James StanburySee other accessory reviews written by James Stanbury
Practical Caravan reviews the Gelert Breeze Blocker windbreak to see how it measures up against rival camping gear for caravan holidays
I don't know about you, but when I'm staying on a campsite I love to see all the little homely touches that other people bring to caravanning. You can often tell how long people are staying on the same caravan park by how 'settled in' they look!
One of the telltale signs that someone may be staying for more than a week is that they've 'fenced off' their pitch using a windbreak or two, possibly to create an outside dining area, or a sheltered sunbathing spot – or just to keep the dog under control outdoors, without the need for a lead. Windbreaks can create a handy 'garden' area beyond the awning. If there are also solar-powered gnomes and flowering potted plants, it's likely that they'll be residing in a large caravan on a seasonal pitch and determined to stay on holiday almost all year – but that's another story!
The humble windbreak is the essential item of camping gear that caravanners often choose when staking their claim on a pitch. And where there's a demand, outdoor equipment manufacturers are only too happy to spot the trend and supply exciting new products.
Gone are the days of those basic striped windbreaks that slid loosely up and down three blunt wooden poles and fell over in the breeze. You can still buy those for the beach for around £14 if you want to, but they're only 375cm wide by 100cm high approximately and they just won't cut the mustard on your pitch.
Check out the stands at any caravan show and you'll be amazed at the variety of windbreaks for sale. The new generation seem to have borrowed the fabrics, guy ropes and lightweight poles from tents, and they're a lot better for that.
On the Practical Caravan test bench – and in the camping field – we've compared the subtle green Coleman Windshield XL, £49, the blue and white Olpro Picket Fence Windbreak, £29.99, the hi-tech grey Quest Windshield Pro, £104.99, the blue and transparent Kampa Break, £39.99, the grey, black and clear Outwell Round Windscreen, £69.99, the banana-shaped Easy Camp Surf, £19.99. and the grey Gelert Breeze Blocker, £24.99. Here we'll focus on the latter.
The first thing you'll notice about the Gelert Breeze Blocker is that it has unusual-shaped windows. The centre panel of this three-piece windbreak has a semi-circular window, flanked by panels with triangular windows.
This aside, it seems a good-quality piece of kit, made from tough 190T polyester fabric with waterproof PU coating and interlocking steel poles with ground spikes.
But there are a couple of irksome points: only enough guy ropes are supplied for single lines on the centre poles, and there’s also a noticeable gap between the ground and the bottom of the sheet, despite anchorage straps securing the material to the ground.
The pack-down size is 65cm by 9cm by 9cm. Although this is still compact, it is bigger than many other 5m wide (and 150cm high) windbreaks. The whole thing weighs 2.7kg.
|Size||500cm wide by 150cm high|
|Packed size||65cm by 9cm by 9cm|
|Fabric||Polyester 190T with waterproof PU coating|
|Construction||Three panels with small windows|
|Guy ropes||One per pole|
|Poles||Interlocking steel poles with ground spikes|
The Gelert Breeze Blocker is a pretty impressive windbreak for the price, at just £24.99. It uses high-quality tent-like materials and is simplicity itself to use.
PVC windows in these windshields are a big 'plus', we think, because you get the shelter and privacy without feeling completely cut off from the view. These windows are a bit small, however. The main things letting it down are stability – there's only one guy rope per pole – and the obvious dog escape route. We wouldn't buy it specifically to keep our pets or toddlers safely contained within.
Read our other windbreak reviews to see how much the rival products have improved over the years.
All things considered, we give the Gelert Breeze Blocker a three-star rating.
- Heavy-duty polyester fabric
- Interlocking steel poles with ground spikes
- PVC windows at eye-level when sitting
- Only one guy rope per pole
- Dog-sized gap between the ground and the fabric