Khyam XL Awning
There is no getting away from Pod’s modern exterior, looks and clever interior design, but there is no hiding away from the fact that she is also a “micro tourer” and therefore for any stay more than a single night we wanted extra space.
As much of our time away would consist of short breaks we wanted a quick to erect awning that could also be put up in the back garden to dry. With Pod’s door at the rear the search was narrowed somewhat to those awnings specially designed for motor homes.
There were a few that met most of the criteria, Outdoor Revolution as an example but with poles that needed threading it just didn’t hit the mark particularly with the want for a true freestanding design that would be put up in no time at all.
Having come across Khyam during our previous camping and caravanning days we knew that this product may well be just what we were looking for and with Red Lions offering the XL at some £70 below RRP we bought it and collected it before even taking delivery of Pod.
The way that the awning would attach to Pod became an instant topic in itself amongst the podding community. It became apparent that the supplied awning rail fitted to the roof of Pod was somewhat redundant as the roof of the drive away section of the Khyam didn’t have a bead attached, more an elasticated gusset. From previous experience these tended not to be reliable in any stiff breeze and were prone to popping off. It then became limited knowledge that a modification was needed if a more fit for purpose fit was to be achieved.
A 2 metre length of 6mm awning bead was purchased from EBay along with suitable rot proof thread. Within hours, several thumb pricks and very sore fingers the bead was attached. The elastic was stretched out between the two top guy line points and the bead placed between them. A small gap, no more than a few millimetres was left so the beading would slide into the rail without catching.
We started at one end, one sewing and the other pulling it tought. We purposely didn’t cut it to size as we wanted a little extra at each end (approx 2inches) so it had a small overhang and the awning itself didn’t catch on the rail. It took some doing by hand as we sewed one way and back again. This rot proof thread was not budging ! We then cut off the excess at the end. Job done.
A word of note, if you are not a good seamstress, value your relationship or have better things to do with your time then this modification can be done at a number of awning repair centres.
Not wishing to be the laughing stock on site we opted to carry out a trial run of the awning and with great ease we put it up in the conservatory. The pre inserted poles are light weight fibreglass and aluminium but not the thin black fibreglass poles found in many awnings and tents nowadays. Each pole has a number of elbow joints that were easy to use and without any trouble the awning was up and freestanding. At 225 cm tall there was ample head room and with the main body area being 210cm square it was big enough without being overly so. The drive away section was a little more difficult to judge but at roughly the same height and 145cm long it looked like a useful extension. Weighing 13kg it is not too heavy and the bag is large enough to put the awning back in again with consummate ease, that said it is a strange long and thin shape which just fits in Pod between the door and the seating area.
Away for the first time in the Lake District the weather forecast was not looking good so getting the awning up as quickly as possible to increase our living area was very important. Luckily on both accounts the weather stayed dry and the putting up was a doddle especially with the modification. Pegging out was very easy with points where you would expect them and also at the base of the poles which we thought was a good design. The main area was just the correct size for us with room for a good sized table and chairs, clothes airier and the porta potti. The three main sides have large zipped openings which make it in to a gazebo with king poles supplied to make a sun canopy out of a door way. There is no groundsheet supplied and to eliminate draughts we would strongly recommend the awning skirt rail accessory. As an added bonus which we didn’t spot between the main area and the drive away section is another zipped door way which we opted to close at night, this gave an enclosed private area for those late night trips to the porta potti. We guess in warmer climates the door of Pod could be left open allowing air to circulate with the reduced risks of unwelcome flying bugs, talking of which the end main door does have a large mesh and the two sides within the drive away area have windows with privacy covers. If colour coordination is a must then the colours are black and grey.
Reliability and Durability
At this early stage it is hard to say if it is money well spent but for us it is practicable, easy to use and just the right size for our needs. Materials and finish appears to be good with strong zips and plenty of guy ropes which glow green in the dark. With Khyam being a somewhat specialist and long standing contributor for more than 20 years to the outside living way of life i can’t foresee any longevity issues.
Don’t forget that this awning was not designed for Pod but is a generic motor home drive away awning and as such it has to cater for a spectrum of vehicle sizes, and there lies the problem. The drive away section is adjustable and although the remaining elasticated gusset sides do provides an adequate fit to Pod, you are left with quite a bit of excess material when the slack is taken up to compensate for Pod not being at the taller end of the range of fitting. With the fact that there are no poles in the drive away section either it does flap a bit and i can see rain pooling on the roof, another modification may be forthcoming. The second is with the Pod’s door fully open it does push against the side of the drive away section but again a niggle not a fault of either Khyam or Go Pods.
In short a good addition to the unit, there are other styles and makes available but maybe none as easy to erect.