Practical Motorhome's windbreaks test found a clear winner – here's why the Coleman Windshield XL is the best windbreak for holidays in the UK and abroad
Touring the coast and countryside of Britain and the Continent in comfort is one of the delights of motorhome ownership. It's surprising how quickly we become more hardy as we get acclimatised to the varying temperatures outdoors. And after all, we can always jump back inside the 'van and shelter from the elements any time we want, all year round.
There is nothing more delicious than eating your bacon and eggs for breakfast al fresco, just so long as the wind doesn't blow the toast away!
For those days when the breeze is a bit chilly it's great to have a light windbreak that packs down small enough to fit in the motorhome locker with your folding chairs.
If you have children or dogs, windbreaks make a fantastic fence to let the smaller members of your entourage know where the boundaries lie. Even adults touring together find windbreaks handy to mark out a little area of privacy – and mark the pitch on a campsite so that it's clear you'll be returning at the end of the day to 'your' pitch!
We tested a batch of windbreaks to find out which are the best accessories to take on motorhome holidays. We wanted to know if there were any windbreaks that would withstand really high winds? Sadly the answer is no – they're generally designed for moderate breezes.
We checked the material strength and stability of all the windbreaks and also factored in such practical considerations as the storage space needed to pack it on board, the weight out of your payload and whether it could be attached to a driveaway awning or directly to your motorhome.
We were surprised to find that some windbreaks are designed to let the breeze come whistling in around your feet. Thick socks and boots are one solution to this ground level gap – but it's hardly ideal, since any children or pets will take it as an unofficial exit route. Give them an inch and they'll take a country mile!
We like windbreaks that come with window panels, too, since you get all the privacy and shelter you need around your portable barbecue, camping chairs and table with coolbox full of drinks, plus a lovely view if there is one available from your pitch.
Guy ropes are a fantastic addition to modern windbreaks and we like it when there are two per post, even better if they're supplied ready-attached to the windbreak with some tough webbing. When the wind keeps changing its mind and blows in many directions in the course of a few hours, we've found that a tensioned single line will only hold a post up vertically when the wind is against it, but will tend to slump towards the line when the breeze dies down. If there are two lines per pole, we've found that this will keep it vertical at all times, whichever way the wind blows.
We tested the Coleman Windshield XL, Kampa Break, Outwell Premium Round Windscreen, Easy Camp Surf, Kampa Deluxe Windbreak, SunnCamp Windjammer, Vango 5 Pole Windbreak, Halfords Urban Escape Camping, Trespass Windbreak, Quest 7 Pole Family Windbreak and Vango Adventure Windbreak.
Here's what we thought of the Coleman Windshield XL, priced at £49.99 at the time of our test.
This windbreak is massive, measuring 7.5m long by 1.65m high. Yet it will fit into a motorhome locker, because it folds down into a bag that is just 70cm x 15cm x 15cm. It's not too hefty for your 'van's payload, either, because it weighs just 3.8kg. The secret weapon in developing such a lightweight windbreak is that the poles are made of glass fibre, not steel. This is a good material for pole stability, too, because they will flex in the stronger winds, absorbing much of the force. This takes some of the strain away from the sheet material and the guy ropes. We like having two guy lines per pole, but there is one snag, in that if you place the lines at too steep an angle, the poles may flex too much.
|Size||7.5cm long and 1.65cm high|
|Packed size||70cm x 15cm x 15cm|
|Guy ropes||14 pre-attached lines with pegs|
|Fabric||185T Polyester with taped seams|
We'd definitely give the Coleman Windshield XL space in the motorhome locker. It's a useful and versatile addition to anyone's touring kit. Having tested 14 windbreaks in total, we've made this the overall Practical Motorhome windbreak test winner.
- Great as a pitch marker
- There's a window
- Fits snugly to the ground
- Flexing poles prevent tears in the fabric
- Well made
- Poles may bend too much
- Visually unexciting