Originally Posted by Fork-N-Road
Hi Ray, would a 10 footer be appropriate for an RB van? What's the ballpark price? I know that you like the Fiamma better than ARB, can you elaborate a little on the difference? An awning is getting close to the top of my list. Thanks!
Yes, 10ft is the typical and, imho, perfect size for either the RB or EB vans. This provides for about a 10 inch overlap of the front passenger and side cargo door.
As to the differences between ARB and Fiamma and I hope others who have experience with both can chime in
I had a recent conversation with one of our members to get a first hand account of the ARB/CVT vs Fiamma as he has owned and used both. I on the other hand have only owned Fiammas and have helped install ARB/CVT's.
-Bottom line for he and his wife was setup and take down of the ARB style was a full process and it led them to using it less and less even though they really wanted the function of an awning. It got to point where he had to determine if it was worthwhile to deploy and retrieve vs the amount of time the awning would be out. The other aspect of the ARB he mentioned was it had to be all the way out or not at all, so if the space did not allow for the 6 ft projection, it could not be put out ( eg parking lot, or a tree) If he was leaving camp and was concerned about wind, he would roll it up completely since there is no in between. It was far easier to do the setup and take down with two people, and if there was some wind, it was definitely two people. The functionality once deployed was fine. I helped him install and set up his ARB the first time. I (being very familiar with the Fiamma) was surprised at what it took to set up/take down the ARB/CVT and that was in calm nice weather. I told him to hang on to the third bracket just in case.
He felt the construction and material was fine and it worked well for shade or in the rain, it is 20 lbs lighter, only needed two brackets, and it was 40% the price. He owned the ARB/CVT first.
A year and half later he called me and said to order the Fiamma F45s 10 ft for him. He was done with the ARB experiment and his wife was done with the hassles during set up and take down of the ARB /CVT since it was requiring two people. He is very happy with his decision to buy and install the Fiamma. One person setup and retrieve, out partially or fully, it is a heavier structure so it stands up better to wind, when he leaves camp, he pulls it in so it is deployed only a few feet to still provide shade or rain protection. If conditions require a quick take down, it is very quick. Now it is no biggy to think about putting the awning out, one person very easy, which leads to using the Fiamma whenever they feel like it, even if it is for 5 or 10 mins. Coverage with the Fiamma is 10 ft wide x up to 8 ft extension, so a couple more feet in each dimension.
If price is THE number one concern, then the ARB will be your path. It will give you shade and protection but will be a bit more effort to set up and take down and may lead to using it less. If price can be second or third in the tier then spring for the Fiamma. Either way is good, just depends on primary motivators and financial resources.
My wife and I go camping for extended periods up to seven weeks. There is no way to avoid weather changes over that period of time. We also have no second thoughts about going camping for a weekend if the weather looks sketchy. We have had rain, snow conditions and with the Fiamma out we have a nice large covered space to cook, sit and leave the side doors open and not feel trapped in the van.
And if any concern about off road usage with the Fiamma / brackets - amongst the many here who have the brackets and Fiamma combination :rallypanam has done thousands of miles on Baja and various other washboard/ rough roads, REF does lots of offroad, and I spent a month in Baja where we did a a few hundred miles offroad plus Mexican highway pot holes. None of us have had issues with the weight of the Fiamma (+20 lbs over the ARB/CVT) nor the brackets.
Hope that helps and does not confuse. Please feel free to give me a PM/ call if you want to discuss ideas/concerns. And as I mentioned. I hope other s contribute to the Pro/Con discussion as well.