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A family campervan essential, we test Vango's Galli II Compact drive away awning.
vango galli ii compact tall
Best for...
A decent extra hit of space for family campers without needing a whole field to pitch in
Overall Score
Easy set up
Big lip between main front door and outside

As a recent convert to #vanlife albeit on a larger scale with an ageing motorhome a la Walter White (of Breaking Bad fame) we had to jump on the bandwagon and eek out some extra space for our family motorhome trips with a drive away awning.

We chose Vango's Gali II Compact, mainly because of my familiarity with the brand and the way their tents work after many years of family camping. The Gali II looks much like one of Vango's Airbeam tents, just with the addition of a large flap of material along the side to attach the awning to the van. Not knowing what to expect from an awning or how to set one up I was a bit baffled at first, Kador strip what? It turns out my van doesn't have a locator for a Kador strip (a method of sliding the awning onto the side of the van) but luckily the awning is versatile enough to offer three different types of connection. Adjustable webbing straps over the top of the van, pegged into the ground the other side worked for us, but I must admit I cringed as I tightened them up against the paintwork. Perhaps a couple of bits of material under the straps would have been prudent. For anyone unfamiliar with the intricacies of motorhome awnings, an awning rail is only around a tenner, so is clearly a worthwhile investment.

Having forgotten my rubber mallet, I was chuffed to find one inside the easy access wide-mouthed bag, along with a decent pump, some pretty fancy looking pegs and beefy webbing strap style guylines for the front and rear of the awning to anchor it down in high winds. Set up of the awning itself is no different to other Vango Airbeam tents we've experienced; peg out the corners, pump up the three Airbeams and work your way around pegging out the rest of the pegging points and guylines, it really couldn't be simpler and is achieved easily in around 20 minutes. Rather than running the length of the van the awning's main footprint extends out from it, with the compact model needing an additional four metres or so of space alongside the van to pitch - not a problem for most campsites but this could limit your choice of wild camping spots. We should have set the awning up closer to the van as there were reasonable slithers of open space at the extents of the awning but it seems that you can't totally negate this unless the kador strip runs right around the van and down to the ground. Next time we'll pitch the awning closer and set the pegs under the van rather than alongside it.

Entry points are plenty for what is a relatively small awning, with a main front door leading out onto a small canopy area which we found particularly nice to sit under in the midday sun but we found access into and out of the van easier through the two large zipped doors either side of the boot area. This area doesn't have a groundsheet and is separated from the main awning area by a large zipped door making it ideal for storing mucky boots, bikes and pushchairs in, we used it for drying clothes on an airer which gives you an idea of the size. The zipped door into the awning from the boot area lays completely flat to the ground in the open position, which is very handy if you have a tendency for clumsiness.

Daylight has always been a strong point in Vango tents and it's just as good in the Gali II awning, with big, clear windows making it a lovely bright place to sit and chill out in all weathers. We chose to set the awning up with a Vango settee big enough for two adults and two kids and a large Vango Moon chair and found that there was still plenty of floor space for the kids to play in. Having said that, for spring and autumn trips with higher chances of rain we might lust after more space still.

Ventilation is also usually a strong point with Vango tents and the Gali II employs the same methods with low level vents that can be propped open and large high-level vents at the back of the living area to promote good air flow. Even in stonking hot weather we found the awning cool inside which is a definite plus point. There was a bit of gusting wind one evening which the Gali II dealt with well, it has a lot of guylines and pegging points for a relatively small tent as well as impressive pegs and the internal tension band system, altogether making this one of the better options in tricky weather conditions.

If you're holidaying in a campervan or motorhome with the family, then having a decent awning is pretty much a given and having put the Gali II through a week of hard use we were glad we stuck with our gut feeling to go with a Vango.

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