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  • Writer's pictureKelsey

Never go FULL overland.

So, I turned my truck into a gyro-copter

Thought process that brought me to buying this: The basis for this is thinking about some longer trips and trips where I am camped near others. Both of these trips are far and few between since my goal with ALL campsites is that we shouldn’t see or hear another vehicle the entire time we’re camping. Once a year I camp several nights at Overland Expo and maybe 4 times a year I camp at a Mountain Bike race. At these two types of events changing while laying down in the back of the truck is a pain. I’d much rather have a space to stand up and change. Not to mention get away from people for a bit.

The second part is that on a longer trip you can’t always just drive to where the weather is nice. Sometimes you’re stuck in it. Sure, you can sit in the back and play cards for a day and eat Clif bars, but that only lasts so long. On a long trip I wanted to be able to still go outside and cook without having to setup my Tarp awning setup. Seen here:

The last consideration is that all parts of my camping setup have to be able to take abuse when I drive like a yahoo and be able to be setup/torn down in less than 10 minutes. I can’t stand setting up camp. One reason I don’t like most Overland setups is the sheer time it takes to setup and tear down. It’s like watching a family head to the beach. The SUV vomits out enough toys and chairs and contraptions that have to be setup to stay for a month. An hour or two later they are setup for day at the beach. No way, not gonna happen.

So, once I saw the Batwing Awning and the Alucab Shadow awning I got interested. It takes a couple seconds to setup and tear down. The Alucab appears to be a bit more stout and you don’t have to set up ANY support poles. I like that. It does have a support pole that swings down as well as guide wires that nest inside each support arm. If it’s windy you can simple deploy the wires and stakes that are also nested inside the awning itself.

The only thing I didn’t buy yet are the side walls for the awning. All of this shit is expensive, so 2 big purchases is enough for a while. Full disclosure I got a deal on the Frontrunner roof rack (they’re friends) and the Alucab awning (I just reminded them it gets seen at Overland Expo in my classes a lot and they offered it.) At full price, I would have a hard time pulling the trigger. NOT that it’s not all worth it, but I would have been looking for a used Batwing, Alucab or Hannibal awning on the internet. This ended up being a bit less than a used one so it was still a lot of money, but well worth it.

In summary:

I think this is the best awning out there. No poles needed, quickest to deploy and put away etc. The downside is the premium cost on both, but I do feel it’s a case of “get what you pay for.”
Frontrunner instructions and hardware were absolutely perfect. Every bolt and nut and washer in a plastic baggy with instructions on how it all goes together along with tools to do it. As far as roof racks I’ve always been a fan of the build quality and light weight of the Frontrunner products. 10/10
Alucab Awning came with no instructions and a box with loose nuts and bolts in it. There wasn’t enough to get the job done so I went to the hardware store and got what I needed. When I asked about installation instructions they said there weren’t any, but they did forward me some pics of how the brackets are supposed to attach etc. I’m sure if I’d ask for the missing hardware they would have sent it as everyone I dealt with at OK4wd (The importer of Alucab products) was very nice. Just don’t expect the same level of packaging as Frontrunner. 8/10

This thing is stout I have to say! Time will tell how it holds up and you know I’ll post up if there are any issues.

(This is how you poop while camping when you are Overland AF)

(You guessed right, the truck no longer fits into the garage with the awning.... We’re going to try airing down to get it inside...)

Here is some more detailed info from the folks who made it:

Here is a good video of one in the wind. This guy took the time to murder out the entire awning... also, be sure to hit mute once the video starts. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!



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