Exclusive Interview with Phil Haynes, Outdoor Revolution

Outdoor Revolution Airedale 6 Air

We are very proud to offer Outdoor Revolution's high quality motorhome and caravan awnings. So we caught up with Sales and Marketing Director, Phil Haynes, to find out what it is like working at Outdoor Revolution and all the new and exciting products that are planned for 2015.

How long have you been with the company?

5 years

Can you describe Outdoor Revolution in your own words?

The team at Outdoor Revolution are the innovators and originators in lightweight caravan and motorhome awnings and new for 2015 tents. Outdoor Revolution uses lightweight poles and Airframes, and are the industry leaders in the awning market.

How did the company get started? What inspired the creation of Outdoor Revolution?

Twelve years ago our founder, Brent Turner, set out to change the industry from solely having the heavy, labour intensive awnings to robust lightweight ones.  The heavier awning can be very time consuming to put up, and this is impractical as many people have less available time now.

People tend to go on short holiday and weekend breaks, rather than longer stay, and time is critical; people don’t want to be fighting to put the awning, or tent up and down, which just eats into their leisure time. Outdoor Revolution set out to tailor its products to this need, and provide the very best product possible.

What brands and products do you supply?

We have a wide range of caravan and drive-away awnings and tents but also all the camping equipment that you could need including tent carpets, sleeping bags and accessories. We are actually part of the Blue Diamond products company, which manufactures toilet and cleaning chemicals in the UK

Can you tell us a bit more about your inflatable tents?

One of the common mistakes made by the end user is to ‘over inflate’ the air-tube - we would recommend between 2 and 4 PSI. The problem arises when the ambient temperature increases, the air expands in the tube and has nowhere to go; there should always be a ‘squeeze’ in the tube when first set up, to allow for this expansion.

That said, our inflatable tents, and some of our awnings, are especially designed so that if there is a temperature change, the tubes will release any excess air through our patented Intelligent Frame, and avoid damage; the Intelligent Frame comes with a lifetime guarantee for added peace of mind; no other product on the market has this.

We are also extremely proud to offer the Dynamic Speed Valve, this is the easiest and most reliable valve on the market. We took the technology directly from the marine industry, where it has a proven history, and a heritage built on trust. The valve is super easy to use and very quick to inflate or deflate the awnings.

Related: Inflatable Tent & Air Tent Buying Guide

What are the unique features of the inflatable awnings?

On top of the Dynamic Speed Valve and Intelligent Frame, our awnings also benefit from double rip stop fabric which has the highest tensile strength of any lightweight awning fabric.

The fabric is also treated with Sun Pro UV, which is a type of sun protection so that the fabric won’t fade, or disintegrate. The Sun Pro UV will make the material last up to 3 times longer than any untreated awning fabric.

We have designed all of our products to be quick to erect; they can be put up in 20 - 25 mins and take them down even quicker.

Fabric colour is another unique feature for our tents and awnings. Tents and awnings are traditionally dark colours, but this can make the inside hot as the colour absorbs the heat.  At Outdoor Revolution, we have put a lot of thought into the useable space and have made the awnings light colours to reflect the light.

When buying an awning or tent, many people only think about the outside, but they really should experience the product from the inside looking out, as this will be where you spend most of your time. Therefore, we have used oversized windows to ensure that there is enough light and you can be closer to the outside.

The different spaces of the awning have also been tailored to their specific needs. For example, the living spaces are bright with bigger windows to make them open and light, whereas the sleeping areas are slightly darker so that you can sleep easier and keep children calm at bedtime.

Related: Drive Away Awning Buying Guide

What has been a highlight in the company so far?

The highlight has been having the ability to work with the very best products on the market. Many companies build a price margin and then build a product to fit that price, whereas at Outdoor Revolution we design and build the very best quality and then decide the suitable price in line with our competitors’ products; we have a small team, and don’t need to make the profit of much bigger organisations with fancy head offices and layers of management.

We attend the NEC exhibition every year and listen to the consumers. Every year we seem to have people excited about our products as they know that we listen to them and build to their needs. We use all the feedback that we receive at the exhibitions and produce a product to suit those needs - only then do we look at a price and it will be the best price we can offer in relation to the market and quality of the product. Generally, we offer a superior product at a cheaper price, like for like, than all of our competitors.

What is great is we have customers that return year after year and it is always brilliant to have a catch up and see what they have been up to.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?

Definitely the biggest challenge has been convincing the consumers that air is as reliable as it is. To be fair, if you had asked me three years ago about air frames, I would have told you that it was a fad, but now I am confident that this is the very best technology and it will remain as a staple of the industry.

Air frames are more reliable than other frames because if blown in, the air tubes will simply bounce and go back into shape, whereas steel frames will remain bend, and fibre frames could snap. The frames are easily taken down as they have easy, quick release buttons, and simple to re-inflate; each one of our tubes takes approx. 20 seconds to inflate.

What do you think has been your secret for success?

We produce the best products to the highest standard. Opposite to the market, we use computer generated designs that can be statistically tested to ensure we get the best product possible at the best price.

The company is also owned by just 2 individuals, not by shareholders and investors. This means that there are few overheads and we can offer unequalled value for money.

What is the best camping tip/hack you have ever been given?

This may sound a little gross but definitely take a bucket into the tent at night in case of emergencies. What I also do is use some of those pet training pads and put them in the bottom of the bucket to absorb everything and make it a little more hygienic.

What item will you not explore without?

My own pillow, I think it is so important to create a normal sleeping environment.

Where is your favourite place to go camping/exploring?

We love Beverley because I like the town and the Folk Festival is fun. You can have a relaxing weekend there and it is a little different.

Lastly, can you describe the Outdoor Revolution in just one sentence?

Outdoor Revolution are the innovators, creators and market leaders in the lightweight tent, caravan and drive-away awnings; pound for pound, they can’t be beaten.

A massive thank you to Phil for sharing his time and thoughts with us. Have you ever tried an air frame? If so we would love to hear all about it, let us know in a comment below. Take a look at our full series of interviews on our blog.

You can check out our range of Outdoor Revolution products here.

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