I eventually landed up buying a new Conqueror Commander Platinum and added the airbag suspension.
However on our 3rd trip down to Morgans Bay:
I got the new batwing awning (arms aluminium) - I must admit looks fancy and you get the looks from other campers, gives extra room around the back to the spare wheel especially with back side walls up and the Led lights in each awning arm is my favourite luv it - however while we were out for a few hours, a strong wind must have come in - as when we got back the entire awning was folded up over the roof, one entire awning arm ripped off, the main big knuckle at the back twisted and torn, 2 other arms bent, the gas struts for the main roof bent. Wind had pulled all the pegs out of the ground. Believe me to try and get all that twisted broken stuff folded back into the bag an zipped closed took alot of effort and some hammering (about a hour)
I personally think for practicality the OLD awning is better / although interior space it will be smaller due to the right side wall on rally tent being at the end of the pantry and not around to the spare wheel. Just as quick and easy to setup like the old caravan style, and more solid when tired down with storm pegs. Also the old awning with the 2 x side panels up - all fits snug and no wind or leakage coming in as the feed rails made for it. A few problems with the new batwing awning if you put up the front side panels by the fridge drawer - it closes off your front bed window - so the wife has no more fresh air and no more view of the sea - angry wife (( / left side bed rain cover has to fold down / no zip to access the front nose cone from inside / and once the side wall up you can't access the nose cone from outside either / the initial walls dont all join snuggly - always gaps between awning cover and support beam - so rain and wind going to enter and drip down on the fridge.
Dont get me wrong - I love the new batwing awning but just seems as if it was a afterthought and just stuck on the van with no real investigation of the above items.
(New batwing awning -zip open, fasten front and back tensions, fold poles down, peg x 4 / poles x 4 - but 6 x side walls takes some time to put up and a few gaps here and there on front and back) (Old awning - zip open, pull out, 3 x poles with 1 upper support pole / 3 x pegs / only 2 x side walls / no gaps nice and snug)
For me and the wife we would put the old awning up and down much quicker than new batwing. Rather be warm and snug inside the 2 walled old awning tent than having the little extra indoor tent space around to the back spare wheel with the new batwing - and then still have a few issue with not everything fitting perfectly.
I love the batwing / or what ever it is called on my caravan. Opens very quickly and closes with a bit of extra effort. We had very strong winds in August at Springbok and also in Namaqua National Park (Groenrivier). Had put on all the ropes with very big tent pegs I normally use for strong winds. I can also put extra ropes between the poles to secure the awning.
Untill such time I cannot manage the badwing anymore, I will not change it for a normal awning. The badwing on my caravaan is also silver at the top wich makes it nice and cool when standing in the sun.
Welkom_Guy: I guess each setup has different advantages and disadvantages. I have an Oryx caravan, and I replaced the standard awning with a BunduAwn (also a swing-out type). Although there is a bit of a learning process (esp in folding it up), all-in-all it is definitely a better and easier awning than the old one.
Piet Ford: Can I ask an unrelated question: I see in your photo you have a solar panel, and it’s wires run towards the tow-hitch area. I can’t see clearly in the pic - where does it enter your caravan? I was wondering if people simply plug it into the Anderson plug at the tow-hitch... but it needs to go to a solar charger first... how is yours set up?
Hi Warren - I also have a 160 watt solar panel on the roof. But, because I cannot move the caravan with the sun, or if I am under shade I also have a 100 watt solar panel I can move around. When I ordered the caravan I ask that they instal the second anderson plug. You will note the two red anderson plugs in the foto attached. They are both connected to the power panel in the second foto.
The matter of solar panels has been on this forum many times. I have also done a serious study to see if I should go that way, but at this stage I cannot be motivated to do so. I have three batteries in my car that drive the car and TWO 30L Engel fridges inside the car seperately. Then I have three 12V @ 7,2A/H batteries (similar to the ones you have for your house security) inside my bushwagon to drive the water pump and twelve LED lights. (I have two spares also) I have been to the bush mostly anywhere south of the Congo and I have never been without power or frozen stuff.
I have friends that use (and love) their solar panels and I can see the advantage of them, but the effort to get them going (and storing) is (for me) to much. We have never camped at any African campsite for more than five days at a time and we find that the vehicles are mostly on the move every day, charging the batteries. And the minute we arrive at a camp with electrical power (which happens, even in the most remote places ) we charge everything.
Hi Guys. What are the makes of your Batwings?
My bat wing came with the caravan when I ordered it. It's got the Tuffcats brand / name on it.