Archive for the ‘Split’ Tag

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.