Driveaway Awning Guide: What is the best material for awnings and tents?

Driveaway Awning Guide: What is the best material for awnings and tents?

Driveaway Awning Materials

It’s easy to overlook the importance of fabric choice when researching the purchase of a driveaway awning. However, the decision can make a massive difference to the way in which you can use your Glawning, as well as the length of time you are able to enjoy using it.

In this article we take a look at the most common fabric types and consider the pros and cons of each.


Most modern driveaway awning tents are made of polyester. This can go by a number of different brand names to make it sound more technical, and the quality can vary usually according to cost. Higher quality polyester tents will have a ripstop weave to increase strength and help prevent tearing and different coatings will produce a good waterproof finish. Polyester is a convenient material to make modern awning tents out of as it is generally cheaper to produce and easier to look after and maintain as well as lightweight.

On the negative side, it is less durable than other options and difficult to repair if it does rip. Repairs to polyester tents tend only to be short-term fixes. Consequently, they will not last anywhere near as long as awning tents made of natural fibres. In addition, polyester is not a breathable fabric, so condensation will build up on the inside and they won’t be as comfortable to sit or sleep in as natural alternatives. If sleeping in a polyester awning then an inner tent with a breathable fabric will generally be required.

Oxford Fabric

Some driveaway awning tents are made of what is called Oxford fabric which is actually polyester that looks a lot like canvas. Please be aware that this material is not breathable and does not have the same characteristics as canvas made from 100% cotton or part cotton.

PU Coated Cotton

Another material which looks very much like cotton is PU coated cotton, which will have a plasticky coating on one surface. Again, this material is not breathable, if you're thinking of using this for your driveaway awning.

100% Cotton

100% cotton canvas is a very traditional, natural fabric to make tents out of. It has pros and cons. On the negative side, it can be more expensive than polyester and polycotton awning tents because the fabric is more expensive to produce. Also it will require more looking after, since it needs to be bone dry when it is stored away to ensure that it does not develop mildew. It is also a lot heavier than alternatives.

On the other hand, it is extremely breathable, creating a very comfortable environment for sitting or sleeping in. It will not have the same problems with condensation that can often be found with a polyester awning or tent. Also, it will stay much cooler in hot weather, while retaining the heat much better in colder weather. As for durability, a cotton tent will usually outlast a polyester equivalent by many years (often decades). It is also much easier to repair because patches and panels can be sewn in.


An alternative to polyester is polycotton. This is a blend of cotton and polyester. The benefit of combining the two materials is that it produces a material which contains qualities from both. Polyester will ensure that the awning tent can be made lighter than an all-cotton equivalent while retaining the addition of cotton will make the tent breathable, making it a more comfortable living space.

In our view, the pros of poly cotton far outweigh the cons, and it provides the best balance between modern day polyester and traditional canvas. You're essentially getting the best of both worlds!

So now you know all about the different types of campervan awning materials available, why not take a look at our next article on how to attach a driveaway awning to your campervan - you can go see the article HERE.

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