Turned My New Awning Into a Mesh Tent

What you need

  • Magnets from Harbor Freight
  • Spring clamps from Harbor Freight
  • All Weather Nylon Mesh Tarp from Harbor Freight
  • Awning from Amazon for $83.00
  • Tarp for the floor from Walmart.

Mesh size

I purchased two (2) nylon/vinyl coated mesh tarps from Harbor Freight. You can buy them in different sizes. I measured 26 feet around the width of the awning, and a 6 foot height. My mesh measures 16 x 8 feet.

Benefits

The Mesh is all weather. I’ve used it for two years in rain or hot sun and never had a problem with mold, or damage from the sun (drying it out). The mesh can withstand direct sunlight and blocks UV rays, which means, you don’t feel the hot sun.

Awning

I purchased the awning from Amazon for $83.00. Currently the company I purchased my awning from is out of stock, but I’ve seen the same awning sold by other companies for about $20.00 more.

The awning comes with its own hardware for mounting it and a case for storing it.

Awning assembly and attaching the mesh

The video tutorial shows two people assembling the awning. One person can do it, but it’s extremely awkward.

Once you have the awning setup you can begin wrapping the mesh around it. I purchased four (4) large magnets and a bunch of smaller magnets from Harbor Freight.

They are really strong magnets so be careful using them without anything under them. Getting them off the van is easier if you slide the magnet and pull at the same time.

To attach the mesh to the awning I used the spring clips.

The floor

I used a regular tarp for the floor purchased from Walmart costing me around $4. I recommend a floor, because bugs on the ground will crawl under the mesh and get inside with you.

That’s it.

Privacy & blocking cold or heat

My first design attempted to block out the sun and provide some privacy. There wasn’t much to my van in the beginning. Although I had foam board on the windows to black them out, I didn’t create one for the front.

My privacy, heat retention and sun protection curtains, As of December 2019

Anyone looking through the windshield from the streets could look in my van, so I used a sun screen cover.

Example of the foam board on my front drivers side window.
Velcro hold the material to the back window
The PVC pipe wraps the entire living space.
Side door entry. Unpainted PVC rod, and the custom curtain.