Archive for the ‘camper’ 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

Vango AirBeam Drive-Away Awnings – Review of the New 2016 Range   4 comments

This review is a basic overview of the new 2016 Vango AirBeam Drive-Away Awning Range highlighting new features and updates. We have only highlighted the AirBeam (aka AirAway) models that we consider to be the most compatible with VW Transporters.

Vango Airbeam logo

Overview of New 2016 AirBeam Models         

Idris II and Kela III

The ever popular Idris and market leading Kela continue as the base models in the new AirBeam range and for 2016 have been renamed the Idris II and Kela III respectively. As with last season, they both have identical dimensions and the floorplan sizes are also the same as last year, although the maximum head height is now 230cm slightly lower by 3cm across the whole range.

Vango AirBeam Idris II - Low

Vango AirBeam Idris II – Low

 

 

Vango AirBeam Kela III - Low

Vango AirBeam Kela III – Low

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As with the first Idris, the Idris II is based on the Kela III but comes in a lighter fabric with a ‘linked-in’ (detachable) groundsheet, lighter/smaller pack size and a price tag £100 less than the Kela III. The Idris II now has connection tabs for an inner tent sleeping compartment if required. Both models are available in the new LOW connection height which we’ll discuss in more detail below.

Kela III XL and Kela III Deluxe 310

Vango have consolidated the 2016 AirBeam range around their bestselling awning by using the Kela as the base model (everybody recognises and knows the Kela now) and adding the Kela III XL and Kela III Deluxe 310.  Although this may seem slightly confusing at first, we’ll explain…

Vango AirBeam Kela III XL – Standard

Vango AirBeam Kela III XL – Standard

 

The Kela III XL is the extra-large version (the clues in the name) and has an additional main air-beam with bracer beam that offers extra living area. The Kela III XL is available in STANDARD height connection only.  The Kela III XL has basically superceded the Sapera model from previous seasons and has the same floor dimensions. If you own an earlier model Sapera, the Kela XL footprint and carpet will fit perfectly or if you upgrade to the new Kela XL you could use your existing footprint and carpet.

 

Vango AirBeam Kela III Deluxe 310 - Low

Vango AirBeam Kela III Deluxe 310 – Low

 

 

The Kela III Deluxe 310 comes with zip off front sun canopy and a porch over the side door, and this model has superceded last season’s Attar awning.  The Kela III Deluxe 310 has a slightly shorter connection width than last year’s Attar 380 which means it will now fit a SWB VW T4, T5 and T6 as well as LWB Transporters. The Kela III Deluxe 310 is available in LOW and STANDARD connection heights. We can still order in (with 2 or 3 days notice) the Deluxe 380 for any customers that prefer an extra wide awning. The Kela III Deluxe 380 is available in STANDARD height only.

 

Galli

The Galli AirBeam Awning is a completely new design from Vango and the flagship model of the 2016 range – we like it a lot! It’s Vango’s first drive-away awning design to run perpendicular to the vehicle which means that the front of the awning faces the same way as the front your uber-cool VeeDub… obviously this would be the reverse on LHD’s offering easy access to the rear tailgate/barn doors.

Vango AirBeam Galli

Vango AirBeam Galli

 

 

Vango AirBeam Galli - dimensions

Vango AirBeam Galli – dimensions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the front of the Galli is the main entrance door with integrated porch, perfect for sitting out and watching everybody run for cover in a summer shower and an instant shelter while you unzip the door if you return in wet weather.

The Galli is also the first drive-away awning from Vango that can accommodate two double sleeping compartments with the layout still offering easy access to the connection tunnel and a decent amount of living area.

Call into our Twickenham showroom to see a Vango Galli on display and either connected to our 79’ Bay or T5.

New AirBeam Awning Updates

New LOW Height Connection Option

Vango have been a bit slow to offer the option of a lower connection height awning tunnel but better late than never. This hasn’t really put off VW owners too much as AirBeam awnings have been embraced by the scene since they were first introduced. It is possible to get a Standard connection tunnel nice and taught on a Transporter, it just takes a bit of practice.

Although Vango’s new LOW height connection is 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 set-out the awning properly in the first place. Watch this blog page for tips on setting up an AirBeam drive-away awning – coming soon

New Fabrics

Vango have drawn on their 50 years of tent manufacturing experience and created new Sentinel high quality fabrics for their 2016 AirBeam awnings.  The Idris II uses Sentinel Active 70 in its construction which is a 70 denier polyester combining strength to weight to provide a compact pack size.

All other awnings in the AirBeam range are now manufactured using Sentinel Pro 420 – an incredibly strong 420 denier double rip-stop fabric that will withstand all weathers. This high-density base fabric combined with high tech coatings ensure AirBeam awnings are durable, fully waterproof and will have a long life.

New Colours                                                                                  

The Idris II now comes in a cool Sky Blue colour with Black detailing with the rest of the collection finished in a much lighter Cloud Grey/Black colourway.

New Universal Sleeping Compartment

Bedroom inner tents aren’t included as standard with the 2016 range and they are now an optional extra. We can understand why Vango have done this as in past years many of our customers have bought AirBeam awnings for just living/storage space and the bedroom was surplus to requirements. The new universal double bedroom fits all 2016 models and is reversible.

AirSpeed Valve System

Vango have improved their AirSpeed Valve System by tweeking the pump adaptor slightly to make inflation 30% more efficient… which equates to 30% less effort or same effort and 30% faster inflation… yes, even faster!  We do have a few of these new adaptors to give away to any of our 2015 AirBeam customers who call in our shop.

TBS II                                                                                     

All 2016 AirBeam’s still have Vango’s patented Tension Band System (TBS) which is what makes them the most stable drive-away awning on the market.

Just email your address to info@funkyleisure.co.uk with the title AirBeam for a FREE 2016 Vango AirBeam Awning brochure and pricelist.

The FL Team

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.

 

VW Camper Sun Canopy Awning: Features   7 comments

Original Concept

The original idea of a lightweight sun canopy awning specifically designed for a VW campervan first came to us while on a 5 week road trip around Europe back in 2003. Our 3,500 mile tour took us through 12 countries (including principalities) in our trusty green 79’ Bay.

We didn’t mind too much putting up our drive-away awning when we stayed in one destination for a few days but found this a real drag to pitch when we were in one place for just a couple of days or overnight.

We were wild camping in the Camargue surrounded by brine lagoons full of flamingos when the VW Campervan Sun Canopy Awning was conceived. The Westy was hotting up inside and we just needed a bit of protection from the mid-morning sun to sit in the shade and eat… we decided then that the canopy needed to be simple, really quick to pitch and pack away… and most importantly, lightweight and compact enough to stow easily in the Bus.

Awnings at sunset

Awnings at sunset

Funky Design

The idea quickly snowballed and we started adding additional features… the fabric needed to be waterproof and the design should allow rainwater run off… the canopy needed to cover a large area to offer maximum shade and shelter… the poles needed to be height adjustable with a choice of eyelets so the awning could be set up in lots of different configurations.

On top of these neat features, instead of being just plain green or blue like all the other tents and awnings on the market at the time – the canopy fabric should stand out.

We developed the idea and a couple of years later started manufacturing and selling our first sun canopy awnings online at Funky Leisure.  The first awning fabric designs were a digitally printed blue Op Art design and our classic Sunflower design which we also offered as lightweight windbreaks and 3 man dome tents.

We have always tried to improve our awning design and the latest incarnation has all the original features plus added updates.

New Trapezoid Shape

New Trapezoid Shape

 

 

Trapezoid Shape – 9m² of Shade & Shelter

The new trapezium shaped canopy fabric has been extended to 3m depth with 3m length at the front edge with 2.4m length at the van connection edge offering a 9m square area of sun shade and shelter from rain.

Why trapezium? The 2.4m length connection edge makes attaching the awning to a SWB VW T4, T5 and T6 much simpler without to need to secure any excess loose material at the van edge. This length will also fit neatly onto the gutter rail of a VW Type 2 or Brazilian with a roof rack fitted.

 

 

Freestanding Drive-Away Canopy

VW Camper Sun Canopy Awning - freestanding

VW Camper Sun Canopy Awning – freestanding

The addition of the connection edge guyline tabs with extra guylines and pegs allows the canopy to be set up as a freestanding shelter. The awning can either be quickly pegged down at rear with a single pole at the front or second pole can be inserted into the rear middle floating eyelet to set the awning up in a ridge tent type style. This standalone feature allows camp furniture to be left under cover whilst you’re away from the campsite and also marks your pitch when you’re out for the day in your Bus.

The canopy is supplied with all guylines pre-attached and bundled but if you don’t plan on using the awning as a standalone shelter or find the rear guylines are in the way, they can just be untied and stowed in the peg bag.

If your canopy is connected via the Kador strip beading it will probably take two people to detach, one to hold the canopy fabric steady while the other one carefully drives the van out of position so the Kador can slide out of your C-channel awning rail. Please be very careful and don’t stand in front of the wheels if trying to carry out this manoeuvre as it’s easy to run over a foot… you’ll also find it really challenging (almost certainly ending in divorce) when you try to drive the van back into place whilst trying to thread the Kador beading back into the rail. We recommend using a 6mm to 6mm Drive-Away Kit.

Tip: Mark the ground on the drivers-side with a positioning marker before you drive away – we peg a tensioned guyline at each end an inch or two away from the edge of the tyre, put the pegs in in line with the wheel centre. This will enable you to reposition your Dub correctly when you drive back and attach with the drive-away kit.

Waterproof Fabric with Rainwater Run-Off

We recommend setting up the canopy with a single pole at front middle eyelet and the 2 x front corner and 2 x side guylines tensioned to form a ridge shape at the front. This ridge shape will allow rainwater runoff at each side of the canopy and is very stable in strong winds.  If you have the canopy set up with 3 x poles at the front, with a bit of practice, it only takes a couple of minutes to loosen the front corner guylines, remove the corner poles  and re-tension the guylines into this single pole shape.

Single pole ridge shape for rainwater runoff

Single pole ridge shape for rainwater runoff

With the Funky Leisure canopy set up in this ridge shape you’re able to leave the side door open on your Bus and carry on sitting outside experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of nature during a summer shower. We have even dragged our compact BBQ just under the front of the canopy and carried on cooking with beer in hand whilst other campervan doors are slamming shut and awnings are zipped closed.

*We strongly recommend setting the canopy in 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 sods law it’ll happen in the depths of the night or when you’ve just walked to the local pub or bar.

Tip: When you remove the corner poles just stow them out of the way under the van for safe keeping.

Compact pack size stows easily in a Bus

Compact pack size stows easily in a Bus

Additional Features

  • Supplied with 3 x height adjustable poles (175cm to 220cm) and with 6 x eyelets in the canopy fabric allows it to be set up in many different shapes either attached to the van or freestanding.
  • The pole sleeve is made from heavy-duty silicone coated fabric to allow the pole to slide in and out easily even when wet.
  • The hi-vis pre-attached guylines have reflective stitching sewn-in to pick up torch light
  • The canopy now comes with 8 x heavy-duty rock pegs as standard – these pegs are pretty much unbendable
  • The awning is stores neatly into a compact zipped carry bag with basic attachment and set-up instructions sewn-in – measuring just 75cm x 12cm Ø the packed awning takes up little space in a VW Transporter
  • The canopies are currently available in Brilliant Orange, Chianti Red, Azure Blue, Anthracite Grey, Forest Green and Sierra Yellow – we also have a Black canopy on the way for autumn 2018.

Please note: the Type 2 Pole & Clamp Connection Kit is no longer included as standard with our canopy and in now sold separately as an add-on item.  This is in response to feedback from many of our customers who already own a connection kit for their drive-away awning and customers with C-Channel type awning rails fitted. The kit can be added from the drop-down menu on the product pages for £9.99 (RRP £15.00)

Happy Road Trips – Adventure is out there!