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Drive Away Awnings: Poled vs Air Awnings, which wins?

August 14, 2019, Blog

Read as we explore the world of drive away awnings, outlining the pros and cons of the air vs traditional poled awning for your campervan or motorhome.

When it comes to buying a drive away awning, the choice of poled vs air awnings can easily confuse. Maybe, you’re considering jumping from the traditional poled awning to the new air beam technology. But, is the grass really greener? Or should you play it safe with what you know? It is not simple, both offer different features that may appeal.

However, a look at the differences between the two choices provides clear differences. Read more as we discuss these features, list some of our star buys in the drive away awning range & highlight top brands including Vango & Reimo.

Weight

The Vango Faros is our lightest drive away awning at just 9.7kg.

Awnings can be hefty, so have a clear idea what you are willing to carry to the back of your campervan or motorhome before you make your purchase.

Weight is probably the first place the differences between poled awnings vs air awnings become clear. Air awnings are generally considerably lighter than their poled counterparts, although most awnings are designed as lightweight as possible.

However, don't just assume the air awning is lighter. Fabrics, smart features & additional extras will also have a bearing on weight.

Air Awning- 5/5
Poled Awning- 4/5

Reliability & Durability

In extreme weather conditions, like high winds, poled awnings have been known to snap in some cases. Air Awnings, with the impressive air beam technology from Vango, are usually more flexible in these instances. However, there will also be more movement in air awnings than poles and poles are generally not difficult to replace.

Air beams on your awning can also be damaged with punctures on occasion, but this is usually well protected against and not too difficult to repair.

Did you know?

Although you can usually repair awnings yourself, Vango offer an aftercare service to repair anything from seam tapes to sticky zips thus, extending the life of your tent.  Find out more about the Vango air awning range in our buying guide.

Air Awning- 4/5
Poled Awning- 4/5

Price

Air Beam technology is still a faily recent introduction to the market. For that reason, you’ll most likely find poled awnings at a slightly lower price than air awnings.

Don't forget to look out for quality, durability and reliability. Vango offer ripstop fabric, a tension band system and array of smart additional features that means they are built to last.

Poled Awnings- 4/5
Air Awnings- 3/5

Pitching time

Vango Kela The Vango Kela V Low drive away awning's average pitching time is just 8 minutes!

This is where the air awning really comes into its own. With the air awning, you’ll only need one person. Instructions are clear; simply attach to your camper, pump, peg and you are done. Check out our Coventry showroom team pitching the Vango Kela in no time to see.

On the other side, poled awnings will involve a closer concentration on instructions to avoid annoying mistakes and delays. However, once you know what you are doing, pitching a tent is second nature.

Poled Awnings- 3/5
Air Awnings- 5/5

Star Buys

Poled Awnings

Reimo Tour Easy 3 or Reimo Tour Easy Compact – a great poled option for those looking to maximise their space. Suitable for campervans with a sliding door. Alternatively, the Tour Easy Compact is also suitable for mini campers.

 

Vango Faros Low Drive Away Poled Awning- The Vango Faros is brand-new to this years poled awning collection. Featuring Vango's Sentinel Active quality fabric ensuring a great compact pack size, the Faros is the ideal size for short breaks away without taking up valuable storage space.

Air Awnings

Westfield Drive Away AwningWestfield Aquila 320 Low Top Drive Away Air Awning- Built with two large scenic windows that give you the perfect outlook and allows an amazing amount of light inside. The canopies add style and cover to the permanent built-in ventilation.

 

Vango Kela V Low AirWay Drive Away Awning- Voted as one of the most popular drive away awnings, this is an excellent space to spend time with friends and family, the Vango Kela V drive away inflatable awning inflates in a few minutes leaving you with more time to enjoy your break.

 

Vango Galli Drive Away AwningVango Galli III Low AirWay Drive Away Awning or Vango Galli III Compact Low AirWay Drive Away Awning- The Vango Galli III Low AirAway Awning is ideal for anyone who wants a larger and more usable space on their outdoor holiday. The pre-angled beams mean there’s ample height throughout, and the option to add up to two inner tents means there’s great potential to create extra sleeping space.

 

View the Drive Away Awning Range

 

Who wins?

Poled Awning 15/20

Air Awning 17/20

When considering, pitching time, air beam technology and other qualities, the air awning just shades this one in our book. However, a lot of this will come down to personal preference. The most important factors for you, will depend on how you plan on using your awning.

The above is also just a general rule of thumb, air awnings & poled awnings come in all shapes and sizes, so they are worth directly comparing against each other. For some assistance be sure to email us with any questions and we’ll be happy to assist!

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