CAMPING | A Weekend With The Vango AirHub Hexaway Low Campervan Awning – Review

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I’ve not camped as much as I like to this year, and whilst I love spending time under canvas, being outdoors and alfresco dining, we’ve spent more time recently in our VW Transporter, but with limited space, I was keen to add an awning to our set up. I was delighted to get my hands on the Vango AirHub Hexaway Low which looked like it would be fast to set up and give us the extra space we needed. Read on to find out what I thought of it.

Vango Airhub Hexaway Low

What is it?

Vango AirHub Hexaway Low Campervan Awining
£650

Stockists

Features

  • SkyTrack II® flexible hanging system which allows you to easily attach things like lighting and storage
  • Reflective guylines with tidies
  • Skylight Windows run along the roof line of the awning to enhance light during the day and for star gazing at night.
  • AirSpeed® Valve system which makes it easy to inflate your AirBeams® with even less effort
  • Line-Lok guyline runners that lock securely
  • Door in connecting panel for convenient access
  • Flat entry, ideal for wheelchairs, prams and people with reduced mobility
  • Vango AirZoneventilation panels create a comfortable flow
  • Fully taped seams
  • Cable entry point with tidies
  • Linked-in groundsheet that can be attached or detached
  • Zipped privacy curtains

Vango Airhub Hexaway LowCarrying the AirHub Hexaway Low out of the van

So what exactly is the AirHub Hexaway Low? In plain English, it is a drive away campervan awning that does not require tent poles and instead uses the Vango inflatable AirBeam system.

We headed off to the south coast for a Windsurfing competition my boyfriend was entering, giving us the perfect opportunity to try the Hexaway out. The windsurfing competition was cancelled due to zero wind so we took off in his VW long wheel base campervan to find somewhere else to set up camp for the weekend.

We arrived in a beautiful spot on the edge of a wood and took the Hexaway out of the van which comes packaged in one very neat bag which I managed to carry over one shoulder without too much effort.

Vango Airhub Hexaway LowGetting ready to set up

The practicalities

When you empty the bag, you are met with the awning itself and two smaller bags, one containing pegs etc and the other containing a manual air pump. Even an inexperienced camper like me knows there is usually another bag to unpack containing metal tent poles and it almost felt like we were missing something! That certainly isn’t a complaint, the less faff as far as I’m concerned, the better!

Given we’d arrived at our pitch fairly late in the day and that my other half is an engineer, we decided to skip the non-intuitive instructions and get hands on as soon as possible. We found our perfect spot and began building our home for the weekend.

Vango Airhub Hexaway LowThis was my first time setting up an AirBeam and I found it quick and easy

I was struck by how light and manegable the whole structure was and how uncomplicated it was to set up once we ditched the instructions! Once we had laid it all out in our carefully chosen spot, we located the inflation point so we could attach the pump and begin inflating. There are three air valve inflation points to choose from. Vango includes 3 rather than just one because it makes the structure easier and quicker to deflate.

I was sure we would be pumping well into the evening but to my surprise, once it starts taking shape, the whole thing goes up quickly and seamlessly. We did make one school boy error and that was to pump air into the structure before we had attached it to the van. This gave us a bit of adjusting to do to get it nicely secured to the van but it was no real set back. We attached it to the van via sturdy Velcro straps which connect straight to the roof rails, and then secured it down using the over vehicle webbing straps which go over the vehicle and get pegged into the ground on the other side – a handy feature that also allows the awning to be attatched to vehicles without roof rails.

Vango Airhub Hexaway LowPegging out the AirHub Hexaway Low

One of the first things you notice once the dome shaped structure is fully inflated, is how light and spacious the whole thing feels. This is in part due to the generous height of the Hexaway but also the nice use of Alternating Diamond Clear and mesh windows windows, plus the nifty sky lights Vango have incorporated into it.

Once the structure is inflated and in place it is secured to the ground using guy ropes and pegs in the same way you would with a traditional awning or tent.

The groundsheet is hexagonal in shape and is a clip in one rather than sewn in. Something to bear in mind if you are going to actually use it to sleep in as well as chill in like we did.

Vango Airhub Hexaway Low ReviewUnclipped and ready for us to drive away for the day

Driveaway awning

After everything was up and secured with guide ropes, we made a bed, put on some music and lay back to admire our handy work. The sky lights which run along the roof provide extra light during the day and star gazing opportunities at night and meant we had a fabulous view of the canopy above us which had a very calming effect.

It was then that my mind turned to food and drink and I realised that if we were going to enjoy the bottle of small batch gin I’d bought with us, we were going to need some ice, and while we were at it, some strawberries oh, and maybe some chocolate…

Vango Airhub Hexaway LowAttaching the awning to the campervan

I convinced Mark that we needed these things since it would give us a great opportunity to test how easily we would we able to detach the awning from the van. It is described as a drive away awning after all. It took us just five minutes including Marks idea of leaving markers where the tyres of the van sat in order to make the job of reattaching easier on our return.

I highly recommend doing this as it allowed us to reattach the Hexaway on our return in no time at all.

More than enough room to swing a cat

We cracked open the gin and it was then Mark asked tentatively if I’d mind if one of his windsurfing boards spent the night with us too. I must have agreed too quickly because by the time I came back from the toilet block, there was not one, but TWO in there!

Vango Airhub Hexaway LowPlenty of room inside

Here’s the thing though, even with two windsurfing boards, a makeshift double bed, a camping chair, two big overnight bags and three cool bags full of supplies, the space still felt generous, light and airy.

Easy access

Contributing to the feeling of airiness when you’re inside, are the many windows and exit points incorporated into the awning. There are three exit points by way of full zip doors and two further exit points on either side of the panel that connects the hub to your van. These extra smaller doors mean you are able to access your van without going through the main awning area if you want to.

Vango Airhub Hexaway LowThe Vango AirBeam system

There are 5 main windows, three of which open to reveal large mesh panels offering plenty of ventilation. Given it was 28 degrees in the shade, we were extremely grateful for this. Each window also has a large zipped curtain easily zipped up or down, and rolled up and secured with toggle points when not in use.

Talk of the town

Being situated close to a walkway, it struck me how may times I overheard people commenting on the Hexaway and we even had two random strangers approach us to ask us about it. One in the late afternoon when we had finished erecting it and then another in the morning asking how we’d found it overnight. I really wasn’t aware that ‘tent envy’ was a thing. It clearly is!

Vango Airhub Hexaway LowThe rear of the awning

Hexaway is the way!

The Vango AirHub Hexaway Low is the perfect half way house between the compromise of sleeping in a cramped van, and the hassle of erecting a full on tent with poles, or event a large traditional pole awning. Although the hub is mainly promoted as a “spacious gazebo for relaxing and unwinding, or a useful storage area for furniture and toys whilst you go off exploring”, I personally would rather sleep in that spacious airy hub over cuddling up to various bits of windsurfing kit in the back of my boyfriends van, and yes, the clip in clip out ground sheet might make that more problematic when the weather starts to turn but the point is, the Hexaway offers you choice.

The AirHub Hexaway is one camping luxury I can’t see myself giving up anytime soon.

As somewhere to relax and entertain in during the day while at a windsurfing competition or picnic with friends, the hub is absolutely perfect, and although there is more involved to get this up and running than with a simple canopy-style awning, the bit of extra time spent pegging out the structure is definitely worth it and gives it a sense of permanence and luxury.

The AirHub Hexaway is one camping luxury I can’t see myself giving up anytime soon, and will be using each and every time we now take off in the campervan.

Vango Airhub Hexaway Low ReviewInside the AirHub Hexaway Low awning

Pros

  • Compact and takes up minimal space in your campervan
  • Quick to put up thanks to the AirBeam system
  • It feels spacious, light and airy inside with good head space
  • Multiple windows and exit / entrance points
  • Stylish and slightly unusualy looking which lead to it getting lots of attention at the campsite

Cons

  • It’s not cheap, although it does come with a two-year warranty and an extra year added free if you register your product
  • We found the Instructions a little confusing
  • Guy ropes are not as bright as on other tents I’ve had in the past and so easy to trip over at dusk

Vango Airhub Hexaway Low Campervan Awning Review

Thank you to Vango who supplied the featured product for us to review. We were not paid for this review.