Gear Review – ARB Awning 2000
30 second review: The ARB Awning has got to be my favorite piece of overland equipment on the Tacoma so far. Using it for the first time in the desert might have swayed me, but having instant shade this easy is just fantastic. There is a bit of a learning curve with how the pole’s twist lock works but that is the only negative.
There are 3 models of the ARB awning which vary in length and width. We purchased the 2000 (6.5′) model essentially because it looks proportional for the truck. As far as I’m concerned it’s the ‘bigger the better’ when you’re trying to block out the sun. Unfortunately, the larger 2500 model is 8′ long and would just have too much overhang. The smaller 1250 is only 4′ long and is realistically just too small to be useful. So this was totally a goldilocks situation, but we are happy with the size of the awning.
The very first time trying to set the awning up took me 2-1/2 minutes by myself. This shows just how simple and fast you can set the awning up. Getting the guy wire attached was another couple of minutes but the awning is self supported at that point so it’s not difficult. If there’s no wind you could probably get away without using the guy wire, however, the awning just feels so much more stout once guyed out.
While we were at Joshua Tree there was quite a bit of wind which I was thankful for because it helped cool us down, but it also meant the guy wires were a must. Over night the wind really picked up but the awning held up perfectly.
The final test would be how the awning performs in rain so I will update this post after I see how it stands up to rain. Though I have no reason to think it won’t work as advertised. Something to keep in mind is that the instructions note that if you are expecting rain then one of the legs should be set lower so that the rain will drain off to a corner rather than pool on top.
Set Up Instructions:
- Unzip the bag and take the velcro straps off the awning.
- You need to get the rafter arms (side bars) out of the way at a slightly greater than 90 degree angle. Don’t push them out too far or you can’t reach them later on. I found the easiest way to do this is fold the rolled up awning backward and out of the way first to expose the rafter arms.
- Unroll the awning, then rotate down the legs making sure they are locked at a shorter length.
- While still holding the awning grab the rafter arms and align into the hole at the end of the awning. At this point I found it helpful to hold the awning away and taught then twist and lock the rafter arms in place.
- Velcro the awning to the rafter arms.
- Adjust the leg length to your desired height.
- Check and adjust the awning as needed to get rid of any sags or bunched areas.
- Find a suitable spot for guy wire then drive stakes and attach the rope (these are provided with the awning). There is a hole in the awning near where the rafter arm installs for you to tie a knot. A shortcut I noticed in ARB’s instructional video is that they leave the guy wire on even when packed away.
The ARB awning comes in three sizes 1250 ($180), 2000 ($287), and 2500 ($305). The names refer to millimeters so in American that’s 1250 (4′), 2000 (6.5′) , and 2500 (8′). Both the 2000 and 2500 extend to 8′, where the 1250 extends to a little under 7′.
There are also quite a few add ons to modify your awning to fit your overloading needs:
- Mesh Floor ($120) – Floor mat which can also be used as a shade wall
- Mosquito Net ($125-$174) – 3 sided wall to enclose your awning with mosquito netting mesh
- 3-Wall Set ($137-$171) – 3 sided wall to enclose your awning with solid material
- Front or Side Windbreak ($59-$99) – Attachment to add a wall to your awning to block oncoming wind
- Deluxe Room ($216-$222, not available for the 1250) – This is kind of a combination of all 4 so you actually get a fully enclosed (4 walls with a floor) room that has both a mosquito net and canvas walls which are all endlessly adjustable. We actually already own this but haven’t been able to use it yet. A full review will be coming after our next trip.