At the very start of our trip, we picked up our new annexe from Nowra Canvas. (Kaj and his wife Maureen are great to deal with – happy to talk to you about exactly what you want. They’re caravanners themselves, so they understand where you’re coming from!)
I told Kaj that we wanted the annexe to be as versatile as possible. We asked him for an annexe that:
- would let in as much light as possible, even when it was raining. (Hence, clear plastic windows. We didn’t want an annexe that made us feel closed in.)
- could be totally private if necessary (so family could use it and put extra mattresses in it)
- could be used as a half annexe (Kaj put a zip halfway down the long wall)
- could be rolled up out of the way completely if we didn’t want to be closed in
- could let in air as well as light
Kaj came up with a great design.
- We have four windows – two in the long wall; one in each end wall – which reach almost to the ground. Insect screens are permanently set into the windows, so air can circulate while bugs stay out.
- We have 2 doors, one in each end. We opted not to have insect screens on the doors. Instead, Kaj sewed a Velcro strip above each door so we can attach fly strips if we want to.
- Each window has clear plastic inserts that just zip into place if we need them, keeping out rain and wind while letting lots of light in.
- Each window has a roll-down privacy screen on the outside that zips into place.
- Each half of the long wall can be rolled up totally out of the way if we don’t want to be screened off at all.
We’re happy to report that it works really, really well. It got a good workout at Pambula: we had 48 hours of steady rain followed by gale-force winds for a few hours. We were able to sit outside the van in our annexe, totally dry and snug while still watching the world go by. Since it’s near the end of April, the weather can get a bit cool – but the clear plastic windows act as a mini-sunroom, helping to dry towels on the rotary clothes hoist.
Brilliant! And it took only half an hour to put up on the first attempt.