up. Hence, the sort of solutions provided by Aussie Traveller, with their anti flap kit brackets down the sides with the prefab channels to attach the walls to, is a definite possibility. Also will be asking fo zipped or velcro inserts to slide in the channel on the van walls, and then attach to the annex walls, rather than trying to slide the annex walls by myself directly up the channels.

Mainly, I'll not be staying in one place more than a week or two, absolute max. Most trips will be 5-6 days, or even more frequently 1-2 nights only.
In Brissie, so summer heat is an issue. My camping preference is winter tho, so lot of nights down to 3-5C.

Basically, looking for something thats easy to handle, but easy to maintain. Folding on the ground will be the real issue. Can do so on my awning mat, but could be wet, mudy or sandy, and won't necessarily have 2 of us keeping the walls out of the goop while folding. Need to be self sufficient.

Van's airconditioned, and if it's too hot, I'll retreat in there, or simply remove some of the awning walls.
Mossies are also an issue. The PVC awning fly screens I saw from Kakadu annexes would work for mossies, but was way too coarse for midgies.
Have seen flyscreen annexes, but when it's cold, want full protection. Already have a side shade for summer. Most short trips, of 1-2 nights, wouldn't bother putting an annex up, unless there was a reason (ie. need more space for more people to sleep, or raining, etc).

So, in summary...lot of trips 1-2 nights, up to 5-6 nights, with a single person setting it up, in Brissie winter and summer. Low maintenance. Only a young-un, at 38, so a bit of pulling and tugging is no hassles.

FollowupID: 691913

Follow Up By: Rocko Wallaby - Sunday, Jun 20, 2010 at 15:56

Sunday, Jun 20, 2010 at 15:56
Oh, it is a VERY small van, too. 2 single beds, rear entry. Awning is only 11 foot, i believe, so it won't be that big an annex.
FollowupID: 691914

Follow Up By: Rocko Wallaby - Sunday, Jun 20, 2010 at 15:58

Sunday, Jun 20, 2010 at 15:58
Grinz... Followup after followup ;)
Price isn't necessarily an issue. One thing I've always known, is you get what you pay for. So, not after the cheapest option, but the best, most convenient, and longest wearing and easiest to maintain option.
FollowupID: 691915

Follow Up By: carlsp - Sunday, Jun 20, 2010 at 18:47

Sunday, Jun 20, 2010 at 18:47
Ok, now I know this type of van. Have a measure of the width of the van above the rear door. You might find that it is or almost is the same as the awning length. By that I mean the actual PVC of the awning. If this is the case you can use it for both. (put a 6mm sail track along the back of the van and use the main part of the annex for shade or as a weather cover, straight out from the back of the van) I will see if I can hunt a picture as I used to take pics of awnings I made.

Call Danny at Around Australia annexes. (web site somewhere) He is in Maroochydore and is a great maker of annexes. You might have to spend a weekend up there or take the van and leave it there till it is made. You will need the Aussie Traveller rails that you mentioned earlier. Danny might be able to get them cheaper than you can buy them direct from Aussie Traveller as well.

You can also ask for migie screen to be put in the windows as well. The alternative is to go to Upholstery Distributors Australia, Geebung and buy some Shadeview 243. This is PVC coated fiberglass and much stronger than flyscreen and stops migies. About $45 a metre and it is 2430mm wide (hence the name 243). Black is the best colour or you can match it to the colour of the annex if you wish. You can buy it my the metre at cash sales counter. They also have samples there to look at.
FollowupID: 691943

Follow Up By: Rocko Wallaby - Sunday, Jun 20, 2010 at 20:18

Sunday, Jun 20, 2010 at 20:18
Actually, the shade cloth side wall we bought will be used on the back, after we put up some sail track. It's longer than the back, but fine when pegged with poles. Very handy.
FollowupID: 691959

Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Monday, Jun 21, 2010 at 08:47

Monday, Jun 21, 2010 at 08:47
Had an Aussie Traveller Canvas Annexe on our previous van. It would fold up into a small bag I could lift with one hand Was a 14ft annexe.

New van has a 16ft annexe and got a PVC one thrown in with the van.

It comes in two large bags that are heavy to lift and is heavy and hard to put up.

Any one wants it they can have it I will never use the useless thing.

Just my experience of having both.

AnswerID: 421621

Follow Up By: Rocko Wallaby - Monday, Jun 21, 2010 at 15:39

Monday, Jun 21, 2010 at 15:39 you have a poptop? I'd be interested ;) Could always get it modified to fit ;)
FollowupID: 692037

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (11)