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Awning query from newbie!

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    Awning query from newbie!

    Hello all, this is my first post - nice to meet you!

    I’ve recently acquired a mini-camper - a converted 2006 Fiat Doblo Hi Roof - and would like to add a pull-out sun canopy on the driver’s side. I have no idea what to look for or how to go about this - please can anybody help? I’m told roof bars aren’t suitable for this vehicle, but am also looking at other awnings, so if anyone can provide any info/advice I’d be very grateful.

    Many thanks in advance!

    Hello Wheelybob and welcome to the site

    You are talking about the Fiamma style of awning?

    Member Derekoak might be able to help you as he has a Doblo


      Ooh thank you, Sandra! I’m afraid I don’t know what a Fiamma awning is - red face! I just mean a simple sun canopy that attaches to and pulls out from the side of the vehicle. Either that or a small and simple driveaway awning that’s really quick to erect and put away - something I can easily do on my own.


        A high roof doblo is not supposed to carry a roof rack. I suppose it is high and narrow already. However my doblo had, i think 6, recesses in the roof that i thought were for roof rack feet. I fitted things to the roof a solar panel and a skylight, weight about 3 kilo. If you could find a a roof rack that fitted just to fit an awning. I do not see anything wrong with that. You might like to ask your insurance if an awning is ok?
        i never fitted an awning so i do not know the ins and outs. Have you weighed your conversion full of your standard gear at a weighbridge to see if you have the weight spare for a roof rack and pull out awning? You can be fined if your vehicle is overweight. I was at the weight limit and any awning thought i might have was an ultralight nylon sheet with hooks and guys.


          Hi Derek, thanks a lot for that - being a total newbie I hadn’t even thought about weight - I do travel light, though! I’ve seen pictures of Doblos with pull-out awnings permanently fitted, and thought it looked like a quick and simple option. I guess a simple pop-up tent that would strap to the van would also do, though - and also be cheaper than regular awnings, which mostly seem really dear!


            Welcome to the site Wheelybob! Another member who might be able to help is Paul Doblo7
            When I used my estate car as a micro-camper I used a Caranex. They pull up against the rear end of your vehicle and have a privacy sheet so that you can use it free-standing, too. They are easy and quick to erect (if I can do it anyone can!) and are provided in lots of different sizes. However, they're not cheap if purchased new, but you might find one to fit the Doblo on Ebay. Have a look at the Caranex website for more details.


            Good luck with finding something suitable, and hope to see you at one of our rallies one of these days!


              Originally posted by Wheelybob View Post
              Hi Derek, thanks a lot for that - being a total newbie I hadn’t even thought about weight - I do travel light, though! I’ve seen pictures of Doblos with pull-out awnings permanently fitted, and thought it looked like a quick and simple option. I guess a simple pop-up tent that would strap to the van would also do, though - and also be cheaper than regular awnings, which mostly seem really dear!
              What you are talking about is a Fiamma style awning. I have just found this for your van on ebay The price looks good - It mounts by sticking a C section caravan awining rail to the edge of your roof.


              It is not as good as an Omnistor or Fiamma but may very well do what you want.

              Amor omnia vincit et nos cedamus amori


                Thank you, Cynthia and Jon!

                Unfortunately I couldn’t use the Caravanex, Cynthia, as you can only access my Doblo from the side. Jon - that’s exactly the kind of thing I’m thinking of and, as you say, a good price - thank you! I’ve spotted the Dometic wind-out awnings since I posted but they’re obviously miles more expensive and I’m not even sure if they’d be suitable for my vehicle. Not sure I could fit the awning rail for the Ebay one on my own - would it be expensive to get it done, I wonder?

                Thanks again!


                  Bob - the easy way
                  A silicone type gun - a tube of Tiger Seal or other PU seal / adhesive. Caravan awning rail (as long as the roof of your van), the type like a P that has a flange that has predrilled holes. Pop Rivet gun and 3 mm x 10mm rivets an electric drill and 3mm drill bits

                  You need a couple of helpers - Squirt the Tiger Seal along the back of the rail - bead along each adge about 3 mm in. With your helper hold along the side just below the roof line. Push firmly and hold. Now the helpers hold while you drill through the holes in the flange (start at the centre and work outward one hole at a time) as soon as the hole is drilled pop rivet it in place. In half an hour you will have an awning rail in place.

                  The other alternative would be roof rack - a batten along one side (front to back) and screw the awning rail to the batten. Honestly I think you would be wasting time and money going this route, but I realise it is less daunting than drilling into the van - a local caravan place would do method one for you - probably cheaper than buying a roof rack.

                  Amor omnia vincit et nos cedamus amori


                    I've been cited above by Cynthia so I will add my comments which won't help much, I'm afraid.

                    I solved the space problem in my Doblo by extending upwards: being a boatbuilder (amongst many other habits) I built a small light pram dingy in ply, cut a very large hole in the (already raised) vehicle roof, glass-fibre sheathed the boat and secured and sealed it upside-down over the hole. The skylight went on top of that. I strengthened the steelwork in way.

                    The result was very successful and being able to stand up inside was brilliant and made a huge difference. The extended roof provided useful bookshelves each end. We went to France with this configuration over a freezing Easter and the vehicle did us proud.

                    However when Eileen was taken ill and needed to rest for long periods the vehicle became impossible for the two of us and I bought a larger Fiat Scudo and I have converted that. Unfortunately Eileen didn't survive to see and enjoy the result.

                    Back to your quest: Why is the back of your vehicle not accessible? I presume you mean you can't use the rear doors. That's a pity: I have made sure all the doors remain usable on both of my conversions. I have seen excellent awnings on the backs of Doblos.

                    As to fitting an awning on the side I would be very wary indeed of permanent attachments such as rails. As I recall the Doblo sides are not flat enough to take them and even if they are, attached awnings tend to be heavy and cause windage. I have a roller awning attached to the side of my Scudo - it is very heavy, creates windage and I have only used it twice in several years. That may change.

                    So I recommend something light, elasticated, entirely removable, as large as possible (rain has a habit of coming in sideways) and, assuming that you mean to use it in the rain, ensure that the awning will not collect the water in a lake and collapse. Mine did.

                    You will have to attach hooks or the like to the vehicle. I use self-tapping screws AND sealant for attachments. Make sure you don't drill into your grandmother sitting inside.

                    Seek to make a virtue of necessity.


                      Jon and Paul, thanks very much for going into so much detail. It’s early days, so will give the awning idea some more thought!

                      Paul, the rear doors on the Doblo open but the bed sits right across the back, so you can’t get in and out that way. I like the configuration, though - seems to make good use of the space.



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