3 Reviews of the Airbeam Airaway Sapera
By: BalooCub Reason: I own(ed) one Made in: 2013 Rating: Date: 19/08/2014
Really does go up quickly, only needing 7 psi in the 3 airbeams and 2 bracing struts.
Comes with plastic pegs, so would recommend buying some rock pegs in case you have to pitch on the hard standing next to your van like we did at the Trossachs Holiday Park, Scotland ('THP').
When packed, its quite heavy and bulky and takes up quite a bit of your van pay load.
When pitched, it's quite large and extended beyond our hard standing and onto the grass at the THP, which was OK with the warden, but maybe not at other sites.
Easily pitched by 1 person.
Deflates and packs away nearly as quckly.
Useful and removeable 2 birth inner tent provided.
Hand pump, relief valve, pressure gauge and air hose need to be correctly assembled to the 'inflate' port on the pump and not the 'deflate' port, as my 13 year old son found out!
The pump and it's accessories are a bit on the cheap and nasty side, considering how much you pay for the awning, more akin to what you might inflate a childs paddling pool with. If the air hose splits at its connection point like ours did, you might think its an easy job to cut off the offending bit and reconnect it. Trust me, it isn't! Besides being glued on, the hose is so thin that when you try and grasp it to push it back on, it collapses. Took over an hour to fix.
Interestingly, the THP has a small 'spares' shop where you can buy basic camping accessories. One of the few items they stock is the air pump and hose.
Remove or collapse the inner tent to make sure that there is no condensation build up in between the sides before storing - we didn't and now have a slight mildew blemish on the inner tent.
There are several ways of 'docking' the van. The pole and clamp system provided by Vango is very, very easy and suits our VW T5 awning rail. We had 'beginner' issues at first and had to slacken the front guy lines, connect the van and then re-tension them. Second time out (at Mortonhall Campsite near Edinburgh) we had no docking problems what so ever and didn't need to slacken anything.
No problems with rain water getting in, despite the very wet and windy conditions we encountered in Scotland this July, and stability provided by the TBS seems to work fine.
Overall, would thoroughly recommend this bit of kit and would be even more pleased if the pump was of better quality.
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By: Peggy2011 Reason: I own(ed) one Made in: 2013 Rating: Date: 15/06/2014
We purchased our Sapera in June 2013 as we had heard good things about the 'Airbeam' concept and the Vango version seemed like good value for money. We had no problems erecting it on to our large motorhome although it did take slightly longer than the advertised 5 minutes it was still relatively easy. On first inspection we were very pleased at the layout, design and space after removing the bedroom compartment. Our 1st trip out with it was for a 7 night break and we were pleased with it on the whole. The only small point we didn't like at this stage was that the door openings and fly screens could only be opened from the bottom. As we have a dog and are cautious not to let her escape a top opening would have been ideal so that we could have safely let some fresh air in. We used it for a further week away and then 2 weekends away then packed it away to take to Portugal with us for our extended winter trip. This is where the serious problems began. In January, and after about a fortnight of being put up the awning began to start seriously leaking from the door and tunnel seams. I contacted Tamworth Camping straight away as we had only had it 7 months. They advised that on our return to the UK they would return the awning to Vango for inspection. This is where our nightmare began. Vango advised that the problem was due to UV degradation. I couldn't believe it after 35 days use. As a goodwill gesture (!) they sent some re-proofer but we weren't happy with that as the leaking was really quite severe. After many emails and an unpleasant telephone call from a really rude sales director at Vango we were told that the best they could do was offer us a replacement awning at half price! Obviously we declined as our confidence in this product was gone and we weren't prepared to spend a total of £900 on a product that would probably fail again. They advised that excessive exposure to UV had caused the problem and therefore made our warranty invalid. To add insult to injury they advised that we would have to pay a £15 postage fee to have our faulty awning returned to us or else Tamworth Camping would keep it! I cannot see how 35 days exposure is excessive. I argued that the warranty would never be worth anything unless the awning was still in the bag but they were adamant they wouldn't help us. Sadly the outcome is that we owned our Sapera for 7 months, used it for 35 nights and paid £600 per it. It's totally unusable and the worse purchase we have ever made.
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By: RichardAllen Reason: I own(ed) one Made in: 2013 Rating: Date: 21/08/2013
Vango Airbeam Sapera
We bought this tent/awning to attach to a modern VW Transporter van we have converted to a campervan for touring Europe. Past experience of often hard European campsites meant we bought he carpet too, which came very handy, once we had found a good place to stow it in the van.
As we are two adults and two young children, we left the supplied 2 berth inner at home, but instead fitted a 4 berth inner from our Vango Tigris 600. We had to add a few Velcro strips, but otherwise the larger inner fitted fine. When used as an awning we attached the tent to the van using a keder rail/figure 8 and keder strip rather than pole and clips, Velcro or straps over the van. This worked fine and was quick to attach and detach once you had the knack and proved robust.
We had 2 weeks sleeping in the Sapera in Europe, including 3 nights of fierce continental thunderstorms. The tent did not miss a beat and stayed perfectly dry. Through the holiday, depending on the pitch we either used it as a standalone tent or as an awning. It stood up perfectly either way.
A minor point I would note is that when it is put up in very hot weather (38C in our case), with normal pressure in the tubes, as the temperature cools down in the evening you might get a tube sag a bit. A simple stroke or two of the pump solved the problem which did not recur.
A major reason for buying this tent was to reduce overall times for setting up and getting on the road. Apart from the tent, the van stowage means we do not have to unpack/pack away airbeds or sleeping bags. We now have our routine down to about 40 minutes whereas it took 2 hours with the Tigris. This has given us a good deal more flexibility in our family touring than we had before.
I am very impressed with this awning / tent and have no hesitation in recommending it. We bought ours from Attwoolls near Stroud in Gloucestershire who have a very large selection, and most knowledgeable and helpful staff.
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