When the Discover Leisure chain ceased trading, Spanish awning manufacturer Inaca was stuck: the dealer had exclusive rights to sell the brand in Britain. Now, however, Glossop Caravans has stepped in to become Inaca’s UK distributor.
That’s the good news. The bad news is the same as when Discover was in business: the only place you can see the awnings on display is at Glossops, and they are sold only at the dealership, online or via mail order. So find an owner on site and ask his opinion. Within a couple of minutes, you’ll know the model’s pluses and minuses.
Inaca describes the Mercury 360 as a ‘universal’ awning, but, at 240cm wide x 380cm deep, to us it is a large porch. Its size makes it ideal for short breaks, for keeping the worst cold weather at bay and for storing wet clothing and equipment that you’d rather not take inside the van.
It comes in four parts for easier erection and dismantling, as well as drying when taken down wet. The roof is of printed PVA, the walls of polyester acrylic, and the awning skirt and mudflap are polyester PVC.
There is a door at the front corner of each side panel and at either end of the front panel, while there’s a full-size insect/ventilation screen behind the left side panel’s window. The Mercury is available only in anthracite/grey.
The sides and front panel can be zipped out, turning the roof into a sun canopy. Alternatively, the side or front panels can be let halfway down. Another option is the annexe, which zips in place of a side panel to provide more room.
The alloy frame’s connecting poles are linked to each other by springs. They make assembly much simpler, as do the quick-action lever clamps, although the canopy poles are locked using wing screws.
The bracket pads to which the roof poles attach are clipped onto the beading in the roof panel and then locked in position rather than having to be slid on from either end. Pegging elastics fit onto adjustable straps to make pegging down easier.
The Mercury 360 combines solid materials and a lightweight frame to offer easy assembly, while its size and optional add-ons promise usable, flexible space. It’s ideal for short breaks in any weather.
Price £619, delivery included, from Glossop Caravans
Tel 01457 860 118 or 01457 890 722
Reviewed in the May 2012 issue of Practical Caravan