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Overlanding Gear: Portable Awning For Any Rig

Moon Fabrication’s lightweight Moon awning is an alternative to bulky rack-mounted awnings.

Sean P. HolmanAuthor, Photography

Awnings for camping and overlanding are all the rage these days, but not everyone has a rack to mount a heavy-duty awning on, and not everyone wants to make their vehicle less aerodynamic by mounting an awning in the wind stream. Besides, wouldn't it be nice if you could take your awning with you and have the flexibility to mount it on any vehicle?

Moon Fabrications has just the solution for those looking for a lightweight, packable awning that can be attached to almost any vehicle. Known as the MoonShade, this setup measures 9 feet by 7 feet, packs down to a manageable 28 by 6 inches, and weighs in at just 8 pounds. The MoonShade is made from sturdy 420D recycled-yarn ripstop polyester with UV 50-plus coating and uses a reflective underside coating to help block UV rays and helps spread the light from a lantern at night, which can be clipped to the underside of the MoonShade. Even the tension poles and telescoping support poles are made from aluminum for durability.

The domed shape, which also contributes to evenly dispersed lighting, allows rain to roll off the shade like an umbrella. The upright support poles can extend to a maximum height of 8 feet, making plenty of headroom for anyone in your party. And because one side of the shade doesn't use poles, it can be mounted higher than the 8 feet that the poles can reach; the canopy will just sit at an angle.

The MoonShade comes in a nylon bag that measures just 28 inches long and 6 inches around, and it weighs in at just 8 pounds.

What makes the MoonShade unique is that it comes with three different mounting solutions. You can use the carabiners to clip to rope or loops, the magnetic mounts for steel roofs, or the suction cup mounts just about any other situation. Setup takes as little as five minutes, and the MoonShade can be packed away in under 10 minutes. Ground stakes and guy lines are included (and necessary in breezy conditions to keep the support poles from lifting).

We would highly recommend this setup for the casual camper but would keep it stowed in high wind or extreme weather environments. Otherwise, it's the perfect product for someone who has multiple vehicles or needs a more versatile awning that's easy to pack and set up on the fly wherever their adventures take them.

The first step to deploying the awning should be determining your mounting setup. We used this accessory eye bolt on our Rhino Rack for one of the anchors.
Because the rack was shorter than the MoonShade, we utilized the provided heavy-duty suction cup mount on the front of our Jeep's composite roof.
Moon also includes a pair of these beefy magnetic anchors for steel-roofed vehicles.
If your shade is going to be mounted between two anchor points that are narrower than the shade, Moon provides this option strut pole that adds structure to the anchor side of the shade.
After choosing and installing our anchor setup, we clipped the corners of the MoonShade to the anchors.
With the shade hanging from the anchors, we were able to slide the 13-mm aluminum tension poles into the reinforced pockets.
Next, we clipped the tension poles to the shade, much like you would do with the rainfly on most common tents.
Here you can see the shape of the awning before adding the 19-mm telescoping aluminum support poles.
The aluminum support poles are sturdy and can adjust from 78-96 inches.
Installing the support poles is as easy as pushing them into the corner grommets. Note the fabric's reflective undercoating and complete sunlight blockage.
The last step is to rig the guy lines to the included aluminum stakes and secure the shade and support poles to the ground.
Once you get the hang of setup, you can be basking in the protected cover of the MoonShade within five minutes.

Source

Moon Fabrications, Inc.
www.moonfab.com