Nick Harding

See other accessory reviews written by Nick Harding

Top tent maker Vango continues to blaze a trail with its inflatable drive-away motorhome awnings – we try out the Cruz Tall to see how it performs

Overview

The Vango Cruz drive-away awning is a new inflatable model for 2017 that comes in three sizes: Low, Standard and Tall.

By sizes, we mean fixing heights – they’re 180-210cm, 205-235cm and 230-295cm respectively. Here we are testing the Tall variant, attaching it to the rail on the wind-out canopy of a Bessacarr coachbuilt.

Vango has taken the drive-away motorhome awnings sector by the throat, thanks to its AirAway technology: it also appears on the Galli (introduced last season), Kela and Idris ranges.

Indeed, you can think of the Cruz as an alternative version of top-seller Kela, only with a front on it – which means a lot more living space.

As ever with such awnings, putting them up is pretty straightforward, made even easier by the higher-set points for attaching the footpump.

Once inflated, it’s the usual pegging-out task, although Vango wins extra points for supplying rock pegs as standard.

The main uprights are pre-angled, too, which means there’s just that bit more headroom inside.

And, as with any inflatable design, it will prove incredibly resilient in harsh weather. Storm straps provide further reassurance.

The main fabric is Vango’s tried-and-trusted Sentinel 420D double ripstop (its interwoven threads mean it won’t rip if you snag it), with a highly water-resistant hydrostatic head rating of 6000mm. All seams are taped to reduce any chance of leaks.

The sewn-in groundsheet is made of hefty Oxford polyester. It’s meant to keep the awning draught- and bug-free, so it’s not the breathable type you’d expect in awnings designed to spend weeks or more in position.

That’s also in keeping with the motorhome lifestyle – but, if you are considering longer-term pitching of such a unit, check with the site owner first.

A decent level of ventilation is assured by high- and low-level panels. There’s a relatively large window area, too, with zip-down curtains.

Vango isn’t afraid to borrow from its long tent heritage for other Cruz features – ranging from lantern-hanging points to its own Line-Lok guyline runners, adjustable pegging points and more.

What are the key selling points of this product, if you’re looking at a range of motorhome awnings? It comes with pre-angled beams, a sewn-in groundsheet, a pre-attached 6mm kador strip (248cm), storm straps, high-vis guylines, zip curtains, rock pegs, an external storm skirt and a double-action pump.

Available options include drive-away kits (£25-£32), pole and clamp attachment (£15), carpet (£55), footprint (£37.50), bedroom inner (£55), spare attachment and storm straps (£8) and steel king poles (£22).

Technical specs

Weight22.15kg
Dimensions (W x D)320cm x 420cm
Fixing height230cm-295cm
Pack size78cm x 41cm x 47cm
AccessSide door, front door

Verdict

This is an ideal inflatable awning for either a coachbuilt motorhome or a camper van – we think Vango has pitched the Cruz just right.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Overall design and quality
  • Rock pegs come as standard

Cons

  • The roof might be too light in colour for some
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