We did not want to order the fixed awning with our van because of the problems that are associated with them. Also, we were worried we might catch it on a tree when driving off road and do serious damage to the awning or van. We had been trying to figure out how to make a compact portable awning that could be attached to the van when Dana came across this on the web:
We ordered it from www.busdepot.com
for $133 including shipping. It is designed for a VW Westfailia but we figured we could easily fit it to our Sportsmobile. I think we did confuse the company a little bit because on our invoice under vehicle it has "Hmmmmm. 2008 Ford?"
The top is made from heavy tent material and has two fiberglass cross poles which Velcro to the top with a tie in the middle. This gives it a nice dome that should shed water well. It also allows plenty of room for both side doors to open.
There are two steel poles one on the van side and the other on the front of the awning. The awning is designed to attach to the rain gutter on a VW van but unfortunately the clamps don't work on the Ford. They do sell a suction cup kit, but were out of stock when we placed our order.
What I came up with after wandering around the hardware store is to use 3 S-hooks that are just large enough to slip over the poles and then clip these to the bungee that runs around the penthouse top. When installed most of the weight rests against the side of the penthouse and the bungee just holds it in place. At this point I have just set it up in my driveway, but if it seems like it is straining the bungee I may purchase the suction cup kit.
The legs are adjustable so it should be easy to set up on uneven ground. They include stakes and ropes on the outside corners, but if it gets really windy, I will probably have to take it down.
It was fairly easy to put up even though the instructions are quite poor. With a little practice I should be able to be set it up or take it down in under 10 minutes. The best part is it is very compact when stowed.
The overall construction is good the only complaint I have is the storage bags are very lightweight and will probably need to be replaced long before the awning.
I will let all of you know how it works in the real world after our next trip.