Archive for the ‘VW Type 2’ Tag

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  The Kela III XL has basically superceded the Sapera model from previous seasons and has the same floor dimensions.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The Kela III Deluxe 310 comes with zip off front sun canopy and a porch over the side door, and this model has superceded last season’s Attar awning.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.

 

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.