AS SUMMER came to a close and the cooler touring months were approaching, we were packing the Ranger for a trip to the inaugural ARB 4x4 Culture Live event at Loveday Park in South Australia, followed by some travel out to Lake Gairdner. Summer might have passed, but where we were headed still promised hot days and cool nights.
We thought it timely to fit an awning to the Ranger to give us some shade on those hot days, and after looking at the many options available we settled on the ARB Awning & Light Kit.
As the name suggests, this is the standard ARB canvas awning, but it comes with an LED lights strip built in to the canvas.
ARB awnings come in a range of sizes and models that all use 300gsm Ripstop canvas for the main cover, telescopic aluminium legs and arm poles, and all the required tie-downs and pegs.
The standard ARB awning comes in a heavy-duty PVC bag or can be ordered in a stylish aluminium case (2.5m x 2.5m only), with or without the inbuilt light. The two available sizes are 2m x 2.5m or 2.5m x 2.5m.
We opted for the 2.5m x 2.5m with light in the PVC bag, with the plan being to fit it to the Rola Titan Tray on the AMVE aluminium canopy. The Rola accessories awning mounts are simple L-shaped brackets that affix to the rack using the captive bolts, and they can accommodate most brands of awnings. Due to the 2.5m length of the ARB awning, we used three of the mounting brackets to balance the load.
Installing the awning was a simple one-man job; probably made easier by the canopy as I was able to lay the awning on its edge while affixing the brackets. You might want an extra set of arms if you can’t lay the awning on the canopy like we did. Once I set where I wanted the awning to sit in relation to the car, it was simply a matter of tightening everything up and it’s ready to go.
As the pandemic developed, the ARB Culture Live event was cancelled and our travels put on hold, so using the new awning out in the outback will have to wait. We did however make use of it during a lunch stop on a recent photoshoot.
Like the install, setting up the awning can be done by one person but is a lot easier with two. You simply unzip the PVC bag, roll out the awning, put up the telescopic legs, fit the arm braces, and then tie it all down for securing from the wind. Sit down, crack yourself a coldie and enjoy the camp.
The 1200-lumen LED light strip is sealed in to an extruded aluminium strip along the awning, where it stays and simply rolls up in the canvas when its packed away. Power comes via a 12-volt ciggie lighter plug and there are a few extension leads supplied to make it reach your power source. For our Ranger, that power comes from the Redarc panel within the canopy.
The light strip has a dimmer switch and you can switch between a bright white light or a yellow light that is less attractive to bugs.
ARB offers a few accessories for its awnings including a zip-on awning room with floor, a mozzie/bug screen, and windbreak panels. We reckon the windbreak panels are a worthy inclusion to keep the breeze and rain from getting under the awning, particularly if you’re setting up your swag there.
Awnings are a great addition to the side of your fourby, giving protection from the sun, wind and rain when you’re in camp or just set-up on the beach for the afternoon. They are inexpensive and easy to assemble and pack down, and we’re looking forward to putting the ARB awning to more use on our Ranger.
We say: Easy to use; instant shade and weather protection.
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