Nick Harding

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Brand new and packed with loads of options, let's see what all these changes add up to as we pitch the Vango Varkala Connect 420 caravan awning

Overview

An awning for £1000?

That sounds about right, if you want the very latest in inflatable technology, and then some.

The Varkala Connect range is just one of a number of new offerings from Vango for this season, all featuring its pioneering AirBeam (inflatable tube) technology and building on what is already a degree of pedigree.

The original Vango Varkala was our Awning of the Year 2016.

The Varkala Connect comes in four sizes for the 2018 season, spanning £850 to £1100.

The colouring is new, too, although it doesn’t depart far from the greys that are considered the norm these days.

Of all the Varkalas, it’s the Connects that represent the biggest change.

What is already a voluminous model can now take annexes to either or both sides – perfect if you want additional conservatory-style living room space, or just more storage.

Or if you want a bedroom, you could go for a conventional annexe.

These are from the options list, of course, but it does allow you to tailor the Varkala caravan awning to your needs.

There are further new options for 2018, such as the SkyLiner, an extra roof layer that offers blackout and insulation. There are also lots of storage extras.

You need look no further than Vango’s extensive camping catalogue, too, for additional accessories, from electric pumps to lighting to furniture.

But the Varkala already has a high specification. A mesh door, hanging storage, storm straps and two wheel arch covers all come as standard.

As do items you may well end up paying extra for elsewhere, such as steel rock pegs and a PVC draught skirt.

From the three-door front, offering generous window size, there are all the usual Vango inflatable hallmarks here – multipoint inflation via valves set that bit higher off ground level (for less stress on your back), Diamond Clear windows and rooflights, bracer beams to strengthen the roof, and rear upright poles with foam pads for tight, draught-free fitting.

Vango’s Sentinel Pro fabric is a 420 denier, double ripstop polyester, which has a highly waterproof 6000mm hydrostatic head rating, plus features such as taped seams.

It all comes with a two-year warranty.

This Varkala will be a great addition to even bigger caravans than the near-8m Swift Challenger 635 we attached it to here.

With those zip-on extensions added either side, it will dwarf any tourer.

So, what do those options cost? The annexe is £300, the clip-in bedroom costs £50, the extension is £400, the SkyLiner roof lining is £50, the carpet is £70, the digital pump will set you back £85 and Sunbeam lighting kits are priced from £35.

This 2018-season caravan awning weighs 31.9kg, measures 415cm x 250cm, has a 236-250cm fixing height and a 78cm x 45cm x 42cm pack size.

Verdict

Fine and flexible. This is a top-drawer inflatable caravan awning that boasts lots of cutting-edge features, as well as options to extend even further.

Buy the Vango Varkala Connect 420 here from Amazon

Conclusion

Pros

  • This is a highly sophisticated inflatable awning
  • It's easy to pitch
  • The floor is flat at all entry points
  • There are lots of windows and ventilation

Cons

  • The annexes that can be fitted to either or both sides are expensive

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