Caravan awnings are a ‘must’ for anyone planning the kind of caravan holidays where you settle onto a caravan site for at least a week at a time, but preferably for two weeks or more. They extend your living space beautifully and allow you to eat in a light, airy space with a choice of doors to let the breeze in, or keep it out, whatever the weather. 

The only trouble with caravan awnings is the price, normally varying from around £500 to £1200 or even more. So what’s the alternative? 

Many people have flirted with cheap and cheerful garden gazebos on campsites up and down the country. They’re handy to use as sunshades and rain shelters and they’re easy to put up and take down. But there have been incidents. The flimsy cheaper gazebos have sometimes proved so versatile that they turn themselves into enormous kites, flying off around the campsite, causing mayhem and damage when they drop back down to earth.

Fortunately there’s a third – and far better – option to consider – day tents. We gathered together a bunch of eight very different day tents and shelters to test and compare to each other. High on our list of priorities was the question, ‘how quick and easy is it to put up?’, followed swiftly by ‘how many doors can you open?’ and ‘has it got screen nets?’. Nets are surprisingly effective at reducing the wind to a pleasant breeze within the shelter of a day tent. 

We checked out a couple of other Khyam tents, the Megatop at £800 and the Khyam Day Shelter 300 at £145. We tested the Quest Elite Instant Spring Up Screen House 6, at £200, and were amazed at the speed we achieved putting it up. Then we tested the Quest Elite Instant Spring Up Screen House 4 at £170, the Coleman Event Shelter 12 x 12 at £130, the Kampa Cabana at £150, and the Easy Camp Pavilion at £130. Enjoy browsing our day tent and shelter reviews to see which might suit your needs best during your caravan holidays.

If you and your family are hardy types or fair-weather caravanners, you could just opt for windbreaks, instead of awnings or day tents to provide outdoor shelter. But day tents are far superior, because they often come with flooring, too. This helps to keep your caravan clean and dry by providing a sheltered porch area. This is where people can wipe their feet, leave their boots, shoes and waterproofs and maybe towel-dry the dog. It’s also where you can eat meals and store outdoor kit. If you need it to be more, your day tent can be used as a spare bedroom, too. As your children grow up, personal space becomes crucial to reduce holiday tensions. 

Selling at just £280, the Khyam Screenhouse is an incredibly versatile product that’s much more than a basic day tent.

Thanks to all four sides opening, this becomes a pleasantly airy gazebo – and much more. The front and rear doors roll up, can be canopied, left closed, or used as windows or screen netting and side panels are either closed or net screens. But, when the sides are zipped shut, the tent becomes fully weatherproof, making it a great utility shelter. Add the optional groundsheet and bedroom inner (£31.99 and £79.99, respectively), and you’ve got a roomy two- to four-berth tent – perfect if your family expands or if you’re expecting guests on tour.

Add in robust build quality and a sub-five minutes’ pitching time, and there’s no question that the Khyam Screenhouse is worth the money. But only if you make use of those extra functions; otherwise it’s an expensive choice as a 3m x 3m sun shelter.