Video Tour of our UK Campervan & the Glawning: Seeking Feedback!


Well, we’re back from the UK.  If you follow our Facebook or Instagram accounts, you’ve probably seen all the super fun touristy and cycling stuff we got into over there.  The trip was awesome.

Fish & chips with actual British people!

And while you might have seen our video of setting up the Glawning when we arrived, what you haven’t seen is an up-close walkthrough of both the campervan we stayed in or the inside of the Glawning itself.  In this video, you’ll see both:

 

Our campervan was considerably smaller than a typical US Class B RV.  It was very reminiscent of a VW Westfalia in its appointments and its simplicity.  That was just fine with us, because we also had the Glawning attached to the van, and we were thankful for the extra space it provided.

You see, it rained quite a bit while we were there.  Had we been constrained to hang out in the van only, things would have been a bit… cramped.  But the Glawning provided us an entire other area to hang out in and chill.  (Or *not* chill, when we got the fire box going!)

Now, this is where YOU come in.

We were in the UK as guests of Glawning, and the reason they wanted us there was to get feedback on it from YOU, particularly our North American followers. So please check out this video and let us know what you think. Would you consider a Glawning?  Why or why not? What do you like/dislike about it? This is exactly the kind of feedback they’re looking for.

As far as Stef and me, I can confidently say that we would not be taking the Glawning with us on every trip we took.  Frankly, we make a lot of short stops where we just don’t put that much effort into it.  BUT… there are some trips we take where we would absolutely love to have the Glawning with us – rallies, meetups, festivals and the like.  If there’s someplace we’re going to stay a while, then the effort to transport and set up the Glawning would certainly be worth it, and would allow us a cool gathering place just outside our van.

So let’s hear it!  Take a look at the video and then sound off in the comments below!

 



James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.


    58 thoughts on “Video Tour of our UK Campervan & the Glawning: Seeking Feedback!

    1. John

      Since the Glawning is basically a small tent with a vestibule, so it ought to be compared to others. We just got an ad from Cabela’s/Bass Pro which offers a center-pole “Outback Lodge 8-Person Tent” for $300. Since we’d use it infrequently, and since this is 73 denier polyester taffeta walls and ceiling (waterproofed), it should fold into a smaller package. There are lots of others on the market and I’d check them out before spending $1,500 or more on the Glawning.
      James, do you know how lucky you are to be married to Stef? She doesn’t object to your shop, is cheerful, outgoing and charming, and is a very good videographer. Go give her a hug now!

      Reply
    2. Mike

      Hi All, Thanks for showing me the Glawning (hope I got that right)
      Feedback:
      Not for my style of travel, as you said I am more run and gun style, I don’t spend a lot of time in one place. In addition, if I am in a location for up to 5 days I don’t want to do that much setup and tear down.
      To me it seems to be a very high quality, elaborate tent and I don’t want that. In NA we have a lot of fast and cheap options for temporary structures. I don’t know the price of this unit but based on the quality appearance I am sure it is high.

      So, I bet this would be great for some but I don’t think for me. As far as would it sell in NA. Probably, we buy all kinds of stuff we don’t need or won’t use.
      Thanks again.
      Happy Pedaling:)
      Mike

      Reply
    3. Alan Dalgairns

      Love it! Definitely my next awning, love the stove too. In terms of attaching back after driving away, I find a bit of duct tape on the grass to mark the wheel locations. It comes off easy when you leave too. 🙂

      Reply
    4. Tim

      I like the style, with ceiling outskirted over the walls. And the walls that go out from the bottom. But,,,, But if I were a vanner, I would want 6 foot walls instead of 2 foot walls. Overall maybe 12 feet in the middle, and maybe poles from the floor up the walls instead of having guy lines, then stake the corners of the wall/floor. Nothing sucks more with tents than having to trip over guy lines in the dark.

      But that ceiling overhanging of the walls is huge for rain or snow. I like that. Walls with screen windows is awesome, but needs to be taller with the walls. And for insect prevention purposes I would close in the tent on the vehicle side. Maybe keep an awning for attaching to a vehicle for rain.

      But in most US areas that tent would be full of insects and not useful without closure, screening. I know that poles for a ceiling or walls is a pain, but for something that large there is no getting away from that.

      Most US places are not set up for attached tents to vehicles. But there may be a market with fairground activities. The stove is an awesome part of it. No matter what I would keep that as the primary purpose.

      Reply
    5. Beth

      I would love something like this, but smaller and more open, more like a screen room. I want to see the outside. I also would want something easy to set up for a solo traveler. A smaller version of this with more screen on the sides would make a great sitting area with some protection from bugs (would need a way to close the vestibule off) but still being able to enjoy the outdoors. It would be great for several day stays which I do enjoy.

      Reply
    6. Rich Ambrose

      I can see the advantages of this for a group get-together. We’d like to be invited over! But I can’t see us buying one – we just don’t stay in one place long enough to make it worthwhile, plus one of the things I love about our Class B is that we don’t have to deal with putting up a tent!

      Reply
    7. Barbara Littlefield

      A couple of issues: I travel alone, 5’2″ and 73 years old, I doubt that I could set that up alone. I am from southwestern New Mexico and definitely could not see that in our sudden, high winds. After being flooded out of a Midwestern trip last spring I am not sure how that would be in a heavy rain, does the water stay off the floor? How small does it get when folded down? Does it fill the van? I carry a Coleman screen tent and seldom if ever use it. Now for a gathering in the backyard I think it would be great.PS where does one carry the stove, and I would assume it would have to be cleaned out and or course cool to put in the van for travel. It looks fun, but not practical.

      Reply
    8. Anne

      Yes I would love love love this in Oklahoma!!!! I agree it would only be for certain trips but with our camping club it would be great for socials. Can you give us a link and pricing? Could we order it and have it shipped?

      Reply
    9. RIchard

      The tent is nice but good for extended stays. Van is simply a new westy, of which I had two and miss them much. GRT will build you an American version on van of your choice. When I had my vanagon westy we had smaller drive up tents about 12×8 (I believe) that were rectangular. These tents were great for adding living space to van and set up in a few minutes. These were good if raining or staying two days. They still make these side tents but you must import yourself. If I was camping for a couple of weeks then your yurt style tent would be good. Also b4 you leave look at the inflatable tents from Aughtwell (spelling?) they have versions of drive ups that are huge. Just a thought , you asked for it lol.

      Reply
    10. Dave Makarucha

      Yes, I have already been looking at getting one of these and would buy one when they come to North America. Dometic bought a company that does these in the UK (Kampa) and hopefully they, or whoever, will be bringing them to the U.S./Can market. The cool thing about the Kampa version is it has inflatable poles or arms instead of poles. It only takes a couple of minutes to put up. Like you we have times when this style of drive away awning would be awesome. It just makes sense if you are staying at a site for a couple of days and you want to explore with your van. You don’t have to tear everything down and it gives you a natural place to leave you camp stuff while you explore for the day.

      Reply
    11. Rich D.

      Ahh yes, the constant rain in England, hope it didn’t put too much of a damper on your vacation. As to the ‘Glawning’ , which reminds me of staying in a yurt. Based on your 1st video the setup seemed much too time consuming with the proper layout and the raising of the structure and all those guywires and stakes. Now if they just used a basic pop-up style cabin tent that goes up in about 10 minutes with an awning that attached to the van like the Glawning I think this Yank on the other side of the pond would be more interested. If you own a van you buy a tent and go camping, if you own a camper van you already are camping . Thanks for another interesting and informative video review.
      PS I do love the sound of rain on a tent,great for sleeping, like a lullaby

      Reply
    12. James Wood

      Hi that’s pretty cool! But next time you go to the UK, you MUST do a review of this cool Volkswagen Class B:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykebyNJ6uS8

      And now that you’re back, you MUST do a review of this near-clone of the Travato 59K, the Thor Sequence. They don’t have a 59G clone, but it’s the same price as the 59K and has multiplex wiring and a few snazzy features for the same money. This guy does a good review of it, but nobody goes into detail as well as you guys!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykebyNJ6uS8

      Reply
    13. Ian Furqueron

      I like the idea, but in general it seems camper-vanning in the UK is different than in the US. I follow a few UK-based YouTubers and it seems camp grounds in the UK are more of these open-field type situations instead of the more rigid RV spots in US campgrounds. Something like the Glawning would work well there, but I don’t how well it would work here.

      UK camper-van builders do love their little wood stoves where it’s often rainy and on the chilly side. Here in the US – we love A/C.

      Other than DIY builds, it seems fairly rare for US RV owners to personalize their RV. Redecorating it to suite their tastes and style. Maybe because of some worry about resale value. But since RV’s tend to have pretty poor resale value (other than Class B vans), this seems like it should be less of a concern.

      But to answer your main question – would I buy a Glawning? Probably not. I would be more interested in a zip-on/magnet screen enclosure for the awning on the side of my RV. I’ve had a poor-man’s version of this – a simple EZ-Up placed directly next to my van, which actually works reasonably well.

      Reply
    14. Stephanie

      I think the glawning would be great if you were going to stop and stay in a place for a week or more but for short stops I don’t think it would be worth the hassle. I do like the idea of the stove for cold weather camping but not sure with all the gaps between the van and the glawning it would be efficient at holding in a warm temp in truly cold conditions. I do like the protection from rain and sun 🙂 The other thing that makes me nervous is how big it is…would you be able to use it in an RV park or would it be too big for a standard lot size. I would consider it depending on how much it weighed and how much room it would take up as storage space can be quite tight. Loved the videos!

      Reply
    15. ANDREA J

      Here in CA I’d love a much smaller version with a lot more of it made out of bug screen. We have a 140 Sprinter and it gets really small after a while. It would be great to have a connected place to be outside but away from the bugs.

      Reply
    16. Stacy

      We watch all your videos. My husband and I thought we would like the idea of the glawning, but after thinking about it and discussing pros and cons, we decided the whole idea of getting a “B” van was simplification. The Glawning just had too much fiddle-factor for us. It’s a great concept — maybe with an easy set up system like our Coleman screen tent (up in 30 seconds) kind of thing might make it worth it. But for us — easy is key to having a good time. We “fiddle” all week long, so when we go camping fiddle-factor must be kept to a minimum.

      Reply
    17. Laura

      I live in Arizona. Plan to get a camper van in the future to see the northwest US. Although this is a nice set up that you have, I will not be opting for anything with canvas.y main concern would be bears. There are areas near Yellowstone that don’t even allow popups with canvas for that reason. I’ve also been told in case you get caught in a sudden drop in temperature to below freezing that canvas can be a poor choice.

      Reply
    18. Ivan

      FWIW, I’m personally torn on the idea. As the equivalent to a screened-in porch – place to sit casually, while leaving the “main” space inside the RV itself – I could see it being nice on occasion. (This would definitely require the model(s) with windows.)

      As dedicated living space while camping, not so much for me. Frankly, it seems like this is closer to tent camping, but missing many of the practical advantages of actually tent camping (e.g. small footprint, portability, backcountry use – also insert obligatory comment about RV versus tent in bear county here.) Full disclosure: I’ve personally never been fond of any RV configuration that involves soft-sided components, so I’m likely not their target market anyway.

      Reply
    19. Mike Parkerson

      Looks vulnerable to theft if set up for boondocking too near others but not in a supervised location. But for veteran tenters, it would be popular.

      Reply
    20. Preston Sturkie

      Please help me, on all of your videos the “Comments are turned off”. How can I turn them on? Your videos are the only channel this is happening.
      love all of your videos. Thanks

      Reply
    21. Judi A Lenz

      Love the concept of the Glawning for long stays and definately great for get togethers or gatherings.The UK and European areas love gatherings but their country side is also rainy , so I get this, great open feeling to serve as a shelter too. We personally probably wouldn’t use much as we are about function for easy light travel, but I do love the hippie boho vibe it gives.
      Thanks for sharing Judi

      Reply
    22. Carrie

      The tent looks very roomy and cosy with the stove. I have also looked at another product that is UK based, https://www.kampa.co.uk/awnings
      also attach to the RV, some are also the drive-off type, it looks more like an enclosed patio than a tent; not so rustic or romantic; but probably much easier to put up. Also wish was available in the U.S.
      Thanks

      Reply
    23. Dude

      As a rule, Americans hate European ingenuity. Especially in the RVs. I would love to have this, but how do you put it up and take it down. Put magnets on the vestibule and connect it to my sprinter where do you put it for transportation. In a stowaway 2?. Since it’s European I am guessing a MSRP of $12k. Which won’t fly in US there has been tents which connect to class b for a while and they all suck flimsy, .expensive, cold, hot mosquotoey. I would love.one of these tho. It’s like a. Cass b yurt (sp). So I’ll start.laughing when I ask this. “What’s the price?” My top price would be $1000 usd.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Well, they have an even larger one (ours was 4 meters, they make a 5 meter one). Price depends on size, but I believe it should be on their website.
        The Glawning attaches at the top of the vestibule with a small strip that locks the Glawning to the van.

        Reply
      2. Dude

        I’ll reply to my own post. Looks like it isn’t impossible to build and it’s only $3k. And it’s not that large, but where to put it while driving Hmmm, at that upper end of pain. Hmmmm.

        Reply
    24. Dottie Burton

      I would love to buy this for when we have family reunions here in the USA I would buy one for sure I would love it just like it is

      Reply
      1. Kyle Pifer

        I think it’s a great idea if you had enough room in a campground to use it fully. Also when did you get grandchildren? Thanks for the video.

        Reply
    25. Marcia

      Yes yes yes! Please sell these in the USA! Oh my goodness! Hubby and I would love to have one! We would use this as a wonderful guest house at home and a lovely place to relax beside our camper. We would put one entrance under our awning!

      I can see the USA not being keen on the wood stoves however. It would be great to have a vent option at the top to allow for a decrease in condensation.

      How about zippers or ties on the van entrance to provide less opportunity for critters to wander into the Glawning. And since we camp in Maine and other places where mosquitoes can carry you away…. a netting system to keep the bugs out would be brilliant!

      These will be perfect when camping in a field where there is no shade! They would also be great for family events in our yard in the hot summers!

      Your Glawning is lovely and we look forward to camping with one here in the USA soon!

      Reply
    26. Thomas

      I could see this being a popular option with the teardrop crowd. That said, as Americans go, it would have to be EXTREMELY easy to set up. If it’s complex, I can’t see people wanting to bother.

      Another great video. Keep up the great work. And welcome home!

      Reply
    27. Anne

      With a 4×4 MB Sprinter the vestibule would have to be pretty tall and it’s hard to visualize how we could attach/detach it easily. Mosquitos would be an issue but having semi-portable shade and space seems like it would be a plus. That being said we used to have a Springbar tent that seemed like a great idea when we got it but found we almost never hauled it with us or set it up even if we did bring it.

      Reply
    28. Ted

      I’d be a bit concerned about having a fire burning inside a tent. One possible option is the way these Japanese are doing it with an electric tatami covering the entire tent floor. No sleeping on cold hard ground.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eMWd9AG9o8

      Okay….. I mainly watched this video because I wanted to eat the same way these guys did. But the kids definitely looked very comfortable rolling around on top of the electric tatami.

      Reply
    29. Roger Elmes - White Rock BC

      It’s very interesting, cozy and fun. Mosquito, bug, snake issues would be of concern in some locales. Having downsized from a motor home in Europe and 5th wheels to a modified Dodge Grand Caravan (22,000 km in 3 months coast-to-coast across Canada) as well as Washington, Oregon, Arizona, it would be a challenge to store and set-up except for long stays. For us a more practical solution, and essentially mosquito, bug, and snake proof we went with a Napier SUV/Minivan Tent that connects over the open rear door and is easily disconnected and left on site for day trips in the van with or without our bikes on any given day. Thanks for all the great info you provide

      Reply
    30. Robert Crouse

      We have a Carefree Buena Vista room for the Fiamma awning on our Rialta. Since we tow a Scooter for local transportation the drive away option is not a problem. We will set up the room if we are staying in one spot for several days. As James mentioned rallys and entertaining large groups are where the room is really nice. In the links here https://www.cccgis.com/Rialta/projects.html
      or the main page
      https://www.cccgis.com/Rialta
      you can see the awning/room and how it goes together. With the inflatable couch/bed, table, TV, patio mat and drink cooler we have created a space that more than doubles the living area of the Rialta.

      Reply
    31. Dan Hamilton

      I like it but it looks really big. I would think for the us market they would have to offer something smaller. Maybe say double the width of a van awning. Which brings up another point. Maybe they can rig something that allows use of a van awning as part of the vestibule. Do UK vans have awnings as a rule? Noticed yours did not. Many of the “overland” folks have awning tents/bat wings that kind of do the same thing as this so maybe they should look at that.

      Reply
    32. Larry Dunbar

      I really like the idea for some uses. But, how does one keep the mosquitoes and other critters out of it??? Can it be used with other vans?

      Reply
    33. T Harrigan

      I use my Promaster based RV mostly as a tail-gate facility to share with my cycling friends. Clearly, this “glawning” would be a bad idea. My initial take would be negative, but I could see where it would be useful to me. I plan to “snowbird” a bit down in Florida where I basically see myself finding a nice state park and staying there as long as I can. During the day, I’d take the road bike and Class B to a good spot to start and end my ride for the day. But then I could come back to the overnight state park and have a covered place for relaxing the remaining portion of the day. I saw your setup video and between that and the stove (where does that come from?) they could certainly reduce the setup effort. That said, if “home base” for 2 weeks (the most you can stay at most state parks) had this “enhancement” it would provide all the space you speak of in your video. A side benefit is with class B RVs leaving the purchased site, you don’t have to worry as much about someone trying to take your site.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        We thought the same thing about securing the camp site. The drive-away feature makes that easy.
        As far as the stove – that comes direct from Glawning.

        Reply
        1. T Harrigan

          I have to add the question, what about security? It’s not uncommon for people to have items stolen from their camp site. Seems like while the idea of having “home” set up when you return, let’s face it. You may well have to nail everything down every time you leave for a few hours.

        2. James - Post author

          Security is always an issue. When we left the Glawning, we didn’t leave anything terribly valuable in just the Glawning. We would lock items in the van, or take them with us.
          You’d have to make your own decisions based on the circumstances.

    34. Becky Lansing

      Would totally use one. Seems a little large and the color of it is a bit too ”Out of Africa” for our style. No mid height windows is a bit disappointing. Easy assembly would be very important.
      Thanks for the tour though.

      Reply
        1. Norman Klein

          I like the idea of having an extended space away from the van to ward off claustrophobia! The stove would be great here in the Northwest! Aberdeen, WA

    35. Lester Greenberg

      I am in. We are looking for our first RV and you two are instrumental in our conversion from a class c to a class b (thanks, by the way). I have known about the Glawning for a bit and it is brilliant. I can TOTALLY see it for boondocking. My only question is whether a campground will have spaces big enough for our van and the tent. The folks in the UK really love their awnings which are quite rare in the US and so maybe the campground spaces are not big enough.

      Reply
    36. Sammy Hamish

      Personally it doesn’t interest me that much. We do own a class B+ and the design is intentional for our needs.

      I don’t think it would work on traditional campgrounds do to space limitations.

      Canadian provincial parks are also somewhat limiting and if may or may not work.

      I guess you can see that my main concern is space available for set up let alone the accessories for livability.

      Plus I think most people would find the time spent in assembly can be put to better use. Think of how often you use your awning.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        We did share with the Glawning folks our concerns about campsite size as well. Seems like you have a similar concern.
        We’re going to pay better attention going forward to see if we have space for the Glawning where we stay.

        Reply
    37. Christina Elliott

      I appreciate the added space and versatility of the vestibule and tent. Additions that I’d like to see to the round tent and vestibule are thick plastic windows that covers could be zipped on or off depending if one wants to see through the round tent area or not. Similar to Yurts, one can zip the “window” closed or have a see through “window” or simply zip the tent material over it and have total privacy.

      How water proof is the vestibule and tent? Is there special material on the floor to prevent water penetration that extends up the sides for 6 or more inches? What appears to be a rain fly doesn’t go all the way to the ground. Why not?

      How does one maintain such a structure and break it down for storage? What is the total weight of the tent and vestibule? I imagine that one doesn’t have to have the stove in place, but how much does the stove and stove pipe weigh? What is the square footage of both the vestibule and tent itself?

      Thank you for bringing new ideas to viewers above and beyond van tours.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Glawning does make models with windows. That may be what you’re thinking of.
        As to “waterproofness”, I can tell you it rained A LOT, and we didn’t get any drips inside the Glawning. The floor is plastic, so no water comes through there. If you see the rain fly not going to the ground, that’s because it goes to where it meets the floor.
        The stove and pipe were fairly lightweight and packed down pretty small. The tent and vestibule were heavier. I don’t know the exact weight, so I’d refer to the Glawning specs for that. Not something you want to carry by hand for a great distance though.

        Reply
        1. Erica Hammer

          We toured Iceland in a rental RV for 2 1/2 weeks this summer. (Fun trip!).
          We saw a lot of similar setups. The Europeans seemed to set up and stay put for awhile. It wouldn’t have worked for us for that trip since we were “on the move” to see as much of Iceland as we could.
          And in the U.S., we are also “nomads”, rarely staying more than 2 nights in one place, so wouldn’t want to carry and set up the glawning very often. But – – I can see the advantages when we want to camp with our kidsand 4 grandkids (ages 2 – 7) and the extra space and rain free area would be wonderful!

        2. Lynda

          I could definitely see us using the glawning, but only for certain trips. It would be great to have the added space when bringing the grandchildren!

      2. Dave

        When I saw this, I had flashbacks to my time spent with the Army in the military. This reminds me of a white GP-Small tent with a vestibule added. The camp stove reminds me of the “Yukon stove” we used in it. The GP-Small came with a hole for the stovepipe already fixed in a panel, so no option of moving it.
        I likely would not set this up because… Where do you store all that when driving? Don’t say in a trailer because, if I’m going to have to pull a trailer anyway, I may as well make it a pop-up tent trailer.

        Reply

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