A roof rack awning can be an incredibly useful addition to your road trip and camping arsenal. But, should you get one for your ride? If so, what are the best roof rack awning out there? what qualities should you look for?
Getting answers to all those questions can help you filter out the right awning for your vehicle. In this post, we’ll tell you:
- What roof rack awnings should you consider buying
- What factors to look out for while buying a roof rack awning
- And, more
Let’s dive in.
1. Yescom 6.6×8.2′ Car Side Awning – Best Overall
The Yescom car side awning comes with UV50+ protection, which means you won’t have to worry about sun rays and can even enjoy a sunny day. Moreover, because the roof rack awning is waterproof, you can enjoy rainy weather without having to worry about water seeping through.
Plus, the awning is made up of 420D oxford fabric along with a 2000mm PU coating, which means, it’ll prove to be a long-term travel companion. The area of the shade provided by a rooftop awning is an important consideration while choosing one.
Thankfully, this one provides a 54 square feet shade, allowing your whole family to sit under one shade. This makes it ideal for all types of outdoor activities with your gang, including picnics, camping, long travels, and more.
In addition, the car side awning comes with virtually every piece of hardware you’d need to set it up effectively. The hardware is made of 304 stainless steel, which makes it effective and long-lasting.
What’s more, it’s pretty easy to store and carry as well. You can retract the awning with ease, which can help you save space. The material is polyester coated with PVC, making it waterproof and long-lasting.
And, as it’s equipped with a twist-lock design, you can quickly open and lock it back. The material it’s made of is aluminum alloy, which makes it resistant to rust and corrosion.
However, if you intend to use it in rain, you should know that water could seep through the zipper and get into the bag. Rest, the awning works great.
- Easy to set up
- Hardware included
- Durable material
- Long-lasting aluminum alloy
- Provides wide shade
- Water could get through the zipper
2. ARB 4×4 with Led Light Strip Retractable Awning – Runner Up
This ARB 4×4 awning is one of the best ones on the market. The nice thing about it is that you can deploy it within 30 seconds and start using it anywhere anytime. Moreover, the height of the awning is adjustable.
In addition, the roof rack shade awning is ideal for camping and even long travels thanks to its UV protection and waterproof material. As the dangerous UV light of the sun gets blocked by the awning, you can spend time under its shade with peace of mind. And, because the material it’s made of is waterproof, you can confidently sit under it during rainfall.
Plus, because the awning fits on the side of most vehicle racks and bars, you won’t have to worry about its compatibility with your ride. The awning is stored in a durable PVC bag reinforced by nylon, so you also need not worry about the weather wearing it down over time.
You also get comprehensive instructions, pegs, guy ropes, nuts and bolts, and a spanner. Other accessories are also available to buy with this awning, including awning walls, awning floors, universal mounting brackets, windbreaks, awning rooms, and quick release brackets.
Moreover, you don’t need to drill any holes to install the awning. It’s easy to install, especially because you get every necessary tool.
However, keep in mind that this roof rack awning may be too small for big cars, so it’s important that you measure your car before purchasing it. Plus, the aluminum twist-lock poles might be a bit flimsy.
- Easy to install
- UV protected
- Easy to deploy
- Wide compatibility
- Might be too small for big vehicles
3. Rhino Rack Sunseeker 8’2″ (2.5m) Awning – Also Great
The Rhino Rack awning is ideal for vehicle owners who travel a lot in rainy areas thanks to its 210 R/S water-resistant canvas. You can stop your vehicle, deploy the awning and enjoy the rain with confidence.
Plus, if you travel around in hot weather, the UV resistance of your car awning is an important feature to have. This one from Rhino is UV-protected with a UV50+ rating, keeping the UV rays of the sun at bay.
In addition, because the material it’s made of is rust-resistant, you won’t have to worry about rainwater inducing rust in your awning. In addition to being water-resistant, the awning also has Velcro tensioning tabs that aid water runoff. And, the shade it provides is 55.38 square feet, which is quite wide.
Also, the roof rack awning comes with telescopic poles that are made of anodized aluminum, making them sturdy and long-lasting. You can securely place the poles on the ground with a peg rope thanks to the spikes at the edge of these poles.
What’s more, you get the hardware you need to set this awning up. Every piece of hardware is packed in a plastic cap to provide protection from wear and tear. Moreover, it’s quite easy to set up, too; you can install the awning yourself with the given tools. In addition, you’ll be able to easily deploy and pack it away within minutes.
However, there have been instances where the installation hardware was found missing.
- Durable telescopic poles
- Wide shade
- Easy to set up, use, and pack away
- Possible missing parts
4. HASIKA 270 Awning Rooftop Tent Sun Shelter
This is another roof rack awning for vehicles that you can trust. It’s made of polyester and aluminum, which makes it durable and long-lasting. The rugged material of the awning will keep you cool under the sun and dry during the rain. And, those are the two most important applications you typically expect from an awning.
When you’ll set it up on a sunny day and sit under it, you’ll feel a significant reduction in the overall temperature. This is because of the exclusive fabric of the company.
In addition to that, you can install the rooftop awning within minutes. All the hardware is included with it, and it’ll be set up in no time. It’s versatile, so you can use it on jeeps, trucks, SUVs, and virtually any other vehicle.
Moreover, because the roof rack awning has a heavy-duty construction, you’ll find it long-lasting and reliable. It’s manufactured with waterproof ultra-thick 600D Ripstop polyester and durable aluminum. This doesn’t only make the awning great under rainfall but it also makes it resistant to rust and corrosion.
And, even if you think there is something you don’t like within the 30 days of purchasing the product, you can always exchange it. Lastly, you’ll be getting a top-notch roof rack awning at a great price point.
However, the brackets might not be strong enough. You might have to make some modifications to hold the awning effectively.
- Heavy-duty construction
- Waterproof and UV-protected
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- The brackets might not be strong enough
5. leaveshade Heavy-Duty Retractable Car Awning
This roof rack awning from Leaveshade is one of the most versatile ones on the market as far as vehicle compatibility is concerned. Because it provides a universal fit, you won’t have to worry about its compatibility with your vehicle.
Moreover, you get all the hardware to install this roof rack awning with your vehicle without needing any prior hands-on experience. The installation kit that comes with it includes stainless brackets, two sets of tie down (to secure the poles), bolts, nuts, and an auto spanner.
In addition to that, the Leaveshade car awning is constructed of heavy-duty fade-resistant, waterproof, UV-treated cotton fabric. This means you can use it on your car without having to worry about the following things:
- Fading due to extreme UV rays
- Rainwater spoiling the fun
- Getting sun-burnt due to ultraviolet rays
Moreover, the car awning roof rack comes with aluminum bars and poles with 20% extra thickness than most other brands out there. Not only that but it’s also black-finished treated to provide additional strength and durability. This gives the travel accessory additional strength and durability, making it long-lasting and reliable.
Also, you’ll feel relaxed and comfortable sitting under this car awning because it offers effective protection from the UV rays. You can even adjust its height to up to 6.5 feet tall.
What’s more, you get a 30 oz anti-UV flame-resistant storage cover to keep your awning protected from the elements, prolonging its lifetime.
The awning can be a little heavy from other products on the market. Plus, it could be a little expensive, too. However, both of the two small drawbacks are because it’s made of high-quality material.
- Durable and long-lasting
- Easy to set up
- Provides effective UV protection
- Thick and sturdy poles
- Rust-resistant material
- Can be a bit expensive and heavy
6. Rhino Rack Batwing Awning
The Rhino Rack Batwing awning can be an aesthetic and super useful addition to your vehicle’s accessories or traveling gear. One of the features that stand out of this Rhino awning is that it provides 270 degrees of shade. Now, that’s pretty useful whether you want to sit under the sun or protect yourself from the rain and still enjoy the outdoors.
In addition to that, you get everything you need to set this awning up with your vehicle’s roof rack within a few minutes. It includes poles, pegs, a fitting kit, and ropes. There is a heavy-duty PVC bag that you can use to safely store this awning when not in use.
Moreover, you also don’t have to worry about the strength, reliability, and longevity of this roof rack awning. The awning is made from a high-quality water-resistant and UV-protected material. Therefore, you can use it in any situation with confidence. It’s rated for UPF 50+ for maximum sun protection, so you can keep your skin safe from getting burnt by the sun.
Plus, you can even increase your coverage by utilizing the available additional accessories like the sidewalls, extensions, and floor. You’ll have to buy the floor separately though.
Not only that, but the roof rack awning is also pretty easy to use and pack away. Unpack the roof rack awning, use it, and pack it away when not in use in seconds. And, there’s a lot of bag storage space available, which means there’s even room for stuff like the side walls.
Moreover, the legs of the roof rack awning are pretty lightweight and sturdy. You can pack them away easily and won’t have to worry about their longevity of use either. Also, the Velcro is double stitches, which increases the durability of the roof rack awning. And, the bag is made of durable PVC material.
- You might need a helping hand while extending the awning.
- Easy to set up
- Durable and long-lasting
- Protects effectively from the sun and rainwater
- Comes with all the necessary hardware
- Strong support poles
- Might need a helping hand at the beginning of use
7. Tuff Stuff Rooftop Awning
The Tuff Stuff roof rack awning is another one that offers a great bang for the buck. Probably the best thing about the roof rack awning from Tuff Stuff is that it’s made of high-quality polyester/cotton material that’s windproof. So, it’s especially useful for those that live or travel in windy conditions. Moreover, the roof rack awning has a heavy-duty zipper.
In addition to all that, you can also get an adjustable 12-volt dimming LED light strip. By buying this add-on, you can make sure there’s always light whenever you stop your vehicle for a breather or for entertainment.
Moreover, if you intend to use a roof rack awning to protect yourself from the rain, you’d find this one to be perfect. This is because the awning is water-proof, keeping the rainwater at bay and you dry and comfortable. Not only that, but you also won’t have to worry about strong winds knocking it down as it’s pretty sturdy.
What’s more, you also don’t need any past experience to set the awning up with your vehicle. Plus, it can be deployed within a few minutes. However, it would be a better idea to have a helping hand while setting the awning up with your ride. Although you can do it yourself, it could take some work.
It’s important to mention that although the awning is advertised as a Tuff Stuff product, it might not be from the brand.
- Great bang for the buck
- High-quality polyester/cotton
- Wind-proof and steady
- Possibly wrong advertising
8. ZeHuoGe Car Side Awning Rooftop
The ZeHuoGe car side awning is another incredibly cost-effective travel accessory out there. The awning is made of 420D oxford fabric with a 2000mm polyurethane coating, is water-resistant, and is UV50+ protected. This just means that you won’t have to worry about water seeping through or sunrays damaging your skin, making it perfect for hot as well as rainy climates.
In addition, the structure is made from durable and strong aluminum alloy material, which means it won’t rust and will stand up to extreme weather conditions. And, since it comes with a guy rope and pegs, you can use it effectively in tough weather conditions with confidence.
What’s more, you can easily set up the car side awning thanks to the telescopic poles with a twist-lock design. It’s simple to set up and tear down. You get the necessary installation hardware to make setting it up easy and effective.
The roof rack awning is pretty solid and can effectively stand up to heavy winds. You can literally set it up and not worry about it for several days.
Plus, the roof rack awning also comes with a waterproof carry bag, which is made from polyester with PVC coating. It makes it easy for you to store and transport the awning. Overall, if you’re looking for a roof rack awning for a variety of applications including picnics, camping, travels, and all kinds of outdoor activities, this one is a great option.
Probably the only thing that could be a little problematic is non-helpful instructions. You’ll likely have to figure out the installation yourself, which, fortunately, is pretty easy.
- Holds up to winds
- Easy to deploy
- Come with the hardware
- Fairly easy to install
- A variety of applications
- Non-helpful instructions
9. Retractable ALL-TOP Vehicle Awning
This retractable vehicle awning provides a generous 54 square feet of shade, effectively protecting you from the sun’s rays as well as rainwater. And, that’s all most vehicle owners need a roof rack awning for, right?
In addition to that, one of the most attractive features of this roof rack awning is that it can be installed on virtually any vehicle with a roof rack.
What’s more, the awning is made from 280GSM polyester Ripstop fabric with a 10000mm polyurethane coating. This makes the awning durable, reliable, and long-lasting. Moreover, since the aluminum frame is coated with aluminum, you won’t have to worry about rust spoiling its longevity.
And, it comes with telescopic poles that can easily be set up and packed away. Plus, the height of the poles is adjustable from 4 feet to 7 feet.
Moreover, you can set it up in a few minutes thanks to the provided installation hardware that includes nails, nuts, bolts, mounting brackets, wrenches, manual, and winding ropes. Additionally, you can also install multiple sets of LED lights to light up your surroundings.
Overall, the roof rack awning is one of the most affordable ones on our list and out there. But, you do have to make sure you’re fine with the drawbacks that come with it.
However, you might not be getting a very high-quality pair of legs on this roof rack awning. You’d have to use it carefully. It’d be tough to lock them into place.
- Durable awning cloth
- Effective protection from UV rays and rainwater
- Adjustable height
- Hardware includes
- Allows multiple LED lights
- Flimsy pole legs
10. Smittybilt Awning 6.5′, Coyote Tan
The construction quality of this roof rack awning from Smittybilt is excellent. The cover itself is made of durable polyester, which is then coated with polyurethane. This makes the awning cover pretty durable and effective. Moreover, the aluminum channels on this roof rack awning are pretty rigid.
In addition, the Smittybilt roof rack awning is fairly easy to install on a vehicle. Once you’ve installed the awning, you can set it up yourself conveniently. Packing the awning away could take a little bit longer, but it’s also a one-person job. You get the hardware you need to install this awning without hassle.
It’s a good idea to install the guy lines with it as a sudden rush of wind can easily destabilize it, or worse, throw it on your vehicle. But, with the guy lines in place, you won’t have to worry about that.
Moreover, the cover it comes with is heavy-duty and thick and won’t tear easily. More importantly, it’s UV-stabilized, so sitting under the sun in broad daylight won’t be a problem for you or your family.
Additionally, you also get a heavy-duty waterproof travel bag, which you can use to store the awning and other stuff safely.
Keep in mind that the roof rack awning is ideal for Jeep JK 2-Door and any vehicles of a similar size. Overall, the Smittybilt roof rack awning comes with all the bells and whistles and is priced pretty reasonable as well.
Probably the only negative is that the leg locking device is a little weird and could take some getting used to in the beginning. But, the good thing is, it’s a small one and isn’t a deal-breaker.
- Reasonably priced
- Comes with a waterproof travel bag
- Easy to install
- Durable and heavy-duty cover
- Hardware included
- The leg locking mechanism might take some getting used to
11. REDCAMP Waterproof Car Awning Sun Shelter
The REDCAMP car awning is one of the most versatile ones on our list. Thanks to its wide compatibility, you can use it with a variety of vehicles including a pickup truck, SUV, van, MPV, Sedan, and Hatchback.
Moreover, thanks to the PU3000 waterproof layer on this roof rack awning, you don’t have to worry about water seeping through the cover. This makes it ideal for climates that have frequent rainfalls.
Not only that, but the Ripstop 190T fabric layer also makes the roof rack awning cover tearproof, which tends to improve its lifespan. And, there are two plastic sprayed steel pipes that provide the necessary stability to the awning. Wind won’t be able to blow it down.
In addition to that, since the awning cover is UV50+ protected, you can stay under it in broad daylight without worrying about damaging your skin.
Another good thing is that the roof awning comes with a 365-day limited warranty, allowing you to replace or fix it within that time frame if need be.
Overall, given the price point and the features the awning comes with, it could prove to be a great addition to your traveling or camping arsenal.
However, the instructions might not be included with the awning. And, setting it up will most likely need a helping hand, especially in windy conditions.
- Effective protection
- Waterproof layer
- Fits virtually all types of vehicles
- UV50+ protected
- 365-day limited warranty
- Installation needs a helping hand
With the reviews out of the way, let’s talk about what to look for in a roof rack awning.
How to Choose the best roof rack mounted awning?
Choosing any product online is a tricky thing. But, with the right information, you can virtually eliminate all the risks.
In the next few sections, we’ll be telling you what qualities you should look at in a roof rack awning before buying it, helping you make an informed decision.
What is Roof Rack Awning?
A roof rack awning is an awning that gets attached to a roof rack of a vehicle. Roof rack awnings are most commonly used on jeeps, cars, trucks, and SUVs.
People normally use it for camping when they need shelter from the sun or rain. The awning extends out of the vehicle and provides a decent-sized shade. It’s like a patio for your vehicle.
Benefits of Roof Rack Awning
- Provides a stable covered area just outside of your vehicle
- Is generally easy to install
- Keeps dirt and dust out
Drawbacks of Roof Rack Awning
- Some roof rack awnings require drilling and screwing
- Your vehicle needs to have a roof rack in most cases
With the intro, pros, and cons out of the way, let’s get to a more important part.
Should I Get a Roof Rack Awning?
A vehicle-mounted awning can have several applications, depending on your travels and weather conditions. For instance, you might not find a good camping site for your family. A roof rack awning can provide a perfect camping site.
Moreover, you might not always find a tree to sit under. With a roof rack awning installed on your vehicle, you don’t have to worry about that. Whenever you like a spot, you can open the awning and make a shade of your own.
Or, it could be that you are out on a picnic and don’t want to rely on picnic spots or even restaurants. Your roof rack awning can be an effective solution to that conundrum as well.
And, what if it’s raining outside and you want to enjoy the weather to the fullest? You could open your roof rack awning, and enjoy the rainfall while sipping your favorite beverage.
There can be more uses to a roof rack awning, but the question is do you think it’s going to add value to your travels? If you think it’d prove to be a useful addition to your vehicle, there’s no point in thinking anymore.
What to Look For in a Roof Rack Awning?
Keep in mind that the best car awning for us won’t be the best for you. This just means that your needs and wants might be different from ours, and according to that, your choice would change.
There are a few features you need to look for while buying a roof rack awning.
- Compatibility with your vehicle
- Compatibility with your roof rack
- Size (Length and width)
- Installation procedure
- Your climate
As you can see, although it’s a simple product, there are quite a few boxes you need to check-mark before buying one. Let’s take apart every feature separately.
Some roof rack awnings are electric, quite heavy, and built specifically for RVs, which makes them not so suitable for SUVs and cars. So, the length and width of an awning are a couple of important factors to consider. In order to land on the right size, you need to measure the length of your vehicle. If a roof frack awning is vehicle specific, you probably won’t have to worry about measurements. It would be pre-built to fit your vehicle’s rooftop.
Will it Work with Your Roof Rack?
The roof rack of your vehicle should be compatible with the awning you buy. If not, you’ll have to get a special roof rack, which you don’t want.
The durability of a roof rack awning is probably the most important factor to consider. After all, it’s a long-term investment and you don’t want to spend through the nose for a below-par product. Its material should be able to endure strong winds and rainfall without hassle. Plus, you wouldn’t want to get a new one after a few months of using it.
A product backed by a manufacturer’s warranty indicates that the brand stands behind it. A warranty typically means that the manufacturer feels confident that their product is going to work the way it’s supposed to. This instills trust and reliability in the mind of the buyer. Because you can get back to the company should anything happen to the product within the prescribed duration, the risk of wasting your money is minimized. So, make sure there is a decent warranty on the roof rack awning you are going to trust with your money.
Ease of Install
This is probably not the most important factor especially when you have a helping hand. If a roof rack awning is easy to install, well and good. If not, you can always get it installed by a professional. Or, maybe get a helping hand? See what other users have to say about the awning. Did they find it easy to set up or are there any complications you need to know about beforehand?
If you’re going to use the roof rack awning as a sunshade, and don’t need it to stand up to strong rain and winds, you won’t need the most sturdy awning out there. Something that provides the necessary shade whenever you want.
But, if you’re in a climate with strong winds and even occasional rains, you need an awning made out of durable material. That said, it’s always a good idea to get a product that can last several seasons.
So, what do you do after you get the right awning for your vehicle? Let’s see.
How to Install a Roof Rack Awning?
Of course, before you can get all of the benefits we talked about, you’d need to install it on your vehicle. Now, the installation process can vary depending on your vehicle, the roof rack, and the awning. Many roof rack awnings come with a hardware kit as well, which makes the installation easier.
To install some of them, you might even need to drill some holes in the existing rack. And, as a roof rack awning tends to be pretty heavy, you’d need a friend, too. But, of course, if you don’t want to install it yourself, it’s not difficult to find a supply store that can do it for you.
Once the awning is installed on your roof rack, there’d be no need to take it off. You can fold it up and store it on your vehicle’s roof rack with ease. However, you won’t be able to use a drive-through car wash with the awning installed since the arms and brushes will catch it during the washing action.
If using a drive-through car wash is important to you, you can always install quick-release brackets on your awning. That way, you’d be able to easily take off the awning whenever you need to.
Is a Roof Rack Awning Hard to Set Up?
No, installing a roof rack awning is a simple process, and you carry it out yourself. However, understandably, it’d be easier and quicker with a helping hand. If you don’t feel confident about it, get it done by a professional.
There you have it. We’ve talked about the best roof rack awning available on the market right now and how can you pick the right one for your vehicle. If you have any more questions about roof rack awnings, feel free to drop a message below.
Hello Automotive Gear Lovers!
VehicleOnly is always on the lookout for the best brands and products. My experience has already helped several purchasers save money.
My goal is to help newbies locate the right automotive gears and parts for their vehicles. This is all about my short bio. For more information, go here!