When you’re living in such a beautiful and breathtaking country like Australia, it’s a true shame if you never really go out and explore it. I get it, camping may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m pretty sure that beauty is, so making the occasional exception and heading out to the great outdoors should be on everyone’s to-do list.
More than 400 thousand international tourists come to our little island to explore its wonders and camp or caravan around it, with the number growing more and more each year. This is no surprise, as Australia really does have so much to offer to lovers and appreciators of nature, but it’s very important to note that, even though it is mesmerizing, it can also be unpredictable and difficult to tame, especially if you’re not properly prepared.
There are a bunch of things anyone heading out camping or caravanning needs to take along with them. Some are well-known and well-distributed among campers and caravanners, while others, even though thoroughly valuable, are not. It’s very important to note the difference between camping and caravanning before we go any further.
Camping is all about tents and living within nature as a sort of nomad. It usually involves dwelling in deep forests or remote areas and requires a lot of gear to be carried. Often accompanied by hiking, camping is a truly simple way of enjoying nature’s gifts and relaxing in an old-fashioned way.
Caravanning, however, is a bit different. Requiring a caravan, it’s much easier than regular camping as it allows for a much more comfortable and smoother stay in nature than camping does. It also allows for a lot more essentials and caravan accessories to be brought along the way to maximize that already-given comfort.
Today I’d like to talk about caravan camping and a lesser-known accessory that will really up your leisure game – an awning shade and an awning mat.
Awning Shades & Mats: The Pinnacle of Outdoor Comfort
No matter where you’re headed, having a quality made awning mat to accompany your quality-made awning shade is beyond essential. Since you’re already caravanning and not camping, I’m free to assume you still want to enjoy some of the comforts only home can give while you’re on the road, and awning floor mats, as well as awning shades, are going to provide you with just that. You may have heard of awning shades already, as they are quite a known item within the caravanning community, but it seems like fewer people know about the caravan matting. Well, today I’d like to talk a bit more in-depth about these creations and why absolutely everyone needs to pack one for their next trip into the wild.
While awning shades provide you with protection from the sides and above, awning floor mats are all about providing protection from beneath. Designed specially to fit your awning shade, they clip together and create a sort of tent attached to the side of your caravan – a backyard, if you will – that allows you to spend more time outside instead of cooped up inside your caravan. As I said before, Australian nature is beautiful, but it can be cruel and unpredictable when it feels like it, so having a combo of shade and an awning groundsheet will have you covered, quite literally, from all sides and against anything nature may be cooking up. In addition, awning matting is made with special technology that allows for some very unique features I’ll talk about in the chapter that follows.
A well-made caravan mat is all about keeping what’s outside out, but also about keeping what’s not supposed to be inside, out. That special technology I spoke of before is the way these mats are made. To put it simply, the mats are made from a special material that is multilayered and tightly knitted to create a sort of sieve, if you will. This sieve, however, is unlike anything you’ve seen before. A sort of semi-open system, it allows for dirt and sand that’s on top to exit by falling through the mat and on the ground below. At the same time, it doesn’t allow for anything to come back up. Quite a useful feature when caravanning, it will ensure the inside of your “tent” is clean and dirt-free while allowing breathability at the same time. Furthermore, the mats are made to be resistant to water and not allow mould to form, which is perfect for those who don’t use them as often and like to store them in cellars or garages. The mats treat water much like they do dirt – just let it fall through the knit and into the ground below, keeping everything inside dry and safe.
When I say easy, I think of two things. First, as I brushed over before, the mats are quite easy to use. Made to fit specific awnings and available in a huge variety of sizes, they are quite easy to set up and pack up when needed to. Once installed, the mats are able to stay where they are until you unhook them and pack them.
While installed, they are able to support any type of camping furniture and any number of people without getting damaged. They also feature certain UV protection within the material to ensure everyone inside is safe from the sun but the mat itself is also protected. The UV stabilizers prevent the mat from degrading after being exposed to the sun.
The second thing I want to talk about is how easy these mats are to carry around and how gentle they are to the nature around them. Your awning flooring will never damage anything that’s underneath it because of its knitted structure, so even if you put it over grass, you can be sure that once you remove it the grass below will be just as you found it.
Finally, no matter how big of a mat you get, you will always be able to hose it down for cleaning, fold it into a tidy and neat square, and store it away until the next time you need to extend your living quarters when outside.