If you're in the habit of camping or spending lazy afternoons out in the bush or on the beach, an awning should be your best friend. The best 4WD awnings are designed to provide protection from all weather, offering a shaded area out of the rain and direct sunlight.
But choosing the right awning can be hard. Trust me, I've had my issues with bad choices over the years. They come in a range of sizes, and there are awning options for all uses.
But I've drawn on my experience to bring you this list of the top 6 4WD awnings on the market today.
How I Made My Selections
I've used countless types of awnings during my travels throughout Australia and the rest of the world. The best models feature a wind-resistant design, great durability, easy setup and pack away, a high water rating, decent weather protection, and ripstop canvas to prevent tearing.
I spent hours choosing the following 10 options, and every option performs admirably in every area.
Types Of 4WD Awning
There are a few different types of awning worth considering. These range from simple retractable models that attach to your roof racks to fancier models that provide more coverage.
These are the most popular type that you will see when you're out camping. They come in retractable awning and roll-up models and are very easy to use.
Batwing awnings (aka “Wing Awnings”) are similar to side awnings, but they cover a lot more space due to their fold-out design.
Rooftop Tent Awnings
Many rooftop tents come with optional awnings that you can add for extra protection from the elements. Roof top awnings tend to be on the smaller side, but awning extensions are often available to add extra functionality.
These are virtually identical to side awnings but are designed to fold out from the rear of your vehicle.
The Darche Eclipse 270 is a super versatile 4wd awning that's perfect for a huge range of uses. It's an option I love to pull out on the beach, as it provides plenty of shade from the harsh Australian sun. On top of this, it's super easy to assemble, and there are various additions that you can purchase.
But the thing I love most about the Darche Eclipse 270 is its 270-degree coverage. The awning extends from the side of your vehicle, curling around to attach to the rear and providing an impressive 11.5 square metres of cover.
Another standout feature of this model is its stand-alone functionality. This means that, in calm conditions, you shouldn't need to peg it down. But I'd still recommend tying it down with ropes if there's a breeze. It’s worth securing it to a tree or a few heavy pieces of wood if you can.
Trust me, there's nothing worse than your awning blowing away with an awful screeching noise in the middle of the night!
This quality awning is expensive, but its strength and durability make it my number one pick - as long as your budget stretches to this price range!
If you're looking for a simple awning to use on the occasional weekend out and about, the Darche Kozi is an excellent budget-friendly option. The cheapest 2.0 x 2.5m model provides 5 square metres of coverage and is super easy to set up.
The Darche Kozi is one of the more popular rooftop tents going around, and I've used it numerous times. I've never had issues when I've had to set it up on my own, and it's super simple to pack away.
Another plus is this product's aluminium pole design. These telescopic poles fold into the awning when it's packed away, creating a compact, lightweight package that attaches to the side of your roof rack. The awning fabric is also quite light, making it easy to handle.
This awning from Supa Peg has made our list because of how easy it is to use. Setup and pack down take just minutes, and one person can do both with ease. On top of this, the Stand Easy ERV Awning covers 6.25 square metres.
Additionally, the heavy canvas design provides full protection in sunny, wet, and windy conditions. It's a quality product, and it comes complete with mounting kits and guy ropes that you can use to secure it when it's set up. Various add-on accessories are available, and this awning is perfect for a streamlined camping experience.
The Oztent Foxwing 180 mounts to the side of your roof rack, extending in a 180-degree semi-circle for extra coverage. It's an affordable option that's built with quality materials, including ripstop polyester and solid alloy poles. On top of this, it's covered by a comprehensive Oztent 2-year warranty.
I personally love this awning for slightly larger groups of people. It provides more coverage than the standard side awnings, and adding awning walls will enable even more protection during your next outdoor adventure.
Although it's quite pricey compared to some of the alternatives, the Supa Peg Outbound Shield 6 more than makes up for it in convenience and class. I love its freestanding design, and while I haven't had the chance to use one very often, it's always been a pleasure.
Unlike a standard awning, this model has no ropes, poles, or other support other than your roof rack. It is a little heavy, but it has a huge 17 square metres of coverage. On top of this, it boasts a high UV protection rating, and the metal hinges and fittings are built to last.
The Rhino-Rack batwing awning is one of the best 270-degree awnings on the market. It's very affordable, comes with all pegs and guy ropes, and boasts a tough, spacious storage bag for long-term protection. It's also built with heavy-duty, water-resistant canvas that offers excellent sun protection. If you're looking for an affordable awning with decent coverage, I'd strongly suggest checking out this model.
4WD Awning Buying Guide
To save you the legwork, I've put together a short list of things that you need to know before purchasing your first awning. As with all camping gear, it’s crucial to spend some time purchasing your awning tent to ensure you get the right option.
How To Choose A 4WD Awning
When choosing an awning, keep the following physical properties in mind.
For starters, ensure you purchase an awning that's big enough to provide the protection you require. Batwing awnings are generally the largest, followed by side and rear models.
The number of family members or friends you're planning to house under your awning will dictate the size you need.
Usually, your awning will bolt to the side of your roof rack. Keep an eye on your total weight to ensure your vehicle isn't overloaded.
Ideally, you should be looking for a high-quality model that's built with durable canvas and tough aluminium poles. Ensure the awning cover is durable as well, as it’s responsible for providing long-term protection from the elements when your awning isn’t in use.
Think carefully about setup and pack down time. Larger awnings can take some time to set up, especially if you're camping alone or with one other person.
The availability of attachments, such as side walls and floors, is another vital consideration. Adding walls to your shelter is a great way to make your camp comfortable and protected from the weather.
Which 4WD Awning Brand Is The Best?
Darche offers a wide range of 4wd awnings that are built for Australian conditions. I've used numerous models, and it's fair to say that I've rarely been disappointed - if ever. It offers everything from budget-friendly 4wd side awnings to larger rear and batwing awnings. What's more, all models come with an excellent manufacturer's warranty.
What Is the Difference Between A Waterproof And A Showerproof Awning?
When you're looking for an awning, you may come across terms like "showerproof", "waterproof", and "water-resistant". But what do these mean?
In short, a waterproof awning shouldn't leak, no matter how much rain you get. The awning material is often treated with a layer of protection to prevent water from seeping through.
On the other hand, showerproof and water-resistant awnings are designed to keep you dry during light rain, but they don't provide full protection. Under heavy rain for long periods of time, you may find that water begins to seep through. If you have a dense canvas model, you should be able to apply a waterproof coating for added protection.
Tips For Setting Up A 4WD Awning
Setting up your 4WD awning should be an easy process, but there are still plenty of things that can go wrong. I've experienced most of them, and trust me, it's usually not very fun. These tips will help you stay out of trouble.
Peg It Down Securely
There's nothing worse than a story gust of wind picking up your awning and tossing it over your car. This happened to me not all that long ago, and it resulted in a twisted, mangled mess of metal and canvas that wasn't salvageable. But the good news is that you can stop this from happening by pegging your awning down securely. My mistake!
Always Pack Away Dry
If you've ever pulled a mouldy tent or awning out of its bag, you'll know how unpleasant the smell can be. To ensure your awning doesn't go mouldy, I'd recommend always waiting until it's dry before you pack it away. If this isn't possible, make sure you pull it out and let it dry as soon as you can.
Angle The Legs For Better Runoff
Awnings provide excellent rain protection, but you can make it even better by angling your support legs smartly. For optimal water protection, lower one or both legs to create a rain shield. This will also assist with runoff and prevent water from pooling on top of the canvas.
There are numerous attractive awnings on the Australian market, but it's hard to go past the 6 options I've listed here. The Darche Eclipse 270 provides excellent coverage and comes in first, but every option I've listed is one I would personally buy. A good budget option is the Darche Kozi, and you can get a decent model here for just a few hundred dollars.
At the end of the day, the right awning for you will depend on exactly what you're planning to use it for. If you can, I'd suggest heading down to your local beach or caravan park and having a walk around. Pay attention to the different models and, if you get a chance, ask some people about their experiences. It shouldn't be too hard to find the perfect fit!
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.