Review: Kampa Rally Air Pro 260

By: Cameron Officer


Kampa’s range of inflatable awning systems should perhaps be labelled ‘Argument Mitigation Devices’. They’re easy to put up, endlessly modular and, without all those poles you usually have to wrangle, save on transit weight.

You’ve started out early to get to your holiday destination of choice. You’ve battled traffic, driven with fingers crossed on the wheel that the sun will stay shining and, finally, you’ve reached the campsite. Now to quickly set up and relax. Well, aside from the canvas and metal origami shouting match required to get that awning system erected, of course.

Untitled -1

In my experience, nothing ruins a tranquil setting quite like an argument generated by an awning that won’t behave itself. In an effort to ease into the holiday without any such speed bumps, inflatable awning systems make a lot of sense. They feature less in the way of set-up preparation, offer excellent UV and weather protection, and are endlessly modular, with accessories that allow them to grow as camping needs and dimensions change.

Kampa air awning systems meet all this criteria with a wide range of different styles, designed to suit both caravans and motorhomes of varying sizes. In a recent independent review of nine different styles of inflatable awning system, the UK brand’s products scored top in five of those nine categories, suggesting Kampa certainly knows its stuff. Mount Maunganui-based distributor, On The Way RV, has been retailing the Kampa range for around a year now. Demand has been steady from the moment the first consignment arrived, but as word has spread about the ease with which Kampa’s various systems can be set up, more and more On The Way RV customers have been specifying the awnings with their new motorhome or caravan purchase.

Untitled -2

There are three widths available.

In addition to the 260cm model we’re setting up today, you’ll also find 330cm and 390cm models suitable for longer vehicles, with L and XL specifications, too. Each model has a generously deep floor to suit and Kampa even makes breathable-weave cushioned carpet floor inserts for all models.

The Kampa system features some interesting details, such as taped seams, clever adjustable ground-pegs, zip-in mesh ventilation panels, privacy curtains—these are standard with every awning and slide into special integrated tracks in the awning walls—and ‘limpet’ suction clamps to help secure the side-flaps of the awning to the smooth sides of your caravan or motorhome.

Untitled -3

You can also buy an Air Annexe, which simply zips into the existing awning, giving you space for an extra couple of airbeds when the kids have a friend along or the grandkids come to stay. Or you could even use the Air Annexe to store those pushbikes and water toys away at night.

Also, you might be looking at our test caravan—a streamlined single-axle stunner from European manufacturer, Hobby—and are thinking: "Well that’s all fine and good, but my caravan doesn’t have slot seams along the roof like that one."

Never fear, On The Way RV have come up with an elegant solution and are able to retrofit tracks to match Kampa equipment. Mal and Alisha at On The Way RV say it isn’t just new caravan and campervan buyers opting for a Kampa awning. Plenty of customers with older models are enquiring about making their recreational set-up easier, too.

Untitled -1

The Kampa Rally Air Pro comes with a skirt to cover the underfloor area and wheels. Slide this into place and then just slip the awning into the top track and run it along to cover the desired wall space. You can zip the side panels in later, meaning you’re not trying to lift
a heavy full awning up over your head and into place.

Inflation is equally simple. The Kampa Rally Air Pro features one central inflation valve out the front, which is nicely accessible. When it comes time to move on, there are three deflation valves spread across each of the three main arms of
the frame.

Also, inside the awning are several isolation taps. If an air leak is detected, you’re able to isolate the air in individual sections of the framework. This means a patch repair can be applied without undermining the structural integrity of the rest of the awning, and you can continue to enjoy the great outdoors without needing to immediately pack up and head back to town to effect a more serious repair.

I was genuinely impressed with the awning system. Aside from its relative simplicity at set-up, another couple of pointers that you won’t find in the marketing literature struck me.

Firstly, I wasn’t expecting the ‘skeleton’ frame to be so rigid, but with just a minute spent on the handpump (or even less if you had a small electric pump), the central air cavities feel absolutely solid, like they’re filled with foam inserts rather than just
air. You can option in a storm kit, featuring extra tie-down points for added peace of mind if desired.

Secondly, while the large windows and skylights ensure the awning will stay nice and warm as the sun tracks towards the horizon, I was also impressed with how the Kampa system shuts out extra noise.

For our MCD photoshoot, we fetched up at a park alongside a busy thoroughfare. Step inside the awning though and that road noise is distinctly quieter. Maybe it has something to do with the heavy-duty Weathershield

Pro 300D material Kampa uses in the construction of its awning systems.
It’s designed to keep the weather out, but a happy by-product of that is that you’re guaranteed a quieter place to contemplate breakfast in the sun.

It’s also worth noting that the Weathershield Pro 300D material boasts extra UV protection.
Another benefit to the air awning is that you’re dispensing with all the poles that older awnings require. That saves on weight while in transit, not to mention mitigating a mind-melter moment on arrival as you inspect poles at arm’s length to figure out which one goes where.

The Kampa system really does make a lot of sense. Ahead of the coming summer camping season, it would pay to reconsider what your ‘outdoor room’ requirements are, and whether these inflatable ideas will work for you. 

For more details, visit on-the-way-rv.myshopify.com or call 07 574 9594.

Keep up to date with news by signing up to nzmcd.co.nz's free newsletter or by liking us on Facebook