Awning review: Outdoor Revolution Esprit 420
Outdoor Revolution Esprit 420
We're at the stage of life where we're not ready to change our caravan, but a bit more space for when the granddaughters are with us would be good.
So we decided to upgrade our air awning. We wanted more depth to accommodate up to seven people sat around the table, and room to store the paraphernalia that comes with three gorgeous little angels. Ha!
When I’m going to buy any new item, I like to check out all the options and I do ask lots of questions. If the salesperson can’t answer my queries they inevitably lose a sale. Not so at last year’s Malvern Caravan Show, where the knowledge and patience of Hayley Farmer, of Broad Lane Leisure, paid off and we placed our order for a 2018 Outdoor Revolution Esprit 420 Pro air awning.
Kim, my wife, liked the smooth lines of the airframe and the option of the Lumi-Lite uplighters. I liked the speedy inflation, the lifetime guarantee on the air tube and relief valve, and the extra 2.25m2 over our old awning. Now, I think the advent of the inflatable awning has done for caravanning domestic bliss what a busload of marriage-guidance counsellors could only dream of doing.
To take it a step further, while Mrs F is sorting everything inside the caravan, I shall be erecting the awning UNASSISTED! When the awning arrived, I decided I would do a trial run on my own. One cold and frosty morning, awning loaded in my Jeep, off I went to storage. I set up my phone to video proceedings
To start, and through lack of glasses, I had the pump on ‘suck’ instead of ‘blow’! Then the pump hoses pulled apart several times, totally deflating my efforts (they are now taped together). But, even after all this, the video timer revealed I had the awning up, and sides pegged, in just 15 minutes.
Down Dorset way for a fortnight in March, Mrs F in the van and me using the camera on timer, we achieved the same 15 minutes, awning up pegged down including guy ropes. Some tips. Firstly, if you have any, lubricate the awning rail with silicone spray.
Roll the awning out on the awning carpet and find the awning cord’s leading end. Then feed it into the rail and keep pushing up until it goes over the arch of the roof and holds in position by itself.
This awning has very strong tabs on each corner up near the rail. I assume these are for storm straps to be attached to awning rail stops. I use one of these and loop a long guy line through before feeding the piping into the rail. This makes it so easy to pull the awning along.
No more standing on the caravan step, over-reaching and tugging the awning. If there is any resistance, don’t force it; I've found it’s probably a kink in the piping at the rail opening. Go back, unfurl it and start pulling again.
When you have positioned the awning on the caravan where you want it, peg down the two inside corners. Then it’s all hands to the pump.
The Outdoor Revolution 420 Pro might be quite a bit bigger than my old awning, but it seemed so much quicker to inflate that I don’t think I’ll be needing an electric pump. So, the awning’s up and all pegged down. The ground drops a bit on the left, but I never worry with an air awning. They can cope with a bit of unevenness and their flexibility allows them to follow the contours of the ground easily.
I have dimmable awning lighting already fitted to the side of the caravan. Nevertheless, we were looking forward to trying out the Lumi-Lite uplighters and also the roof lining. But things didn’t quite go to plan.
The lighting works a treat, and the ambience created by the adjustment of the lighting is just fantastic. The roof lining, however, was another story. I had somehow purchased a 2017 lining, which was not going to fit the 2018 awning model. The bottom two toggles did not correspond to the toggle eyelet, so we were going to be without our awning roof lining for this holiday.
We came up with a solution. I tied a cord between two eyelets to pick up the third toggle and Kim cut strips from one of the material patches so thoughtfully provided in the awning repair kit. Using her ‘caravan essentials kit’ needle and thread, she created a tab on each side of the tube. That meant eight tabs in total. I must admit, I was very apprehensive at having a needle in such close proximity to a rubber air tube, but Kim did a grand job and we got to enjoy our very own chic ‘Arabian Night’ in the new awning
• Pro 800HD hard-wearing, 'traditional-feel' fabric
• Dura-Tech, single-inflation-point air tubes are quick
and easy to inflate/erect
• Dynamic Speed inflation valves
• Tinted windows to reduce glare and increase privacy
• Traditional draw-back curtains
• Phoenix mesh doors, made of self-repairing 'smart' mesh
• Total weight: 38.8kg
• Width: 420cm
• Depth: 310cm
• Front height: 180cm
• Rear height: 235cm
• Height range: 235cm to 250cm
• Pack size: 78 x 47 x 47cm