Practical Motorhome's expert tests the banana-shaped Easy Camp Surf and gives his verdict on one of the cheapest windbreaks for sale in the UK
If you're the kind of motorhome owner who likes to keep the wheels moving on holiday, exploring new places every day, you probably can't be bothered to put up a drive-away awning. Yet part of the joy of touring holidays is eating and drinking outside, firing up a portable barbecue, watching the sun go down over a lovely new landscape, or enjoying watersports and sunbathing on the beach. For those breezy days when just a bit of shelter is required, why not pack a neat little windbreak into one of your motorhome's lockers?
Windbreaks have undergone an fantastic evolution in recent years, and they're now being made and sold by some of the biggest brands in the world of outdoor equipment and camping accessories. The materials used and construction techniques have plenty in common with lightweight tents – and there's not a wooden pole in sight. If you haven't bought a windbreak for 20 years, you'll be pleasantly amazed by some of the latest versions – but some of them do command quite a high price.
We assembled 14 modern windbreaks on the Practical Motorhome camping accessories test bench and compared them carefully to find out which is best for motorhome holidays.
Starting with the most expensive, we tested the Quest Windshield Pro at £104.99, the Kampa Deluxe Windbreak at £89.98, the Outwell Premium Round Windscreen at £69.99, and the Vango 5 Pole Windbreak at £64.99.
In the middle price range, we tested the Kampa Break at £39.99, Coleman Windshield XL at £49.99, the Quest 7 Pole Family Windbreak at £49.99 and the Trespass Windbreak at £33.99.
Finally we looked at the budget ranges of windbreaks. We tested the Easy Camp Surf at £19.99 (pictured and reviewed here), the Halfords Urban Escape Camping at £20, the Vango Adventure Windbreak at £24.99, the SunnCamp Windjammer at £29.99 and Gelert Breeze Blocker at £24.99.
At just under £20, the banana-shaped (or U-shaped as the manufacturers call it) Easy Camp Surf is very cheap compared to other modern windbreaks. This is a very light product, weighing a mere 1.2kg. It packs down into its special bag and then measures just 69cm x 7cm. The fabric is 180T 100% PU coated polyester.
Anchoring any windbreak onto a sandy beach is tricky. But this strap-together, tensioned-glassfibre 7.9mm diameter pole structure is self-supporting and just needs fixing in place. Sounds good? Yes, but that involves making a pretty big assumption – that you have actually managed to build it in the first place!
Whereas most tents and awnings use pull-straps to tension the poles, some serious strength, and two people, are needed to form this natty little windbreak. It is 400cm wide, which goes down to 310cm width when it's tensioned by its single cord from point to point. However, its low height (70cm) provides only very limited protection from the elements. Mind you, if you've managed to put it up, you'll probably need a lie-down, and it's perfect for sunbathing!
The manufacturers point out that the low height means you can keep a better eye on your children if they're playing just beyond the windbreak. They should find it easy to spot if they get a little lost, too.
It's not the kind of windbreak to choose if you need to fence off your motorhome from the rest of the world to keep dogs and toddlers close to you on a campsite pitch. You could use it as a pitch-marker, but that's not really its forte. Aimed at seaside holidaymakers and watersports fans, the Easy Camp Surf's light weight and cheerful yellow, orange and blue design makes it an eye-catching and practical windbreak to take to the beach.
|Width||400cm curved to a 310cm opening|
|Fabric||180T 100% polyester PU coated|
|Poles||Fibreglass 7.9 mm|
|Pack size||69cm x 7cm|
If all you want is a lightweight windbreak to protect you on the beach, the Easy Camp Surf will do the job for just under £20. We'd prefer a taller windbreak, so we've awarded this product three stars.
- Easy to spot
- Sunny colours
- Light to carry
- Good for the beach
- Keeps sand out of a ground-level picnic
- The banana shape is fun
- Not a good dog barrier
- Only 70cm tall
- Tricky to assemble
- Won't cast much shade for fair-skinned sunbathers