Nick Harding

See other awning reviews written by Nick Harding

Traditional and modern? That’s what you get with this exciting inflatable newcomer to the caravan awnings market – and it's easy to put up and pack away

Overview

Fans of traditional caravan awnings might just want to take a closer look here.

This is, indeed, an inflatable unit – taking all that’s best from the world of the new and mixing it up with a look that’s, well, let’s just say there’s a hint of premium Danish about it.

The 380 is the larger of two Classic Air Expert models for this season that take Kampa’s inflatable portfolio up to 19.

In what is a first for Kampa, the 380 has a coated polycotton roof, more typical of the type of material used for awnings designed with all-season use in mind.

Its breathability should help reduce condensation, while the sides are made of acrylic and the mudflaps are heavy-duty PVC.

Inflation is via a single point to the three interconnecting beams, which always makes things easier, and there are also three outlets to make deflation all the more efficient.

The better-quality pump for this season is another help. It’s got a single action and it’s easier to achieve higher pressure (Kampa says that around 11-12psi is the optimum, although it tests its units all the way up to 22psi).

Both of the sides and the two front panels can be zipped out (it’s usually easier to leave these off when you’re first putting up the awning – it just means less weight and material to grapple with).

Plenty of folk will want to take advantage of the facility to add an annexe (£300, £375 with inner), or conservatory (£375) to either side – the former can accommodate an inner tent, the latter has windows to three sides as well as overhead.

There’s a mix of steel and superior-quality plastic pegs, with short metal poles giving a final finish to the canopy at the front – these also contribute to the look, stability and strength that you’d expect from a traditional awning.

The sloped roof suggests there should be no issues with water collecting (the key here is getting the poles to their main pressure, and keeping it that way).

There are hanging curtains to the main windows. You can leave them on permanently but, in practice, it’s best to take them out when packing away.

Among the options are twin rear vertical poles (£37) to accompany the pre-fitted padded sections. That’s if you want the tightest of fits to the sides of your van.

Alternatively, there’s ‘Limpet Fix’ (£20 – RRP £37), with eight suckers that allow you to attach your awning directly to your caravan’s side. And you might like to add a bit of comfort with the Continental carpet (£90).

Specs and Layout

Manufacture websitekampa.co.uk

Verdict

A more traditional look allied to the latest inflation technology might just make this Kampa the win-win caravan awning of 2017.

Superior materials are a plus, although we still aren’t sure about the feasibility of inflatable awnings for seasonal use.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Single-point inflation with a new pump should make things even easier

Cons

  • A draught skirt is included, but you don’t get a wheel cover
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