Moonfab Moonshade: A Unique Alternative to Permanently Mounted Awnings
There are certain vehicle accessories that one might not necessarily need, but make life so much easier. A vehicle awning definitely falls into that category. If you look at photos of any adventure rig, you will almost assuredly see a permanently mounted awning attached to a roof rack or bed rack.
This is for good reason, as anyone who’s spent a day at camp under a blazing sun, been blessed with an unexpected rain shower, or simply desires some overhead protection can testify that; having an escape from the elements, whether around town or on an adventure, is a vital part to make any outdoor experience more comfortable and enjoyable.
Though permanently mounting an awning may seem like the only choice one might have, there is another, better option, and that’s MoonShade.
Find it online:
- Moonfabs Moonshade Portable Vehicle Awning: Check Price
What is the Moonshade?
Moonfabs Moonshade provides a unique solution to the hassle that comes with permanently mounting a vehicle awning – why not make a portable alternative that can be set up in a few minutes?
The Moonshade is a portable, lightweight (8lbs) awning that, when fully affixed, provides 9ft by 7ft of shaded coverage. When not in use; the Moonshade packs down to the size of a small duffle bag and can easily be carried with its own shoulder bag.
Instead of bolting an awning to a roof rack or similar, the Moonshade comes with suction cups for easy mounting to a vast number of surfaces, even beyond your vehicle.
Moonfab also has quite a few alternative mounting options that can be purchased separately, such as twist ties to attach the awning to tree limbs or roof/bed racks, as well as awning rail inserts, magnets, and adhesive anchors. It’s truly a limitless option!
- Size fully deployed: 9ft × 7ft.
- Size packed in bag: 28in × 6in.
- Weight: 8lbs
- Top: 420D Ripstop Polyester with UV Protective Treatment
- Underside: Reflective Coating & Heavy-duty Polyester Webbing Trim
From left to right: support poles (2), awning, narrow mount pole, large suction cups (2), small suction cups (2), guy lines and stakes (4 each), tension poles (2)
The Moonshade requires no tools to set up, and after a few run-throughs, the Moonshade can be set up within 3-5 minutes and can be packed down in a similar amount of time.
- Carrying bag with shoulder strap
- Stakes (4)
- Guy lines (4)
- Large suction cup anchors (2)
- Small suction cup anchors (2)
- 13mm aluminum tension poles (2)
- 19mm aluminum support poles adjust from 78in. to 96in. (2)
- 7ft mounting pole for narrow-base mounting (2)
Decide your mounting surface
When deciding where to mount your Moonshade, there are a few things to consider. If you are using the included suction cups, you will want to choose two points that are relatively flat, and you’ll want to make sure the surface is free of dust, mud, and any other debris that could inhibit suction (a shirt sleeve cleans well enough).
Personally, with my Crewmax Tundra, I have found the ideal position to be with one suction cup on the uppermost portion of the windshield and the second one on the forward-most part of my rooftop tent. Keep in mind that the awning itself has a width of 7 feet or 9 feet, depending on which direction you position it. If the mounting anchors must be placed within 7 feet of each other, Moonfab includes a strut pole that will keep the awning tight.
Attach the Carabiner
Place the first suction cup or alternative anchor, and attach the carabiner. With one side clipped on, stretch it tight, attach the second anchor to the vehicle or mounting surface and then attach the second carabiner.
Assemble the tension poles
Support poles (top) and tension poles (bottom)
The Moonshade comes with a few different poles. There are two adjustable poles with rubber bottoms, they are the supports. There is a 7-foot long pole, which is the previously mentioned narrow-base pole. Finally, there are two poles that apply tension to the awning. Assemble the two tension poles by clicking them into place.
Insert the tension poles
Once assembled, insert the poles into the reinforced corner slots. Bend the poles so that you can insert them on the other side, across the awning. If done correctly, they should look like an “X”.
Clip the tension poles
With the awning attached to the anchors, and with the tension poles inserted and crossing one another, the next step is to pull the black plastic clips over the poles so that the awning is tight.
Insert the standalone awning support poles
Next, assemble and attach the support poles (the ones with rubber bottoms). Insert the poles through the holes in the freestanding corners of the awning, and clip the awnings carabiner to the metal loop on the pole.
Attach and tension the guy lines (Optional)
Depending on the conditions you’re in, using guy lines may not be required. I’ve found that even with light gusts, the awning has enough heft and decent enough aerodynamics to not require being held down. In most circumstances though, you’ll want to set guy lines up – so here’s how.
Create a bunny ear with the guy line
This is perhaps the only area where the instructions are not clear. You could tie a knot, though that would be permanent. Instead, simply follow the instructions below.
First, create a bunny ear on the side of the line that does not have a knot. You will be threading the rest of the line (and the tensioner) through this bunny ear.
Attach the line to the corner of the awning
Now, push the knot through the corner hole on the awning itself. Pull the rest of the rope through said knot, and then, like a leash string on a surfboard or a shoulder strap on a camera, pull the remaining two lines through.
Create a loop on the tensioner
Finally, with one of the four included ground stakes in hand, create a loop on the tensioner — closest to the pre-tied knot. This loop will catch on the corners of the stake and are what holds the guy lines tight.
Put a stake in the ground and attach the line
Put a stake in the ground, with the bottom of the stake angled toward the awning. Pull the loop around the stake, catching on to it. Pull the tensioner towards the awning until the slack is removed and the line is tight.
It’s that easy!
Perhaps the most important part of any awning is its durability and the protection it provides. With regards to durability, the awning itself is made out of 420D polyester, so you can expect great strength and resistance to tearing, along with impressive water-shedding qualities.
All of the awnings poles are made out of aluminum and feel strong and hefty in the hand. The included suction cups continue the well-built theme and have held up to some pretty strong winds.
As for protection, with a 7ft by 9 ft shaded area, the awning provides an impressive amount of room for a group to escape the elements. There is plenty of room for a few chairs, a table, or any other amenities one might desire.
Having a place to escape the weather or have some overhead coverage is a game-changer and one that you don’t realize you need until you experience it.
The fact that it protects you from the elements is not special, most awnings give you that. So what sets the Moonshade apart from a permanently mounted awning? Well, portability. With the Moonshade, you are not limited to a specific vehicle. In fact, you aren’t even limited to a vehicle at all.
The MoonShade packs down into an easy-to-carry bag with a shoulder strap weighing under 10lbs, and with Moonfabs alternative anchor systems, the awning can mount to a near-limitless amount of surfaces.
The temperature difference is obvious, the UV protection is wonderful, and the craftsmanship is top-notch. I have no doubt the Moonshade will be put to, and hold up to, extensive use on all my adventures over the coming summer, and long after.