Tents & Awnings


New member
I found a big top tent for my westfalia. I was trying to fing out how I know it is orginal or a reproduction tent? Thank You, Brendan

Capt. Mike

Since VW didn't make any of the tents, I don't know if it matters too much whether it's a Westfalia supplied or another source -- more important is its quality & fit.

I did run across a private URL http://www.clarkcraft.net/jsclark/vw/index.html that discusses VW tents at length but can't vouch for it's accuracy. It is one of the most complete I've seen and has links to many other sites, dealers & manufacturers.
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Capt. Mike

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Doug 7/19/99 (3:17 PM)

I recently reuturned from my first westy camping trip. I looked at a lot of possibilities for sahde and add a room - from tents and awnings etd. I purchased a dome model "EZ up" for about $130. it sets up in seconds and provides nearly a 10 foot square area for seating and eating. It is most econmical. check themn out at www.ezup.com

Capt. Mike

Infopop software lost the first portion of this post during site upgrade; I'm guessing as to what I originally stated to try to update this post. Sorry -- blame Infopop.

I'm presuming I was telling members I had the A&E 2000 until recently. [I've since upgraded to the A&E 2500.] It served well and last I heard, is still going strong with it's present owner. What I probably mentioned was that it, and any awning, are still subject to high wind damage. I got caught by a gusting high wind that lifted the awning -- wasn't secured yet -- and did some fixable arm damage. But secured they do better. We once got caught by an unexpected hurricane Newfoundland. We don't listen to the radio or get newspapers too often when camping. Even an A&E 2500 won't stand a hurricane so we were out there in our PJ's in a driving rain rolling the awning back up! Caught it just in time. Although it was bungeed to a picnic table, the feet were coming out of the ground despite the spikes. Next morning there were downed trees just a hundred feet away! Phew!

I have pics of the A&E 2500 mounts on my tech drawings link as well. They sell a gutter clamp mount kit, but it doesn't like the curves of the VW gutter rail, so I did a few little modifications of the mount, which are also pictured. Basically, I built up the foot so it fits the VW two-channel gutter rails better (maybe JB Weld if you don't have access to an aluminum welder?), and fabricated a new lower mount that is much more stable than the old A&E clamps. I think I've even got the templates for the mounts around here somewhere.

The form-fitting gutter foot does cause another problem, though. It fits too good -- water won't drain away under it! So I put a few feet of weather-stripping ('40 Ford W/shield) that builds up the rail with a little lip that's enough so the water drains off front and rear of the sliding door. It's stood up to some might tough winds and rough roads. I think the weather-stripping was about $.50 per foot from Restoration Specialties (SUPPLIERS forum).

I also put a small piece of Plexiglas on the back of the awning tube so that rain that strikes the angled roof top (when the pop-top is open) won't bounce into the gap between awning and rail, and then drip down into the sliding door. Now that the sliding door angles in at the top, it's subject to rain getting in, much like the sliding windows. About $2 from the scrap bin at the local fiberglass & plastics place. Also cuts down on drips.

I didn't permanently mount the arm feet into the side of the van. I just drive a large spike/nail through them and then use a pair of the large corkscrew tie-downs. Earlier on that Newfoundland trip, a wind lifted my old awning right straight up. Now I tie it down, either to the corkscrews or to a picnic table if close enough.

The A&E2500 has something I really like. Instead of the two standard arms at the ends, it has a X-cross pattern set-up so there's no belly in the awning. That was a problem with the 2000 and most others whenever it rains.

I got mine at Camping World. http://www.campingworld.com/ If you join their stupid President's Club (10% discount on orders) and catch a sale with free or low-cost shipping special all at the same time, the price is acceptable. There's a picture of the awning on a pop-up trailer on their site.

I don't generally recommend Camper World. They do have many useful items but are geared predominantly for the 3 BR, bath-&-a-half crowd. Prices are high unless on sale and I'm not a fan of their marketing gimmick "President's Club" -- to me just another excuse to charge you to reduce prices back to normal market anyway. Their web site is a nightmare to navigate, especially if you have your security settings require authorization for permanent cookies. It won't take no for an answer and just keeps trying again & again, dozens of times in a simple catalog check.

I've seen that Italian one but it looks pretty lightweight. That Shady Boy looks way too flimsy because I've never been camping when I didn't run into a lot of wind; especially coming up during the night. Don't know the Sunsail.

By-the-way, that same weather-strip made a nice front lip for the skylight. I ran into the problem that when the roof is up, it's at an angle so rain hits and bounces into the gap between skylight and roof. The weather-strip lip prevents that. Both mounted with a little silicone seal.

Mark Waggoner, Junior Member, 09-05-2000 01:59 PM

An addendum to my cheap awning message: This ultra simple set-up survived heavy thunderstorms and a couple beefy hailstorms last weekend with flying colors.

Nonetheless, I'm entrigued by the Shadyboy awning I recently saw on the web. Has anyone used one of these new awnings? Anyone used one in any sort of bad weather?


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Capt. Mike

:) For free-standing tents, backpacks and related items, it's hard to beat Eureka, the premium US maker. Their web site is http://www.eurekacampingctr.com/ -- at least the factory outlet store in Binghamton, NY. Whenever I'm passing that way, I make it a point to detour in for "factory seconds" shopping.

It's also the place to go for repair parts, canvas & materials (like screening & zippers), camping hardware and accessories.

:cool: PS: I just went to the site to make sure the URL was good; they've added a virtual tour that is really nifty! You can actually do panoramic camera scans of the store. Do give it time to download as the pictures clear up in stages. You can turn the camera and zoom in or out from your computer.
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Capt. Mike

A&E is now owned by Dometic http://www.dometic.com/enie/. It is sold by many RV dealers such as Camper World, http://www.campingworld.com/ . These awnings are self-contained in their own carrying case, so open and set up very easily without needing storage space inside. There is a picture of mine on my picture post site, linked at the top of the index page. Look under the Accessories folder. They sell two mounting kits, one for permanent mount to a VW camper, and another that attaches to the rain rail.

For full tents, the http://www.clarkcraft.net/jsclark/vw/index.html site lists several dealers. The original style are made in very heavy canvas and are quite expensive.

I hope this helps. Thank you for visiting the site. Merry Christmas and a safe & happy New Years.

Capt. Mike

Addendum 4 June 2006: The 2500 is no longer shown in their line. They do show some in 7' & 8' lengths, but I can't tell if they are a suitable upgrade for our purposes or not.
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New member
Hi All!

The previous owners of my Westy obviously did not bother to dry the tent before putting it away and as a result I have lots of black mildew.
Does anyone have any suggestions about removing mildew from nylon tent fabric.



New member
I am going to buy an awning soon so I have been looking at the options.

I checked out the Shady Boy. This really looks neat. The price is pretty good at $195.00. However, they only have a permanant mounting kit available (they did not have much luck with the rain gutter mount). I want a rain gutter mount.

Fiamma has two versions the F35 and F45. The F45 looks nice and has VW gutter mounts but is pricey ~$500. The F35 is not bad but you get one color choice platinum.

The A&E 2500 that Capt. Mike has looks like one of the best. It is ~$300.00. I am a little concerned about modifying the van mounts that A&E sells. I am not exactly sure what Capt. Mike did with the lower portion of the mount. Perhaps those templates are around? I have thought about using Vanagon specific gutter mounts from Fiamma or Carefree (another awning) and modifying them to fit the A&E if needed. Perhaps this would be easier.

[6/4/06: Yes; still have them! - Capt. Mike]

Last, Carefree has an awning ~275.00 and does have gutter mounts several color choices. This looks like an option.

One of my considerations is the warrenty. The A&E is the best with three years. The Carefree is next with two years and last the Fiamma with a short one year. The shady boy is out since it is a permanant install (drilling :p).
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New member

Here's a cheap awning that I'm working on...

1..got the floor out of a 12'x12' foot Eureka tent
2..sewed a pocket into rear of floor
3..popped three grommets in the front
4..picked up three, 3-section aluminum awning poles (each section fits inside the next, overall length is one section)
5..picked up aluminum tent pole (type that's bungied together)

Put the tent pole through the pocket in rear of 'awning'
Clip the rear of 'awning' into rain gutter
Slip the awning poles into the grommets
Secure with tiedowns
Voila! an awning.
Total cost to date $15.00

and the whole thing fits into a small ditty bag.

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New member
Hi Capt. Mike, I am interested in attaching an awning to my 2001 Westfalia too. I saw where you are using an A&E 2500. My van doesn't have a rain rail so am wondering if there are brackets to permanently mount the A&E to the van. Thanks, Dave

[ 08-30-2001: Message edited by: David Smith ]

Capt. Mike

Transferred to consolidate same topic.

JIM RAMSEY Junior Member posted May 13, 2002 07:35 PM

I just recently acquired a 1984 Wolfsburg Edition Campmobile from my father that is in good condition and I am planning a Yellowstone trip and vicinity this summer. As I will be traveling with my wife and 2 teenage sons, I was wondering how well the side tents I have seen on the internet work so that we aren't so crowded. Are they just too much trouble and do they take up too much valuable storage room. We could always use a 2-person dome tent instead, but I thought the side tent would offer more privacy also. Any comments and suggestions would be appreciated.

Dave123 Member posted May 14, 2002 05:56 PM

Jim check out this tent

Jim I have been looking into a tent for my 85 sunroof GL and this one looks really cool. Its about 400 bucks and says "super easy setup".
If you get one let me know how you like it as I am about to order one for the summer and would love to get a review. All the best, Dave


JIM RAMSEY Junior Member posted May 15, 2002 12:44 PM

Thanks, I had seen that site before. It looks great, but it is $550. You had said it was $400, did you see it somewhere for that price?

Dave123 Member posted May 15, 2002 04:35 PM

Looks like it has gone up

I pretty sure they were in the mid to high four range at the beginning of the year. Your right its running 550 now. Still the nicest looking side tent I have seen.

Capt. Mike


New member
I am interested in the awning described by Inp00, but I can't seem to find any clips. I want to make sure I get the right ones - does anyone know of any specific brands or models of clips?

Thanks! Shona

Capt. Mike

Transferred to consolidate same topic.

Garnet Olson Member posted July 19, 2002 12:49 PM

I wanted to post about my experiences with th Shadey Boy awning I recently purchased. It wasn't too expensive ($300.00 CDN), installed in about 15 minutes, and it rocks! It folds out & uses poles, like a tent, but is very easy to use, light, and is huge! (about 6' x 10') Comes with a nicely finished aluminum case, about as long as the side door. Highly recommended.

Capt. Mike

Transferred to consolidate same topic.

mjfrog101 Junior Member posted March 08, 2003 11:10 PM

I hope I do this right this time. My question is: I have a great tent we like to use already. Can I modify it to fir as a side tent on my 74 westy?


New member
Looking for info on original westy side tent.

I recently picked up a 77 westy including a heavy canvas side tent. Anyone who could pass on installation instructions or links to photos galleries with original tents would be appreciated.




New member
I still use a tarp, telescoping tent poles with tie-downs, and large office clips (the kind that you use for large stacks of paper) to hold the tarp to the rain gutter as an awning. The whole set up is about $15 and it works in all but the highest wind if you have 6-8 clips on the drip rail. I'm sure there is a better clipping system but I just haven't tried it.