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meadowsweet

Lightweight verus Heavyweight Awnings?

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Well, after second leak in Outdoor Revolution air awning I now have a full refund as it is still under warranty.   Retailer did say there was a design fault!  Wish he had told us that when purchased . ....

 

Not sure whether to go for a lightweight pole awning (retailer tried to convince my partner to purchase a Kampa 400 plus on the spot) however I told him I would rather research first.

 

I checked reviews of the Kampa and a few mention condensation issues.   Remedied by purchasing optional roof liner etc so costs go up, plus storm straps etc.

 

On our previous caravan we had a large solid Isabella awning, some years old, which I liked.   The lightweight one seems very flimsy in comparison and easy to damage, yet with the heavier (and more expensive ones) you have a lot of extra weight (not really an issue with our outfit) and possibly longer time to erect which is a consideration when "touring" with the caravan.

 

We intend to do a lot more caravanning next year as we will both be retired (Europe and UK) so need to make the correct decision.   I wonder if there is a hybrid awning type?

 

Appreciate any comments!

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Kampa make an ace air all season inflatable awning which is made from a more substantial material, not cheap and quite heavy but the erect time is quite quick, inflatable awnings take just as long to peg out as a poled awning though. From memory they only make it in one size though which is a 4 metre.

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Heavier awnings tend to last longer and look better but are heavy, both to carry and erect, unless they have zip out panels. Those with poles need great care to avoid dings in the caravan side.

Lightweight awnings simply do not last as long! I find that hoops are easier to use than poles.

 

From my experience, lightweight awnings are normally only good for about 30 weeks of actual use.

I have never had a leak problem, other than with lightweight awnings as they approach end of life.

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Read my thread started yesterday on leaking Kampa Air Ace 300.

Much of what you need to think about is coming up there.

I'll be rejecting and going back to Isabella. We are out 100+ days a year touring and even at £850 the one we have bought is proving not up to the job as soon as it rain. Too flimsy a material.

Big mistake.

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https://www. ebay. co. uk/sch/i. html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057. m570. l1311. R1. TR2. TRC1. A0. H1. Xisabella+250+coal. TRS0&_nkw=isabella+magnum+250+coal&_sacat=0

There were very few used ones when we bought ours. It was very little used (virtually as new) and set us back £875. It's been in constant use now for 18 months (we are full time) and still looks brand new. With an annex and a sun canopy, it gives us flexibility which you would not find with an air/lightweight awning. Some of the asking prices in the ebay link look very attractive. A previous air awning was nothing but trouble.  

 

Oh, and no guy ropes to trip over;)

Edited by Flying Grandad
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Awnings, I seem to have tried them all. ........  I'll give my opinions but also see mine (and others) responses on GB1309's thread.

 

Heavyweight poled awnings from a decent manufacturer seem to last a long time.   I've had full poled awnings from Inaca (Mercury 360), NR (Pullman)and Kampa (Carnival), all were pretty good.   We struggled with large poled awnings as my wife is "vertically challenged" and struggled to help with the higher poles.   so we looked at air awnings and bought a new Kampa Rally Pro 390 Plus.   The negatives (ignoring the leaks) are that a big air awning is very heavy, ideally needing two people to carry it from the garage to the car.   Also the panels are partially sewn in so you cannot remove them to make it easier/lighter.   The positives are it is a one-person job to put it up.   Once pulled round the awning rail (two people or use an awning puller), one person inflates and then pegs out.   It is also very good in a storm with no poles to become dislodged and damage the caravan.

 

We have had three lightweight awnings (ranging in size from 2. 5 to 3. 9 metres long) and the quality wasn't brilliant with rips and other damage happening quickly.

 

The "ideal" awning comes down to a lot of personal preferences, I like our Kampa's design, I don't like it's (lack of) factory water proofing.   If I had to go out and buy a decent awning tomorrow I would look at the Inaca Mercury 420, with aluminium poles, good storm straps and a pair of stilts for my wife.  

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Thank you for the various suggestions.   I am  moving towards a traditional awning.   The Isabella one we had previously was also purchased pre-owned on eBay and it was in beautiful condition.   While we were in France we realised that we could manage with a sun canopy for a few days so a flexible type traditional awning appeals.   Particularly, as never having visited Scotland we would like to spend a month up there and a flimsy awning wouldn't be at all practical methinks.

 

Must also look for an awning puller too.

 

Yours

 

Another vertically challenged individual . ..

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Isabella are about the best,

I have Trio which good though not as good as the Isabella but it was cheaper, we've now got a Ventura Pascal air, its heavy but its good and its easy to put up, we prefer it to the trio full or our Nr porch awning.

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48 minutes ago, meadowsweet said:

Particularly, as never having visited Scotland we would like to spend a month up there and a flimsy awning wouldn't be at all practical methinks.

Spent a month up in Scotland last year with our Isabella 420. Our current Kampa Air would have been unable to withstand the downpours we had at Bunree.

If you are going up there I humbly suggest you buy a framed Isabella.

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Having had many awnings over the years, mostly poled Bradcot's, Isabella Capri then a couple of Kampa's air 390 and a 200.

We now have a 260 Bradcot Module Air no poles to damage the side of the van, small enough to pop up for a long weekend. Great quality material, all the panels are removable making it much lighter to run on the rail  and the ability to add on sections if we require more room.

If there was a guarantee that an Isabella wouldn't dent the van under the rail when storm Ali decides to brew up I would consider a poled one again. Some grim pictures last week of dented sides under the rail.

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Beloved and myself both being vertically challenged, me 5'6", she 4'11", have never had any issues with our Isabellas because  the van step is high enough for me to put the FixOns onto the profile and the rest of the awning is put together before tesnsioning the leg poles as demonstrated in the YouTube videos. Even our 'big' awning (3 metre Commodore) is easily pulled round the rail single handed even with the panels all zipped in (why take them out?) with two of us doing it its even easier. We use a canopy as well for overnighting which gets transferred onto the front of the awning once its up when were on our long hol in France. Been down the Kampa Air awning, trip hazard route. No comparison.

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Turningdrew

 

Are we related?  Our "outfit" are also same heights!

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Cold bright morming here in Cornwall.

Chairs and table in the air awning soaked from drips.   Ceiling looks like the roof of the Cheddar caves.

IMHO it cannot be said that this material is the basis for an all year round touring awning, in fact not even Summer and Autumn.

This is the UK for heavans sake!:angry:

(No, I'm not sponsored by any Danish company.)

 

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We had a Ventura porch awning with no condensation problems.   Bought a Kampa Air Ace and it was drier outside than in the awning.   Sold it and bought a Isabella coal porch awning and no more condensation issues!

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3 hours ago, Durbanite said:

We had a Ventura porch awning with no condensation problems.   Bought a Kampa Air Ace and it was drier outside than in the awning.   Sold it and bought a Isabella coal porch awning and no more condensation issues!

I reckon we'll be close behind you Ian.

Chap across the way with a Magnum is sitting dry as a cracker.

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To be honest we didn't see as much condensation with the vango air awning thst we had compared to others. Talked myself into selling it and buying  a new  Isabella magnum for short stays instead. Used the magnum once and realised it went across the window ( bad measuring from me).  Looks like no awning for v short stays (2-3days) and then get the full isabella out for a week or more.  

Anyone want a new magnum. ..

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2 hours ago, steve frs said:

To be honest we didn't see as much condensation with the vango air awning thst we had compared to others. Talked myself into selling it and buying  a new  Isabella magnum for short stays instead. Used the magnum once and realised it went across the window ( bad measuring from me).  Looks like no awning for v short stays (2-3days) and then get the full isabella out for a week or more.  

Anyone want a new magnum. ..

Yes please.

PM me if its a 340 wide.

Cheers

Graham.

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15 hours ago, steve frs said:

To be honest we didn't see as much condensation with the vango air awning thst we had compared to others. Talked myself into selling it and buying  a new  Isabella magnum for short stays instead. Used the magnum once and realised it went across the window ( bad measuring from me).  Looks like no awning for v short stays (2-3days) and then get the full isabella out for a week or more.  

Anyone want a new magnum. ..

We've only just started using a Magnum as its easier to take the chill off when using it through the winter. Prior to this we would use the full awning for even a weekend away as it goes up almost as quickly as the Magnum, just the dreaded pegging takes a bit longer. If you've an issue with the Magnum cutting across a window might be worth considering getting an older, smaller,  2nd hand Isabella and cut it to make a porch awning.(theres a video on YouTube) With a bit of clever measuring you could get it to drop exactly where you want either side of the offending window. We did this quite successfully with a 3 metre Commodore.

IMG_0612.JPG

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GB1309 you have mail

1 hour ago, Tuningdrew said:

We've only just started using a Magnum as its easier to take the chill off when using it through the winter. Prior to this we would use the full awning for even a weekend away as it goes up almost as quickly as the Magnum, just the dreaded pegging takes a bit longer. If you've an issue with the Magnum cutting across a window might be worth considering getting an older, smaller,  2nd hand Isabella and cut it to make a porch awning.(theres a video on YouTube) With a bit of clever measuring you could get it to drop exactly where you want either side of the offending window. We did this quite successfully with a 3 metre Commodore.

IMG_0612.JPG

And that is where my head is at. Just need to sell the magnum first. Has been an expensive mistake. ...

Edited by steve frs
Correct spelling

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20 hours ago, steve frs said:

To be honest we didn't see as much condensation with the vango air awning thst we had compared to others. Talked myself into selling it and buying  a new  Isabella magnum for short stays instead. Used the magnum once and realised it went across the window ( bad measuring from me).  Looks like no awning for v short stays (2-3days) and then get the full isabella out for a week or more.  

Anyone want a new magnum. ..

Steve

Just a pity it bothers you it going down the window as the Magnum is a lovely porch awning, the only negative really to going down a window is that you cannot open the window and looks a bit odd from inside looking out, as regards it marking your window you could be unlucky but don't think it as big an happening as people may lead you to believe

Steve

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Thanks Steve,

 End of the day it is essentially brand new and if I don't get a good offer it can sit till next year and then will decide whether to persevere with it or not.

When looking at 2nd hand they look to hold their value with 2-3 year old versions still in the high £700-800 price ranges.

2 hours ago, terrierbite said:

Steve

Just a pity it bothers you it going down the window as the Magnum is a lovely porch awning, the only negative really to going down a window is that you cannot open the window and looks a bit odd from inside looking out, as regards it marking your window you could be unlucky but don't think it as big an happening as people may lead you to believe

Steve

 

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We have also gone back to a poled awning after experiencing leaks with an air awning and picked up a superb 3 year old immaculate Isabella Capri Coal with Carbon X poles for £500.

With awning, windows and poles together it is heavier than a 4m air awning but with the panels out it is probably lighter and easy to thread onto the rail.

We tend to be fair weather caravaners and tend to use the awning almost as a sunshade with the option of popping in the panels when needed.

On our first trip out with the 'new' purchase we again experienced the joy of an awning made of quality materials that was spacious and neat looking.

For those who prefer the air variety of awning I will repeat my advice - NEVER leave home without spare tubes/bladders because you will, at some point, experience a leak. We had a leak at one of the 'heat sealed' seams that was impossible to patch and then the new replacement tube had a leak as well.

Also, if contemplating an air awning, ask to see the actual tube/bladder that is inflated and you may be surprised to learn that they are often  made of the same material as that of a cheap blow up li-lo!!!!

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The bladders on my Ventura can only be replaced by Ventura and warranty is void if the tags are removed

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OK. So you are in the middle of France and one your beams collapses and it starts to rain?

Ventura are not going to come to your rescue until you get back to the UK.  

If a pole fails a lot can be done with a broom handle and gaffa tape.  

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10 hours ago, The road toad said:

OK. So you are in the middle of France and one your beams collapses and it starts to rain?

Ventura are not going to come to your rescue until you get back to the UK.  

If a pole fails a lot can be done with a broom handle and gaffa tape.

Exactly why I've gone back to poles, picked up a virtually new Ventura Marlin for £130 in the summer. Haven't tested it yet but having the full size Ventura I'm sure it will be fine.  

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