Buy all your VW California Accessories at the Club Shop Visit Shop

Which Drive Away Awnings with this requirements list...?

M

Meerkat1234

VIP Member
Messages
82
Location
Cheshire
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
Hello,
We've reached the point where we would like extra outside space, shelter, somewhere for us both to work, and another sleeping option (so proper tent and not 'social tent'). Here's what we're looking for, for the two of us - which awning would you recommend to attach to our Cali?

- airbeam : we have a huge Vango airbeam tent which is brilliant; we only specify that here for this need because we think airbeams are probably faster and easier to erect. If there's a pole solution for our requirements that is as fast and easy, we'd like to hear about them.
- quick to put up (<10 mins)
- bigger than a Vango Kela, smaller and lighter than a Galli III
- weighs less than 25kg and packs down small
- allows for circulation of air
- we (2 people) could sleep in it if we wanted.
- lots of window space and light
- easy to take down and dry
- (optional) has additional storage area to keep stuff in all the time (not including the tunnel space which would disappear when we drive off)

We love Dutch tent designs, but they don't seem to have many windows in their awnings. Would be interested to hear recommendations from the UK and around the world that could be shipped here.

Thanks!
 
K

Kernowboy

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
631
Location
Cornwall
Vehicle
T6.1 Ocean 204 4 motion
Khyam Motordome worth a look. Meets all the criteria above.
 
Nick.C

Nick.C

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
399
Location
Kent
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
Hello,
We've reached the point where we would like extra outside space, shelter, somewhere for us both to work, and another sleeping option (so proper tent and not 'social tent'). Here's what we're looking for, for the two of us - which awning would you recommend to attach to our Cali?

- airbeam : we have a huge Vango airbeam tent which is brilliant; we only specify that here for this need because we think airbeams are probably faster and easier to erect. If there's a pole solution for our requirements that is as fast and easy, we'd like to hear about them.
- quick to put up (<10 mins)
- bigger than a Vango Kela, smaller and lighter than a Galli III
- weighs less than 25kg and packs down small
- allows for circulation of air
- we (2 people) could sleep in it if we wanted.
- lots of window space and light
- easy to take down and dry
- (optional) has additional storage area to keep stuff in all the time (not including the tunnel space which would disappear when we drive off)

We love Dutch tent designs, but they don't seem to have many windows in their awnings. Would be interested to hear recommendations from the UK and around the world that could be shipped here.

Thanks!
We have got the Kampa Cross Air which fits most of your criteria although I have yet to find any awning that can be fully put up in 10 mins.
 
Amarillo

Amarillo

Tom
Super Poster
VIP Member
Messages
9,235
Location
Royal Borough of Greenwich
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
Hello,
We've reached the point where we would like extra outside space, shelter, somewhere for us both to work, and another sleeping option (so proper tent and not 'social tent'). Here's what we're looking for, for the two of us - which awning would you recommend to attach to our Cali?

- airbeam : we have a huge Vango airbeam tent which is brilliant; we only specify that here for this need because we think airbeams are probably faster and easier to erect. If there's a pole solution for our requirements that is as fast and easy, we'd like to hear about them.
- quick to put up (- bigger than a Vango Kela, smaller and lighter than a Galli III
- weighs less than 25kg and packs down small
- allows for circulation of air
- we (2 people) could sleep in it if we wanted.
- lots of window space and light
- easy to take down and dry
- (optional) has additional storage area to keep stuff in all the time (not including the tunnel space which would disappear when we drive off)

We love Dutch tent designs, but they don't seem to have many windows in their awnings. Would be interested to hear recommendations from the UK and around the world that could be shipped here.

Thanks!

We moved from a Kela to a Hexaway and love it. It fills most of your criteria except, possibly, the sleeping in it. It is certainly big enough (10 sq m), but the ground sheet is not sewn in.
 
M

Meerkat1234

VIP Member
Messages
82
Location
Cheshire
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
Thanks for your replies, that's helpful.

Can I ask what were your considerations and reasons for choosing the options you did, over all the alternatives? Did you find the Kela too small Amarillo, is that the reason you moved to the Hexaway? I think another manufacturer does a Hex type awning which you can sleep in.
 
Nick.C

Nick.C

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
399
Location
Kent
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
Thanks for your replies, that's helpful.

Can I ask what were your considerations and reasons for choosing the options you did, over all the alternatives? Did you find the Kela too small Amarillo, is that the reason you moved to the Hexaway? I think another manufacturer does a Hex type awning which you can sleep in.
Hi, we chose the Kampa Cross Air because of the large windows, it was a good size for us and packed away it fits under the rear parcel shelf. The connecting tunnel also seems to have been designed with the Cali in mind and I particularly like the way it closes off the gaps at the side of the tunnel where it meets the van. There is an option to add a bedroom annex if you want to sleep in the awning. The clip in ground sheet may also be a benefit particularly when travelling abroad as I understand some sites do not allow sewn in ground sheets. Hope this helps, but there are lots of different awnings and everyone will have a view on what works best for them.
 
Kayleigh

Kayleigh

VIP Member
Messages
255
Location
London
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
We’ve been using a Coleman FastPitch gazebo for the past year, and while it adds a lot of space and is quick to put up, it can be a bit draughty and noisy in the wind, and obviously does not connect to the van.
I have narrowed down our replacement to the Hexaway or the Cross Air, and am leaning more towards the Cross Air. I would say that not having a sewn in ground sheet is a plus for both so that you can use a breathable groundsheet if you want. The Cross Air uses two separate air beams, whereas on the Hexaway they are all interconnected, so if you pop one beam you lose the whole lot. That’s what I understand so correct me if I’m wrong :)
 
Amarillo

Amarillo

Tom
Super Poster
VIP Member
Messages
9,235
Location
Royal Borough of Greenwich
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
Thanks for your replies, that's helpful.

Can I ask what were your considerations and reasons for choosing the options you did, over all the alternatives? Did you find the Kela too small Amarillo, is that the reason you moved to the Hexaway? I think another manufacturer does a Hex type awning which you can sleep in.

We bought our Kela 2nd hand but nearly new. We then spent a year travelling around Europe: 2 adults, 2 toddlers, 2 dogs, and our Kela was pitched for about 300 nights in all weathers. After the year away we kept it a further year, but felt it had come towards the end of its life. As the toddlers grew into boys we needed more dining space; the sloping sides of the Kela can be a bit restrictive. We advertised the Kela on here for free, but in return for an unspecified donation to a charity of the new owners’ choice.

We chose the Hexaway for its size, light bright feel, its height and its exceptional good looks.

It pumps up all in one from a choice of three points, and takes ages. I think a 12v electric pump would be a good idea, but haven’t tried one out.

Extracting the air when packing away is necessary if you want it to pack in the bag, and is a bit of a faff, but not a deal breaker.

10 mins to put up (once used to it) and 10 mins to pack away is probably right.

6027c3866fe75467e71fe2aff7737cc2.jpg


Hexaway at night.

caa157d14bf3ea293c720ad64d202169.jpg


And in daylight.

Note how the sides are close to vertical.
 
I

icic

VIP Member
Messages
537
Location
UK
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
The Vango tolga, goes up very quick, it’s very airy as the top half is white. Which also keeps it cooler in sun

What is also good is that most tunnel areas next to the van are only 90cm not enough to do anything with, on the tolga is 135cm which is big enough to cook in bad weather, so effectively gives you an another room, van, kitchen and living area, in addition these extra large doors at both sides of the tunnel opens up in good weather allowing a big area to get a large airflow through. So it’s cool. We have a had a few awnings and this is the best one

View attachment 85274
 
Last edited:
Wogga

Wogga

VIP Member
Messages
531
Location
Lancashire
Vehicle
T6.1 Ocean 150
Outdoor Revolution Cayman Air Low, opens to the front and rear, 3m x 3m floorplan and optional zip in bedroom tent.IMG_4461.jpeg
 
M

Meerkat1234

VIP Member
Messages
82
Location
Cheshire
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
This is excellent, thanks. I'm looking at all those mentioned above.

I think our time without any awning tent has left us a bit unaware of pitches and what is allowed, as we just usually drive in, pop the top up, and we're camped.

Nick.C - you mention that some sites don't allow sewn in groundsheets, can anyone tell us more about that? I had no idea! Is a sewn-in groundsheet an absolute must if we may want to sleep in it? (sorry, no idea why this is semi-bold!)


And does it really matter if it's a side-on awning where you can leave and depart from the side, or do you have to park round the back in some of them, which would mean the van could be trapped/very restricted in ease of movement. Does it really matter where the biggest doorflap opens - some of those above would seem to be facing the next pitch, rather than the site or the hedge and treeline. Does that make a difference?

And how do you really use the tunnel? icic - you mentioned how you use the tunnel. Do you find moving things in and out of it when you leave a hassle?

Also Amarillo - I see you attach your Hex to the windout awning, and not direct to the van. Why's that? Just more space or some other reason?

I am trying to avoid filling up the new space with boxes from the van and would like to keep it nicely organised. What sort of organising storage equipment do you have in yours? Some of these pics have some great looking shelving units and I'm wondering how on earth you fit all that in the van!
 
I

icic

VIP Member
Messages
537
Location
UK
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
This is excellent, thanks. I'm looking at all those mentioned above.

I think our time without any awning tent has left us a bit unaware of pitches and what is allowed, as we just usually drive in, pop the top up, and we're camped.

Nick.C - you mention that some sites don't allow sewn in groundsheets, can anyone tell us more about that? I had no idea! Is a sewn-in groundsheet an absolute must if we may want to sleep in it? (sorry, no idea why this is semi-bold!)


And does it really matter if it's a side-on awning where you can leave and depart from the side, or do you have to park round the back in some of them, which would mean the van could be trapped/very restricted in ease of movement. Does it really matter where the biggest doorflap opens - some of those above would seem to be facing the next pitch, rather than the site or the hedge and treeline. Does that make a difference?

And how do you really use the tunnel? icic - you mentioned how you use the tunnel. Do you find moving things in and out of it when you leave a hassle?

Also Amarillo - I see you attach your Hex to the windout awning, and not direct to the van. Why's that? Just more space or some other reason?

I am trying to avoid filling up the new space with boxes from the van and would like to keep it nicely organised. What sort of organising storage equipment do you have in yours? Some of these pics have some great looking shelving units and I'm wondering how on earth you fit all that in the van!


We have a small fold out table that has the burners on, and a euro box with a lid is the dry food etc that sits under it. So when driving off for the day, it’s just a case of unzipping the tent inner divider and lifting the table with burner and box into the tent and zippping up again, takes a few seconds. Also as you can see in the image the tent door has double zips so you can open the top part of the door to let steam out without having to open the whole door. In good weather open both doors either side of the tunnel and you are cooking al fresco.

Just one other thing lots of the kampa awnings only have one door in the tunnel, this was a deal breaker for me, wanted access from both sides, plus the air movement is much greater, allows to take wind direction into account and keep cooler

The table is a kampa medium bamboo table 80x60We half fold it (it folds in half then again, but we only fold it once) leaving it at a pack up size of 4.5cm high by 80x30, and it goes on top of the euro crates that sit on the Cali pull out drawer. As you can see there is still lots of space around the table in the tunnel

I would also recommend the vango footprint that’s an extra, keeps the base clean and helps with pitching, the sewn in ground sheet in the tent is 135 from the van wheels so I quickly measure 135 and put the footprint down, then open the tent onto it and then attach it to the van, always spot on that way and makes pitching quick. In addition the vango footprints come with an extra grey footprint just for the tunnel area, don’t think any other make do this extra fitted tunnel section, I know kampa does not as we have had kampa awning footprints they only come with one for the main area

3738E335-F565-41A4-A534-FAB9D9CCE3BA.jpeg

27D8C4AB-5B22-4EDE-A880-5027500B5B41.jpeg

C59FBC1D-E2CE-462E-8AAB-CD8DFF408CC4.jpeg

D1B32412-7B8C-4A15-BF52-1A8B222A5C0E.jpeg

4712ABF2-6675-4DE8-95EE-9FEF1FE55D9C.jpeg

760E5634-1778-4A71-9599-253126130D49.jpeg

81C91ECE-9722-4445-B1C0-8D31D6B6D7C8.jpeg
 
Last edited:
Amarillo

Amarillo

Tom
Super Poster
VIP Member
Messages
9,235
Location
Royal Borough of Greenwich
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
Also Amarillo - I see you attach your Hex to the windout awning, and not direct to the van. Why's that? Just more space or some other reason?

It’s just to give us more space. Sometimes we peg out a tarp draped over the canopy support arm. Other times we put up the awning against the van.

I have never come across a site that do not allow groundsheets, but if we did we could just detach the Hexaway groundsheet. I expect sites that have the no groundsheet rule have it to prevent ugly rectangles of yellow grass.
 
Kayleigh

Kayleigh

VIP Member
Messages
255
Location
London
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
you mention that some sites don't allow sewn in groundsheets, can anyone tell us more about that? I had no idea! Is a sewn-in groundsheet an absolute must if we may want to sleep in it? (sorry, no idea why this is semi-bold!)

And how do you really use the tunnel?you mentioned how you use the tunnel. Do you find moving things in and out of it when you leave a hassle?

Also - I see you attach your Hex to the windout awning, and not direct to the van. Why's that? Just more space or some other reason?

I am trying to avoid filling up the new space with boxes from the van and would like to keep it nicely organised. What sort of organising storage equipment do you have in yours? Some of these pics have some great looking shelving units and I'm wondering how on earth you fit all that in the van!
Sewn in ground sheets - a lot of caravan awnings use breathable ground sheets especially when they are on a site for extended periods as it would kill the grass. I think it is a better option than sewn in.

Tunnels - connecting them up can be a little bit of hassle if you are frequently going off site. Personally I wouldn’t use the tunnel for storage or cooking as when you go off site all your stuff is left outside or you have to move it. Connecting the awning to the tunnel or butting it up directly to the gazebo/tent is good if the weather is hot as it provides extra shade and airflow.

shelving units - we have one for cooking, pots & pans etc, and another for dry food if going away for more than a couple of nights. They help keep things organised and the dog out! Ultimately, the answer is not to take unnecessary stuff with you if you want to keep it all looking tidy :)
 
Nick.C

Nick.C

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
399
Location
Kent
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
This is excellent, thanks. I'm looking at all those mentioned above.

I think our time without any awning tent has left us a bit unaware of pitches and what is allowed, as we just usually drive in, pop the top up, and we're camped.

Nick.C - you mention that some sites don't allow sewn in groundsheets, can anyone tell us more about that? I had no idea! Is a sewn-in groundsheet an absolute must if we may want to sleep in it? (sorry, no idea why this is semi-bold!)


And does it really matter if it's a side-on awning where you can leave and depart from the side, or do you have to park round the back in some of them, which would mean the van could be trapped/very restricted in ease of movement. Does it really matter where the biggest doorflap opens - some of those above would seem to be facing the next pitch, rather than the site or the hedge and treeline. Does that make a difference?

And how do you really use the tunnel? icic - you mentioned how you use the tunnel. Do you find moving things in and out of it when you leave a hassle?

Also Amarillo - I see you attach your Hex to the windout awning, and not direct to the van. Why's that? Just more space or some other reason?

I am trying to avoid filling up the new space with boxes from the van and would like to keep it nicely organised. What sort of organising storage equipment do you have in yours? Some of these pics have some great looking shelving units and I'm wondering how on earth you fit all that in the van!
I believe the no sewn in ground sheet is more likely to be a thing when travelling abroad and detachable at least allows for this eventuality. Having said that we also have a larger Kyham awning which we tend to use for longer stays and that has a sewn in ground sheet.
The Kampa Cross Air does only have a door at one end of the tunnel, which I thought might be an issue when we brought it, but really isn’t and actually creates a more useable storage space allowing you to declutter the awning when you want to sit in it.
We do connect to the roll out awning as we find this is easier for connecting/keeping the roof of the tunnel taught and when disconnecting.
We did have a smaller outdoor revolution awning, but found the lack of Velcro between the openings and ground sheet vulnerable to allowing water in. Also there was not enough windows in the one we had for my liking and we felt we needed a little more room than the 2.7m x 2.7m.
Cooking wise we use a Cadac Chef 2 pro, which has most of the cooking pans etc we need and travels in the cupboard under the sink fitting under the shelf. We do also have a GSI Bugaboo Campset, which stacks really well but to be honest we rarely need to use it.
if you are going to park and put the awning up on a hard standing pitch you will need to buy some really good quality rock pegs as the ones that come with the awning tend to only be any good for grass.
We use a Thule Go Storage box that fits below the parcel/bed shelf in the boot for all of the ancillary stuff (lights, heater, mallet, fans etc) that we have accumulated.
I haven’t seen many/any set ups with the tailgate awnings on sites and it may limit the pitches you can use due to the overall length of the van plus awning.
 
Last edited:
I

icic

VIP Member
Messages
537
Location
UK
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
Just another thought on sewn in ground sheets, we camped last year with our old kampa awning with a clip in ground sheet, we woke up the morning and loads and load of mice had been running around all night, mouse poo and wee every where, this happened every night for our stay there, tried everything to keep them out., just not possible with a clip in, with a sewn in ground sheet they can’t get in. We had to replace the carpet for a new one after that. I was very much in favour of clip in ground sheets but now think sewn in is better and less draughty as well
 
Last edited:
I

icic

VIP Member
Messages
537
Location
UK
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
Just on the airy front, our son adores the tolga, he spent an hour pretending he was in a space station, I asked him why he thought it was so like a space station, he said because it’s so white and bright compared to the old one, that and the grass under the awning was very squishy!
 
Last edited:
I

icic

VIP Member
Messages
537
Location
UK
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
It’s just to give us more space. Sometimes we peg out a tarp draped over the canopy support arm. Other times we put up the awning against the van.

I have never come across a site that do not allow groundsheets, but if we did we could just detach the Hexaway groundsheet. I expect sites that have the no groundsheet rule have it to prevent ugly rectangles of yellow grass.
Hi Amarillo is that’s the case in Europe as well, when you did your mammoth tour, everywhere was OK with the sewn in on your old awning ?
 
Amarillo

Amarillo

Tom
Super Poster
VIP Member
Messages
9,235
Location
Royal Borough of Greenwich
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
Hi Amarillo is that’s the case in Europe as well, when you did your mammoth tour, everywhere was OK with the sewn in on your old awning ?

No problem anywhere, anytime. But we were generally staying at the cheapest campsites- and still do. £5 per night sometimes, but more typically in Europe we went for the €11 ACSI sites.
 
I

icic

VIP Member
Messages
537
Location
UK
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
We also have the outwell fallcrest sides, they attach to the arms of the wind out awning, they are super lightweight take up no space and dry very quickly. We often use these if we are on a quick stop and we don’t want the drive awning setup. They zip on in a jiffy. They are also great for a bit of privacy or to keep the rain and wind out. I can see these working very well with Amarillo’s set up as well. We have had the comfortz room sides but find them too bulky and they take much longer to dry, yes they are much heavier duty but if was bad weather we would use the tolga awning. The combination of a drive away and these side panels is a very versatile set up. They also can be rolled up so only part of the side is down, but we find it quicker to unhook the guys from the tent pegs and just stuff the light weight fabric between the awning and awning arm, pulling them down again and attaching to the preset tent pegs. We also have the hillcrest as well but don’t use this very often. Also vwcampershop ..de do some great sides that you can order individually (you don’t have to buy a whole set) you can choose a door, which is the best option in my view, they are pricy but heavy duty but pack up small and have a special sun reflective surface. They can be pegged down inside for bad weather too unlike the fallcrest or the Brandrup side panel




1CB8C273-8A4B-4656-AE9A-8CF462513719.jpeg
 
Last edited:
M

Meerkat1234

VIP Member
Messages
82
Location
Cheshire
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
Fab responses, thanks, and the photos are really helpful.

I'm not sure, but it sounds like not many/any of you are sleeping in your drive away awnings, is that right? We'd just like the option, so sewn in groundsheets is prob a must (especially after reading the mice story icic!)

One question that I'm not clear on still is whether any of you were concerned about access, where the "front door" is, and where you need to park, when choosing which awning to go with?

To be honest, I really wish we could find a cream coloured awning like our enormous polycotton Vango Illusion which is lovely to be inside - I wish they all weren't grey! I see some are half white.

To compare, what are your thoughts on the Galli, and the Magra for 1-3 nights max in each spot? (If we pitched for a week or 10 days, we'd probably lux it out with the Illusion tent, depending on the site and pitch sizes available, although maybe the awning could also be enough?).
 
M

Meerkat1234

VIP Member
Messages
82
Location
Cheshire
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
Wow icic - I think you've just solved our additional more-space-for-1-night only conundrum - awning sides. We hoped there would be a solution out there but only found expensive Fiamma (I think they were) sides which fold up bulky.
 
I

icic

VIP Member
Messages
537
Location
UK
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
Fab responses, thanks, and the photos are really helpful.

I'm not sure, but it sounds like not many/any of you are sleeping in your drive away awnings, is that right? We'd just like the option, so sewn in groundsheets is prob a must (especially after reading the mice story icic!)

One question that I'm not clear on still is whether any of you were concerned about access, where the "front door" is, and where you need to park, when choosing which awning to go with?

To be honest, I really wish we could find a cream coloured awning like our enormous polycotton Vango Illusion which is lovely to be inside - I wish they all weren't grey! I see some are half white.

To compare, what are your thoughts on the Galli, and the Magra for 1-3 nights max in each spot? (If we pitched for a week or 10 days, we'd probably lux it out with the Illusion tent, depending on the site and pitch sizes available, although maybe the awning could also be enough?).

You could totally sleep in a tolga, don’t think you would need an added bedroom. I too love bright tents,, the tolga with its white top half feels very fresh and bright.

As what direction it’s dependent on the pitch, a lot of pitches are longer than wide so I see why the side front door might appeal , as it’s not facing the next pitch but personally I don’t like the awnings that have front doors alongside the van such as the Magra, we like to step out of the van and have the front door open in good weather at the front, rather than a tent wall or plastic windows, plus you have doors in the side anyway with a front of the tent front door, plus I would imagine you get a lot more air movement. It’s all a personal choice though
 
Last edited:
M

Meerkat1234

VIP Member
Messages
82
Location
Cheshire
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
Update and warning!

Well, so this happened - and this is a warning to anybody calling Vango. We had some questions about the Vango range of awnings and wanted to discuss them. After a struggle to get any response from Vango, we received an email from AMG (their parent company) which gave us a number to call. The chap who I spoke to was very good. However, when our phone bill arrived we discovered we'd been charged over £32.00 for this.

Every email complaining about this has been ignored by Vango, or finally answered late and inappropriately after multiple chases, and every attempt to phone the parent company AMG results in every phone option being unmanned so that's impossible too.

So be careful of calling Vango numbers. And does anyone know how to get any decent customer service from Vango?
 
Top