by Steve Hagensicker
Just a money saving tip for Vanagon owners!
I've owned several VW's myself over the years. I currently have an 81 camper van. Having checked prices for awnings, I decided to make my own for about 1/10th the cost of a pre-made one. (At prices around $250)
Parts? An 8' x 10' foot tarp ($16), 50' of 3/16" Nylon rope and two large washers ($3), 8' section of 1/4" steel rod ($4), two extendable tent poles ($8).
I removed the grommets from one end of the 8' section of tarp, folded it over and had the wife sew it to leave a small channel from one end to the other. This is for the 1/4" rod to slide through. I took the rope, cut two lengths and tied the washer in the center of each length of rope and tied each end with slip knots so that they are ready to use with the tent stakes. You need to get rid of any rough edges in the inside and outside of the washers. This will insure long rope life.
To set it up, the 1/4" rod is slid through the end of the tarp where sewed and then slid into the 8' channel (already on the van as part of the camper package) above the sliding door. Two poles........ two ropes....... 4 tent stakes and 5 to 10 minutes, it's up. (Fives minutes for two people, 10 minutes for 1)
The tarp is folded in it's bag under the seat, poles go in storage compartments and the 1/4" rod rides in the 8' channel while traveling.