Outwell Milestone Nap Air awning review

The Outwell Milestone Nap Air is a high quality inflatable drive away awning with built in bedrooms and lots of flexibility. Something a little bit different for TentLife, but we wanted to investigate the benefits and advantages of using the Milestone awning for camping with our van. We took it on a 2 night break to the Peak District to find out more.

So what is the point of a driveaway awning for a van (or an MPV)?

It’s all well and good having a camper van and an awning for extra living space, but what if you have a van for your work and you want to take your family camping? You’ve got plenty of space to carry all your camping gear so why not just buy a normal tent instead and camp in the same as you would if you took a car?

That’s a very valid question, and there are plenty of people who do use their works van for taking tents away on camping breaks. But think of it this way, why do campervan drivers use drive away awnings? They have living and sleeping space in their campers, but with an awning they have the extra space to stretch their legs and have more room to relax. Now reverse you thinking a little bit and read on.





Versatility is the answer!
The TentLife van is a 6 man crew cab with sliding doors on the side, so when you pull this up to the side of the Milestone awning you can use the van for a number of purposes, an extra bedroom and also somewhere to stash your other camping gear. This is great as it leaves you with a huge living space that can be free of clutter (as it’s in the van) and not converted into a sleeping area come evening time (because the van becomes another bedroom).

So for us, that long bench seat behind the driver can become another bedroom and anyone in here can still be a part of the evenings activities because they are attached to and connected with whatever is going on in the living area.

If you have a van (or MPV) with sliding doors on the side, it easily becomes a welcome extension to the awning, increasing your living/sleeping space and also meaning that you don’t have to unpack absolutely everything and that means quicker setting up and packing away time – WIN WIN.

NOTE – I had also considered letting the dogs sleep in the van, there are so many configurations and we are sure you can think of many that will suit your own circumstances.

Setting up.
First we laid/pegged out the groundsheet and then emptied the contents of the awning bag on top of it. Next we laid out the awning and pegged out its four corners.

The Milestone Nap Air is an inflatable awning and although it comes with a hand pump, we took the opportunity to try out Outwells 12v Squall pump. The beams were inflated to the relevant pressure quite quickly (psi), and overall the Milestone was up in less than 10 minutes. There are some fibreglass poles to fit onto the tent that hold the 2 side door canopies in place, then as the wind had started to pick up we set out a few guy lines and that was it – A rather quick business.

NOTE – As a precaution whilst we were using the 12v pump via the vans cigarette lighter, we thought it sensible to keep the vehicles engine running so as not to flatten the battery.





Living with the Milestone Nap Air.
This is a 5 person awning, a 2 and 3 sleeping arrangement on one side. The bedroom divider removes to make one big sleeping area, this is what we did and had our double sleeping mat in the centre with tons of room around the sides for bags and furniture if you require. Having a removeable bedroom divider makes this awning perfect for both families and couples too. On this occasion, there were just 2 adults and 2 dogs and we had plenty of space to relax and unwind.

The living area is a very spacious 3m x 3m and the ceiling is nice and high too. To get an idea of this living space, you may have noticed that we had the Outwell Lake Superior inflatable sofa in there and had more than enough space for more chairs etc.

In relation to the structure, one valve inflates the cross beams on the main living area and the other valve inflates the beam that runs across the top of the bedroom. The beams have a good thick diameter and when inflated, it all felt very strong and solid even though we hadn’t pegged out all of the guy lines.

You can set this awning up so that you can have the van at either of the doors next to the bedroom, giving you access from either the right or left side. These two doors have generous canopies over the top and up the sides that fit snuggly against your vehicle and offer protection from the rain and wind.

If you view the Nap air as a square, one of the sides is taken up by the bedroom area, and then you have three other doors that can be opened up fully. The versatility of these doors is one thing we really love about the Milestone, let’s just take a few words to explain.

All the doors have blinds on them so nobody can see inside, these can be opened to then reveal windows. When the blinds are opened, such much light flows in that it gives a really spacious feel to the living area when sat in there chilling out (no matter the weather).

What we found too, was that this awning is a lot like those new event shelters that have sprung up over the last few years from the likes of Berghaus and Coleman (amongst others) but with a sleeping area attached to it. Having all three sides fully open means that you get a wonderfully airy, spacious and roomy feeling living area that really brings the outdoors inside.

It gets better too, the front can be fully rolled to the top but it also has a separate mesh panel. This means that you can let the fresh air in but not the creepy crawlies. Got pets or little children, then the mesh panel is also perfect for keeping them inside whilst letting the breeze keep them cool.

We noticed (also mentioned on the Outwell website) that the huge windows are also tinted, helping with privacy, keeping the inside cool and reducing glare too.

There’s plenty of storage pockets dotted around inside the awning, both in the bed rooms and the main living area.

All the doors have blinds on them so nobody can see inside, these can be opened to then reveal windows. When the blinds are opened, such much light flows in that it gives a really spacious feel to the living area when sat in there chilling out (no matter the weather).

What we found too, was that this awning is a lot like those new event shelters that have sprung up over the last few years from the likes of Berghaus and Coleman (amongst others) but with a sleeping area attached to it. Having all three sides fully open means that you get a wonderfully airy, spacious and roomy feeling living area that really brings the outdoors inside.

It gets better too, the front can be fully rolled to the top but it also has a separate mesh panel. This means that you can let the fresh air in but not the creepy crawlies. Got pets or little children, then the mesh panel is also perfect for keeping them inside whilst letting the breeze keep them cool.
We noticed (also mentioned on the Outwell website) that the huge windows are also tinted, helping with privacy, keeping the inside cool and reducing glare too.

There’s plenty of storage pockets dotted around inside the awning, both in the bed rooms and the main living area.

Packing away.
This was also a piece of cake, and it went back in the large bag first time without any hassle. It’s a good sized back that also has compression straps on it too for getting the pack size down.

Press the valves in to deflate them, and get the awning ready for folding away. One tip with any inflatable tent or awning when packing is to ensure that all of the air is removed from the beams and not trapped. Laying them out straight and using your hand to ensure the beams are flat and working your way towards the valve. Spending a minute ot two doing this can save you a heap of time when you find that it won’t go back in the bag and you have to start all over again.





FINALLY
The Outwell Milestone Nap Air is designed to work with vans, MPVs or motorhomes and if you have one then you will have something that is very versatile and giving you lots of camping options. It’s perfect to use as a roomy couples weekend tent, leaving your gear in the van for a fast getaway and setup. It's also perfect for family breaks too, especially when you use your vehicle as an extra room or bedroom.

We can't wait to get out in it again and enjoy a slightly different but most excellent camping setup.

SPEC (From outwell website)

Flysheet: Outtex® 3000 Select (100% polyester taffeta) with taped seams
Hydrostatic Head: 3000 mm
Sleeps: 5
Pole construction: Inflatable
Tubes: Rigid Air System frame for best performance
Maximum pressure: 9 psi/0.6 bar
Poles: Duratec fibreglass 8.5 mm
Floor: Double-coated waterproof 100% polyethylene
Pack size: 85 x 47 x 47 cm
Weight: 25.4 kg

WHERE TO BUY

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