When it comes to awnings for your overland vehicle, there are actually a lot of choices. Granted, many of them are just about identical, but a different name slapped onto them. With that said, when you’re looking at awnings, you have a few different avenues to go down-mainly size.
First you’ve got the cheap, generic square or rectangle ones. I say these are “generic” as there are a ton of awnings with different names printed on them, desperately trying to set themselves apart from their various twins like this one on amazon pictured above. The benefit of these awnings is that they are cheap. The issue that I have with them is twofold, first they require two people to set up (okay, I know some of you are going to argue this, but it takes two people to setup easily). Second is the actual shaded area-unless you happen to have the sun directly above you, there isn’t too much shade provided by them.
Ooh, and I thought of a third thing, the poles! Because they just roll out from their attachment point (roof rack) you have to use poles on the corners. Not a huge deal by any means, but its nice to use some of the more expensive options (180 and 270 degree) without poles* in the way.
Stepping up from there, you have 180 and 270 degree awnings. These are typically much more expensive, but they cover a much larger area. One of the huge benefits to using one of these however, is you don’t need poles! Sort of. Here’s the deal, when you’re in a spot with very little to no wind, you can simply unzip the cover, expand out the awning, tie down the corners (to hold the awning “open”) and you’re done! BUT, if there is weather such as rain or wind, you’re going to want to set up the support poles.
I’ve actually got a 180 degree awning on order, but it won’t provide near the same shade coverage that a 270 awning will. The only reason I went with a 180 awning over a 270 is my set up. My RTT rack is a little too low to mount an awning to, but if I mount the awning on the truck rack then the side of the awning will hit the tent. Or, if I don’t have a tent mounted, the majority of the “shade” provided will be over the truck bed-not real helpful.
To be fair, not all 180 and 270 degree awnings have pole-less options, I’m talking specifically about Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic Awnings. You can find them on amazon in a few varieties, which is the size and which side they will open on (see below).
Pricing starts around $300 for a simple square awning to $899 for a 270 degree awning set up. You can also expect to add some extra if you want to add a “side” to the awning, with options for just 1 shaded wall (great for privacy and when the sun isn’t directly overhead), to a full on zipped in enclosure (basically a tent at that point!).
Once I’ve got mine installed I’ll be sure to follow up with a review!
You can find more details about these awnings and other offroad overland accessories at Overland Vehicle Systems.