Tuesday, 16 June 2015

We buy an inflatable awning! Outdoor-Revolution Compact AirLite 340

We've spent rather a lot of money today - mostly at Teesside Caravans
Our new awning looking rather smart 
with a little at Go Outdoors too! No doubt you've all been on tenterhooks since the demise of our Towsure porch awning, eager to know with what we might replace it. No? Oh well, I'm going to write about it anyway!

Dave did all the research this time around. We considered another basic porch awning, a full-size awning, and a new-fangled inflatable awning. Our choice is limited by the odd door placement on the Bailey Orion which means that the back poles generally need to go right across the windows - which bow outwards - so the awning doesn't sit flush to the caravan side. A full awning would solve this, but they are generally heavy and look a faff to put up so Dave decided to focus on the new style inflatables. They don't have back poles - although we learned today that poles are an optional extra - and are supposed to be so quick to erect and dismantle that it would be easy for us to do this when strong winds are again forecast. Several companies now do versions but it is difficult to decide between them based on small photographs. Luckily, we are near a huge caravan shop and showroom, Teesside Caravans, which has awnings actually put up for customers to see. Dave measured outside Bailey and calculated that we could fit the mid-size 340cm Outdoor-Revolution models, gaining ourselves nearly a metre more space.

Standing inside our chosen Outdoor-Revolution Compact AirLite 340
And from the other side! 
allowed us to appreciate just how big it is! The fabric is much sturdier and I love the huge window panels. The doors are very wide with the option to have them all open or just half way.There are triangular 'sunroof' panels too so it feels light, and adaptable ventilation at the corners helps with airiness. The Awning Guy at Teesside was very helpful and happy to spend time explaining the features and also demonstrating how the air-filled pillars work. We got lucky as well because the shop has some factory seconds at £649 instead of the rrp of £749. The only fault is a little discolouration in places on the pale panels and all guarantees etc still stand. We talked about whether the marks would be irritating long term and decided, for the sake of £100, we could ignore them!

Having got our new awning home we discovered that the speedy putting
It came out, but will it ever go back in? 
up only actually applies to the main shell - which did go up within just a couple of minutes. What took absolutely ages, although should be a breeze once we get the hang of it, is pegging down the back pads so that they don't gape away from the caravan sides. It took us several attempts to work out exactly which strap is the best in which direction. Also, we hadn't fully considered that putting the awning over far enough to allow Bailey's door to rest in its catch means the awning end is just into the awning rail's downward curve. So one of our inflatable poles is at a screwy angle, making the gaping side even trickier to overcome. I think next time we put it up, we will move a foot or so further towards the back. The door won't then open all the way, but that's not really a problem and the awning pole should then be straight. The two inflatable bracing poles are far easier to use than their metal counterparts and only need one person to install them. Unfortunately one of ours keeps going flat so we think it must have a puncture or a dodgy seam. Dave is going to try and find the fault later, but we might need to take it back to swap for a good one. On the whole though, we are happy with our new awning and know from experience that we will learn its tricks and short cuts! And I am sure we entertained the other campers here for a while!

Teesside Caravans is only about five miles from a branch of my new
Super comfy trews 
favourite shop, Go Outdoors. It was such hassle to find a pair of convertable trousers that I liked that, now adoring my super-comfortable HiGear Nebraska ones, I thought I should buy and stash a second pair for when the first ones wear out. I also wanted new walking poles as the joints are shot in mine and they keep telescoping at inopportune moments! A timely email from the Camping and Caravanning Club had announced a new discount of 10% for members at Go Outdoors too. It only applies to the Discount Card price so you have to already have a Go Outdoors Discount Card, and isn't added on sale items. I got an extra £1.59 off my trousers bringing them down to £14.40, but the HiGear Walker poles I chose were already on special at a pair for a tenner. They are a little heavier than my knackered pair - which should mean extra anti-bingo-wing exercise! - and have antishock which the TrekRites didn't. I'm looking forward to trying them out on our next walk sometime soon.


  1. One year on and, of course, two weeks after the 1 year warranty is finished(!) we're starting to have problems with this awning falling apart. All the guy ropes have disintegrated and snapped within the last week and a medium-strong wind today has resulted in one of the lower eyelet straps tearing from its inflatable pole. Have contacted Outdoor Revolution and are now waiting to learn their response.

    1. Hi Stephanie,

      I have just come across your blog and i am sorry to hear that you are having problems with your awning. Did anything get sorted? If not email cs@blue-diamond-products.co.uk and we will gladly help.

    2. Thank you, but I spoke to one of your representatives by phone several months ago and, on learning the awning was just past the warranty date, he bluntly told me that the 'issue was out of his hands'. He had no interest in helping us and apparently you have no in-house repair procedure for customers, even though I did accept the warranty aspect and had been prepared to pay. The best he would offer was the phone number of your preferred repairer who I then called. That company however told me that they don't stock the genuine Outdoor Revolution part so we'd have to make do with whatever they could find that matched most closely. And pay £70 for the privilege.
      Calling back to yourselves to arrange an authentic replacement part resulted in me being laughed at because you would 'need to send to China' for it. I found it hard to believe that you don't stock spare parts in the UK, especially considering the price of your awnings. Consequently I am still left with a damaged awning and bitter disappointment at your company.