IIf you’re using your 4×4 vehicle for camping adventures, a pullout awning is one of the best pieces of kit you can add to it.
Mounted on a roof rack or trailer, these awnings provide quick and easy shelter from the sun and rain no matter where you are. They can be a godsend when it comes to beating the odds.
Vehicle-mounted awnings come in a range of designs and styles, from simple to 180° and 270° units that extend straight out the side of the vehicle that fan out around the vehicle to provide maximum coverage. are
For the Isuzu MU-X we have a 270° Blockout Awning from OZtrail For maximum coverage. The 270° part of the name indicates that the awning fans extend not only under the Isuzu, but also around the back to cover the area below your tailgate.
The block-out part of the product’s name refers to the blackout material, which is claimed to block 95 percent of light passing through it and reduce the temperature under the canopy by 10 percent. Clever stuff.
The black material used is a 280gsm ripstop polycotton canvas that is seam sealed and has a 1500mm water head rating, so it is pretty much waterproof – as you would in the current climate on the east coast of Australia. Want to go camping.
Awning fans rest on four aluminum C-channel arms, each with fold-down telescopic poles for sturdy support. One arm tilts towards the front of the car, while the last three pivots around the rear of the car giving coverage of 270° and 20.96m².
Maximum coverage is achieved by extending the added wall sheet 3.2m beyond the front support arm and raising it on poles, or it can be fixed to the ground below to provide protection from inclement weather.
OZtrail also offers optional zip-on walls that fit over the outside of the awning panels, to provide even better protection by creating a complete enclosure.
The Blockout 270° Awning includes all the necessary poles, pegs and guy ropes to erect and secure the product for all conditions. It also includes brackets for attaching the awning to the most popular roof racks. We mounted our Rolla Titan rack using quick release brackets Rex breaksFor quick and easy removal from the vehicle when not required.
The awning and its poles pack neatly into a heavy-duty PVC zip-up bag on the side of your vehicle.
Put it to the test.
I have to admit that when I first solo camped in the Victorian High Country I was a bit nervous at the prospect of setting up a large block-out 270° awning. I needn’t have worried as it was very easy after unzipping the storage bag and dropping it into position, dropping the telescopic poles and then tying them all down.
I had some trouble setting up the rear door of the MU-X with the awning arm being damaged and not being able to fully open the door. I then fixed this by loosening the mounting bracket when the awning was packed, and moving it forward on the roof rack by around 50mm so that the rear door clears the awning when opened. could
We think you can get away with turning it without tying it on a shady day, but it’s important to tie it securely for longer and overnight stops and/or any hint of wind. All that canvas easily catches wind and can easily be damaged if it does.
You need to tie down the awning not only to protect it from any wind but also to stretch the taught material to prevent any water from collecting between the arms of the awning. If and when it rains, you can lower the pole at one end of the awning so that any water will run off where you prefer it and not collect at the top.
I have only used the awning in light rain so far and had no issues with pooling. At this point I flipped the front wall and put it on the ground and put my flock under the front to keep it dry, and allowed it to dry the next morning. With the broom covered, there was still enough space under the canopy for a couple of us to sit in the shelter.
The first time packing was again tricky but proved relatively easy and has gotten better with repeated use. Once you get it off the ground and fold the poles where they attach to the C-section arms, you close it up, wrap the material around the arms, and that’s it. Tucks back into place where it is secured with a heavy. Duty Velcro straps.
Try to keep the contents spread out rather than bunched up in the arms and the zip up storage pouch will be easier as it can be cumbersome. I’d like to see a heavy duty zipper here with a large pull tag, so it’s easy to close.
Overall the OZtrail BlockOut 270° Awning does what it says it will do in the brochure. It provided us with cover from sun and rain, and it’s self-contained and relatively easy to roll up and put away, even with one hand. Shorter users will want to take the easy steps to make things easier, especially if their car has a high roof – but this isn’t a problem for my 185cm height.
The BlockOut 270° can be tented on the rack of your vehicle, with other accessories and even on the roof if those are your thing. The awning weighs 27.17 kg, so adding it to the RTT and the weight of the roof rack itself can push your vehicle’s roof capacity to its limits.
We know it will definitely exceed the MU-X’s 100kg rating. Another alternative is to install an awning on your camper trailer, which will allow you to drive your vehicle away when you leave camp.
At $1199.99 the BlockOut 270° is on the more affordable end of this design, so you can probably buy one for both your 4×4 and your trailer for the same price as one of the more expensive examples.
Available from: www.oztrail.com.au