2015 Vango Kela-II AirBeam Awning: Review   34 comments

Overview of the 2015 Vango AirBeam Awning Range

Vango Kela-II AirBeam Awning

Vango Kela-II AirBeam Awning

Vango spent 12 years developing and testing their innovative inflatable AirBeam technology before introducing it to their tent range and then rolling it out a couple of years later in 2013 into their AirBeam vehicle awnings and thus revolutionising the drive-away awning market.  So it’s fair to say that this ground-breaking awning range is truly tried and tested.

The Vango-Kela II – Inflatable AirBeam Awning is just one of the 2nd generation of AirBeam vehicle awnings that Vango are introducing for the 2015 camping season. The Kela and Sapera have plenty of updates and are now known as the AirAway Kela-II and Sapera-II (2). The range has also been extended to include the Idris (a budget version of the Kela) and a completely new luxury design with weather proof porch – The Vango Attar 380.

We first tested the new Kela II back in October 2014 in our SW London showroom, attaching it to our 79’ VW Bay Window and our Volkswagen T5 Kombi fitted with our low-profile C Channel awning rail. The dimensions, tunnel height, connection options and sleeping compartment configuration of the Kela II and Sapera II are all the same as the earlier 2013/14 versions, so we had no problem connecting the Kela to either Transporter.


AirBeam Kela II – New Features for 2015

Kela-II Tunnel Entrance Doors

Kela-II Tunnel Entrance Door

Additional Awning Tunnel Doors

The first obvious 2015 upgrades are the additional doors on each side of the awning tunnel which we think work really well as it saves walking through the awning (and stepping over two entrance thresholds) every time you need to get something from the bus… usually a beer from the fridge or another bottle of van rouge!

This convenient feature will not only save time, it will also save a lot of unnecessary spillages, wear and tear, etc… and is an even more important update if you have dogs or kids with muddy paws trying to walk through the awning every 10mins!

The two additional entrance doors will also offer much needed air circulation in the van and awning on hot summer days.

AirSpeed Valve in Higher Position

AirSpeed Valve in Higher Position

AirSpeed Valve System

Another main feature of the 2015 Airbeams is Vango’s new AirSpeed valve system. Each valve is now located on the outside of the AirBeam with a weatherproof rain cover which  eliminates any fiddling with zips at ground level and possible twisting of the valves on the AirBeam. The new valve has also been repositioned at a convenient 86cm above ground level.

AirSpeed Valve with Rain Cover

AirSpeed Valve with Rain Cover

The AirSpeed valve is also easy and even quicker to operate. The clever valve locking cap means no more screwing or unscrewing of the valve body and no chance of cross-threading, just a simple half turn to open and close… a quick twist will deflate the AirBeam in seconds.







Tension Band System – TBS II

Vango developed these patented TBS stabilising straps quite a few years back and once again, this clever system has been tried and tested on their tents over many seasons.  The webbing straps are attached halfway up the inside of the AirBeams and stowed in a side pocket and can be engaged by just connecting into the top central clip. When connected, these cleverly design straps form a strong ridge shape that keep the AirBeams stable in extreme weather conditions.

We have only ever felt the need to use this unique system a couple times in the past when very strong gusty winds were blowing in from the side… the strap only took a few seconds to connect and performed well, keeping the awning firm and stable. On the downside, in dim light, it is easy to forget the straps are there and walk into them!

The new Kela II now has the TBS II system fitted on both AirBeams as opposed to just the front which offers increased stability.

Vango weather test all their tents including all four models of the Airbeam drive-away awning at an independent wind and rain test centre to ensure they can withstand extreme weather conditions.

Other New Features

It seems Vango have also spent a lot of time working on some of the smaller details to further improve this innovative awning range.  The Excalibur grey colour is complimented with a 50cm high black band running along the bottom edge with a white reflective strip where the two colours meet. The orange guylines have been replaced by grey guylines with reflective stitching running through them, which combined will make the awning more hi-vis with less trips.

The yellow plastic T profile pegs have been upgraded to steel rock pegs which perform much better in harder ground… although we do recommend using a peg-pull with these – because it’s so much easier to bang them in deeper without breaking or bending, they can sometimes be slightly harder to remove (never use the webbing D ring to pull pegs out as it WILL break under the strain).


Vango Kela-II connecrted to a VW T5

Vango Kela-II connecrted to a VW T5

Overall Vango have built on this tried and tested AirBeam technology and combined with some excellent updates, have taken the second generation of AirAway inflatable awnings to the next level by making the new AirAway AirBeam awnings even easier and quicker to inflate.

We have had so much use from our original 2013 AirAway Kela including many VW festivals, Glastonbury, general camping weekends etc… without any problems and it’s still looking really good. Although the price tag is slightly higher than last year, Vango seemed to have listened to customer feedback and retained the best parts of this tried and tested awning range while adding some great new features – we still think these rapid pitch AirAway awnings remain the best drive away for VW Transporters!

Although the marketplace has seen a few more manufacturers doing away with poles and introducing inflatable systems into their drive-away awnings over last season, we feel that the Vango AirBeam range is the most reliable as they have been using this technology for over a decade now.  Also, out of all our suppliers, Vango’s customer service department is second to none, offering an excellent after-sales service… which is nice to know just in case you ever should have any problems.

Reviewed by the Funky Leisure Team – November 2014

…If you live anywhere near, or ever travel down to the South-East, call into our Twickenham showroom in SW London to see the Vango AirBeam Kela II connected to a VW T5 as well as lots of other VW campervan gear, awning rails, awning connection kits and other funky camping gear!

For the new range go to our latest review for all current prices and bundle deals visit the Vango AirBeam Awning section of FL’s shop.


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34 responses to 2015 Vango Kela-II AirBeam Awning: Review

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  1. Hi,

    I’m currently looking for a free standing inflatable awning for my T5.
    Do you know what the difference is between the Kela-II you are talking about here and the Sapera-II?
    Is it the same but with an extra added room?
    Thanks for your help

    • Hi Paul

      The double sleeping compartment is the same size on both the Kela II and Sapera II.

      Specifications are basically the same on both models – the Sapera II is the larger version with an additional main AirBeam and bracer beam that provides extra living space behind the sleeping compartment. The living area in the Sapera II is L shaped.

  2. Hi

    Looking at purchasing a Kela 2 or Kela 3 but worried about the sewn in groundsheet and the regualations regarding the use of sewn in groudsheets by many campsites?

    Any advice would be welcome – do I but an awning without a SIG or will the Kela SIG be OK to use on most sites?


    • Hi Bob

      Thanks for your question. It’s quite hard to come up with a definitive answer about sewn-in groundsheets as there has already been a lot of discussion on the many camping and campervan forums about the subject with varying opinions depending on where you’re coming from… we’ll try to give a brief overview.

      From an awning/tent owner’s point of view, a sewn-in groundsheet (SIG) definitely provides better weather protection and keeps insects out. Also, using a footprint (secondary groundsheet – as recommended by most awning manufacturers) underneath the SIG allows an awning to be packed away quickly with a clean and dry underside.

      Some campsites have made this breathable groundsheet rule as they’re concerned that their grass may not recover or be left in a reasonable condition for the next campers. Although some of these sites are okay with SIGs as long as you use a breathable groundsheet underneath them. Some people think the SIG over the breathable groundsheet would defeat the object… and other people believe the breathable fabric could create a slightly less harsh surface for the grass and allow some air circulation.

      The overall consensus is that if in any doubt contact the campsite to confirm one way or the other. If you’re touring, some of these campsites will also make an exception if you’re only staying for a few days.

      The majority of campsites don’t have such strict rules about SIGs especially the ones that don’t have set pitches. When we stay in campsites they are mostly independent sites/farmer’s fields with basic amenities or Forestry Commission sites that also don’t have specific pitches set out – so it’s never a problem.

      A ‘best of both worlds’ option would be a linked-in groundsheet that can be unclipped in a few minutes if necessary – the Vango AirBeam Idris Awning and Idris II Awning both have this feature. The AirBeam Idris design is basically the same shape and size as the Kela.

      I hope this advice has been useful – please feel free to contact us if you need any further help.

      The FL Team

  3. Hi

    We are looking at buying a Sapera 2. We have a non lowered LWB T5, does the Sapera fit ok without too much sag and hence rain pooling? The new 2016 Vango awnings awnings have a low range which they say is more suited to VWs but unfortunately they do not do the low in the Kela 3xl which is the replacement for the Sapera. your comments would be appreciated.

    • Hi

      Thanks for your question. As you stated, Vango’s new 2016 AirBeam awning range does now have a lower connection height and the Galli Low model that we have on display here in our shop does fit our VW Transporters marginally better than the Standard height AirBeams – but there’s really not that much in it.

      Although Vango’s new Low height AirBeam awnings are an improvement when it comes to tightening the adjustment straps at the top of the connection tunnel, we do think it’s more important to get the tunnel roof nice and taught in the first place before the final pegging. We also splay out the bottom of the awning tunnel pegging it out at the farthest point using the elasticated pegging points by the tunnel doors, we then return the end pegging straps towards the middle of the van this creates a much better seal to a vehicle with the elasticated edge. You will eliminate any pooling with the tunnel tensioned properly and although we have seen some other brands of inflatable awnings succumb to this, it has never been an issue with any Vango AirBeams we’ve been using in sometimes torrential heavy rain.

      Once set-up, it is obviously important to mark out exactly where your Bus is positioned before driving away, we use a guyline pegged between the wheel centres about 5 or 10cm from the edge of tyre edges on the driver’s side. This will enable one person to park near enough in the same position and reconnect… remember to loosen any front guylines/webbing straps before disconnecting and retightening only when you re-attach.

      We have adopted this technique to pitch/connect AirBeam awnings to our VW Bay and T5 since they were introduced and when we trade at VW festivals VeeDubbers usually comment how neat the awning tunnel connection looks.

      This is quite a long answer to your question but we do get asked this all the time so thought it warranted a full reply. In fact we do plan to put more of these sort of tips/information in some of upcoming blogs.

      We hope this all makes sense and we will be stocking the Kela III XL Standard (stock expected the end of next week) as we think generally the VW community are still happy enough with the fit of Standard height AirBeam’s and like the larger living area that the Kela 3 XL/Sapera offers. Have a closer look at the Vango Galli Low with offers all the above and more!

      The Funky Leisure Team

  4. Advice please. I’m a solo camper driving a VW Caddy Camper (no raised roof / single rear door). Will this Vango work on this size vehicle?

    • Hi Anne

      Thanks for your question. As Vango AirBeam awnings are freestanding, it will obviously be okay to pitch next to your VW Caddy it’s just a matter of how neat the awning connecting tunnel will be.

      The width of Vango AirBeam connecting tunnels is 250cm at the top and the minimum adjusted height is now 180cm on the 2016 Low range. However, it’s possible to connect to lower height vehicles and keep the connection tunnel fabric reasonably taught by splaying out the sides of the tunnel at the bottom.

  5. Hi,
    Will the Vango Kela 3 connect to my VW T5 LWB that has a side sun shade or will I need to buy adapt its?
    Many thanks

    • Hi Tony

      Thanks for your question. Presumably you have a Fiamma or Thule-Omnistor wind-out sun canopy fitted to your VW T5. Both makes have a C-profile channel in the front edge, this channel is a slightly smaller diameter than standard channel, but a Vango AirBeam Awning 6mm to 4mm Drive-Away Kit (RRP £24) will allow you connect.

      To disconnect the awning from your T5 takes about 30 seconds… you just loosen off front webbing straps and guylines and slide out the double edged Kador strip.

  6. Hi, sorry for not replying sooner and thanks for your reply! My sunshade is a Prostor, would this make any difference or will the Drive-Away work the same? Also, I’m concerned at the amount of gap between the shade and the van, will the awning cover this up or will I be having to shut the van door every time it starts to rain?!

    • Hi Tony

      We’re not so familiar with Prostor Sunshades and having checked it doesn’t look like they have a C-profile channel on the front edge. Without a C-profile channel it would not be possible to connect via the Kador or Kador Drive-Away Kit.

      If this is the case, it would probably be best to use the webbing straps connection option which would cover the sunshade as well and solve the problem of rain between the van and sunshade gap. Clip a webbing strap (supplied with awning) in at each end of the awning connection tunnel, position them over the roof and peg down on the opposite side of the vehicle.

  7. Hi we have a kela 3 drive away awning the floor was wet after not much rain. We have a footprint underneath which pooled a bit with water. However, what we are wondering is if the awning should have a grey thin floor area as it does not seem ver waterproof or sturdy?

    • Hi Charlotte

      Sorry to hear that you have had a problem with your Kela III. As you said that you had water pooling on top of the footprint, it sounds like the footprint could have been protruding slightly and rain water was running off the flysheet onto the edge and then under the footprint.

      Vango AirBeam tents and awnings have a two part groundsheet system; the integrated groundsheet and the footprint. This double system has the advantages of keeping the weight of the main structure lower, allowing the awning to be packed away dry without having to lay it upside down to dry out/sweep off the groundsheet and also protecting the groundsheet from sharp stones, thistles etc…

      As with all tents, condensation could also account for water inside the awning especially at this time of year when heaters are used more and wet clothes/towels are left in the awning overnight. Please follow this link to see how to avoid condensation in tents.

      This should resolve the problem, however if you still have an issue please contact the retailer who you purchased the awning from.

  8. Thanks very much for your help, it’s much appreciated!

  9. Hi. I recently bought the Kela 3 drive away awning. One thing I realised is there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to place hooks for hanging things from for eg waterproofs, shoe storage holders etc. Any suggestions please.

  10. Thank you. I will look again and will also consider those you mention.

  11. Hi we washed our carpet for kela 2 in washing machine(ooops) and its fallen to pieces is the kela 3 carpet the same size thanks

    • Hi Lee

      Sorry to hear about your washing machine carpet disaster. We’ve washed AirBeam awning carpets on low temperature washes and they’ve been fine, so maybe your washing machine temperature was set slightly too high.

      The Kela III is exactly the same dimensions as the earlier Kela awning models, so yes the current Kela 3 carpet will also fit the Kela 1 and 2 awnings.

  12. Hi, we would rather like to buy a Kela2, but they appear not to be available. Have Vango discontinued them in favour of the Kela3?

    • Hi Tom

      Yes that’s correct, the Kela II was discontinued at the end of 2015 and replaced with the upgraded Kela III for the 2016 season. Consequently, two years on, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find any retailers that still have any stock of this older model.

  13. Hi,
    Not meaning to be cheeky but we have a brand new kela ll that we bought for our VW camper that we now no longer need. It is still unopened in the box, if you are interested. 😀

    • Hi Debbie

      Serendipity, it just so happens that we have an earlier comment down the bottom of this blog page from Tom who is looking for a Vango Kela II.

      Hope it works out for you both. If not, it should be very easy to sell it on eBay.

  14. Hi, we’ve recently bought a VW T5 and have inherited the Kela II awning with it – were yet to test it out but will be doing so in the next few weeks.

    Do you have the dimensions of the awning as I can’t seem to find them online anywhere! Just to see what furniture we can fit in.

    And please can you confirm as above that the Kela 3 carpet will fit in the Kela 2?

    Many thanks!

    • Hi Helen

      The dimensions of the Vango Kela are 310cm wide x 370cm deep including 90cm of the awning connection tunnel.

      The dimensions of the Kela awning have stayed the same so I can confirm that the Kela III Carpet will definitely fit a Kela II.

  15. We’ve just bought a Kela 3 and are doing a trial run in the garden. We can’t find the pegs for pegging it out. Are they hidden in the awning somewhere or are they in the packaging?

    • Hi Celine

      The pegs are packed in a light grey bag along with the pump and mallet which are rolled up in the middle of the awning.

  16. Hi can you tell me if a vango air away kela 2 standard fit on a vw transporter t5 2011 model

    • Hi Kevin

      Although the Kela II Standard has a recommended connection height of 205cm to 235cm, it is easy to make it fit a VW T5 by slightly splaying out the sides of the connection tunnel at the bottom to get the fabric taught. The awning can be connected to a T5 by using either the throw over straps, the Velcro roof bar tabs or a drive-away kit if you have a C-Channel awning rail fitted.

      Our van in the images above is a 2011 VW T5 with a VW T5/T6 C-Channel Awning Rail fitted in the roof gulley which is connected to the Kela via a 6mm to 6mm Drive-Away Kit.

  17. Hi there
    I’m considering buying the Vango Airbeam Kela II Standard Awning, can you advise if another sleeping compartment can be bought & fitted to this awning to make it a 4 person awning??

    • Hi Stuart

      The Vango Kela (all types) only has attachment points for one double sleeping compartment. The sleeping compartment takes up exactly half of the R/H internal area.

      Vango Awning Sleeping Compartments have reversible attachment clips on the inside and the outside, so they can be turned inside out to fit on the right or left side of Vango Galli or Galli Compact awnings.

      However, if you were to rig up some sort of attachment points and fit a second double sleeping compartment on the L/H side of the awning, it wouldn’t leave any living area and the main two entrance doors into the awning would be blocked.

  18. Do you still have a stockist in twickenham if so where please

    Judith costello

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