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Air awning catastrophe


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I have owned a Kampa Frontier 300 air awning for just over two years now.  I must say that although it isn’t the easiest of awnings to attach to the rail, on account of its size and weight, once inflated it is superb.

However, Kampa recommend to inflate the air tubes to 9.2psi.  I have always been concerned how solid the tubes become at this pressure and as the temperature increases in direct sunlight they become even more solid.  For this reason I have only ever inflated the awning to 6psi and have always left a vent open to allow the fresh air into the awning as it can become like a greenhouse on sunny days.

A couple of days ago we decided to have a day away from the site where we were staying.  As time went by the daytime temperature increased to around 27 degrees.  Upon our return to the site I was shocked to see that the awning had deflated.   Upon examination it became apparent that the central main tube had exploded.  The bladder and it’s sleeve had 12” tears in them and the explosion was so strong that the awning roof was torn.  I have to admit that on this occasion I had failed to leave a vent open

I contacted Kampa expressed my concern that the tube had failed at much lower pressure than there recommended 9.2psi.  I was told that the 9.2 was a guideline only and account should be taken of prevailing conditions.  I  was told that the bladders and sleeves carried a 2 year warranty and as my awning was just out of warranty I would have to pay, although they did give me a 25% discount to help towards the cost of the awning roof being repaired.

So, my advise is to under inflate the awning well below the recommended 9.2psi always leave a vent open to allow hot air to escape as the temperature increases.

 

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Or use a poled awning and not worry about temperatures, pressure and venting. 

:rolleyes:

Graham

Unless otherwise stated all posts are my personal opinion 

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I wonder why they don't fit a relief valve in them. I appreciate this would require topping up after a very hot day, but surely better than damage.  The response from Kampa isn't very good, eh? Are all air awnings at risk?

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I remember a few years ago on a very hot sea shore kayaking there was an enormous bang as an  inflatable kayak did the same .  Exploded.

 

a few seconds later the shore was full of hissing sounds as everyone scrambled to release air from their kayaks.

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On 18/07/2021 at 14:44, Ern said:

I wonder why they don't fit a relief valve in them. I appreciate this would require topping up after a very hot day, but surely better than damage.  The response from Kampa isn't very good, eh? Are all air awnings at risk?

Outdoor Revolution do I believe.

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53 minutes ago, ascsbe said:

Outdoor Revolution do I believe.

Correct. And their inflation pressure is only 4psi.

 

Edited by Flying Grandad
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On 18/07/2021 at 14:37, WispMan said:

Or use a poled awning and not worry about temperatures, pressure and venting. 

:rolleyes:

😂 We have an older Kampa Rally with those unfashionable metal poles. Quite glad after reading this. 

 

I would keep prodding Kampa. It may be worth sharing your bad experience on social media, with relevant magazines etc. 😉

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We had a similar experience in June. Seems the inner sleeves are prone to failing as, after the bladder had exploded, I found three further rents in the inner sleeves each around three feet long. Suggest you check all the sleeves by unzipping the outer casings. I moaned at Kampa and as a goodwill gesture got the bladder and all three main sleeves sent foc. Our awning canvas is currently being repaired at Trio Pair in Pontefract as the free bits from Kampa made it economically viable.

On 18/07/2021 at 13:56, Paul Hancock said:

So, my advise is to under inflate the awning well below the recommended 9.2psi always leave a vent open to allow hot air to escape as the temperature increases.

 

 

I would say the problem is solar gain on the outer canvas as much as the "greenhouse" effect inside the awning as our failure happened with the awning in full sun but with panels unzipped. Underinflate, as you say, but regularly check  the condition of the inner sleeves. Easier to replace/repair those than deal with a failed bladder.

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On 18/07/2021 at 14:37, WispMan said:

Or use a poled awning and not worry about temperatures, pressure and venting. 

:rolleyes:

And it will last longer, won't cover windows and give you more space per £

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6 minutes ago, The road toad said:

And it will last longer, won't cover windows and give you more space per £

Won't cover windows... What do you mean? 

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5 hours ago, swirly182 said:

Won't cover windows... What do you mean? 

I think that comment was referring to a full size poled awning as opposed to the OP who has a 300 (wide) porch awning which might cover windows ......depending on caravan layout :-)

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we also have the outdoor rev. and was told by the dealer not to  pump it up to the max. especially in the hot ewather even though it has the relief valves fitted.  We have returned from a trip  and seeing the weather was about to improve we didn't  take the awning, but if we had  I very much doubt that we would have used it

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Apart from the lack of relief valves (a very bad design omission though possibly unjustified due to the material used) the Kampa tubes are also made from a cheaper & much less repairable material than Outdoor revolution.  The O.R. is a material similar to plastic windows (& is easily repairable with such). The K. is of a material similar to a washing-up bowl, & as such is very difficult to repair  as it requires heat-welding, this also means it is less flexible & therefore more susceptible to bursting.

In my several years using O.R. I have NEVER felt the need to reduce the pressure or even take notice of any temperature changes. I have, however, made repairs due to objects piercing a tube so do know how easy it is to repair them.

Personally I wouldn't even consider Kampa. 'You get what you pay for' as the saying goes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Put my air awning up the other week, three days at 32 degs. Inflated till beams felt firm.  0 psig on the gauge, no probs. Could be the gauge is knackered,  just like me!

 

Mine is a Kampa awning also. 

Edited by Tangle Foot
Missed a relevant point
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a kampa air awning on the site we are at decided the pressure was too much and exploded. the couple just left it collapsed in the rail for the weekend.

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fwiw ....

Have never been an Air awning fan.

Friend briefly owned one but decided after two trips was just too heavy to get onto the awning rail he said so returned to poles.

Have seen numerous overnight sags & collapses, one take off and flip over the van (well pegged down but bending and twisting in winds - no storm strap capability).

Recently heard and saw on pitch across, on a very hot day, a blow out and half total collapse.

Will stick with my carbon poled 9 seasons old Isabella Magnum which just carries on in all weathers, heat & storms.

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9 minutes ago, montesa said:

Will stick with my carbon poled 9 seasons old Isabella Magnum

+1

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Two of these blow up awning have exploded in adjacent units in the  last two years. Poles for me.

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1 hour ago, montesa said:

 

Will stick with my carbon poled 9 seasons old Isabella Magnum which just carries on in all weathers, heat & storms.

Only 9 seasons? Mine's done 12 and still looks almost new 

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13 minutes ago, mimo said:

Only 9 seasons? Mine's done 12 and still looks almost new 

 

Well, this year makes ours in its 20th season, though we could not claim it looks "almost new" but, still great for its age and nothing but amazing for the times it has been put up and taken down, something around 300 times.

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On 18/07/2021 at 14:37, WispMan said:

Or use a poled awning and not worry about temperatures, pressure and venting. 

:rolleyes:

:goodpost:     As will I !    The senior navigation officer recently made noises about air awnings , easier to erect etc. 

Research led me to the conclusion that there was no advantage to them. They seem just as heavy as a 'conventinal ' poled awning and still need  pegging !   Will they prove to be just another fashion fad?   I too will stick with my Isabella.

Edited by Graham over 70
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We had no problems with our Outdoor Revolution air awning in the hot spell a couple of weeks ago when we were in St Ives. I think  only inflated it to 5psi knowing it was going to get hot but also confident that we had a pressure relief valve. Our daughter was elsewhere on the site and had no problems with her Kampa but she may have had some shade from a tree. 

Combining the laws of Charles, Boyle and Gay-Lussac gives the combined gas law i.e.  P1V1/T1 = P2V2/T2. The temperatures have to be in Kelvin ref absolute zero, so we can do the math as the Americans say. If we assume that the volume of the tubes is constant (not quite true as they will expand slightly as the pressure increases) and we inflated to 6 psi at 20C (293 K) then at 30C (303K) the pressure will be 6.2 psi (6.4 psi at 40 C) so not a massive effect.

For years we had a poled Dorema awning and I swear I caught Tourettes from it. I agree that the air awnings are heavy and difficult to get in the rail but once you have done that they are apiece of cake. My daughter gave me a tip and that was to thread the awning trough the lower gap in the rail rather than lifting it to the top one. It helps it slide if you spray furniture polish in the rail first.

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Don't have a problem any more putting up air awning .Purchased Kampa  Easy Awning Pully system check it out on you Tube used it several times last month or so .Fantastic bit of kit .most caravan shops sell them or Amazon highly recommend

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We have a Carbon poled Isabella Magnum awning and it's an awesome piece of kit. But... It takes a while to put up and take down and we now only consider it for stays of 2 weeks plus.

 

For shorter trips we have a Kampa Leggera air awning and whilst it's not of the same quality, we have it erected and pegged out in 15 minutes.

 

That's means we can pack up (we just toss it in the car), drive 6 hours and build at the other end in one day. Simply not possible with a poled awning.

 

Regards quality, it's lightweight but  has served us well for 1 year now and we can buy 4 for the price of our Isabella Magnum.

 

Seriously considering the Isabella air awning as another option.

 

Despite my long-standing scepticism about air awnings, am now a total convert...

 

Edited by Readingblue
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10 hours ago, Readingblue said:

We have a Carbon poled Isabella Magnum awning and it's an awesome piece of kit. But... It takes a while to put up and take down and we now only consider it for stays of 2 weeks plus.

 

For shorter trips we have a Kampa Leggera air awning and whilst it's not of the same quality, we have it erected and pegged out in 15 minutes.

 

That's means we can pack up (we just toss it in the car), drive 6 hours and build at the other end in one day. Simply not possible with a poled awning.

 

Regards quality, it's lightweight but  has served us well for 1 year now and we can buy 4 for the price of our Isabella Magnum.

 

Seriously considering the Isabella air awning as another option.

 

Despite my long-standing scepticism about air awnings, am now a total convert...

 

 

That sums up my experience/opinion as well, though I never reached the dizzy heights of owning anything made by Isabella and we only have the single (Sunncamp 390) air. 

 

I am of the opinion that poled and air awning opinion is a bit like the manual versus automatic transmission situation.

 

Everyone thinks manual is better for towing until they buy an automatic. I have yet to come across anyone who has owned a manual, bought an auto and then, purely out of choice, reverted back to manual. Must tell you something eh?

 

I wonder how long before someone comes along and says

 

“Well I reverted back to a manual because......” 

 

 

11 hours ago, Trucker60 said:

Don't have a problem any more putting up air awning .Purchased Kampa  Easy Awning Pully system check it out on you Tube used it several times last month or so .Fantastic bit of kit .most caravan shops sell them or Amazon highly recommend

 

Just as a word of caution I think it’s only Kampa who put a reinforced eye in their awnings to facilitate the use of their pulley system ! So check first before investing.

 

Edited by Mr Plodd

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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