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Old 07-13-2014, 07:19 PM   #1
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ARB vs. CVT awnings and add-a-rooms

copied from my post over at Expo. Perhaps someone here will know.

My apologies if this has been covered before, but I couldn't find it. I'm looking for the right awning and add-a-room for my Sportsmobile van. I love the Foxwing but it is out of production for the next 6 months, I hear, and I really don't want to wait that long.

Question 1. Are the ARB and CVT (Cascadia Vehicle Tents) awnings identical other than the case? ARB has a gray outer bag and CVT a black outer bag. I'm in favor of the black but the CVT awning is $35 more. That's the only difference I can see.

Question 2. Does anyone know if the tents (and probably awning fabric) are the exact same color and material? I actually would not mind paying the $35 more for the CVT awning to get the black case, but CVT wants $425 for their add-a-room (fully enclosed walls w/ floor and ceiling) and ARB only wants $185. I would not be opposed to mixing and matching but only if the material color matches. I can see in the pictures I've been able to find that the CVT room does look to be a little better made, with full length doors on the 3 outer sides vs. 1 with the ARB, but I won't use this all that often and can live with one door.

Thanks for any help.

Edit: for SMB owners with tan/beige penthouse canvas. If anyone has used one of these two awnings, how does it match the tan/beige penthouse canvas? It looks close in the pics, and it's not a showstopper for me, but I'm still trying to find out.

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Old 07-13-2014, 08:42 PM   #2
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Re: ARB vs. CVT awnings and add-a-rooms

I'll be following this thread with interest. I've been looking at awnings (with walls) for my teardrop.

I have a line on a potential used Hannibal awning with walls, so depending on how that plays out, I may be going to ARB/CVT route myself. The Hannibal is bigger than I need, but it's hard to resist a Hannibal at a 'reasonable' price.


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Old 08-11-2014, 11:57 AM   #3
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Re: ARB vs. CVT awnings and add-a-rooms

Did you decide on one? We're still researching on what awning and the Foxwing looks really nice. Another possibility for us is the VW one that clips to the rain gutter and has a free standing kit. We've looked hard at the ARB but have seen the stress fractures in the Van bodies from the Fiamma and are trying to not have an issue down the road. Anything you turned up would sure be helpful.

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Old 08-11-2014, 05:20 PM   #4
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Re: ARB vs. CVT awnings and add-a-rooms

Yes, I got a CVT. It's not mounted yet though. To avoid stress cracks you need either Eli's brackets (defunct), Z's (Zeta's) brackets (a highly sought after clone of Eli's brackets), or Van Specialties brackets (a highly priced and hopefully exact clone of Z's and Eli's. They are on the way to me now. I will update this post when I get them.
I chose the CVT awning because it has a black case. Other than that I think it's identical to the ARB and others out there. I plan to use an ARB add-a-room for our longer stays, which is half the price of the CVT add-a-room for the same price. I'm hoping to see the ARB stuff at Expo East, that is if I can make it without starving my children. Have I mentioned that it's supposed to be a cool event but it's really overpriced?



John, FYI, there are lots of threads on the various awning brackets, modified and otherwise, and my research pointed to Van Spec. being the only people selling the 'good' ones. Larrie has a post on modifying a less expensive set, but I chose to go ahead with the known perfect ones, of which you get 3 instead of 2 mounting points. On the VW awning you speak of, if it is the Bus Depot one I had one and it takes some effort to set up. I wanted a quickly depoyable awning that any of us can set up without help if necessary, without spending $1200 on a Fiamma. Since you guys are going to live in your van, I would take a good long look at the Fiamma. Personally, I think an awning on any RV is indispensable since it essentially doubles your covered space.
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Old 08-11-2014, 05:55 PM   #5
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Re: ARB vs. CVT awnings and add-a-rooms



I finally got my CVT awning mounted up before our trip to Wyoming a few weeks ago. I can't wait to use it more - I really dig having it!

After searching all over for brackets, I couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger on the VS ones and was considering doing the mods like Larry did. I ended up just building some myself and they seem to be working well so far. They have a gutter clamp and one rivnut each into the body.

We will probably bust out the screen room for the first time this next weekend and I'll try to get some photos of that. Our awning sits pretty high, so I hope that the screen is long enough to hit the ground.
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:31 PM   #6
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Re: ARB vs. CVT awnings and add-a-rooms

Doh, I didn't think of that!!! Maybe I should wait on your report before I buy one!
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Old 08-12-2014, 06:16 AM   #7
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Re: ARB vs. CVT awnings and add-a-rooms

Thanks.

Of the awnings we have owned our favorites are bag style and Fiamma. The Fiamma was by far the easiest to use and we could attach the leg bases to the van body of our Pleasure-way instead of staking them to the ground which was awesome. We're probably over thinking things, as usual, and like the versatility of the Bus Depot awning which can be moved to the back of the van. I did watch a 12 minute video on setting it up which is why we haven't purchased one yet. Maybe we'll check out what other overlanders have and possibly score a deal at Expo East.

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Old 08-12-2014, 07:33 AM   #8
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Re: ARB vs. CVT awnings and add-a-rooms

John,

Regarding movng your awning from the side to the rear, watch the video for 'Freds Arm' on the webpage linked below. Maybe not practical for a van unless you had a really long awning, but very cool.

http://www.blackwidow4wdstorage.com/awnings/awnings.htm


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Old 08-12-2014, 07:53 AM   #9
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Re: ARB vs. CVT awnings and add-a-rooms

Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoHauler
John,

Regarding movng your awning from the side to the rear, watch the video for 'Freds Arm' on the webpage linked below. Maybe not practical for a van unless you had a really long awning, but very cool.

http://www.blackwidow4wdstorage.com/awnings/awnings.htm


Herb
Man, that's neat! It's a great idea for an SUV but would take some fabrication to make the brackets work on a PH van, if it's even possible. Either way, I really like it. Thanks for sharing.

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Old 08-12-2014, 10:02 AM   #10
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Re: ARB vs. CVT awnings and add-a-rooms

That Freds Arm is super slick. Probably would cost the same to buy a second shorter bag awning and attach it to the rear somehow though.

-John
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