Despite the fact that we are primarily vehicle dependent expeditions travelers, weight is still the limiting factor (at least in my vehicles) to the amount of equipment I can safely and reliably carry. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of our vehicle limit the amount of accessories and modifications we can add to, and carry. I am constantly searching for unique solutions to this ongoing issue.
The majority of our traveling is in the deserts of the Southwest and Mexico, which offer little shade from the afternoon and evening sun. While attending the 2004 SEMA show, I came across Tonneau Masters and their unique shade solutions.
The awning comes in a 34″x6″ canvas storage bag, and is about the same size as the typical collapsing camp chair.
The Awning Package Includes:
- 2- 6 foot telescoping poles
2- Adjustable anchoring straps
2- Quality anchoring stakes
2- Fiberglass awning supports
4’x6.5′ canvas awning
The awning is available in grey ($69 retail or Mossy Oak $79 retail)
Find a flat surface to work on, and begin by removing the contents from the storage bag and inserting the two fiberglass support poles into the awning. This is done by first sliding the pole through the center sewn in guide, and then into one corner of the awning.
Each corner of the awning has an incorporated pocket for securely retaining the support poles. I found it easiest to bend the poles in an “S”, so as to prevent to possibility of overstressing the poles.
After both poles are inserted the awning will take on a slightly domed shape.
The free end of the awning attaches to the vehicle with a series of heavy duty suction cups. Initially, I was skeptical of how well this would hold to the truck, but even three or four of the nine suction cups will keep the awning secure. I will report back on how the awning does in the wind.
The awning will now be hanging from the top of the vehicle, and needs the aluminum support poles for the other end to keep the awning upright.
The last step is to secure the anchoring straps and stakes. I did not find that this step was necessary in light winds, as the shade does not need the straps to maintain its shape. The included straps are of high quality and include buckles for easy length adjustment. Both ends of the straps are terminated in D-rings.
Overall, I am very impressed with the awning. It is perfect for the double-cab configuration, as it covers the length of the cab. The quality of all of the contents exceeded all of my expectations, with good attention to detail, with additional material incorporated into the stress areas of the awning. The real test will be to see how the awning does in moderate wind. With the fact that the awning is domed and supported by the fiberglass poles, it should fare pretty well. No awning can withstand heavy wind in my experience.
The strongest features of the awning are its light weight and compact storage dimensions. It uses the vehicle for support on one side reducing the weight and complexity of making the awning free standing.
Tonneau Masters Division
9981 E. Grand River
Brighton, MI 48116
Retail price of $69.95 for grey awning
*Pricing subject to change, contact vendor
- % of Available Payload:
- Installation Time:
About 5 minutes without tools
- Difficulty (Easy, Moderate, Difficult):
- Specialty Tools Required:
2004 Expeditions West Toyota Tacoma Double Cab TRD