"Looks good doesn't it? Can you spot the obvious thing - It's not attached because it doesn't fit!"
I have to say that I am in two minds about the Kampa Travel Pod Mini and whilst it is a good bit of kit, there is a fundamental flaw with this motor home awning. I really want to give the Kampa Travel Pod Air Mini ten out of ten but because of the fundamental flaw I can’t. Consequently I can’t/won’t recommend the Kampa Travel Pod Air Mini and since it is not fit for purpose, i.e. does not do what it is supposed to do, it has ended up being a very expensive purchase of a product we are stuck with. If you are thinking of buying a Kampa Travel Pod Air Mini, or any of the Kampa Travel Pod Air range of drive away motor home awnings you may want to check out my experience and read my honest and unbiased review (as below) before parting with your hard earned cash.
We decided long before we got our Elddis Accordo 120 an awning with inflatable poles was the way forward, even though they are more costly than conventional motor home awnings and since we wanted something small with a clip in ground sheet there were two options, comprising the Vango Idris and the Kampa Travel Pod Air.
After a bit of internet research it was clear there were the “Vango fans” who loved their Vango awnings and “Kampa fans” who loved their Kampa awnings, and each group thought their awning was superior and the other a waste of money. From what I could tell it was all “swings and roundabouts” and with each being the same as the other the final decision was down to personal preference.
I bought a Vango tent a few years back and I was not impressed at all. The tent was poor quality, leaked like a sieve and was a total waste of money. Maybe I bought a bad/dud one – who knows? All I know is that I vowed not to buy another Vango tent ever again. Because of this I was leaning more towards the Kampa. My wife was slightly leaning towards the Vango Idris, however once she saw one in the flesh she soon went off the idea and opted for the Kampa Travel Pod Air. Apparently, the Vango was totally the wrong color and the garish blue wouldn’t look right with the motor home. If my wife discounted the Kampa because of the color I would have told her not to be so daft, but because she said it about the Vango Idris I agreed about the color and said the Kampa seemed the better one of the two, and it was also a few quid less. With the decision made we bought the Kampa Travel Pod Air Mini.
Erecting the Kampa Travel Pod Air Mini is simple and involves pegging the four corners, inflating two tubes to erect the main part of the awning, inflating a third tube and then attaching it to the roof of the main part of the awning and then pegging the whole lot and dealing with the guy ropes.
The bloke who sold us the Kampa Travel Pod Air Mini told us it was possible to have the awning set up in under five minutes, which was one of the features that persuaded us to buy this awning. The other feature was the inflatable poles that meant we would never have to worry about snapping and breaking the thin tent poles supplied with traditional motor home awnings. Now we have had the chance to erect the Kampa Travel Pod Mini awning I can honestly say that the bloke at the shop (Norwich Camping & Leisure) was talking utter rubbish as there is NO way the Kampa Travel Pod Air Mini can be set up in such a short amount of time.
Sure, you can inflate the main body in around five minutes (if you run around and work like the clappers) but to peg it out securely and ensure al the guy ropes are dealt with and then clip in the ground sheet and attach the tunnel to the van………… It simply isn’t going to happen – ever. I hate to shatter the illusion but if you are considering buying a Kampa Travel Pod Air thinking you will have it up, attached to the side of your motor home (or camper van) ready for use within five minutes you are going to have to take a reality check. Whilst the “5 minute set up time” is misleading the Kampa Travel Pod Air Mini is still quick to set up, compared to other motor home awnings.
The Kampa Travel Pod Air Mini is a top quality awning and appears to be very well made. The materials used are heavy duty, the stitching is strong, neat and well done (yes – I really did check the seams and the stitching and try to pull it apart to test the strength), and the inflatable poles appear bullet proof. The Kampa Travel Pod Mini Air is a tough and sturdy bit of kit, and one that will provide years of service, providing we look after it of course. The quality of the Kampa Travel Pod Air is good but then given the cost of it (we paid £379.99 for our Mini) I wouldn’t expect anything less. If I pay a premium price I expect a premium product, and this rings true with the Kampa Travel Pod Air.
Waterproofness is an issue with all tents and awnings, and this was one of my concerns about the Kampa Travel Pod Mini Air. During our first trip away with the motor home using the Kampa awning it rained (for once we were glad for the rain) giving us the chance to check how water tight it was before our two week adventure to the Lake District (where I hear it always rains). The Kampa leaked a little at first (just like all new tents) however the first downpour sealed it and the subsequent showers didn’t penetrate the outer material at all, so I can confirm the Kampa Travel Pod Air Mini is waterproof.
Even though this model is called the “Mini” it is large and there is loads of room to store plenty of kit. This means the outside chairs, table and fishing gear I was going to leave under the motor home can now be stored and hidden from view. Even with all the essential bits and pieces in there is still enough room left for a camping cupboard (for hiking boots, shoes, cycling shoes etc.) and enough room to spare to put the bikes in – which means we don’t have to leave them locked to the Fiamma cycle carrier.
I have had tents/awnings in the past that were supplied in a carryall that was such a tight fit it was impossible to get the tent/awning back in after use. There is nothing worse than the embarrassment of packing an awning away before carefully rolling it up and then find it won’t fit in the damn bag. Fortunately, this scenario doesn’t happen with this motor home awning as the carry bag is so large you can almost lose the awning in it. Such a large bag isn’t necessary but I, for one, am so glad it is provided as it makes the job of packing away the awning so much easier.
The Kampa Travel Pod Air Mini is supplied with ground pegs, as you’d expect, but they are the cheap and nasty plastic ones that flex when you hit them hard, and hit them a little too hard and they break. What on earth are Kampa thinking providing inferior ground pegs with a premium product? This awning isn’t cheap, in fact it is very expensive and the least Kampa can do is provide some heavy duty metal ground pegs. I have to say I am not at all impressed with the ground pegs supplied and Kampa definitely get a thumbs down from me in this respect. A premium awning deserves premium pegs, and what’s more the customer demands premium pegs when shelling out so much money. Kampa really do need to buck their ideas up on this and provide proper equipment.
Where the Kampa Travel Pod Air Mini falls flat on its face is the fit to the motor home. Our Elddis Accordo falls in to the “high” but only just. Our motor home is a little too high for the standard size so we were expecting some excess tunnel material to deal with but not as much as we got! We fitted the tunnel to the rail on the motor home and it sagged down so much it got in the way of the door opening. We tried moving the main body of the awning further away from the motor home to take up some of the slack but this didn’t work because the top of the tunnel got in the way of the door, and the sides (that are meant to be pegged tight to the side of the motor home were too far away leaving a huge gap.Hmmmmmm………………
So, we either had the awning in the right location (i.e. so the sides of the tunnel were in the right place but the roof was sagging down so much we couldn’t use the door properly or we had the awning further away so the roof didn’t sag but there were huge (and I mean HUGE) gaps between the side of the motor home and the sides of the tunnel. Whatever way we looked at it the tunnel did not fit.
Foolishly, I thought there must be a way of collecting the excess tunnel material, gathering it up and strapping it out of the way – but there wasn’t. I had the idea of gathering up the excess material and clipping it up using some plastic camping clamps, but this didn’t work either. We tried various other things but nothing would get the tunnel to fit properly. If the tunnel doesn’t fit the awning isn’t fit for purpose, in my opinion. We faffed around with the tunnel for the best part of two hours, getting more and more annoyed with it (and saying more and more blue words) but couldn’t get it to fit. Basically, the Kampa Travel Pod Air Mini doesn’t fit our motor home.
We could try and adapt the tunnel or get it changed in some way and bodge it to fit but I am not prepared to risk damaging a £379.99 awing so much it is beyond repair. We could take the awning to a specialist and get them to adapt it for us but this is going to cost mega money. Besides, Kampa should have made sure the awning is fit for purpose before selling it! We should not have to shell out any more money trying to sort out this issue.
We have now bought and paid or the Kampa Travel Pod Air Mini and now we have tried it out it is too late to take it back to Norwich Camping & Leisure for a refund. We could sell it on but we would get a fraction of what we paid for it, and I am not prepared to lose any more money on this. Basically we are stuck between a rock and a hard place and have to make the best of what we have.
We can’t use the Kampa Travel Pod Air Mini attached to the motor home so the only thing we can do is set it up away from the motor home and use it as a standalone awning. Basically, we have bought a (damn expensive and overpriced) tent and not a motor home awning at all. It’s a shame because I am impressed with the build quality of the Kampa Travel Pod Air Mini.
The fact that the Kampa Travel Pod Air Mini s such a poor fit. No scratch that. The fact that the Kampa Travel Pod Air Mini doesn’t fit at all is the fundamental flaw I was referring to at the start of this review of the Kampa Travel Pod Air, and this is the reason I can’t/won’t recommend the Kampa Travel Pod Air, I think the Kampa Travel Pod Air is a total waste of money and I totally regret buying the Kampa Travel Pod Air too.
About the author
A total motor home newbie with a six year camping background in a folding camper. A keen blogger sharing my experience of researching, choosing, buying and owning a motor home. and every thing that goes with it.
The Motor home