September 27, 2011

Product Review: Shady Boy Awning

*shown with "downdraft poles" mounted

One of the accessories that I've always wanted since the days of the Carmel Starship (my brown van) is an awning. The trouble is that those super heavy duty RV style awnings that you can buy for the Vanagon are a ton of money and heavy as hell.

With a little research, the Shady Boy awning popped up as a viable alternative. However instead of using the hardmount my old man helped me out and rigged up this sweet little quick release setup that allows me to attach it to my load bars on the bikerack instead of drilling holes in my roof.

I bring this awning to your attention because with this simple setup you too could mount a pimp ass awning to your roof rack. Just the thing for car camping or post ride chilling.

Before we get to the mounting part, let's talk about the awning in general.


I purchased my awning in the upcharge reflective material, with the optional downdraft poles (seen in first photo), and the stainless mounting hardware (which I didn't end up using). I think the whole thing plus shipping was around $350 or so.
The heart of the awning is the beautifully machined alloy box that contains the awning while not in use and acts as the major structural element.

You simply insert fibre glass rods into the machined holes in the awning to create it's skeleton

Motherfucking Design Wolf. Made in U.S.A., Assembled in Canada

This is the part that my dad radded out. He simply drilled holes in the case to mount this alloy 90 degree section of aluminum, drilled holes in the top section, then drilled holes in the load bars.

Mount it all up with big bolts and wing nuts and you have a total quick release awning, ready to be transfered from vehicle to vehicle.

There are a few kinks still, I think we could use a thicker piece of 90 degree aluminum and it would be nice to somehow put in some little wedges to give the awning a slight uptick as the manufacturer intended.

Other than that though, this thing is the shit. It's pretty affordable once you realize that you can put it on any car you own ever, as long as you've got a roof rack. It only weighs 15 pounds, and you can take it off when not in use. I've also got to call out the craftsmanship. That is some seriously nice work on that aluminum box.

It's definitely a rain sort of thing though and not something you'd want to leave up in any kind of wind. We used it during a mild rain and it was great, I've got the downdraft poles in case of mild winds. But I've got to imagine that a real storm would shred it pretty quick, and it's definitely not as heavy duty as a standard RV style awning. Though it's half the price and like a fifth of the weight. (I don't actually know how much one of those standard awnings would weigh, but it's got to be at least 75 pounds)

So if you ever wanted something like this, I highly recommend the Shady Boy.


Zim said...

where did you purchase it? that thing is sweet! also LOVE the vanagon!! so badass! thanks

Jeff said...

bought it online from