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TOPIC: Thule awning rafters. Useful or a menace?

Thule awning rafters. Useful or a menace? 4 months 1 week ago #8942

  • Parahandy
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Like many others I bought a rafter (approx £50) for my Thule 4.5 metre awning. On breezy days it helped keep the awning tight and on wet days gave a slope either side to aid run-off. Whilst in France in June we suffered a huge downpour which flooded the campsite to a depth of around 5 inches within two hours. We were away from the van. When we got back it was heartbreaking. Despite having tilted the awning (always as a precaution) water (according to neighbouring campers) had gathered at one end, the higher end, its weight had pulled the strong guy rope pin out of the sodden ground and the leg had collapsed backwards. The rafter was bent in two! Fortunately the awning was not damaged but the rafter is a gonner. I am inclined to think that when it rains so fast that a weight of water forms on either side of the awning that the cause is the presence of the rafter, whereas without it water would have gone from one end to the other and run off without hindrance. I shan't be buying another rafter!
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Thule awning rafters. Useful or a menace? 4 months 1 week ago #8943

  • gjh
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With that amount of rain I'm surprised that the awning didn't give way, not just the rafter.
All the documentation I've seen advises that awnings are sunshades and not meant for use in stormy weather.
We bought a couple of rafters to use instead of the "arms" supplied with windblockers, and they have been fine, but we don't leave the awning out overnight or when we are not there (seen too many caught by wind).
Last Edit: 4 months 1 week ago by gjh.
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Thule awning rafters. Useful or a menace? 4 months 1 week ago #8944

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You might think that but the Thule handbook says they can be used in winds up to Beaufort 6 which I believe is gale force winds....and how do you know when an unpredictable localised storm will appear. Not even Wimbledon can get round that. I think that roll-out awnings are really not fit for purpose, after all I don't put the motorhome to bed in bad weather....it's supposed to be an all year, all weather pastime. Given the cost of these things a little more robustness wouldn't come amiss?
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Thule awning rafters. Useful or a menace? 4 months 1 week ago #8945

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The instructions are somewhat contradictory.
The Thule web site also says (under What should I do in case of rain?) "Your awning is mainly intended as protection against the sun" and is rather ambiguous under What should I do in case of wind or storm?
As a risk management exercise I would rather err on the cautious side.
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Thule awning rafters. Useful or a menace? 4 months 1 week ago #8946

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Erring on the cautious side probably means leave well alone and GO to GO Outdoors for a Coleman Fastpitch Shelter (currently less than half price) which I am about to do. We saw several on our campsite being used by Brits, Dutch and Germans and they all withstood the weather admirably. One Brit had a remarkable gallery of his paintings inside his. If it blows away I shall have lost £130 rather than the £700+ that a new Thule would cost. Another Brit last year at the same site was using a Robert Dyas version with flyscreens which cost him £170. But that is not at all complimentary to Thule or the dealers who fit them at outrageous prices. As a nearly-lifelong motor-caravanner and caravanner I am appalled at the way fellow enthusiasts fail to call foul at poor customer service and build quality.
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Thule awning rafters. Useful or a menace? 4 months 1 week ago #8947

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I wouldn't be inclined to pay for a fitted awning.
Our first van didn't have one and we used several stand alone ones over the years.
We only have the current one because it was on the van when we bought it but don't use it all that often.
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Thule awning rafters. Useful or a menace? 4 months 1 week ago #8948

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You've obviously seen the light. I have.....finally. Can't count how many times I've had to get up in the night to roll it in because a predicted breeze became a real gale. Why leave it out at all? To keep the table and chairs/groundsheet dry. That's what you want it for but if it ain't up to the job........
Last Edit: 4 months 1 week ago by Parahandy. Reason: additional text
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