ARB 4x4 Awning
Simplicity is everything with an awning, because what you’re looking for is a shelter that’s easy to set up and isn’t going to go wrong when you need it. ARB’s awning comes in three widths – 1.25, 2 and 2.5 metres. The ARB website doesn’t actually say how long the awning is, but we measured it for you because we’re helpful like that – it’s 2 metres.
Like most awnings ARB’s model is based around an aluminium extrusion that mounts to your vehicle. All the metal parts seemed robust. The awning itself is a PU-coated polyester, which we liked. It’s not as sophisticated as some, but breathable fabric is best kept for walls. It’s almost never completely waterproof and heavy rain can generate enough pressure to force water through it. That’s not going to happen with the ARB. Build quality was pretty reasonable, especially considering the price, and ARB certainly have enough confidence in it to give a 2-year guarantee.
Installation is pretty standard if you have a roof cage on your vehicle. There are two tracks on the back of the awning base, which take the heads of the supplied mounting bolts; just drill holes in your cage, match up the bolts and tighten down the nuts. There are six bolts in the kit, which is nice – some only give you four. Where it gets a bit more difficult is if you use roof bars. ARB don’t give you any mounting brackets so you’ll have to buy or fabricate those yourself. Buying them can easily add up to $80 to the total cost, so factor that in.
When you’re not using the awning it zips away in a heavy PVC cover attached to the base, and to set it up you just need to open the cover, undo the straps and unroll everything. The outer edge is another aluminium extrusion with the telescopic legs hinged to it; fold out and extend the side struts, unroll the awning and fit the struts into the end bar, then unfold the legs and adjust them to the height you want. Three Velcro straps per side hold the awning to the struts and you’re done. If there’s any wind you get pegs and guy lines to hold it all in place.
ARB also do mosquito nets to fit all sizes of their awning. They don’t have a tent option but if you’re looking for a place to relax in the evening that’s a bit harder for the bugs to get into (not impossible – some will probably get in where it straps to the side struts) the nets are ideal.
This is a good basic awning at a low price. It’s solidly made and completely waterproof, which is what an awning should be. It doesn’t have all the options that some higher end ones do, but if you’re looking for an awning on a budget this could be just what you’re after.