DWT ZELTE IS A German awning manufacturer which is widely known on the Continent but which has neglected the UK market.
Until now. Having taken space at the recent NEC show it has decided to expand its operations in the UK, so we invited the company to erect one of its full awnings for us to review. At the outset it was made clear to us that DWT is aiming at the top end of the awning market so you won’t be surprised that the model here with a ground-to-ground dimension of 971-1000 has a suggested retail price of €1,259.
However, shopping around on the internet will probably result in a cheaper price. The awning has a 25mm diameter steel frame with very substantial plastic lever clamping but 28mm diameter steel and aluminium versions are also available.
When we watched the DWT personnel erecting the Royal we were very taken by the fact that having inserted the front centre vertical pole into the roof canvas, they used a guy line at each corner to help hold the roof whilst they completed the frame.
The bracket pads supplied in the kit slide onto the bead next to the roof bead and are then locked in position. We were somewhat disappointed that in an awning of this quality, the bracket pads did not have the facility to be clipped onto the bead rather than having to be slid onto it.
In addition to the roof there are two side and two front panels, the two side ones being interchangeable. The canvas is coated polyester throughout and in addition to insect screens behind the windows in the side panels, there is a further one behind a zipped cover below the window in each front panel.
The awning also has a short canopy which is held in position at its mid-point by a short canopy expanding pole which does not form part of the centre roof pole. Instead it has two spikes which fit into two eyeleted holes in the roof before being extended and locked in position.
Overall we were impressed by the quality of the Royal but feel that the company will have to be very aggressive in its marketing if it is to make a major impact in the UK where there is already an abundance of foreign imports.
Our thanks to the Swift Group for the loan of the Charisma 550 and to the Holiday Site Managers of The Camping and Caravanning Club Kingsbury Water Park Site for the use of their facilities.
Reviewed in the July 2010 issue of Practical Caravan.