Outwell Caravan Awning Review 2018
New for 2018, the Tide is an air-framed porch that inflates in just four minutes
By Val Chapman Photos by Richard Chapman
Outwell Tide 380SA ❙ £1099.99
Hailing from Denmark, the Tide forms part of Outwell's range of air-frame awnings called the Nordic Shore Collection. Models in the range have names that reflect the key elements and heritage of the Danish coast – Ripple, Amber (because this jewel-like, 30-million-year-old fir tree resin is washed onto the shingle shores amid the seaweed) and Tide.
There are four sizes in the Tide range. I put the 380SA through its paces. SA stands for 'Smart Air', so called because, until this new range was created, Outwell's air awning tubes were inflated individually.
Awnings in the Nordic Shore Collection, however, have linked tubes and are inflated from a single point, which makes the process easier.
We start by feeding the cord into the awning rail of a 2018 Bailey Unicorn Seville. Tide models come with a manual pump.
It's perfectly possible to inflate this porch manually, as I quickly discovered. But Outwell is keen for me to experience the lazy way – a 12volt electric pump that means you can flick a switch, stand back and watch your Tide rise – literally!
We move our SsangYong Rexton close to the awning and connect the pump to the car's interior power source. We watch the tubes inflate and the Tide begins to rise. I give it a helping hand by getting hold of the corners and easing them outwards to allow the air to rush in freely.
In four minutes the porch is four square. We disconnect the car and move it out of the way to continue the build. Straight away we notice two defining features of the Tide: firstly, its smart, dark blue panels; and, secondly, its front shape, reminiscent of a traditional peaked awning shape but softer, rounder and obviously air-framed.
We anchor the caravan side with triangular sections of fabric, which distribute the pegging tension between two pegs. These triangular sections are attached to webbing straps which run down the thick caravan-side pads.
This feature gives the Tide its strength and rigidity against high winds.
Watch the build sequence!
Soft to touch
The Tide is made of a fabric that feels soft, rather like traditional tent canvas, yet is actually a high-quality polyester. The key factor here is during the yarn-making process the fibres are blown through a nozzle to bulk it out.
This process gives the fabric its soft texture, yet it's also strong – we had noticed this as we were tugging it with some strength in the course of feeding the cord into the caravan's awning rail.
We clip the webbing guy-lines to the front corner triangular anchor points, peg the sides down and begin to explore the finer points. Outwell has a brilliant system for ensuring your porch is level on uneven ground: you can buy small inflatable discs – 4cm deep – which sit under the legs, to raise them.
You can use one, or two depending on the gradient. They fit into a pocket on the base of the legs, to ensure they stay in position, and secure firmly with a strap. They're £19.99 for a pack of four.
The whole porch front zips out and so do the sides. This means you can use your Tide as a gazebo-style roof shelter, or can remove one or more panels to tailor the opening to suit your needs, of privacy, light, view and shelter against the breeze.
Storage pockets are built in, on each side of the porch; each has five pouches. Curtains are zipped all around the window so that you can partially or fully open them according to how much privacy you want. They're made of fine polyester and have a seaweed pattern, reflecting the seashore theme of the range.
The Tide 380 gives you a space that's 3.8m long and 3m deep. It comes with a caravan-side draught skirt that has built-in storage pockets. Everything about this porch feels and looks high quality. It's smart and neat.
And when we came to deflate and pack it up we noticed something else to like: the bag is huge, which means rolling it up and packing it away is easy.
For just over £1000 you expect a sizeable, quality porch. The Tide 380 gives you just that. We love the height-adjustable discs, even though you have to pay an extra £20 to get them; well worth it in our opinion.
We also like the option of being able to buy a 12-volt pump (£79,99) if you'd rather not do the job manually.
Outwell Air Awning Range
Scandi Cool & Quality
The two new ranges of Outwell air awnings have stunning smooth lines and names inspired by nature for laid-back living, according to the Danish manufacturer.
Nordic Shore Collection
Amber, Tide and Ripple form the Nordic Shore Collection. These porches are made of Outwell's treated, embossed Outtex 6000 HD durable polyester, which has a dense weave, producing a soft, canvas-like feel in a strong, durable fabric.
Outwell's Advanced Air Tube System has what the company calls 'One-go' inflation – that means there is one inflation point; the tubes are inter-connected.
The range has a pole-free seal system to prevent draughts where the awning meets the caravan; an integral padded beam is held against the caravan side by an adjustable tape pegged at the base and tensioned.
Outwell's Pebble Collection awnings are made of lighter Outtex 300HD fabric; it's embossed polyester fabric. The Pebble design shares Outwell's pole-free caravan-side seal system with the Nordic Shore Collection.
The Pebble range has sailboat-inspired window shapes. Its curtains have a subtle sand ripple pattern designed to evoke a feeling of freedom. One other feature includes zip-off panels to open the awning and enjoy fine weather.
- Amber 300 SA £1299.99
- Amber 350 SA £1449.99
- Tide 320 SA £999.99
- Tide 380 SA £1099.99
- Tide 440 SA £1249.99
- Tide 500 SA £1379.99
- Ripple 320 SA £949.99
- Ripple 380 SA £1049.99
- Pebble 300 A
Both collections have a variety of options. These include:
- Interior roof liners.
- Height-adjustable discs to level an awning.
- Zip-on annexes for Amber, Tide and Pebble awnings.
- Inner dividers to create privacy and storage areas for Tide models.
- Clip-on Sailshades to add sun protection to the front of the awning.
- Mesh wall panels for bug-free ventilation and entry in Pebble models.
- Continental Carpet, these are hard-wearing, soft-weave and easy-clean.