23/09/2018
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Awning Review: Prima Deluxe Infinity

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This new inflatable porch creates an extraordinary feeling of light and space thanks to its triple skylights, big windows and three-metre depth

Words: Val Chapman Photos: Richard Chapman

The Prima Deluxe Infinity is the latest air porch awning from Prima Leisure. This new model comes in three lengths: 2.6m, 3.9m and 4.2m; all are three metres deep.

The Infinity is an evolution of the Prima Deluxe range of two porches (260 and 390); Prima tells us the Infinity was developed from feedback since the company launched its first awnings in 2017; bigger awnings are wanted! A key factor is that, if buyers want to go for the shorter awning, the 260, to suit a small caravan, they still get significant space from the depth.

We're building the mid-sized 390 model.

Its fabric is a nylon-polyester mix called Oxford polyester, 300 denier and designed to be durable.

We lay out all the components, including the carbon fibre caravan-side poles that will hold the pads securely in place to prevent draughts.

Inside the Prima Deluxe Infinity air awning

Attaching the awning

We begin to ease the awning's cord into the channel of our long-term-test Bailey Unicorn Barcelona and notice a robust plastic clip is incorporated into each end of the cord. That's for us to attach one of the bright green storm straps that comes with the awning – which we then used to pull the awning through the rail, making the task easier.

The idea of having clips on both ends is that, once the cord is in the rail, you can attach a storm strap to the other end and use it to adjust the position of the awning so it 's correct in terms of the caravan's door and windows.

It's quickly obvious that the 390 size is perfect for the Barcelona; its front end sits between the door and the front side window and the other end almost reaches the rear of the caravan.

Inflating the awning

The tugging work done, I grab the pump (supplied with the awning) and become enthusiastic about getting on with the inflation, ready to watch the porch rise like a hot air balloon. But Talitha Burnett and Filippos Voulpiotis from the Prima team, who have joined us for the build day, calm my eagerness and divert my attention to the carbon fibre poles.

Buyers don't have to use these, they point out – but they are provided to enhance draught exclusion, so why wouldn't you?

"We recommend that, if you are using the rear poles, you insert them before you inflate, because it is much more difficult afterwards; the pocket into which the poles go is easier to access while the awning is deflated," Talitha explains.

The tops of the poles have flattened sections which slide into the pockets. The carbon fibre is light and easy to handle, and the poles are height-adjustable for uneven ground. We also notice the feet have two peg holes for extra security in high winds.

We attach the poles to the awning's caravan-side pad with plastic clips. Now I can get on with the spectacular task of inflating the Infinity.

A 'Flexi-Inflation System', patented by Prima, allows you to choose to inflate from one inflation point or four. Which is better? I enquire.

"It's quicker to use just one," Talitha tells me.

We'll go for that. In a little over two minutes – and it's not hard work – the gauge on the pump tells me the frame is fully inflated.

It's a huge porch, with six inflated intermediate struts to support the structure between the inflated poles. The fabric feels robust and the whole structure appears rigid.

We begin to explore the versatility of the Infinity and discover the intermediate struts can be moved from roof height down to waist height, halfway down the windows. You can then fold the windows down over the struts to create extra ventilation.

It's a good-weather day, so we opt for that. You can do it with all the apertures including the side doors. Or you can take all the doors out and use the porch as a sun canopy.

We stand back and realise the skylights and big windows create a feeling of light and space. Time to assess the details. Thick pads behind the main roof struts protect the caravan side.

Night vision

Reflective strips around the doors and reflective threads in the guy lines and storm tie-down straps make sure they will be easily seen after dark. An awning skirt comes with the porch, as does a set of strong steel pegs. And there's a surprise. Infinity awnings come with a fitted, PVC groundsheet.

The three roof-lights are huge and half-moon-shaped, with zipped blinds which roll outwards so that any moisture from condensation will roll off them, rather than get trapped in the rolled blind.

When we deflate and pack away the Deluxe Infinity, we discover another feature: the bag is well over-sized, so stuffing the awning back into it isn't hard work.

Verdict

Many features mark out the awning as unusual: among them are reflective strips, carbon fibre caravan-side poles, built-in pads to protect the caravan side where the main structure sits, clips at each end of the cord so you can pull it through the rail using a guy line – and it

comes with a fitted groundsheet.

Plus, at three metres deep, even the smallest of the three width-sizes gives plenty of space.

Facts

Size: 390 cm wide, 300 cm deep
Fabric: 300-denier Oxford polyester
Weight: 34.5 kg total

Prima Leisure is a sister company of Bailey. Its base is Unit 600, The Quadrant, Ash Ridge Road, Bristol BS32 4QA, where awnings and accessories are on display. Prima's range is also at caravan retailers all over the country.

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