Peter BaberSee other awning reviews written by Peter Baber
Although this innovative air awning is not, strictly speaking, single-point inflation, it does provide an exceptionally high level of weather protection.
New for 2019, the Pluto from Westfield Outdoors is a full-size air awning in a new 300-denier polyester, based on the firm's HydraDore XT PRO fabric, but with an extra coating.
This gives it a, frankly, almost unnecessary hydrostatic head of 10,000mm. The fabric also has a UV protection factor of 50+ and has been designed to have a (marginally) softer feel.
The focus on waterproofing doesn't end there, though - the mud wall has two layers, giving double the protection. There is also additional guttering around the external windows, with zips, and all tie-back points are made from waterproof PVC.
The inflation tubes have four layers - an internal bladder, an outer sleeve and two layers in between, one of polyurethane reinforced at stress points, the other of polyester. These layers have been bonded together.
Despite the layers, Westfield Outdoors says it is still possible to repair a puncture, should you have one, without having to take down the awning. It says the system is designed so that when you unscrew the affected part, the rest will self-seal until you reinsert the repaired tube.
Its only stipulation is that you use a professional repair kit, not one from a bike shop.
The side panels are fully removable, making it easier to get the awning into the rail at the start. But the Pluto isn't, strictly speaking, a single-point inflation system. Although the main frame is inflated from a single point, the 'super-tubes' are inflated separately, to fix to the internal roof.
The firm says that because these are thicker than the main frame tubes, they provide more rigidity and you don't need as many of them.
What you end up with is an awning with four doors, and windows that extend closer to the floor than usual, to let in maximum light. The side panels are interchangeable, so you can choose where those doors are sited, and there is also built-in permanent ventilation.
Assembling this awning did take a bit longer than average. We were disappointed that it relies on poles to support the rear edges against the van, even if they are made of aluminium.
On the plus side, you do get veranda poles as standard, and poles for the front canopy, too.
Price £1999 RRP (but available from £1599)
Weight 40kg including pump and pegs. The awning on its own weighs 30kg, or 23kg without side panels
Dimensions 2.5 x 6.5m
Pack size 118 x 48 x 45cm
Access Four doors
Selling points Highly waterproof and sun-protective fabric, super-tubes for a less cluttered roof, completely removable side panels
Optional extras Storm air beams (£99), air annexe (£445)
Specs and Layout
Single-point inflation that isn't quite single might be slightly confusing for some, but it does leave you with a roomier roof. Altogether, with its impressive list of extras that are included as standard, this awning should definitely be on your shortlist.
- The waterproofing on this awning should make leaks a thing of the past
- We'd rather not see poles used to connect the awning to the caravan