AWNING INFO - 4x4 Awning ReviewsIronman 4x4 Instant Awning

Ironman 4x4 Instant Awning

When you’re choosing an awning one factor that’s going to affect your decision is how easy it is to set up. The fun of camping is relaxing in the great Australian outdoors, not struggling with a mass of canvas and poles that seems to have a personal grudge against you. You want something that goes up quickly and without fuss, and “instant” sounds about as quick as you can get. So we tried out the Ironman 4x4 Instant Awning to see how it worked.

Ironman 4x4 produce a series of three awnings, in different sizes but all following the same basic design. They also have a range of accessories to add more functionality to the basic awnings depending on what you need. The awnings themselves are available in three widths – 1.4, 2 and 2.5 metres. The 1.4 and 2.5 metre models extend out 2 metres from your vehicle, and the 2 metre model extends 2.5 metres, so you have a good choice of sizes and layouts. Apart from the size they’re all pretty much the same, so while we reviewed the 2.5 metre model almost everything we say applies to the others as well.

The Ironman 4x4 Instant Awning consists of two aluminium extrusions, aluminium poles and a roof made of a breathable ripstop fabric. All the materials seem to be good quality and it’s well finished. We did have some reservations about the fabric though. Breathable fabrics are rarely completely waterproof, so while they’re great for side walls we don’t know if they’re so good for a simple awning. We didn’t have any problems with leaks but heavy enough rain might see some water getting through.

The basis of the whole Ironman system is an extruded aluminium base that installs on your roof cage or roofbars. The base has two tracks on the back to hold the supplied mounting bolts, so it can be mounted either directly or using the supplied L brackets. Ironman 4x4 have a clear and simple installation guide on their website and with the help of that it was easy to get the awning in place on an old cage.

With the base fitted, the rest of the awning is attached to it and rolls up into a zip-up cover for storage. To set it up you just have to unzip the cover, release the ladder buckle retaining straps then unroll the awning and start unfolding poles. The side struts and legs are telescopic and the outer edge of the awning is a square section tube, which the side struts fit into. Once it’s set up there are Velcro straps to secure the awning to the struts, making for a pretty stable structure. You also get guy lines to reinforce it a bit more. Overall setting it up is easy and quick, with no fiddly bits to cause frustration.

As optional extras Ironman have tents and mosquito nets available for all sizes of awning. These fit neatly to the base and front bar with sail tracks, and more Velcro holds them to the struts. Unfortunately that results in a common awning problem – determined bugs can get in at the sides. We’d prefer to see the sides zip on to the awning, but that’s not a common feature.

Overall these are good, simple to use awnings that are well made from quality material. We do have reservations about the use of a breathable roof, so be aware of the possible pitfalls if you go out in the rain a lot, but apart from that the Ironman 4x4 Instant Awning should serve you well.