Some of the best ways to spend quality time with your friends and family are picnics, beach outings, camping, or road trips. To enjoy these activities to the fullest, you need a roof rack awning.
A roof rack awning is a perfect accessory for families who like outdoor activities because it provides an extra surface of protection in outdoor spaces close to the car.
It is an excellent thing to have in your car in case of an emergency. Or when you may need temporary shelter from the elements such as rain, sun, snow, hail, etc., at some point.
If you have been searching for an attractive roof rack awning to go with your car, then check out this review of the 10 best roof rack awnings.
Our 10 Best Roof Rack Awning Picks:
1. ARB 4×4 Accessories 814409 Retractable Awning with Led Light Strip
ARB (the initials of Anthony Ronald Brown) is an Australian-based company that manufactures and supplies 4×4 accessories. This world-renowned company is known for its innovative awnings that thrive well under heavy loads, rough roads, and extreme temperatures. We will be focusing on their new model 814409 retractable awning with LED light strip.
The ARB 4×4 accessories 814409 self-standing retractable awning with led light strip is perfect for rocking up in the evening when you want to cook outdoors, play games, or set up camps.
The light strip is attached to the awning sleeve. It features a soft touch dimmable digital control switch with LEDs that are resistant to water & heat. A 12V CIG plug on a 4m insulated waterproof cable powers this light strip. The cable detaches for easy packing. Note that when packing it, you should roll over and not under.
You can set the light output to three phases; white light, amber light, and a mixture between both. The white light is perfect for setting up and cooking. Amber light supplies comfortable lighting without attracting bugs. And, the combination of both white and amber lights reduces starkness but is still enough to see clearly.
The ARB 4×4 accessories 814409 self-standing retractable awnings have a measurement of 78.74” x 98.43”. It is made from heavy-duty ripstop canvas with a 50+ UPF rating and 25mm aluminum poles & arms with abrasion-resistant pads in each corner to ensure longevity. It also comes with a polyester bag for storage.
This awning mounts to the side of any roof rack or bar. It comes with all the accessories (pegs, guy ropes for securing legs, mounting nuts & bolts, spanner) and comprehensive instructions needed for easy mounting. Once mounted, it will take you not more than 30 seconds to deploy. Even with the LED light, this awning is lightweight, which helps fuel economy.
- This awning features a light strip with three different lighting outputs.
- It is made from a ripstop canvas that has a UPF rating of 50+.
- It comes with all the accessories and instructions needed. For convenient mounting.
2. Rhino-Rack Batwing Awning
Rhino-Rack is another Australian brand that makes excellent awnings. They believe that everyone is an adventurer, and each adventure experience should be nothing but enjoyable and safe. This batwing awning offers style and functionality. It features a double-stitched velcro material with mold and water resistance for longevity. The material provides maximum protection from the sun. It is even rated UPF 50+.
Furthermore, this awning has 270° of shade and covers up to 11sqm. It features a one-easy-to-use design for convenient setup or packing within minutes. Each unit comes with everything you need to mount; 10 pegs, 8 ropes (4 with hooks), tie-down point and strap, two multi-fit brackets & hardware, two spare hinge knuckles, and a heavy-duty PVC bag for storage. You won’t have any issues with mounting it, thanks to the fitting instructions the manufacturer included.
The Rhino-Rack batwing awning features sturdy legs that fold out from the awning arms for easy access. The legs are adjustable up to 8ft to suit your vehicle and needs. You can get this awning in left-hand or right-hand models. Overall, it is lightweight.
The downside with this awning is that it has a design flaw with its hinges, as they tend to break often. Rhino-Rack claims that the hinges were designed to break under high wind to prevent the other part of the pole from damaging. However, a lot of users have complained about the hinges breaking even without high wind. Due to this reason, Rhino-Rack includes two extra pole hinge knuckles, should the ones that come with the awning break. They also sell replacement parts.
- It is easy to mount and comes with all the accessories and hardware needed.
- The awning material has mold and water resistance and is UPF rated 50+.
- It comes with a heavy-duty PVC bag for storage.
- Adjustable legs up to 8ft fit different car heights.
- The awning hinges break easily.
- Not suitable for use when the atmosphere is windy.
3. Offroading Gear Roof Rack 4×4 Awning w/Free 6.5′ Front Extension
Offroading Gear is a Canadian-based company that manufactures a lot of off-road gears and accessories. Their Car/SUV/Truck awning helps make camping, picnic, and beach adventures safe and fun. It measures 6.5′ W x 6.5′ L when extended, providing a shield for your table, chairs, or other site equipment. Plus, it has a sidewall for added privacy and protection. Irrespective of the weather conditions, this awning will keep you safe and covered.
The Offroading Gear roof rack 4×4 awning is lightweight. It is made from industrial-grade aluminum poles (extendable to 6.5ft) and thick weatherproof 600D ripstop polyester to ensure durability for years. Plus, it comes with all the accessories and hardware needed to mount on your vehicle.
This awning can be attached to almost any roof rack as long as the rack has tracks in the crossbars. However, check the size of the bolts to ensure it is compatible with your vehicle roof rack. To mount it, fix the two installation L-brackets to your roof rack, then fasten the awning to the brackets using the supplied hardware. You can also mount it without a roof rack as long as the L-brackets can be fixed into some type of fixture.
The best part of the Offroading Gear roof rack 4×4 awning is that it deploys in minutes and retracts back in seconds, making camping less stressful. However, the locking mechanism fails a lot, which causes the poles to collapse. The manufacturer, Offroading Gear offers a 30-day return window if you don’t like the awning within the first 30 days of using it.
- This awning comes with a free 6.5ft wall.
- It is made from industrial-grade materials.
- It holds up well in any weather condition.
- You can attach it to any roof rack or any surface with a fixture.
- The telescoping poles tend to collapse due to a low-gradefaulty locking mechanism.
4. HASIKA 270 Awning Roof Top Tent Sun Shelter
The HASIKA 270 awning roof top tent sun shelter fits nearly every SUV, truck, and jeep roof rack. It is perfect for SUVs, jeeps, and trucks. This awning is constructed of aluminum telescoping poles (up to 87”) and 600D ripstop polyester that provides excellent shelter and protection from rain and sun when you go for adventures. This fabric reduces the temperature of the sun to a comfortable level. However, it doesn’t hold up well in extremely windy conditions.
The HASIKA 270 awning roof top tent sun shelter is one of the cheapest 270 awnings you’ll come across in today’s market. It is lightweight, easy to mount, and comes with all the required hardware. However, the hardware and accessories are substandard, so you will want to get heavy-duty hardware to ensure this awning lasts for a while. The manufacturer, HASIKA, makes this awning in two versions, the right-hand driver side or the left-hand driver side.
Overall, it is a good awning for people on a budget.
- This awning is cheap and offers good value for money.
- It reduces the sun’s temperature to the nearest minimum.
- It is available on both the left-hand driver side and right-hand driver side.
- It comes with substandard hardware.
5. DANCHEL OUTDOOR Car Side Awning
Midway, we have the DANCHEL outdoor car side awning. It is another budget-friendly awning that features a weatherproof 420D oxford fabric which reduces the intensity of sun rays to a harmless level and prevents rain from passing through. It also features outer (1” diameter) and inner (0.8” diameter) aluminum poles that ensure the awning holds up well in windy environments. The poles can be adjusted from 4.9ft to 6.9ft, depending on your preference and the situation at hand. Plus, they have a sturdy twist lock feature.
This DANCHEL outdoor car side awning large size (8.2ft close car x 10 ft out car) makes it perfect for camping, picnic, and beach adventure. It comes with velcro straps that are sturdy and well sewn to ensure longevity. This awning can attach to the roof racks of trucks, SUVs, and cars. It is lightweight, which helps fuel consumption. If you need a shelter at your car side, it will provide you with one. It sets up in a few minutes and retracts in seconds.
Furthermore, this awning is very easy to install, and it comes packaged with all the accessories and hardware needed. However, the hardware doesn’t fit all roof racks. So, ensure you check the size of the hardware with your vehicle’s roof rack before buying this awning. Note that it is not advisable to set up this awning in windy conditions. That said, this awning has a black PVC bag for storage when not in use. And the manufacturer, DANCHEL, has a one-year quality warranty on it.
- It is easy to install and comes with all the needed hardware.
- The poles are made from aluminum and can be adjusted from 4.9ft to 6.9ft.
- The manufacturer has a one-year warranty on it.
- It is budget-friendly.
- The hardware size doesn’t fit all roof rock.
6. Rhino-Rack Sunseeker Awning
Rhino-Rack makes our list again with the sunseeker awning. This sunseeker awning features a 210D R/S canvas with a water-resistant rating of PU 2000mm, meaning rain doesn’t penetrate it. Additionally, there are velcro tensioning tabs that help water runoff easily. This same canvas has been rated UV50+, which means it reduces the intensity of UV rays to a comfortable level.
Furthermore, this awning features black anodized aluminum telescoping poles that provide firm support to the canvas and can be adjusted to varying lengths. Each pole has spikes at the base to help secure them on the ground with peg ropes. There are sturdy patches situated at each corner of the awning for additional strength and longevity. Thanks to the large size (8.2ft x 55.38ft) of the Rhino-Rack sunscreen awning, it will provide enough coverage for your chair, tents, etc.
Most importantly, the awning has an ergonomic design that makes setting it up and packing it back effortless. It comes with all the needed hardware and add-ons for mounting, including a sunseeker extension adaptor. However, you’ll have to buy the extension separately. There is a black sturdy 540gsm carry bag that comes with each unit for convenient transportation and storage. Like the batwing, this sunseeker awning is compatible with all Rhino-Rack and Thule roof racks with specific fitting kits.
The downside to the Rhino-Rack sunseeker awning is that it doesn’t hold up well in extremely windy conditions. Plus, it has many shipping issues that have to do with missing hardware and defective units.
- This awning is well-built and has a water-resistant rating of PU 2000mm and UV50+.
- It has an ergonomic design for easy use.
- It has a large size.
- It doesn’t hold up well in extremely windy conditions.
- It sometimes ships with missing hardware.
7. Yescom Car Side Awning
The Yescom car side awning will protect you and your loved ones from rain, wind, and sun during camping, picnics, car travel, and other outdoor activities. It has a very sleek design that adds beauty to any car, truck, and SUV when deployed. This awning is made with a waterproof 420D oxford fabric with a 2000mm PU coating and UV50+ protection.
This awning also comes with aluminum alloy, rust-resistant telescoping poles. The poles feature a twist-lock design for making quick height adjustments (59″ to 85″) to suit your needs. However, the aluminum is of low grade, which causes the poles to bend easily in a windy condition. So, it’s not good for windy environments.
Further, the Yescom car side awning has a large size (7.6ft x 8.2ft), which will provide enough shelter (62 sq. ft area) for you and your family. It is retractable, which helps save space. This awning is easy to install thanks to the self-adhesive straps on the fabric for fixing the poles and the well-written instruction manual. Plus, it comes with high-quality 304 stainless steel hardware, pegs & ropes for tough weather.
The Yescom car side awning is available in two colors (beige and gray). Yescom included a waterproof polyester with PVC coating carry bag for easy transport and storage.
- This awning has heavy-duty construction.
- It is available in two colors (beige and gray).
- It comes with high-quality 304 stainless steel hardware.
- It provides a large coverage (62 sq. ft area).
- The aluminum poles are low grade and will bend easily under high wind.
8. ZeHuoGe Car Side Awning
The ZeHuoGe car side awning is very similar to the Yescom awning design and functionality. It is also made with a waterproof 420D oxford fabric with a 2000mm PU coating and UV50+ protection. When unfolded, it has a dimension of 91 5/16″ x 98 7/16″, and covers a 62 sq. ft area just like the Yescom awning. Although, the aluminum telescoping poles (adjustable from 59″ to 85″) in this awning have a medium-grade quality, so it may not last for a long time.
You can get this ZeHuoGe car side awning in either grey or beige colors. It is simple to mount. Each unit comes packaged with all the accessories and hardware needed for easy mounting. These accessories and hardware are of high quality to ensure the awning has a long service life. Note that it must be side-mounted because of the two horizontal poles in the structure.
ZeHuoGe included a polyester with PVC coating waterproof carry bag for convenient transportation and storage. Plus, it’s lightweight, weighing only 22lb.
- This awning is easy to install.
- It is lightweight, which is good for fuel economy.
- The poles it comes with are adjustable from 59” to 85”.
- It doesn’t last long.
9. Leaveshade Car Awning
The Leaveshade car awning stands out from different awnings because of the material used in its construction. This awning is made with a sturdy UV-treated, fade-resistant, waterproof 600D tan-color Cotton fabric. This fabric stops 90% of harmful sun rays from penetrating and prevents rain from leaking through it. With a large size of 8’3′ ‘x 9’10”, this awning will provide a shade for you and your family during camping, picnic, and lazy days on the beach.
Furthermore, it features aluminum bars and poles that are 20% thicker than popular awnings. These bars and poles have a black oxidized treatment for durability and longevity. However, this extra thickness made the awning heavy (44lb). The poles are adjustable up to 6 ft tall and lock with a sturdy ABS locking system. All the accessories and hardware you’ll need to mount this awning are included in its packaging. It can be mounted to any car, SUV, or truck with a roof rack as original equipment.
The Leaveshade car awning also comes with a heavy-duty 30oz vinyl storage cover to ensure it lasts for long and for easy transportation.
- It comes with extra thick waterproof and UV-treated 600 denier cotton fabric.
- Its aluminum poles and bars are of high quality.
- The mounting hardware is sturdy.
- Installation of the awning is straightforward.
10. Smittybilt (2784) Tent Awning
The Smittybilt (2784) tent awning is the last awning we will review. It has excellent qualities that we couldn’t overlook and had to add to our top 10 list. That said, this awning is very durable and measures 8.2 feet x 6.2 feet. It features a high-quality polyurethane-impregnated coyote-tan color 600D oxford polyester that provides shade from the sun on a hot afternoon and covers rainy days. Plus, it is lightweight (21.6lb), which helps fuel economy.
This awning has lasting side rails and support legs with lightweight aluminum telescoping steel poles that stretch and compress rapidly for easy setup and takedown. It also comes with all the various hardware and add-ons for a smooth setup. It mounts to any Jeep JK 4-Door or longer vehicles. Smittybilt completely enclosed this awning in a 500D PVC cover that attaches to the rack with sturdy UV-resistant straps and buckles for storage and transportation.
- It is easy to set up and take down.
- It is made up of high-quality materials.
- The awning comes with all the needed accessories and hardware.
- It is not durable.
Best Roof Rack Awning Buying Guide
Awnings for cars aren’t just about providing shade. They also protect the vehicle’s interior from sun, rain, snow, dust, and other weather elements. Here are the factors that you need to keep in mind while picking a roof rack awning for your vehicle-
Compatibility with the Vehicle/Rack
Before you buy a car awning, make sure it’s compatible with your vehicle. Proper installation of the awning is important because if proper mounting points aren’t there on the roof rack, you will not be able to attach the awning securely and thus leave it at risk of damage and wear and tear during transit.
Construction and Material
The construction material of a car awning is important to keep in mind because it will determine its longevity and durability. UV resistant polyester, waterproof oxford fabric, high-quality PVC are some materials that you should look for in a roof rack awning. Other materials do not provide proper UV protection and water resistance and also fade away with time.
Weight and Portability
The weight of the awning is important because if it’s too heavy, it will add to the overall weight of the vehicle and affect its fuel economy. Also, it’s important to consider weight if you plan to take the awning off frequently. If it doesn’t fold or pack up into its cover well, then it’ll be difficult to remove and store in between multiple uses.
Ease of Installation/Mounting
Most car awnings come with detailed installation manuals that should help you in installing it on the roof rack with ease. Mounting hardware is also important to keep in mind because if that’s of low quality, your awning won’t last long.
Awnings are good for cars, but they must be chosen carefully after assessing their quality and compatibility with the vehicle.
Awnings are available in different sizes, all of which provide shade for you. Larger awnings cover more space and offer better protection. But you need to consider roof size before buying one because if it’s not compatible with your car rack, there’ll be no point in buying it. If your vehicle permits, we recommend going with the largest possible awning so that you can have larger space while enjoying the outdoors.
Flexibility is one of the major factors that should be kept in mind while buying an awning. If you want to set it up at different locations for various purposes, then you should go with a car awning that offers flexibility. Examples are foldable or adjustable arm designs which let you change the position of your rooftop tent easily.
Roof Rack Awning Price
Awnings vary widely in price and it’s important to consider your budget limitations. But you need to check the quality of awning before buying one because different manufacturers offer different products with varying features. The more features an awning offers, the higher will be its price.
Additional Accessories on Offer
Once you have picked a product from the list, check whether it comes with all the necessary accessories or not. These add-ons should help you in using your awning better and enjoy it for years to come. Some of these add-ons include mounting brackets, wall fixings brackets, aluminum or steel canopy poles, storage bag, telescoping legs, wall extension, and covers.
A good car awning can withstand high power winds, heavy snow, and other bad weather conditions. The last thing you want to do is buy a roof rack awning that is not strong enough or leaks water in the car when it rains. That would be very frustrating. Instead, look into the features that matter most to you – like durability and reliability, etc.
In conclusion, each roof rack awning that made it to our list has been thoroughly reviewed, covering everything you need to know about them. The awnings have different benefits and prices, so it is up to you to decide which one is right for you. Good luck!