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Air Awnings

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I would like share my experience with air Awnings yes I know they are Marmite, I have had a Bradcot Aspirgeair2 now for a year, it's been used almost full time so it's had a good test, it was used in throughout the winter in all weathers, it's now been up for 3 months in Portugal with temperatures of up to 41c! And high winds. One thing I have found out is a air awning doesn't need anchoring down if your life depends on it, if you anchor down to tight the poles may buckle I have found it's a lot quieter in high winds. I came out this morning and for the first time it needed air a five minutes job.

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I like air awnings and Marmite.  My experience has been all positive.

nanamel

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Yes, I think ours is superb too

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Having seen my buddy often struggling with his, I wouldn't touch one with a barge pole.

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56 minutes ago, MalH said:

Having seen my buddy often struggling with his, I wouldn't touch one with a barge pole.

You don't need a barge pole to erect one  :)

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51 minutes ago, Les Medes said:

You don't need a barge pole to erect one  :)

No but a dog lead helps. 

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As a lifelong ‘Isabella’ fan I will be interested in their new Air Awning.  it is being revealed on the continent in a few days time will no doubt be at the NEC.  Helping friends with their various makes of Air awnings I choose to stick with my Magnum thank you, but we all have our choices.  Using the Magnum as a modular unit we have

1. An annex for storage

2. A sun canopy that fits on it or straight onto the van as needed

3. A cozy corner for SWMBO to shelter in

 

Some purchased new. Some eBay.  All will take years of use and still sell for a good price, such is the quality.  Whatever you buy, buy quality it will bring a smile long after you have forgotten the cost. 

 

We’ve just purchased two Air beam shelters for my archery club and so far they are far better than the heavy ‘gazebo ‘ type we have just binned. 

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Another happy air owner (Sunncamp Extreme Air 390)

http://www.sunncamp.co.uk/products/show/1735

Listed below are my thoughts, others will disagree with some/all of them. That’s their choice but they are MY views garnered after practical experience of both types.

 

First off it has been 100% watertight since it came out of the box and it has been subjected to some horrendous downpours (the same as most poled awnings.)

It is certainly not so easy as a non air to feed through the awning rail as a poled awning.

Having said that me and the missus (65 &63 respectively) have a “system” worked out to both erect and take it down, she feeds it into the rail and I pull it, it’s no real drama but I do ensure the awning rail is clean AND lubricated with silicone spray regularly

I use a 12v, not manual pump to inflate it, it takes 4 minutes.

It is MUCH quicker to peg out than a poled awning. That’s due to a combination of not having to tension all of the various solid poles several times to get everything “tight and right” before pegging a poled one down. An air awning, when inflated, always assumes the same shape and profile so all that is required is to peg it down.

They have less pegging points that poled awnings.

I have never yet found the need to use any of the (supplied not extra purchase) storm straps as mine is very rigid when pumped up to the recommended 7psi.

Its easy to take down. Remove pegs, remove inflation valve, slide out of awning rail, lay out, fold and roll up. No myriad of (heavy total) poles to remove, dismantle, and fit into bag. 

Because it’s a lot easier to put up and take down its practical to erect it for just a few nights stay

My awning weighs in at just under 30kg all in, with my last poled awning the poles alone weighed 25kg

 

So to sum up, for us, having had experience of both types an air awning is our much preferred option. If I was on a seasonal pitch we might feel differently, but for touring and staying for up to two weeks at one location, it works just fine.

 

On our last trip it was very noticeable that, on the site we were on, the majority of awnings were if the air variety.

 

As I said earlier there WILL be others who hold a diametrically opposite opinion, I would not dream of saying they are wrong, I have just detailed my experiences so others can benefit from them.

 

Andy

Edited by Mr Plodd
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I say 'Coastline' old chap, you do realise that your post will cause an all out war between the 'poles' and the 'air' factions, don't you?

 

I'm off to the bunker now...:o

 

BH

 

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24 minutes ago, Alan Stanley said:

 

 

We’ve just purchased two Air beam shelters for my archery club and so far they are far better than the heavy ‘gazebo ‘ type we have just binned. 

Sir, you might need to be careful with them there sharp arrows around an air awning😂😂

 

another fan for air awnings, specially now with my new12v pump👍

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5 hours ago, Blackhart said:

I say 'Coastline' old chap, you do realise that your post will cause an all out war between the 'poles' and the 'air' factions, don't you?

 

I'm off to the bunker now...:o

 

BH

 

I certainly know that, looking at the the 5 other caravans here in Portugal who have all-season pole awnings they look smart stay up and do not fade.

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Well as a relative newcomers to caravanning  (4yrs) we have only ever had an air awning we have a small one for  short weekend trips and a full size for longer trips, both are Vango and I see no viable reason to switch to poled versions, both are a cinch to erect/take down, and can't fault the quality of either of them.

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Looked at a few air awnings at an accessory shop, eventually decided there was probably little difference in time/effort so sticking with Isabella but like Alan S will be interested to see Isabella offering.

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As one who strayed into Air Awning ownership ( Kampa Fiesta Air Pro) then quickly realised my error and returned to Isabella (Magnum and Capri) I’m firmly in the poled awnings camp but I too will be interested to see the new range of Isabella Air. If they can make one that looks as good as my Capri when it’s up with none of the drawbacks like reduced headroom, myriad guy ropes, condensation and the inability to remain erect in strong winds I’d be interested. 

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I'm with Tuningdrew......

Tried the air variety and after 2 punctures we are back with Isabella.

The air tubes may appear strong but they are made up of an thick outer tube containing the inflated tube which is made of thin plastic/vinyl the same as a blow up lilo and we all know how long they last!

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16 minutes ago, Tuningdrew said:

As one who strayed into Air Awning ownership ( Kampa Fiesta Air Pro) then quickly realised my error and returned to Isabella (Magnum and Capri) I’m firmly in the poled awnings camp but I too will be interested to see the new range of Isabella Air. If they can make one that looks as good as my Capri when it’s up with none of the drawbacks like reduced headroom, myriad guy ropes, condensation and the inability to remain erect in strong winds I’d be interested. 

 

Kampa air pro owner now on season three.

Easy to slide on rail for disabled me-I use rail brush to clean rail then silicone spray.

Given up bothering about the guy ropes.

We put ours up for 1 or 2 weeks at a time.

I use the caravan step to thread the awning into the rail then pull it along from ground level.

Note our 2017 Swift Conqueror has a join at the rail that makes awnings even more difficult to thread than normal.

Windows and front then fitted and hand pump used to inflate.

Peg out the main arch two pegs carefully making sure the arch is symmetrical -failure to do this has resulted in the door hitting the awning roof.

Then peg out as usual.

On remaining erect!

The great thing about air is the ability to drop the awning even in a gale-unlike poled.

And no poles potentially threshing around on erection and dismantle.

And no creaking groaning rocking and rolling in gusty conditions.

We will not be returning to poled awnings.

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I'm reading this with interest, I have an air tent which I love for simpleness. I have recently bought a new caravan and I am not yet sure whether my poled awnings (porch and full) fit my new van. I have been debating an air awning, I can see the pro's and con's, your comments are really helpful, thanks.

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1 hour ago, Tuningdrew said:

 If they can make one that looks as good as my Capri when it’s up with none of the drawbacks like reduced headroom, myriad guy ropes, condensation and the inability to remain erect in strong winds I’d be interested. 

 

I have a Sunncamp Air.

It doesn’t suffer from lack of headroom due to curved tubes like the early ones all did.The roof beams are pretty much straight and the end ones pretty much (but not fully) vertical, the headroom is more than adequate for me at 5’10”

I don’t use ANY guy ropes and have had no problems.

Condensation has nothing to do with the method of support, in fact I had much MORE when I had a Kampa poled. No idea why! 

I haven’t subjected mine to REALLY strong winds yet, but moderate wind has no effect, even when no guy ropes are in use. The air beams are VERY rigid when inflated correctly, and they don’t

a) need tensioning everywhere &

b) don’t dent the side of the caravan (see another post) 

 

 

To be fair though I DONT have a “full sized”  (size 17) air awning, it’s 3.90m 

 

Each to his own of course! Having had practical experience of both I prefer air, others prefer poled (but I don’t have 25+kg of poles to lug around) 

 

Andy

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11 hours ago, Mr Plodd said:

 

I have a Sunncamp Air.

It doesn’t suffer from lack of headroom due to curved tubes like the early ones all did.The roof beams are pretty much straight and the end ones pretty much (but not fully) vertical, the headroom is more than adequate for me at 5’10”

I don’t use ANY guy ropes and have had no problems.

Condensation has nothing to do with the method of support, in fact I had much MORE when I had a Kampa poled. No idea why! 

I haven’t subjected mine to REALLY strong winds yet, but moderate wind has no effect, even when no guy ropes are in use. The air beams are VERY rigid when inflated correctly, and they don’t

a) need tensioning everywhere &

b) don’t dent the side of the caravan (see another post) 

 

 

To be fair though I DONT have a “full sized”  (size 17) air awning, it’s 3.90m 

 

Each to his own of course! Having had practical experience of both I prefer air, others prefer poled (but I don’t have 25+kg of poles to lug around) 

 

Andy

Agree entirely.

We are now on numbers 2 and 3, number one died of overexposure to sunlight, just like any awning made of lightweight fabric.

Number 2 is a full awning, Dorema Daytona Air size 16 with annex for full holidays and number 3 is a Sunncamp porch for shorter breaks.

 

I have used them in high winds and they tend to harmlessly collapse and spring back under conditions which cause conventional awnings to break or bend poles and damage the van.

 

My only question is why so many people buy Kampa with their reputation for leaks, and condensation, not to mention the lack of headroom in those I have seen.

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My comments are based purely on my experiences with our Kampa awning. If you like yours then great. Makes me smile when I read comments of poled awnings thrashing about, creaking and rattling. Put it up properly and you suffer from none of these issues. The experience of our Kampa collapsing and springing back during strong winds led to considerable damage to our furniture and some appliances as they were sent flying. The only time I’ve had sidewall damage. 

The debate rages on. There’s no right or wrong, just freedom of choice. 

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On 19/08/2019 at 09:03, Jacko1 said:

Sir, you might need to be careful with them there sharp arrows around an air awning😂😂

 

You could well be right, if you have seen some club members shooting standards.:D:D

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On 19/08/2019 at 06:38, MalH said:

Having seen my buddy often struggling with his, I wouldn't touch one with a barge pole.

I have an air awning there are two tubes that just will not stay inflated,

I contacted the retailer and they supplied me with new tubes, they still keep deflating, I cant even sell the awning as I would not like to pass on to a fellow caravaner.

 

If you have an air awning and do happen to puncture a tube then a roll of this would cure the leak until a new tube was obtained. 

https://www.noveone.co.uk/products/waterproof-rubber-adhesive-repair-tape?variant=29749843820619  

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Hi

A lot of the issues with deflating bladders seem to be where the bladder is cut and then heat sealed at the ends ,as mentioned a little hole in the bladder is reasonably easy to remedy short term however when the leak is at the end where the item has been heat sealed it is nigh on impossible to stop the leak of air ,when they solve the leaking at this point there will be a lot less problems

Steve

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Newly back to caravaning, this time round we bought a kampa Rally 260 I believe it is.. never put one up before, and it took my missus and I 40 mins from start to finish, majority of that was pegging it out. We love it, only had the manual pump and it took 5 mins or so.. So with a bit of practice and familiarity that time will come down no doubt.

 

Had very strong winds and rain at the weekend up in dumfries and it was fine. 

 

Only mistake i made was closing the valves before inflating properly, which was my fault as I refused to read the instructions :) Once I realised (once missus pointed out my mistake I should say) and rectified, it was great.

 

Never lost pressure at all, so we will be sticking with air i think.

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On site a few weeks ago, an almighty bang just after 9.00am, sounded like a bomb going off.

In fact it was the air awning on a van behind us where a bladder burst and ripped the awning all the way up the line of the bladder.

Owner insisted he hadn't over inflated it.

He gathered it up, in the bin and off to the nearest dealer for a poled awning.

He bought a Dorema (said Isabella were to expensive).

Another reason to stick with my two Isabella awnings.

 

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