Inflatable Caravan Air Awnings – Are They any Good?

Hi, I’m Chris. About Me

Since opening Horton Common in 2014, I’ve had guests turn up with pretty much every brand and type of caravan awning you can think of. However, over the last couple of years, I’ve seen a steady increase in the number of guests setting up with inflatable caravan air awnings. I’ll often see other guests going to talk to those who have chosen to take the ‘leap of faith’ to an inflatable caravan air awning. They often ask questions such as:

I thought with this post, I would try and answer some of these questions and then provide some details on the most popular inflatable air awnings currently on the market.

Bestseller No. 1
OLPRO Outdoor Leisure Products View 300 Caravan Inflatable Porch Awning With Porch Extension
  • [Inflatable Caravan Awning] The View 300 is a large inflatable caravan awning that measures up to…
  • [Quality Material] Made from a 150D Oxford Polyester, this Awning comes with a 5000mm H/H Waterproof…
Bestseller No. 2
Lichfield Dakota Caravan Inflatable Air Awning, Excalibur, 4m [Amazon Exclusive], 150D Waterproof…
  • Lichfield AirOdyssey inflatable technology allows for pole free pitching and easy erection on the…
  • 150 D polyester fabric – waterproof, durable and reliable fabric that will keep you dry and…
Bestseller No. 3
Leisurewize – Skyliner 420 Air Caravan Porch Awning – Inflatable – Made from 3000HH rated waterproof…
  • INFLATABLE: This Awnings comes with a single inflation point, to allow an smoother process to…
  • DESIGN: This awning is immaculately designed and features 5 zippable doors, giving you flexibility…

Disclaimer: Hey! By the way… any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon or Caravan Guard are affiliate links, and I earn a commission if you make a purchase, with no additional cost to you 🙂

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Elsan ORG02 Organic Toilet Fluid for Motorhomes, Green, 2 Litre
  • Dissolves waste and removes odours naturally and has delightful mild fragrance

While inflatable caravan air awnings are becoming more popular are they really a better option when compared to a standard pole awning? Image – Amazon.co.uk


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How Durable Is An Inflatable Air Awning?

The first company to develop the concept of the inflatable awning was Vango, with its Air Beam concept.

The construction of the air tubes is based on outer canvas materials with a thick PVC inner tube. You may be wondering how durable is this PVC air tube to withstand punctures etc?

Well, from the feedback I’ve received from guests pretty robust. I’ve only had one person mention to me a beam that had a slow leak.

However, it was a second-hand purchase from eBay, so that comes with the territory. They were able to get it sorted though, relatively easily.

Of those who purchased their inflatable air awnings from new, I’ve not heard any horror stories of leaky air beams.

Are inflatable caravan air awnings such as this Kampa Air Pro Rally 390 as durable as a standard pole awning? Image – Amazon.co.uk

One thing I do know is that inflatable air awnings are much better at dealing with the wind.

Due to our location at Horton Common, we have amazing views, but the wind at certain times of the year will be higher than in other locations.

Inflatable caravan air awnings are much better at dealing with gusts of wind.

With a standard pole awning (depending on the make and how it was put up), the poles can come out of position.

However, inflatable caravan awnings just bend with the wind and then pop back into position!

That doesn’t mean that I don’t still recommend decent storm straps and pegs to keep the awning in position.

Does An Inflatable Air Awning Weigh More?

This is something that a few guests with an inflatable air awning have commented on. Yes, an air awning does weigh more than a standard pole awning.

The reason is the ‘all in one’ nature of an air awning. With a pole awning, you have two separate bags, one containing the awning fabric and one for the poles.

Well, for an air awning, its just one thing, and there is more fabric/PVC involved.

Kampa Inflatable Air Awning Weight
In general, yes, an inflatable air awning does weigh more than a standard awning bag – Image: Kampa Air Pro 260 from the Practical Caravan Review

Can One Person Set Up An Inflatable Air Awning On Their Own?

So this carries on quite well from the previous question. Inflatable air awnings can be easier to put up on your own.

However, the additional weight of an inflatable air awning needs to be a consideration. Remember, lift with your legs and not your back 🙂

Depending on the design and manufacturer, there will either be an air valve for each pole or a single air value (cross-beam). I’ve often heard the joke from guests about an awning being ‘divorce in a bag‘.

Therefore if you are looking to put up an air awning on your own, you should be looking for a cross-beam design.

With a cross-beam awning, it’s simply a case of laying it out and connecting the pump to one air value. A couple of pumps later, your awning is up, and divorce avoided!

To make it easier for one person to put up an awning you could consider an Easy Awning Pulley – Image: Amazon.co.uk

Top Tip: One of the hardest parts of putting an awning up on your own is getting it into the rail. Now, you may be tempted to use a bit of WD40 or a similar product to lubricate the rail.

However, WD40 and detergent-based products can actually de-nature the weatherproofing on the fabric of your awning.

Therefore, purchasing a small bottle of awning rail lubricant is a better option. With proper lubrication, it can be possible for one person to pull the awning along the caravan rail.

How Often Do You Have To Pump Up An Inflatable Awning?

Once set up correctly, you shouldn’t have to be getting the pump out again. I have seen a few guests checking the pressure of their air beams once a week, with maybe the odd pump.

Most manufacturers, such as Kampa, recommend a pressure of between 8-11 psi.

If the poles do appear to be dropping, its often not a puncture of the air beam but a loose-fitting. There are dark grey tubes with cross-beam awnings that link the air poles together.

During storage, packaging or assembly, they may have been disturbed. Kampa provides a 2-year warranty on the air poles. However, it is also possible to repair the beams with an approved tape and adhesive kit.

Kampa Air Awning Pressure
Its very important that the air beams of the awning are not put under too much pressure – Image: Kampa

Does An Air Awning Expand When The Air Temperature Rises?

This is a reasonable question, after all, you don’t want to hear a loud bang when the sun comes out and see your air awning on the ground!

Kampa, who is one of the main brands when it comes to air awnings, states temperature rise is not an issue.

As stated, the recommended inflation pressure is between 8-11psi, but they are tested up to 22psi. Kampa provides a chart to demonstrate the relationship between temperature and pressure changes.

Kampa Inflatable Air Awning Temperature and Pressure Changes
The pressure chart Kampa uses to show the relationship between temperature and pressure changes.

So in the UK, even in the middle of summer, going above 30 degrees Celsius is a pretty rare occurrence.

If you set up at 20 degrees and the temperature increases to 30 degrees over the next couple of days, that’s less than a 1psi change in pressure.

In other words, you shouldn’t need to worry about an inflatable awning popping on hot summer days. Therefore there are no pressure relief valves fitted.

This would just add to the cost and create another potential leak point.

Can I Use An Electric Pump To Raise An Inflatable Awning?

So most inflatable air awning manufacturers either include a manual pump with the initial purchase or offer one as an optional accessory.

With a manual pump, it takes a minute or so to build up to the required pressure, but it’s not that taxing. However, some people may be interested in using an electric pump to do the work for them.

Some of the inflatable air awning manufacturers provide their own electric pumps, set to a pressure of 11psi. Could you use your own pump?

Well, only if you can set the pressure on the pump. You don’t want to use an electric pump that will just keep trying to build pressure until something pops!

You could pretty easily cause damage to the awning and void the warranty.

It is not advisable to use a 12V air compressor to inflate an air awning unless you can limit the pressure to 11 psi: Image – Amazon.co.uk

Kampa Inflatable Caravan Air Awnings

Most of our guests are choosing to purchase Kampa air awnings. Kampa is a popular brand in the outdoor leisure market, they also have a range of popular caravan kettles.

While Vango initially created the principle and has a strong presence in the inflatable tent market, it’s Kampa that appears to be dominating the inflatable caravan awning market.

Bestseller No. 1
Kampa Dometic Leggera AIR 260 S (2021) Caravan and Motorhome Awning
  • The Dometic Leggera is the answer for an awning that can be used for weekends and frequent brief…
  • Single point inflation for quick pitch and take down

Are There Other Brands of Inflatable Air Awnings?

Besides Kampa, there are also inflatable air awnings offered by brands such as Quest, SunnCamp, Outwell, Outdoor Revolution and, of course, Vango.


Quest Leisure Products

Based in the Midlands (Redditch), Quest Leisure Products has been in business for 25 years. They offer a considerable range of inflatable air awnings.

However, it’s not clear who developed them. As the same design of awnings can also be purchased under the Westfield brand. The notable features of their inflatable awnings include:

  • Advanced Air System (AAS) – There is an inflatable internal bladder which is surrounded by dual-layer polyester cover. These air tubes then slide into sleeves within the awning cover itself. Worth noting with the Quest awnings, the air tubes are individually inflated.
  • HydroDore SL PRO Fabric – Apparently, this fabric has a 4000mm hydrostatic head pressure rating. For reference, anything above 1000mm is considered a fully waterproof fabric.
  • Anti-Weather System (AWS) – This includes additional features such as guttering around windows and more use of PVC components.
Quest Leisure Products Inflatable Air Awnings
Quest Leisure Products have a significant range of inflatable air awnings for caravans and motorhomes – Image: questleisure.com

Quest/Westfield Inflatable Air Awning Prices

Something that is very clear is that these products are priced as a ‘budget’ alternative. For instance, their porch awnings, such as the Lynx and Dorado, start at just under £300.

Larger full-sized caravan awnings such as the Omega and Aires are between £750 and £1,000. Obviously significantly cheaper than offerings from Kampa.


SunnCamp

The range of inflatable caravan air awnings that Sunncamp offer isn’t quite as considerable as that of Quest/Westfield. However, they are also targeting the budget end of the market.

Information about Sunncamp on its website (even its address) is not readily available. Therefore, that doesn’t exactly build confidence in the quality of the products their offering.

This is the Swift 220 inflatable air awning from SunnCamp: Image – Amazon.co.uk


Outwell

A Danish-based company and a big European player in the family tent market. Outwell are not competing against Quest or SunnCamp, they are a premium brand.

Therefore, their products are more similar to the offerings from Kampa and Vango.

Outwell is a premium brand of inflatable caravan air awnings based in Denmark: Image – Amazon.co.uk


Vango

As stated at the start of this post, it was Vango that really developed this concept of inflatable caravan air awnings. Vango is based in the Scottish Highlands and has been producing tents since 1966.

They are another premium brand that is continuing to develop its air awning technology.

Vango produce some of the best quality inflatable awnings – Image: Amazon

Vango Inflatable Air Awning Reviews

There are not that many text reviews of the Vango air awnings however, there is an excellent video review of the Vango Varkala below I would encourage you to watch.

The review is balanced and fair, highlighting both the pros and cons of the Vango inflatable caravan air awnings.


Conclusions On Inflatable Caravan Air Awnings

So after preparing this post in combination with the feedback I’ve received from guests, I do feel that air awnings are an option worth considering for many people.

I think where air awnings particularly shine is for larger setups with multiple annexes and porches.

This is where setting up a pole-based awning can be a genuine challenge. It is also often possible to repair an air awning if your awning does develop a leak.

You may also be interested in my post on lights for caravan awnings.

I have also recently written a post on motorhome awnings, as they are a very different proposition from a caravan awning.

If you are still undecided, I have written another post on traditional pole vs air awnings and a general post on best caravan awnings.

I hope you found this post useful and informative and that you will consider coming to visit us at Horton Common in the future. 🙂


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