Archive for the ‘Bay’ Tag

How to Connect a Vango AirBeam Awning to a VW T2 Bay, Splitscreen or T25   8 comments

This article shows the connection methods available and how to connect a Vango AirBeam (aka AirAway) Drive-Away Awning onto a classic VW T2 Bay, Splitscreen or T25 campervan.  The same connection techniques can be used to attach an AirBeam awning to other makes of campervans with similar roofs/roof rails.

All Vango AirBeam awnings have the same tunnel widths and connection options except for the Kela Deluxe 380 and earlier Attar 380 which have a tunnel connection width of 3m (just use a 320cm length Pole & Clamp Connection Kit).

VW T2 Bay, Splitscreen & T25 Connection Options

We would always recommend using a Pole & Clamp Connection Kit to connect to a classic VeeDub as this is the most secure. Figure of 8 Awning Channel is also pretty secure but does rely on the awning tunnel fabric being tensioned properly to stay attached in windier conditions. The Webbing straps and Velcro tabs can always be used if the roof gutter rail is obstructed by roof racks.

Pole & Clamp Connection KitVango AirAway Awning – Pole & Clamps Connection Kit

A Pole & Clamp Connection Kit consists of a 2.6m sprung sectioned pole and 3 x clamps with protective gaskets. Either a Vango Pole & Clamp Drive-Away Kit (RRP £15-£20) or Universal Pole & Clamp Connection Kit (RRP £15) can be used.  The Pole & Clamp Kit can be used with any van with a clear roof gutter rail (without roof racks) that will take the 2.6m pole length.

  1. With the sliding side door closed, slide the pole through the pole sleeve on the top edge of the awning tunnel and place the pole into the roof gutter rail. Position the pole towards the rear of the Bus so the sliding door can fully open without damaging the awning tunnel fabric.
  2. Clamp each end of the exposed pole and put the third clamp in the centre position inside the awning tunnel where the material has a cut away. We usually fit the centre clamp after the awning has been inflated and roughly pegged to save faffing about under the fabric while it’s just hanging on the side of the Bus.

    AirBeam Awning connected to a VW T2 Bay with Pole & Clamp Kit

    AirBeam Awning connected to a VW T2 Bay with Pole & Clamp Kit

  3. Angle the clamps upwards (approx. 30°) with wingnuts pointing down, the gaskets are used to protect the paintwork on the underside of the roof rail. If it’s the first time you’ve used these clamps, carefully check that your Bus doors open and close without obstruction. We have supplied a couple of thousand of these kits over the past ten years and only had two VW owners whose doors were fitted/adjusted too high – but please check just in case.

If you have pristine paintwork and are cautious about putting a pole in your vans roof gutter rail you can wrap gaffer tape around the pole in a few places for protection.

If you have a Brazilian with a front roof rack fitted you should still have space in the gutter for the 2.6m pole length.

If you have a rear roof rack fitted, it’s still possible to use a Pole & Clamp Kit by cutting off one pole section and cutting it down to fit in between the roof rack brackets. Clamp the main part of the pole at the front and centre and the small section of pole at the rear with a small section of loose material around the roof rack bracket.

Figure of 8 Awning ChannelVango AirBeam Awning Drive-Away Kit - Figure of 8

Figure of 8 Awning Channel is sold individually in 75cm lengths (RRP £4), you can pick up 100cm lengths in drive-away kits where it is sold with a length of Double Edged Kador. Figure of 8 extrusion is made of rigid plastic so is sold in shorter lengths instead of one long length to make it easier to stow in a vehicle when not in use. This method is a good option for vans with roof racks fitted.

The Kador strip beading (aka Keder) sewn into AirBeam awning tunnels is around 2.6m in length so 3 or 4 of lengths of Figure of 8 Awning Channel are required. One or Two lengths can be trimmed down with a junior hacksaw to the exact length of the Kador.

Figure of 8 hooked onto a VW Bay Roof Gutter Rail

Figure of 8 hooked onto a VW Bay Roof Gutter Rail

  1. Slide 3 or 4 lengths of Figure of 8 Awning Channel onto the Kador strip piping sewn-in to the top edge of the tunnel.
  2. Hook the other side of the Figure of 8 Awning Channel on to the edge of the roof gutter and position the awning so the tunnel fabric is taught enough to keep the channel hooked on.

If you have a roof rack/racks fitted, the Figure of 8 Awning Channel can be trimmed to fit in between and either side of the roof rack brackets.

Webbing Straps

Webbing Straps are supplied with all Vango AirBeam awnings. They’re a basic method of attaching to a Bus but some VW owners get along fine with these… although if the connection isn’t that tight they can be leaky in wet weather.

  1. Clip the webbing straps into the top corners of the awning tunnel and positioning them over the vehicle.
  2. Peg down on the opposite side of the van and adjust the tension until the tunnel has the best fit over the edge of the van roof.

If necessary, the webbing straps can be guided around the front and rear of an elevating roof on Westy’s Devon’s etc.

Velcro Tabs

3 x Velcro hook and loop tabs are also sewn-in to the top edge of the awning tunnel. These are intended for connecting to vehicles fitted with roof bars (such as T4’s and T5’s).

The Velcro Tabs can be used to attach to the scissor hinge of an elevating roof and/or roof racks. Velcro tabs can also be used in conjunction with the webbing straps to form a secure connection.

Kador Strip Drive-Away Kitsdrive_away_kit_6mm_to_4mm_3mtr_length__64434.1405097823.1280.1280_1_3

A Kador Strip Drive-Away Kit consist of 3 x 100cm lengths of Figure of 8 Awning Channel and 1 x 3m length of Double Edged Kador Strip (RRP £25). Both components can be cut down to the exact length of you awning tunnel Kador to keep things neat. This kit is used to attach to vans with awning rails fitted.

We sometimes have High Top Buses coming into FL that have C-profile rails or J-rails fitted at base of the roof. Use a 6mm To 6mm Drive-Away Kit to connect into  C-channel rail – slide the figure of 8 strips onto the awning Kador and then slide the double edged Kador strip into the figure of 8 and C-channel to connect. Just pull out the Double Edged Kador strip to disconnect.

We have also had the odd T25 in with a Fiamma or Thule-Omnistor wind-out awning fitted. These awnings have a C-profile channel at the front that can be used to connect an AirBeam awning. The profile is a slightly smaller diameter than standard awning rails so use a 6mm To 4mm Drive-Away Kit to connect and disconnect as above.

Use Figure of 8 Channel to connect onto J-rails as above.

Driving Away & Reconnecting

If you intend to drive out for the day in your Bus – it’s really important that you mark your parking position. A lot of VeeDubbers struggle with this part of drive-away awnings and it can be frustrating if you have to reverse backwards and forwards a dozen times to get back into position.

  1. Once you’ve pitched, tensioned you’re awning tunnel and done your final pegging, mark your position on the drivers side – there’s no excuse then for blaming your partners directions! 🙂 We just use a guyline pegged between wheel hub centres, position it a couple of inches out from the tyres. An illuminous or reflective guyline will make it easier to see in dim/dark light conditions.
  2. Loosen off front webbing straps and guylines then detach connection – cruise out of camp for the day in your 20th century design icon.
  3. To reconnect, wind down your window and drive back into position making sure that the pegs align with wheel hub centres.
  4. Re-attach the awning connection, peg the awning tunnel and then retension the front webbing straps and guylines.

The guyline marker also serves the purpose of marking your camping pitch… just in case someone thinks about parking or pitching too closely.

We hope this article has been useful.

The Funky Leisure Team

VW Camper Sun Canopy Awning Instructions: Connections, Set-Up and Top Tips   31 comments

VW T5 & Bay with VW Sun Canopy Awnings Attached

VW T5 & Bay with VW Sun Canopy Awnings Attached

Our versatile sun canopy awning can be quickly connected to almost all VW Transporters from a 60’s Split Screen through to the current Volkswagen T6. Depending on which VW Transporter model you own and whether you have an awning rail fitted, there are a few connection options and ways of attaching to a VW Campervan which we will explain in more detail below.

Basically the fabric on the van connection edge of our VW Camper Sun Canopy Awning has Kador strip beading, a pole sleeve and guyline tabs sewn into it to provide universal connection options to most Volkswagen vans.

VW Transporter Connection Options

VW T4/T5/T6 Transporters fitted with a C-profile type rail – the Debus VW Campervan Sun Canopy Awning has standard 6mm core Kador beading sewn into the rear connection edge, this will slide directly into a C-profile awning rail like our VW T4  VW T5 T6 C-Channel Awning Rail and VW T5/T6 C-Channel Awning Rail for Roof Bars which is fitted in the roof gully or a Reimo Multi-Rail which is fitted just above the door line at the edge of the roof.

VW Camper Sun Canopy Awning connected to VW T5 with C-channel awning rail fitted

VW Camper Sun Canopy Awning connected to VW T5 fitted with C-channel awning rail

Tip: When measuring Kador or Keder strip beading or C-channels, remember that the measurement used by the outdoor industry refers to the PVC core size – standard size Kador strip has 6mm core which has an overall size of 7mm.

VW Split, Bay, T3/T25 & Brazilian Transporters with a roof gutter rails – our VW Campervan Sun Canopy Awning also has a pole sleeve sewn into the rear connection edge for attaching via a Pole & Clamp connection Kit which is sold separately.  Just slide the pole through the pole sleeve and place into the roof gutter, secure at each end and in the middle cut-away with the 3 x pole clamps. Just hand tighten the wingnuts and angle them upwards slightly so doors can open and close without obstruction.

VW Camper Sun Canopy connected to Vw Bay via Pole & Clamp Kit

VW Camper Sun Canopy connected to VW Bay via Pole & Clamp Kit

Tip: The pole clamps have rubber sleeves to protect the paintwork on the underside of the roof gutter – some V-Dubbers who are very precious about bodywork even wrap gaffer tape around the pole to protect the inside of the gutter. Although we have never noted any damage to paintwork in almost 10 years of using this connection method on our Bay.

If you want to drive out for the day and leave the sun canopy awning freestanding, just undo the pole clamps and peg down the pole at each end to drive the van out of position. The awning be left like this with a single pole at the front for rainwater runoff or alternatively, once you’ve driven out you can peg via the connection edge guyline tabs.

Tip:  Mark the ground on the drivers-side with a positioning marker before you drive away to enable you to reposition your Dub correctly when you drive back and reconnect.

 

Figure of 8 hook onto a VW Bay roof gutter rail

Figure of 8 hooked onto a VW Bay roof gutter rail

VW Transporters with J-rail awning rail or 2 roof racks fitted – one side of Figure of 8 Awning Channel can be threaded onto the Kador strip beading sewn into the van connection edge and the other side of the Figure of 8 hooked over a J-rail. The Figure of 8 can also be cut to length with a hacksaw to hook onto a gutter rail in between and either side of roof racks.

Tip: The canopy fabric needs to be tensioned well via the guylines to keep the Figure of 8 Channel hooked onto the rail – it relies on this tension to stay attached.

 

VW Transporters without an awning rail or roof gutter rail – our sun canopy awning can also be attached by positioning the 3 x rear guylines over the van roof and pegging down on the opposite side.

Awning guyline tabs

Awning guyline tabs

This method can also be used to attach to campers with elevating roofs but without rails, just tie the middle guyline to the gas strut or scissor hinge and thread the corner guylines around the front and rear of the pop-top and over the roof – peg down as above.

Tip: If you’re tensioning guylines over your van roof and are worried about possible abrasion to the bodywork in windy conditions – use Guyline/Webbing Strap – Vehicle Paintwork Protectors or cut two thirds of the way through a tennis ball and thread on to the guyline to protect the paint, alternately place some soft cloth under the contact areas.

Basic Awning Connection & Set Up – 3 Poles

When you first take your new awning from the bag, loosen off the 3 x front and 2 x side guylines ready for tensioning.  If you don’t plan on using the awning in the freestanding drive-away configuration you may also want to untie and remove the rear connection edge guylines and stow them in the peg bag. Make up all 3 x upright poles and adjust them to the same length, lay these out roughly where the front of the awning will be (3 metres from the side of the van) with 3 x pegs and a mallet. The adjustable part of the pole is the end that goes through the eyelet.

Instructions:

VW Campervan Sun Canopy Awning - 3 Pole Set-up

VW Campervan Sun Canopy Awning – 3 Pole Set-up

1. With your side door closed connect the awning to your roof using one of the methods described above.

2. Pull out the front middle guyline tab and insert a pole through the eyelet, position the pole straight upright with the fabric taught and gently push the bottom pole spike into the ground – peg the guyline out straight from the vehicle.

3. Pull out each front corner guyline tab and repeat as above pegging at about a 45 degree angle to the van.

4. You can now peg both side guylines, they only have to be tensioned very slightly in the 3 x pole set up to keep the shape. Check the tension on the front guylines – now grab yourself a beer and chill!

Important – Single Pole Ridge Shape Configuration

It is very important to set-up the canopy with just a single pole in the front middle eyelet and the 2 x front corner and 2 x side guylines tensioned to form a ridge shape at the front.

VW T5 with canopy set up in single pole ridge shape

VW T5 with canopy set up in single pole ridge shape

This ridge shape will allow rainwater runoff at each side of the canopy and is very stable in strong winds. It’s only takes a couple of minutes to loosen off each front corner guyline, remove the corner poles  and re-tension the guylines into this single pole ridge shape.

To avoid rainwater pooling and damage to the canopy fabric, always set the awning into this shape overnight and whenever you’re away from the van as you never know when there’s going to be a sudden downpour… and it’s Sod’s law it’ll be in the middle of the night or when you’ve just walked to the local pub.

Tip: When you remove the corner poles just stow them out of the way under the van for safe keeping – we lay them down the middle of the van so there’s no chance of running over them just in case you do forget that there.

*We have seen some cheap copies of our sun canopy on the market over the past couple of years.

Please note: We use a well-established (over 50yrs) UK camping equipment company to manufacturer our sun canopy awnings in their own factory – to maintain the excellent quality and ensure our products are made in a responsible way in a safe environment where workers are treated fairly.

Also, you get what you pay for!  If you’re considering buying a cheap copy of our original 3 poled waterproof canopy – check that it has the following features.

  • Strong Fire retardant 150 denier fabric
  • 30+ SPF sun protection
  • Height adjustable powder coated poles with quick adjust mechanism
  • Large 8 square metre design for maximum shelter
  • Waterproof to 3,000HH with fully taped seams
  • Pre-attached reflective guylines
  • Line-Lok Guyline Runners that lock securely, release simply and perform in all conditions
  • Heavy-duty rock pegs with luminous heads
  • Pictorial instructions sewn into carry bag
Awnings in single pole ridge shape

Awnings in single pole ridge shape


We hope you enjoy your Funky Leisure awning (which is now actually made by and branded by our sister company Debus) along with the freedom it offers to leave the side door open on your Bus and experience the sights, sounds and smells of nature during a summer shower – it’s your planet… go find it!

The Funky Leisure Team

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).

Summary

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.