James Stanbury

See other accessory reviews written by James Stanbury

Surround your caravan with the Olpro Picket Fence Windbreak and you'll always see blue sky between the white fence posts – but there's one small cloud

Overview

Windbreak design has advanced immensely in recent years. While you can still buy the original cheap and cheerful style of striped windbreak in most seaside town bucket-and-spade shops, there are now far better options on the market. 

If you enjoy going to caravan shows and outdoor equipment shops, you'll be very familiar with the brands associated with proper camping gear. I'm talking about such big name brands as Coleman, Olpro, Kampa, Gelert, Easy Camp, SunnCamp, Vango and Halfords. All of these make windbreaks, along with other brands such as Trespass and Quest Leisure.

Unlike the brightly striped efforts of yesteryear, the latest windbreaks tend to borrow the light polyester fabrics used in awnings and tents, come with carry-bags so that you can pack them down small when you're on the road, and even have guy ropes to lash them down. They look just the thing to use when you want to create a private corral for the family on your pitch and enjoy dining al-fresco outside your caravan. At least if you put up a windbreak you won't be waving goodbye to the lettuce and crisps if there's a typical English summer breeze.

One of the brands we tested was the Olpro Picket Fence Windbreak, at £29.99. The retail price is quoted at £39.99 by Olpro, but if you shop around online you'll find it up to a tenner cheaper. We appreciate the irony and fun of this product – it's a windbreak made to look like a cute white picket fence, with a cloudless blue sky showing between the posts. But we're guessing you'll be using it even more on days when the sky is not showing such a perfect blue during your holidays. So how much help will this windbreak offer you, your children, pets and folding chairs and tables, against the elements?

The Olpro Picket Fence Windbreak is a relatively basic 4.7m-long (15.75-foot) windbreak, with four steel fit-together poles, standing 1.4m (4.5ft) high. However it is a windbreak that stands out from the crowd because of that eye-catching picket-fence pattern. And if faux-fence panels aren’t your thing, how about a laurel hedge or even dry-stone walling? Both are in the same Olpro range.

Presumably to allow the pattern to be printed, this windbreak is made from a rot-proof woven polyester material rather than the usual awning-style smooth polyester. The fabric seems surprisingly tough, but it increases the pack-down size slightly, to 66cm x 12cm x 12cm.

There are two guy ropes per pole, which is the preferred arrangement and aids stability, but we’re less keen on the gap between the ground and the material. To us, the ankle-height gap seems like an open invitation to dogs and small children – it simply says 'escape route this way'!

At the shop-around price of £29.99 it's up against the banana-shaped Easy Camp Surf, £19.99, Kampa Break, £39.99 and Gelert Breeze Blocker, £24.99, all of which also gained a three-star rating in our latest set of windbreak reviews

Technical specs

Size4.8m long by 1.4m high
Packed size66cm by 12cm by 12cm
Weight3.4kg
FabricPolyester
ConstructionThree panels
Guy ropesTwo lines per pole, with pegs
PolesFour steel fit-together poles

Verdict

If you like the design, this is a pretty good windbreak to choose for the price and we gave it a three-star rating on the Practical Caravan test bench.

It's good, but this windbreak and all the rest are outshone by our windbreak test winner, the Coleman Windshield XL, priced at £49.99. It's simply bigger, better and more flexible in the wind than all the rest!

Conclusion

Pros

  • Stripy fun
  • Easy to find on a site or a beach
  • Low-to-medium price
  • Two guy ropes per pole
  • Click-together steel poles are compact

Cons

  • Dogs can escape underneath it
  • No window
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