Air awnings - For caravans and motorhomes

Air awnings are the new star of the awning industry and also at all camping fairs in Europe sice 2019. You can see more air awnings at every camping  expo and  there share is increasing. A few years ago, the inivative camper was laughed at and mocked when he appeared on a campsite with such an inflatable awning.  John Boyd Dunlop from England is regarded as the inventor of the pneumatic hose or tyre. He applied for a patent for the air-filled rubber tyre in 1888. In 1889 Edouard Michelin developed the exchangeable rubber tyre with air tube for bicycles. The guide is intended to give you an insight with background information and tips on the subject of air awnings and also serve as a purchase decision. We try to clarify some questions:

  • How did the idea of air awnings come about?
  • How stable is an air awning?
  • Advantages of an inflatable awning
  • How to inflate the awning
  • Sense of space in an air awning?
  • What happens if a leak occurs?

Air awnings - The idea

The worst thing about a camping holiday is undoubtedly the set up of the awning. Long journeys, which can take up to 20 hours, to the campsite are really demanding. After you have completed all the formalities and are heading towards the assigned camping pitch, the real fun just begins. Your camper is parked and the packing bags are cleared out.  Unexperienced campers report hours spent sorting poles and strap the awning to ensure stability.  To solve this problem, the caravan industry developed inflatable awnings several years ago. Vango was one of the pioneers in this field. In the beginning, however, there were some big and small problems. Starting with the tightness of the air hoses and the stability of the air tents. These problems are now history, as you could see recently at the Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf. With the market leaders like Dorema, Kampa, Dometic, Isabella, Westfield etc. now already 40% of the offered awnings consist of inflatable awnings with air tubes.

Storms and stability? Can an air tent withstand this?

The most common question asked by campers is stability. There are numerous videos on Youtube. Here you can clearly see that an air awning can also withstand a wind forces up to 12. Provided the tent is correctly harnessed. Here Safe Lock straps are very helpful. If a strong wind comes, the air tent just buckles and after the wind is gone, it returns to its original shape. No poles can bend or break. Snow or water sacks are no longer a problem. Snow slides down or you just shake one of the air hose awning once. Already no more snow is to be seen. Water sacks can't even form because the awning, if properly inflated, is always under tension, water runs off immediately and can therefore cause no damage.

What are the advantages of air awnings?

Imagine a 20 hour drive to a campsite in Spain or Croatia and then the awning with poles has to be set up. Anyone who has ever been to a campsite has certainly noticed how quickly the neighbour has inflated his air awning. Construction times of 5-10 minutes are not uncommon for experienced air campers. Inflate the tent into the keder bar, relax and enjoy a drink or two. Anyone who has ever handled heavy steel tubes knows the advantage. The sorting of linkages in air tube awnings is also a thing of the past. If you think of the weight, which is limited as every professional camper knows, the inflatable awnings are the clear winners. Even camping beginners have set up such an awning in no time. Just when many campers are about to make a purchase decision and change, most should decide to buy an Dorema air awning.

How is an air tent inflated?

There are 2 ways to inflate air awnings. You can choose between an air pump or a electric pump. Depending on the manufacturer or system, such an awning consists of several chambers that are connected or of individual chambers. Each system has its advantages. If the chambers are connected, you have one or two valves that you can inflate. A system with several air hoses is either inflated individually or they are coupled with a connector and pumped up centrally. Valves are inside or outside, depending on the manufacturer and design. With a hand pump 15 - 30 pumps are necessary to pump up a long air bar. 5-10 strokes for a small air hose.  The cross struts can be inflated before and increase the lateral stability additionally. Whether compressor or double stroke pump, this is up to you and has something to do with comfort. Sporty campers take the hand pump. the comfortable ones take an electric pump, which ideally should have a connection for 220V/110V/12V and a battery. Here you will find the best electric air pumps.

What is the sense of space in an air awning like?

Due to the construction of the tents, you always need a slightly larger floor area than with an awning with poles. This is due to the semicircular shape. Newer constructions like the Dorema Maribor Air All Season (Known in the UK under Air Daytona All Season or in the Netherlands under Monaco Air All Season) or the Horizion Air All Season look like normal awnings and that is also their advantage. They no longer differ from conventional awnings, neither indside nor outside. These fully retractable air tents were the first Dorema air awnings with circumferential dimensions. Thanks to the new design, there is now automatically more space than in the semicircular air awnings. A depth of 240 cm should be sufficient for an air tent. A width of 290 cm is sufficient for 1 table and 2 chairs. If you are camping with a family, you need more space, of course. Sizes with a width of 390 cm or more are recommended. There is room for a table and at least 4 chairs. There are also numerous models with annex, here you can gain additional space, for example to create a sleeping cabin or storage space for e-bicycles or a kitchen.  The Dorema Magnum Air Force air awning with its inflatable AddEx extensions is a really spacy solution.

What happens if a leak occurs?

There are 2 ways to solve this problem. The old fashioned way, similar to a bycicle repair kit. Here the repair kit for air frame tubes Tear Aid B is highly recommended. The comfortable camper, however, has 1 x replacement per air tube. The extra air struts come in handy and are very practical in the case of a leak. You simply remove the broken air tubes. Depending on the pole you either put the uninflated poles into position or pump them up beforehand. Tip: With extra air frame tubes you get additional stability! And with some awnings you can achieve the veranda effect. For that, you just fold down the front awning doors / walls.

Conclusion of Vorzlte-Profis: Air awnings are here to stay in the camping market. At VORZELTE PROFIS you can order air awnings online. Numerous payment methods are available for online purchases. The following points are a clear purchase recommendation for inflatable awnings:

  • Fast Set up time
  • Easy to transport due to lower weight
  • Simple construction
  • Stable construction (up to storm force 12)
  • No tubes
  • Fast set up time
  • Perfect for short-term and season campers
  • Perfect even in winter

Further air awnings can be found in our category motorhome awnings.