16/10/2009
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Awning test - Pyramid Corsican

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IF you want an inexpensive full awning with some impressive innovative features and fabric quality that belies its price, the Corsican is one to examine carefully.

It’s imported from China, made to specification devised by Pyramid Products in here the UK.

Fabric is acrylic. The frame is either steel or (lighter and slightly more expensive) alloy – and the first thing you notice when you open the bag of poles is that each is numbered.

That makes the build process easy – each number corresponds to a diagram. And, just in case you lose the paper diagram, there’s a duplicate, on durable fabric, sewn into the awning. That’s sensible!

So, Step One: lay out the poles according to the diagram. Step Two: get out the laptop, because this awning comes complete with a DVD of instructions. Not that you’ll need it, for the paper instructions are fine – but the DVD sets the whole process to music, so establishes a tone of leisure to the task.

Our test bypassed the laptop part – I played the DVD later just to check I’d built the awning according to the book...

Poles laid out according to their sections – middle sections are easily identifiable as they have three short corner bits attached; corner sections have two short poles attached... It’s these clearly identifiable parts, plus the numbered-pole system, that makes the build of the Corsican so easy.

pyramid awaning image from which caravanWith the awning rail fed into the caravan channel the next job is to put on the bracket pads. Five are necessary for the 1000cm awning I was testing. That’s one for each roof spar. Three roof spars are needed for smaller awning sizes.

They’re straightforward, robustly-made plastic affairs; you unscrew them by means of a turn-button until the aperture is wide enough for it to slip onto an inner rail that runs parallel with the main awning rail. Securing it in place is just a matter of turning a plastic screw toggle.

You then insert the hooked ends of the roof poles into the securing positions on the bracket pads.

In calm weather your best course now is to prop the central front pole at an angle to support the roof while you build the rest. If there’s a high wind, all the family needs to help to hold onto the fabric, as with any awning! No such weather challenges on the day of my test, though.

I liked the simplicity and ease of operation of the bracket pads and I liked even more the Corsican’s “quick release” pole clamps.

They are substantial, made of tough plastic with a lever that you simply snap down parallel to the pole when you’ve achieved the desired tension.

For the money this awning costs, the high quality of these clamps is a surprise. In case you find tensioning hard work, Pyramid has a £9.99 device to make tensioning even easier.

The next discovery I make about the Corsican underlines the value yet again. It’s the construction of the canopy support pole system. There are six poles, three to each side, and they slide into sleeves built into the canopy.

The function of these poles is all about tensioning – and, for sure, as soon as they’re in place, the awning takes on a taut appearance. With the build almost complete, it’s time to explore the finer features.

Top of the list (and a new feature for ’09 models) is a robust mesh vent. It’s a development from a non-slip matting product, PVC-based and very durable.

Pyramid awning imageThe plastic tensioning pegs have bungees already attached – these fix to plastic toggles in the awning.

You pull the bungee through its teeth on the peg and lock it by pushing it under the teeth... sounds complicated. It isn’t. This unique-to-Pyramid system is really quick and easy. When it’s windy you can tighten the awning still further by giving an additional tug.

For hard ground, Pyramid recommends metal pegs (£6.95 for five).

Another tempting extra is a veranda bar £9.95). That enables you to drop the front half way and loop it over the bar on good-weather days. The window has a strip of fabric across its centre that hides the veranda pole from view; that’s an example of the attention to detail that we liked about the Corsican. For the money, it’s an impressive piece of kit.

Our verdict:

As with caravans, you can spend relatively little on an awning or you can splash out on the most expensive. It all depends how often you’re going to use an awning and therefore how much it’s worth to you.

When you find an awning with a starting price of under £400 (that’s for a small caravan, of course) you realise that you don’t have to spend a lot to double your living space. When you also realise that this Corsican is well made, easy to assemble and appealing in looks, it’s an option that’s got to be considered.

Specification:

Price: £395 to £715
Depth: 2.4m
Fabric: Acrylic
Frame: Steel or alloy
Roof: Patterned polyester
Colours: Charcoal, burgundy, blue, green
Contact: Pyramid Products
Tel: 01623 754567
Web: www.pyramid-products.com

  • This awning test was first published in the September 2009 issue of Which Caravan.



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