Inflatable awnings are becoming increasingly popular amongst motorhome owners. We explain the pros and cons of pole-free awnings and how they differ from the usual systems in our inflatable awnings review gear guide – click here to read in full.
It’s now time to look at these awnings in more detail as we choose our star players…
Outwell San Diego Freeway
Originating from Denmark, Outwell is the big name in family tents here in the UK, so it should come as no surprise to see it has also branched out into drive-away awnings, all sporting the company’s signature luminous guylines.
It’s also been quick off the mark in bringing out a range of inflatable versions, using its own Smart Air technology that uniquely interlinks the upright tubes via apex tubing. There are San Diego and Hollywood variants, with the former here suitable for vehicles with an attachment height between 170cm and 220cm.
The Link Access Zone System includes a detachable groundsheet section to connect the awning to the vehicle at ground level, which helps minimise draughts.
This is a single room model (while Hollywood offers a bedroom option) with a Rainsafe side door main entrance as well as the facility to roll up the whole of the front. The flysheet here is Outtex 6000 and additional poles are fibreglass, plus two upright steel poles if you want to create a canopy with the unzipped front.
- Dimensions 340cm W x 360cm D x 225cm H
- Pack size 38cm x 88cm
- Weight 16.5kg
- Features also include Large windows, taped seams, reinforced stress points, adjustable pegging points, heavy duty zips, fully sealed groundsheet
- Expect to pay £550
Vango Air Away Kela
In two height variants, this comes complete with a 210cm x 140cm two-person inner/bedroom with darkened roof panelling to help towards a restful night’s sleep.
The flysheet has a class-leading 6000mm hydrostatic head rating, and there are two mesh doors, while Vango’s Tension Band System keeps everything stable.
Among the options are poles for the doorway, carpet for the interior and a footprint section which comes in particularly useful if you are pitching on a hardstanding and don’t want to cause damage to the awning’s groundsheet. It also provides extra insulation.
- Dimensions 310cm W x 320cm D x 195/215cm H
- Pack size 78cm x 38cm x 35cm
- Weight 17.1kg
- Features also include High and low-level ventilation panels, taped seams, sewn-in groundsheet, pelmet with storage pockets, lantern loop
- Expect to pay £450 (standard)/£480 (Tall)
Kampa Travel Pod Air is the name to look out for here, using Kampa’s AirFrame construction with 5000mm hydrostatic head flysheets. Prices are from around £600, with full drive-away kits extra.
Outdoor Revolution The Movelite range of traditional drive-away awnings has been boosted by the Oxygen 3 and slightly larger XL inflatable versions, featuring improved DVS (Dynamic Valve System) plus VVS (Vortex Ventilation System). Prices start at around £750.
Sunncamp AirVolution is the name to look out for here, featuring in two Rotonde Moro Air models – 325L and 325XL, for models with attachment points up to 240cm and 290cm from the ground respectively. They feature twin side doors plus a roll-up front, 5000mm hydrostatic head main fabric, sewn-in groundsheet, external mud wall, heat sealed seams, storm buckles and straps etc.
Make sure you see items like this on proper display before proceeding with a purchase. It’s always a chance to check out a specialist retailers’ advice, too. Larger motorhome dealers are more likely to have the resources to display and demonstrate awnings, but you may also see them at specialist outdoor retailers as well as outdoor shows.
Look out, also, for reviews in the press. Plus, if you see one on site, why not ask the owners about their experiences?