Quick camping shade ideas?


Haulin' A** since 1974
I use my little 118 wb cargo van for more camping than moto events now, and am now looking at options for adding campsite sun shelter. Not worried about heavy rain or snow. For a variety of reasons I can't see fitting a rack to my van. I also live in a very urban area so don't want accessories attached to the outside of my van that might attract attention or theft. Everything I need for camping has to be carried inside the van when I go.

So with that caveat, I am looking at these choices for awnings and attachment:

1) 10x10 shade shelter (EZ-Up type)
Pros: freestanding and self supporting, very affordable ($150 total), needs no anchor lines
Cons: heavy, bulky, need 2 persons to set up or take down easily, not great in windy conditions
I have used these a lot, and they work well, until they wear out. Might be my first choice but for the bulk.

2) Roll-out awning
Pros: simple to use, easy to stow, can be set up solo, needs 2 anchor lines
Cons: bulky, long. must be attached to van, must be removed for transport (in my scenario), costly ($450 total w/ clamps)
I've never used one but the ARB and Smittybilt rollout awnings get good reviews. Seems possible to mount it on my van using 2 or 3 SeaSuckers (https://www.seasucker.com), and demount it for driving.
Big question I have: Is a 6' or 8' long type roll-out awning going to be too bulky and heavy to attach / remove when camping?

3) Tarp rain fly (see the photo of a similar Jeep setup below) - I'd probably try and use a hex shaped tarp
Pros: small pack size, easy to stow, can be set up solo, flexible setup options, affordable (about $230 total)
Cons: needs 4-6 anchor lines and 2 separate poles, when attached to van must be removed for transport (in my scenario)
Can also attach one side of the fly to my van using the SeaSuckers.
Big question I have is do these function very well? Do these take like an hour to set up? Do they take off in a strong gust?

Thanks for sharing your experience.



He’s just this guy, you know?
Your most versatile option would definitely be a tarp and some tent poles with a suction or magnet base on the roof.

I made an awning from an 8x10 canvas tarp, some conduit, and a couple of adjustable clothes line prop poles and attached it to my roof rack. The retail cost of all the materials would come in under $150 (I work at a hardware store and get a discount). Takes less than ten minutes to setup and break down by myself. Something like what I made would probably not attract too much attention mounted to your roof and it’s nice because it’s not taking up space in the van and it’s always there. I live in an urban area as well and haven’t had any issues



@BrennWagon- Where did you get that passenger window shade?

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