How to setup and install a side awning

We have created a helpful guide on how to install your car awning. Our awnings will come with instructions but we wanted to show customers how simple the setup really is. For the purposes of this guide and the majority of our customers, the setup will be on roof bars. If you have a roof rack you will need to drill mounting holes, see our how does a side awning attach page for more information. Read on for our side awning installation step-by-step.

Side awning setup and install guide

Our side awnings are very easy to set up and install, scroll down to see the setup and installation proceedure.

Step 1

Unbox your awning

To start the awning installation, carefully unbox your awning from the protective cardboard box. If using a knife to cut the box open, be careful not to cut the actual awning cover itself when opening.

Tent & Trail side awning boxed up in cardboard packaging on the floor.
The fitting kit for the side awnings at Tent & Trail, pegs, bolts and brackets on a table.
Step 2

What comes with your awning?

Once you have the awning out of its box, un-zip the awning cover and unroll the awning. Within the front aluminium front plate, you will find the following contents:

  • Spanner (10/13mm)
  • 2 x Awning brackets
  • 2 x Awning clamping plates
  • 4 x Stainless steel 30mm bolts 
  • 4 x Stainless steel T-bolts
  • 4 x Stainless steel dome bolts 
  • 4 x Stainless steel nylon nuts
  • 2 x Pegs
  • 2 x Guy ropes
Step 3

Install awning brackets to backplate

Take the 2 x stainless steel ‘L’ awning brackets and the 4 x M8 30mm bolts with nuts. Slide the 4 bolts into the channels on the backplate on the awning.

Position the bolts so there are 2 in each channel and they are horizontally aligned. Place the awning bracket over the two bolts and partially secure it into place with two M8 nylon nuts, (don’t tighten the nuts completely as you will need to move the brackets).

Repeat this process with the other awning bracket.

NOTE: Make sure to add grease to the threads to help tighten and undo.

Rear of side awning with awning bracket being attached.
Side awning in position ready to be bolted to roof bars on an estate car in the UK.
Step 4

Position awning on vehicle

Make sure you have your roof bars or roof rack attached to your vehicle and ready to attach the side awning. Grab a friend and carefully lift the side awning into place. 

Position the awning on your roof bars or roof rack, how you would like it to be mounted on your vehicle. Slide the awning brackets so they align with the roof bars or mounting point on a roof rack, (loosen the M8 nylon nuts if needed)

Once you have both brackets positioned as desired, tighten the M8 nylon nuts with the provided spanner but make sure not to overtighten.

Step 5

Mounting points on roof bars or rack

If your roof bars have a channel in the top then you will simply slide in the provided 4 x ‘T’ bolts ready for the awning brackets to be secured.

However, if you have a roof rack or non-channelled bars, you will need to mark the desired mounting holes and drill holes in your roof bar or rack system.

Side awning t-bolts used to secure the awning to the roof bars.
A man using a spanner to bolt an awning to roof bars on a car.
Step 6

Bolt awning brackets to roof bar

Once you have decided your position, grab a friend and carefully lift the side awning into place. Be sure not to hurt yourself, your friend, your car or your new awning.

Now in position, use the provided M8 nylon nuts to securely bolt the awning bracket to the roof bar or rack system.

NOTE: Make sure to add grease to the threads to help tighten and undo.

Step 7

Attach guy ropes

Now the side awning is secure, un-zip the cover, release the internal straps and unroll the awning. Drop the front legs down to support the front bar of the awning and adjust to the desired height. Then take the side poles and insert locating pins into holes on the front bar. Pull the awning material taught and lock the side pole positions.

With the awning erected you can attach the 2 x guy ropes and tensioners. Thread the guy rope over the top of the awning leg and secure the guy rope in place, (see here for tips on a strong securing knot).

NOTE: Make sure the guy rope tensioners are in the correct direction to work when pegged to the ground.


Attaching a guy rope to the front of a side awning.
Two people camping with a fire and a roof tent in the UK.
Step 8


The side awning installation is complete. With your awning now secure to your car, you are ready to start your adventures!

After your first use, check the nuts and bolts for tightness. A general good maintenance tip is checking nuts and bolts periodically while the awning is mounted on your car.

PLEASE NOTE: Make sure to use the provided guide ropes at all times to prevent damage from gusts of wind. We recommend that the awning is not used in severe weather conditions to avoid damage to the product.

Need your side awning fitted?

We can set up and install your side awning at our workshop in Hampshire, UK.

Vehicle awnings FAQs

You’ve got questions, we got the answers. If you can’t find the specific answer you’re looking for then contact us at and we will be happy to talk through any questions you may have.

Yes. All our awnings come with 100% waterproof heavy-duty 420D Polyester Oxford canvas. This canvas is UV and mould-resistant, making your awning look good and last longer in any kind of weather. 

Other materials used on the awning are aluminium for the frame and legs with stainless steel fixings, so no need to worry about rust.

Yes, but it is important to position your awning with a run-off to the side of the awning canopy. This is achieved by lowering one of the front legs lower than the other which will prevent heavy rainfall from pooling on the canvas. In extreme weather situations, we recommend taking down your awning and packing it away to prevent damage. Side awning heavy rain position to prevent pooling on the canvas.

Our awnings come equipped with full vehicle fitting kits (bolts, brackets, even tools) and detailed instructions. All our fixings are made from premium stainless steel 304-grade metal. This is to prevent corrosion/rust and provide added strength. For more information and pictures see our setup and install guide for attaching a side awning to your car.

We also provide a fitting service with the purchase of any of our products, please contact for more details.

All of our products, roof tents and awnings have a 2-year warranty, for any manufacturing defects that might occur. In the unlikelihood of any issues or defects please contact us at and we will be on hand to help.

Please see our warranty policy page for more details.

We’ve got you covered.

We know that accidents can happen but there’s no need to worry if your awning gets broken. A number of spares for all our products are available, to keep you on the road. Simply get in contact with us at and tell us what you require.

Free shipping service is available to the vast majority of UK customers. However, certain UK postcodes do not qualify for our free shipping service and customers in these areas may be required to pay a supplementary delivery fee. The current free shipping exclusion zones include postcodes in the following areas: Channel Islands, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Isles of Scilly, Scottish Highlands & Islands.

Consequently, if your postcode falls within one of the free shipping exclusion zone(s), please email confirming your full address details and we will be in touch with a quote for delivery. We can also arrange delivery to Europe – please contact us for a quotation.

Vehicle access restrictions to your property may mean additional costs or delivery failure. If you are concerned this may apply to you, then please be sure to email us before you complete your order at checkout.

Ready to look to pick your awning?

Awnings will fit any vehicle, not just a 4×4.