When I first started overlanding I had a tent – but that didn’t help me much when I needed to cook dinner or just relax outside. On hot desert days, the sun beat down on me uncomfortably. When it rained, I was stuck in my tent or in my Jeep, waiting for the skies to clear. It became clear what I needed – an overland awning.
An overland awning attaches to your vehicle and extends out to provide protection from the elements – sun, rain, snow, you name it. While you can always bring a freestanding awning, having an awning that you can deploy in just a few minutes from your vehicle is a game changer.
Below, I’ve rounded up some of the best overanding awnings on the market. Below that, I’ll provide some tips for choosing an awning based on your specific situation.
Recommended Overland Awnings
Here are some of the most popular and reliable overland awnings on the market, broken down based on whether they are rectangular, 180-degree, or 270-degree awnings.
Best Rectangular Overland Awnings
The most common overland awnings are rectangular in shape and typically supported by height-adjustable support poles. They are mounted to one side of the vehicle on the roof rack and extend out to provide shade and shelter. These tend to be the awnings most people start out with, as they are simple to install and cheaper than the 180- and 270-degree awnings (more on those below).
Front Runner Outfitters Easy-Out Awnings
Front Runner Outfitters make a wide range of overlanding gear, but they are best known for their roof racks. The Front Runner Easy-Out Awnings are rectangular awnings that mount on their racks and are supported by telescoping poles that fold out from the awnings. The awnings with poles fold up to fit in a zippered bag attached to the rack mounting plate. Front Runner makes a universal mountain bracket (sold separately) for connecting the awning to racks made by other manufacturers. The awnings come in three sizes of shelter area: 1.4 x 2 meters, 2 x 2.1 meters, and 2.5 x 2.1 meters.
ARB Touring Aluminum Awning
ARB is an Australian company that’s known for making top-of-the-line overlanding gear. The ARB Touring Aluminum Awning is a high-quality, portable awning designed for mounting on a roof rack. Constructed from durable aluminum, it is lightweight and easy to set up.
The awning features a waterproof, UV-resistant canopy that provides protection from the sun and rain. Additionally, the legs are adjustable to accommodate uneven ground. The awning is available in three sizes: 1250mm X 2100mm, 2000mm X 2500mm, and 2500mm X 2500mm.
The smaller size does not include lights, while the larger ones do. An awning room is also available for the 2500mm and 2000mm sizes, providing additional coverage and privacy.
Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic Awnings
The Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic Awnings are a budget-friendly option for outdoor protection. They come in two sizes, 8 feet and 6.5 feet, and are designed for use with overland vehicles. Constructed from high-quality materials, these awnings are durable and reliable – I have two of them on my overland trailer at the moment.
They provide a shaded area and modest rain protection for hanging out, cooking, and other around-camp activities. The awnings are equipped with adjustable legs, allowing you to set them up on uneven ground. They are easy to set up and use, and their compact size makes them convenient to store when not in use.
Roam Rooftop Awnings
Roam is another company that makes a wide range of overlanding gear — including awnings. Roam Rooftop Awnings are available in four sizes: 4 foot, 5 foot, 6.5 foot, and 8 foot, and, as with all of the models on this list, are designed to be mounted on a rooftop.
The awnings are constructed with waterproof, polycotton ripstop material and all-aluminum framing, making them durable and reliable. The 6.5′ awning can be enhanced with an optional awning room, providing additional shelter and privacy.
Best 180-Degree Overland Awnings
The next step up from a rectangular awning is one that swings out to provide coverage along the entire length of your vehicle. These so-called 180-degree awnings have wings that swing out on both sides of the mounted section of the awning case. This additional support means you typically don’t need poles to support the awning, which makes setup a bit simpler.
Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 180 Awning
The Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 180 Awning is good quality overlanding awing at a good price. It provides 88 square feet of covered shelter and features a 600D poly cotton rip-stop cover, boxed aluminum rafters, and pivoting aluminum adjustable poles.
The awning has tie-down points for securing poles and water run-off and comes with a 1000G PVC travel cover. Ballistic nylon tie-downs with S connects and buckle, shock cord with retention, and zippers to secure the enclosed shelter ensure that the awning remains secure in inclement weather. The awning measures 240″ x 78.5″ when opened and 88” x 7” x 6” when closed.
23Zero 180° Peregrine Awning
The 180° Peregrine Awning measures 20 feet from front to back and 6.5 feet out from the vehicle. The awning is constructed with a UV resistant 280GSM Ripstop poly cotton canvas material and feature LST (Light Suppression Technology), reducing the temperature underneath the awning by 20 percent.
The awning measures 81 inches in mounting length and has an aluminum box frame for added strength. The pivots are made from cast aluminum with a case-hardened pin and brass washers for durability. The awning can be easily set up by one person and will freestand in light weather. Awning walls are sold separately, allowing you to enclose the sides of the awning for more protection.
Best 270-Degree Overland Awnings
Similar to 180-degree awnings, 270-degree awnings have swing arms that support the awning. The difference is that the 270-degree version wraps around the back of the vehicle as well, providing additional shelter. The trade-off is that these awnings are larger, heavier, and more expensive. Also, their additional weight may require support poles during inclement weather. But, wow, super cool if you’ve got the dough. Note that these wrap-around overland awnings often come in models either intended to fit mount on the driver side or passenger side of your vehicle.
Roam Arc 270 Awning
The Roam Arc 270 Awning is a rack-mounted 270-degree awning designed for that comes in both driver-side and passenger-side mount options. While the awning doesn’t require legs to support it in good weather, each awning arm is equipped with an internally stored swiveling leg for stability, featuring a pointed foot for secure placement and a stake point for added security.
The extrusions and body fabric materials are made of high-grade recycled materials. The custom 4-layer water-resistant laminated ripstop sailcloth is made from recycled materials and can be recycled at the end of its life.
23Zero Peregrine 270 Awning
The 23Zero Peregrine 270 Awning is a versatile and reliable roof rack awning designed for outdoor use. It is suitable for mounting on most 4WD vehicles and trailers, including teardrop trailers with a rear galley, and comes in in passenger and driver-side options.
Fully opened, the Peregrine 270 Awning measures just over 20 feet from end to end and provides a large area of shelter, and is ideal for overnight stays, meal breaks, and long-term base camping. it has a mounting length of 88 inches, 7.5 inches tall, and 6 inches deep. The awnings is easy to set up and pack down, with a simple one-person setup process. The Peregrine 270 Awning also features Light Suppression Technology, reducing the temperature underneath the awning by 20 percent and helping to avoid sunburn.
Rhino-Rack Batwing 270 Awning
Manufactured by the company that makes the popular overlanding Rhino Roof Racks, the Batwing offers 270 degrees of shade and 11 square meters of coverage, it provides ample protection from the sun.
The awning is made from a heavy-duty, water and mould-resistant material with a UPF 50+ rating, ensuring maximum sun protection. Compatible with various existing awning accessories, including side walls, extension pieces and tents, the Batwing can be easily expanded to provide even more coverage. Rhino makes adaptors to attach the awning to racks made by other manufacturers.
How to Choose an Overland Awning
Awnings vary greatly in how much coverage they provide, so keep in mind how much shade/rain coverage you need given the size of your party. Some awnings provide 180-degree coverage of one side of your car, while others provide 270 degree-coverage, wrapping around one side and the back of the vehicle. Others are simple rectangles that extend from one side of the vehicle.
Roof Rack/Vehicle Compatability
Some awnings are designed to work with specific roof racks. So if you have an existing rack, you will want to make sure you purchase one that’s compatible. If you are in the market for a rack and an awning, you should consider buying them together, as it may simplify installation and maintenance. It’s also important to make sure the awning will work with your vehicle. For instance, will you be able to open your hatchback with an awning that wraps the back of the vehicle?
Overland awnings can vary greatly in weight, so it’s important to keep this in mind when purchasing one. Also, make sure that your roof rack is rated to handle the weight of the awning.
As with any piece of gear, there is a trade-off between price and quality. While you don’t have the buy the most expensive awning out there, look for one that at least uses materials that are waterproof and have UV protective coatings.
Ease of Setup
When you are in camp or just taking a break on the road or trail, the easier it is to set up an awning, the better. Awnings with poles tend to be less expensive but also more difficult to set up. Awnings with support swing out horizontally from your roof rack, such as those on some 180-degree and 270-degree models, can be simpler to set up – but you’ll pay for the convenience.
Some awnings come with integrated lighting, which can be quite convenient when setting up camp. They tend to be a bit more expensive than models without lighting.
Some companies, such as ARB and Roam above, make tent walls that will attach to their awnings to create an enclosed room. This can be a great addition in places where you need additional shelter from the elements.