I’ve had a Sportsmobile for three years and have been waffling back and forth on installing a permanent awning. After some deliberation, I decided that I didn’t want to hang that much weight off the side of my van and/or risk snagging it on an overhanging tree limb. It seems that I’ve only wanted an awning maybe 5-10% of the time as I usually move from site to site and never spend much time at the van in the heat of the day.
A couple of years ago I attended an event where a company was selling a highly portable awning that looked both practical and “relatively” affordable. Well this past winter I purchased one and have had a few opportunities to use it since.
The awning is called MoonShade by MoonFab. https://moonfab.com/
It comes in a zippered case 28” x 6” and weighs 8 lbs. The coverage is 9’ x 7’. The basic components include a UV resistant polyester cover, tension/telescoping poles, guy lines and suction cups for mounting to the vehicle. They also offer additional mounting accessories to fit specific needs. In my case, I also got their magnet anchors.
The first time I set it up, I used the magnetic anchors and they held VERY firmly to my van’s roof (even with a thick coat of Raptor liner). Since then I found out that the tabs which hold the pop top’s lower bungee cord are spaced perfectly to just clip the cover’s carabiners directly to the top. Note that this is on a RB pop-top and I’m not sure if this is possible on an EB pop-top. Set up is quick and takes around 5min (not including running and staking the guy lines). I found that clipping the carabiners into the pop-top (or magnets) first then installing the tension poles makes handling the cover easier. Then just insert the telescoping poles into the corner grommets and adjust the poles to height.
The awning also comes with a “narrow base mounting pole” for circumstances where the awning is mounted to objects less than 9’ wide. In this instance the pole is inserted in the narrow (7’) side of the awning and the pole is then attached to the mounting anchors. In my case, I simply tied the pole to the two rear pop-top tabs with some P-cord. Seems like a great way to provide an awning over the rear doors if desired. As a side note the awning can be easily moved from one side of the van to the other depending on sun direction.
Overall I’ve been very happy with this awning. Set up and tear down goes quickly and can be done easily with one person. The awning handles winds in the 20-25mph range with out issue as long as the guy lines are sufficiently anchored (for what it’s worth, I haven’t been in winds higher than 20-25 mph yet). The shape of the cover should easily shed rain and the awning can be angled down to provide more shade or protection when needed. I like that the awning can be easily moved from one side of the vehicle to the other, transferred to other vehicles or attached to features such as trees or fences.
Since I’ve only had the awning for a few months, I can’t comment on its durability. It “seems” well made (unfortunately in China) and carries a limited lifetime warranty against defects.
In case you’re wondering… these are a bit on the expensive side. Retail on the MoonShade is $325 plus any optional anchoring devices. My magnets ran another $30. Their site mentions that replacement covers can be purchased for around $150.