The Kampa Touring Air is a drive-away awning designed for VW campervans. We review this popular choice and what we like about it, as well as a few niggles.
When we chose a VW campervan as our motorhome of choice, we knew we would we weren’t buying an all-in-one solution.
This may not be the case for everyone but for us, as a family of four, we were aware we would need dry space outside of the campervan if we were all sleeping in it overnight.
We battled with the question of how big an awning to buy. Would a four-berth drive-away awning be too big? Should we get something that just adds a small room to our van? Which is the best drive-away campervan awning? There are so many to choose from.
In the end, we chose to get a full-size four-berth drive-away awning as we felt it would offer us the most value overall.
There is a good range of drive-away awnings on the market, but after much consideration, we settled on the Kampa Touring Air drive-away awning. Also known by the unwieldy name Kampa Travel Pod Touring Air, it is made specifically for VW campervans and comes in two models – standard and Classic.
Read on to learn why we choose this specific drive-away awning over and above other market leaders and what we think of it now having used it for a couple of years. Was it the right choice?
- What is a drive-away awning?
- The benefits of a drive-away awning
- Kampa Touring Air vs Vango Galli III
- Kampa Touring Air vs Kampa Touring Air Classic
- Layout of the Kampa Touring Air
- Accessories for the Kampa Touring Air Drive Away Awning
- Pros and Cons of the Kampa Touring Air
- Are we happy with the Kampa Touring Air drive-away awning?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is a drive-away awning?
A drive-away awning is essentially a tent, but one with an additional cowl which attaches to your vehicle.
In our case, we have a VW California Ocean and we connect the cowl or tunnel area of the awning to our wind-out awning rail above the side sliding door.
The most secure and weatherproof way to connect the awning is with a drive-away awning fixing kit. This includes figure 8 plastic strips which slide on to the kador strip – the thick edge along the edge of the tunnel opening, and a separate kador strip which connects between the figure 8 pieces and the awning rail on the vehicle.
If you have unwound the wind out awning a little to help with accessing the rail, it can be wound back in until the tunnel or cowl is taut.
Once attached, you now have a handy walkthrough straight into your vehicle. Keeps the rain off, the wind out and offers privacy
If you want to leave for the day, it is easy to pull the plastic figure of 8 strips out of the awning rail and store inside the awning until you return. The cowl can be toggled away so it doesn’t flap in the wind all day.
There are other methods to create the tunnel walkthrough to your vehicle. These include guying the cowl over the van and pegging to the ground on the other side, using magnetic attachment points on the van body, and a pole and clamp kit.
The benefits of a drive-away awning
Like it or not, when you are away for a trip you are going to be carrying a lot of gear. If you are touring then it is a huge advantage to be able to leave the equipment you don’t need behind for the day.
This means bedding, clothes and excess shoes can be left at camp rather than touring the countryside with you.
Having somewhere to stash excess equipment is also handy at night if you are sleeping in your vehicle.
If you have children you’ll know car seats are bulky and take up precious room and there’s only so much space left in the boot once the bed is down.
It’s also preferable to leave shoes and beach gear out of the campervan if you are sleeping in there at night.
In our case, we are a family of four and the gear we take stacks up quickly. If we are sleeping overnight in the campervan we have to use an awning to put our extra gear. Either our Comfortz Awning Kit (adds sides on to the wind-out awning), or for longer stays the Kampa Touring Air Driveaway awning.
Kampa Touring Air vs Vango Galli III
Having decided we would like to buy a four-berth awning, we managed to whittle the choice down to two. It was either the Kampa Touring Air or the Vango Galli 3.
Both of these four-berth drive-away awnings are considered “low” for small motorhomes and campervans. The “low” spec offers a connection height to the vehicle of 180-210cm.
The table below compares the specifications and dimensions of both of these drive-away awnings:
|Kampa Touring Air||Vango Galli III Low|
|Pack size||L80 x H41 x H41cm||L78 x H39 x W44cm|
|Number of airbeams||4||4|
|Fabric||150 denier polyester||420 denier polyester|
Both the Kampa Touring Air and the Vango Galli III drive away awnings had their merits. Our previous family tent, pre-campervan ownership, had been a Vango and we loved it.
We were tempted by the Vango Galli III as for us, Vango was already tried and tested as a brand. We knew the build quality and design would be excellent.
Porch vs porch
What swung it for the Kampa Touring Air was the porch space.
We spent a very damp holiday camping in Wales years ago in our Vango six-berth dome tent. We had a little Coleman cooker and a couple of camping chairs and we parked ourselves in the porch area of the tent.
It was a godsend. We had space to cook in safety and we were sheltered from the poor weather. It was windy and wet but we got to enjoy the views in (relative) comfort. It was also spacious enough to leave wet gear and muddy shoes.
The porch space on the Vango Galli III is too shallow to fit our camping kitchen stand which holds our cadac cooking two ring stove. We wanted enough depth in the porch to have the stand sideways on, so it could be tucked against the wall of the awning and the chef stays dry.
It was too short to fit our Outwell table and bench set too, which was a shame. If we were to eat in the porch, then we would be quite exposed to the elements.
Although not deal breakers, the Kampa Touring Air had a few other benefits over the Galli III.
We also liked the sewn-in bathtub groundsheet. Nice to have a fitted groundsheet rather than a loose one. Some would disagree with this as some campsites ask for a breathable groundsheet to be used, but we have never had that problem.
Having a sewn-in groundsheet means it stays in place and we find it easy to sweep and keep clean.
With the Kampa Touring Air, the bathtub groundsheet has velcro sewn on along the length of the doors.
This means when all the doors are closed you can velcro yourself into the main body of the tent and keep the draughts out. It’s really clever and very effective.
One of these key differences was door access. The Kampa touring air has two entrances into the awning AND the tunnel into the campervan. There is also a door from the tunnel to the outside as well.
You can also velcro the living room floor of the Kampa to the groundsheet in the porch too which makes accessing a breeze and trip hazard-free. The Vango entrances require you to step over them, or trip over if you’re not paying attention.
We have found the ground-level velcro strips collect grass but this comes out easily enough when cleaning up the awning at home after a trip.
If you have a keen eye you will have noticed in the table above that the Vango Galli III is manufactured from thicker polyester than the Kampa Touring Air. This accounts for the extra nearly 3kg in weight that pack comprises.
We thought hard whether the lesser thickness of fabric would be a compromise for us. On balance we decided we could live with the thinner material. It was worth the lighter pack weight.
Our Vango six-berth tent had been 32kgs in packed weight and was a behemoth to move. The 26kg weight of the Kampa Touring Air made the decision an easy one.
The Vango Galli III is noticeably shorter than the Kampa Touring Air driveaway awning. Most of this length is accounted for by the increased porch size in the Kampa.
Kampa Touring Air vs Kampa Touring Air Classic
Once we had settled on the Kampa Touring Air as our drive away awning of choice, we then had to decide which version we would like to buy. The Kampa Touring Air or the Kampa Touring Air Classic?
The drive-away awnings are the same all but for the fabric used in their construction. The Kampa Touring Air Classic is made from breathable poly-cotton, the benefit of which is it has better thermal qualities. It keeps you cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
The downsides are the weight and the price. The Kampa Touring Air Classic will set you back £1,250 (RRP £1,562.50) and it is over 34kgs in weight.
Given the frequency with which we would use the awning, we decided we couldn’t justify the extra cost, over the Kampa Touring Air, neither were we keen on the extra 8kgs in weight.
We have found that the 150 denier polyester of the Kampa Touring Air does affect the thermal quality of the drive-away awning. It can be cold at night, even in summer and quite hot inside when the weather is comfortably warm outside.
To combat the cold we have a little Kampa Cuboid camping heater we bring with us which we’ll use late in the evening or early in the morning, and it works a treat.
If the sun is making the awning too hot, the awning design with doors on three sides means we can always get a comfortable cross breeze through the awning to keep us cool.
Layout of the Kampa Touring Air
The space offered inside the Kampa Touring Air Drive Away Awning is exceptional.
At the front is the porch is a generous 3m x 130cm in area, which is enough space for a camping kitchen stand, cooker, gas bottle, food crates, dining table and chairs.
The inner body of the tent is in two parts: the main living area in the centre of the awning and the detachable four-berth sleeping compartment at the rear.
The living area is a generous 3m x 2m and is big enough for the table and chairs should you wish to eat inside, or relax playing cards of an evening.
A vertical set of storage pockets is in the living area between the sleeping chamber doors, and single storage pockets are provided within each sleeping chamber. These are very handy and can be used to hold phones, chargers, maps, etc, and helps to keep the awning tidy.
Included in the price is the inner sleeping tent, which is great value. Other similar brands sell this sleeping compartment as an optional extra.
Blackout fabric is used for the sleeping chamber so the early sunrise doesn’t disturb. The two sleeping chambers can be unzipped to form one larger sleeping chamber, and the central door between the two chambers toggles away tidily.
The length and width of this area is plenty to fit inflatable beds and not feel you are on top of each other.
The tunnel area created by the attachment cowl connecting to the campervan is a useful space. We keep our Porta Potti at the rear end overnight and leave our footwear there when entering the van or awning.
There is a zipped exit door from the tunnel at the front of the awning, providing a “dirty” entrance for muddy booted feet.
Accessories for the Kampa Touring Air Drive Away Awning
There are several bits of extra kit you can buy for the Kampa Air drive away awning. The awning is based on the Kampa Dometic Hayling 4 tent and so Kampa Dometic makes accessories to fit both models.
The awning has a velcro strip and velcro tabs sewn on to the inside of the two central air beams to attach lighting. Kampa Dometic makes a lighting system called SabreLink which fits neatly and works very well.
We have a SabreLink Flex set and fix it to one of the air beams. It comes with a remote control to set the dimming level and switch on/off.
It all plugs into either a 12V point or a standard UK power point.
In addition to the driveway awning, we have also purchased the Kampa Dometic Hayling 4 Air Pro Vestibule.
This is a clever zip on attachment to the porch area on the front of the awning. This, in effect, gives us a whole extra room as when it is zipped on, it makes the porch area into a weatherproof space.
This gives our already excellent porch another boost. We take it every time we use the drive-away awning.
It comes with an additional bit of groundsheet too which is nice when you’re padding around the awning in socks.
For an added bit of luxury, we also purchased the Kampa Hayling 4 carpet. We use this in the main living space in the awning. Adds a nice cosy feel. We have a shoes-off policy in the awning to stop mud and grass getting everywhere.
Lastly, we also opted for the Hayling 4 Footprint. This looks like an extra bit of groundsheet. By putting this down underneath your awning, you protect the underside from the damp of the grass or any stony or rocky ground. We have found it works a treat and after a couple of years use, our awning still looks like new.
We give all the groundsheets a hosing and stiff brushing once we’re back from our trip and they always come up a treat.
Pros and Cons of the Kampa Touring Air
Here are the features we love best about the Kampa Touring Air:
- Porch space – plenty for food preparation and seating under cover.
- Door access – three non-trip entrances.
- Velcro system – cosy at night, eliminates trip hazards when doors open.
- Plenty of mesh doors to keep the critters out but the breeze in.
- Natural light – lots of widows but they all have blinds if you want privacy.
- Generous space for living and sleeping.
- The two built-in inner tents.
- Velcro attachment points for lights.
- “Bathtub” high-sided sewn-in groundsheet
- High visibility guy ropes. These are foolproof to use, easy to adjust. Trip hazards are (almost) a thing of the past.
There are a few minor annoyances worth noting.
- The porch groundsheet has two elasticated corners which are supposed to attach to toggles, but we have yet to manage this on both corners.
- Attaching the vestibule groundsheet creates a trip hazard with the porch groundsheet. We had to tape them together to overcome this, which isn’t ideal.
- It gets quite hot in warm weather and very uncomfortably hot in hot weather. This would be better with the Classic model with heavier material.
- Grass gets stuck in the velcro strips on the external entrances, requiring some effort and ingenuity to remove.
- Rain can collect on the tunnel roof, depending on tightness and angles. May require a push from underneath to clear during heavy rain.
Are we happy with the Kampa Touring Air drive-away awning?
Did we make the right choice buying the Kampa Touring Air Drive Away Awning?
You bet we did. We have been thrilled with it and love it as much as our actual home. Our van and this awning really is a home away from home.
This awning is a fantastic purchase and worth every penny.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the Kampa Touring Air cost?
The RRP of the Kampa Travel Pod Dometic Touring Air is £1,125. Outdoors retailers often seem to discount the price to around £899. We managed to find one listed on sale at £799. It pays to shop around.
What does it include?
The Kampa Touring Air Drive-Away Awning comes with:
- Awning with four AirFrame inflatable poles.
- 4-berth inner tent.
- AirFrame 2-litre hand pump.
- Peg set, with additional storm straps.
- Manual with set up instructions.
- Zipped carry Bag.
Is it durable?
Yes. The Weathershield™ 150D polyester material is weather resistant and will keep you dry in the heaviest rainstorm. It is rated UPF 50+ for sunnier weather conditions.
Designed for touring and short-term stays. The manufacturer states that it is not suitable for long-term (ie, seasonal) pitching.
What are the dimensions?
The dimensions of the Kampa Touring Air are as follows:
- Length: 540 cm
- Height: 210 cm
- Width: 320 cm
- Connection height: min 180 cm, max 210 cm
- Connection width: 280 cm
- Weight when packed: 26.64 kg
How long does it take to pitch?
As it is inflatable the Kampa Touring Air is easy and quick to pitch. It typically takes 10-20 minutes to set up with two people involved but can be pitched by one person.
Is it stable in poor weather?
The Kampa Travel Pod Touring Air copes well in windy conditions, and has storm straps included for extra stability. It is important to use all the available pegging points and guy ropes, especially if windier weather is expected.
Is the porch waterproof?
The roof and walls of the porch are waterproof, however, in windy weather rain can blow straight into the porch area. The additional vestibule adds a transparent front wall with zipped doors, making the area weatherproof.