When you’re on the trail for days on end, one of the best things you can bring along is a bit of liveable space in the form of an awning. It keeps you out of the sun, protected from precipitation, and you can even add walls and floors to escape the wind and weather. Every awning isn’t right for every rig, but fortunately, there are great choices in every style of overlanding awning.
While there are tons of options on the market, we’ve selected some of our favorite awnings and awning accessories for a variety of rigs from brands we trust. The last thing you want is for your awning to fail during a wind storm or downpour. While it’s definitely inconvenient, it can also be a danger to you and your rig when metal parts are flailing in the wind.
23Zero — Peregrine 270 Awning
If you’re looking to add a huge amount of shade and weather protection, then you should definitely take a look at the Peregrine 270 from 23Zero. This awning offers an impressive 270 sq. ft. of coverage and measures nearly 20 feet from end to end. Part of this area is added by the forward-facing front rafter that covers the front and rear doors.
Even spanning such a huge area, the Peregrine 270 remains rigid and isn’t prone to swaying in the wind. When the winds pick up, or the rain is really coming down, the optional legs and guylines keep the awning firmly planted. It features 23Zero’s Light Suppression Technology to reduce temperatures underneath the awning by up to 20%. This awning is a great option for larger rigs, especially if you’re looking to stay out of the sun when in the backcountry. While expansive, it only weighs 51 lbs. so you don’t have to worry about it penalizing your payload. Read our full review here.
Rhino-Rack — Batwing Compact 270-Degree
We recently tested the Batwing Compact 270-Degree awning and found it to be a perfect match for smaller SUVs and mid-sized trucks. It’s an especially great fit on mid-sized trucks with beds in the six-foot range. It provides ample coverage in a quick-set-up and easy-to-use package.
The installation was incredibly simple and only took a few minutes. We found ourselves using it at every chance we had on the trail, even if it was only for a quick lunch stop. The legs allow you to dial in the pitch so that you can manage run-off during heavy rain or adjust the shade as needed. Wind doesn’t present an issue with clever pole ends that allow two tent stakes to be threaded through them at perpendicular angles. This, plus the sturdy guylines, provides solid anchor points that protect the awning from damage. However, if the hub is damaged, the hinge components are designed to be easily replaced, and spare parts are included. Weighing in at only 39.5 lbs. and providing 68.9 sq. ft., it offers the best of both worlds in terms of shelter and vehicle payload. Read our full review here.
Alu Cab — 270-Degree Shadow Awning
The Shadow Awning from Alu Cab is a bit of a modern classic. They’ve been around a few years, and based on the number of rigs we see these on and from personal experience, they stand up to life on the trail. Featuring stout aluminum swing arms, the Shadow Awning is capable of free-standing deployment, so you won’t be stuck setting up polls and guylines while trying to stay dry. At the other end of the spectrum, the Shadow Awning frame is covered in a special reflective rip-stop material, so when the sun is beating down, you can count on it being especially cool.
The Shadow is 8.5 feet long when closed, so it’s a good fit for full-sized trucks and over-cab campers. However, it might be a bit tough to fit it to smaller SUVs with a short roofline. Plus, it weighs 52 lbs. so be conscious of how that impacts your payload. While this might seem a bit big, it provides 107 square feet of coverage, so if you have the roof space and capability, you’ll have shade and weather protection to match. Depending on what you plan to mount the awning to, you’ll need to check out available mounts that work with a variety of roof racks, tents, and campers.
ARB — Awning with Lights
This is the style of awning that was most popular just a few short years ago, and there’s nothing wrong with the roll-and-store style. With a bit of practice and/or help, they’re quick to deploy. Plus, the soft storage bag, lightweight aluminum frame, and durable PU-coated poly/cotton rip-stop provide plenty of protection in a small package.
This option from ARB goes the extra mile and adds LED lights underneath, so that is one less thing you have to worry about. The extendable legs work up to 6.9 ft., so there’s no worry of ducking under it for cover. Plus, they’re available in three lengths to fit just about any rig.
The 6.5 ft. long model is the middle option and weighs 25 lbs. This series of awnings includes mounting hardware, guylines, and tent stakes. ARB also produces a number of accessories for this series, including mesh rooms, walls, and floors to expand your on-trail shelter capabilities.
ARB — Aluminum Awning
Another interesting option from ARB is the Aluminum Awning that brings the simple setup and design as our last suggestion but wrapped up in a durable aluminum case. This avoids the issue of UV degradation without taking away from the lightweight, compact, and modular nature of the awning. Plus, it just looks classy, so if you’re kitting out a classic rig, this would be an excellent option.
The three quick-release bungies replace the zipper of the soft case and keep the awning protected from the elements when not in use. The aluminum poles are color matched to the black case, making this accessory as fashionable as it is functional. The extended awning is 8.2 x 8.2 feet and features a maximum mounting height of 6.9 ft. Even with the addition of the hard case, the whole package comes in at 35.2 lbs.
Rhino-Rack — Dome 1300 Awning
The domed awnings might not be as popular as other styles of awnings, but they’re not without pros. For starters, if your rig’s roof height isn’t quite high enough, the dome of a domed awning adds extra headroom. It’s also rather rigid, so when you guy out the Dome 1300, you won’t have to be too concerned about wind flap.
Coming in at 18.6 lbs and offering 68 sp. ft. of overhead coverage, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better weight-to-shade ratio. Mounting the Dome 1300 isn’t limited to the sides of a rig. It also works at the rear, so you can cover your slide-out kitchens and more. While this type of awning isn’t necessarily common, it offers some great features at an approachable price point.
Rhino-Rack — Dome 1300 Side Wall
The Dome 1300 can be further enhanced with the addition of multiple sidewalls. Requiring only a couple of minutes to install, you can provide shade when the sun is low late in the day, or you can guard your camp from persistent winds. The 6.5×6.5 ft. piece can be pitched straight or at an angle to dial in your shade and weather protection. An added bonus is it’s just as easy to remove as it is to install. So you can enjoy the breeze and the shade on those hot summer days.
Rhino-Rack — Batwing Tapered Zip Extension
One of the great things about the Batwing series of awnings is the impressive line of accessories that allow you to dial in your shelter system to suit your needs. In particular, this Tapered Zip Extension with a door can turn your awning into a full-blown ground tent that still allows covered access to the back of your rig. It’s constructed of the same tough mold-resistant rip-stop material. You can add up to four extension walls to a Batwing awning for a fully enclosed shelter.
Roofnest — Litewing Awning
Let’s round out our picks for the best awnings with another great 270-degree awning from Roofnest. The Litewing is relatively new on the market, but we got to check one out early, and needless to say, we’re impressed.
The Litewing is available in both driver and passenger-side orientations, so you don’t have to worry about switching up your current tent and roof rack configuration when installing the Litewing. The Litewing measures 6.5 ft. long and weighs in at a relatively svelte 30 lbs. thanks in part to its lightweight carbon-fiber spines. Add in integrated LED lighting and a 90-second setup time, and you have 100 sq. ft. of coverage, and you have an awning that doesn’t sacrifice features for weight savings. The XL version is 8.2 ft. long, and it provides 100 sq. ft. of shelter, and impressively only weighs 10 lbs. more than the regular model.