ARB 6.5FT X 8.2FT Retractable Awning Install On 3rd Gen Tacoma + Prinsu Cab Rack – Step-By-Step Install & Review
Exploring trails and off-roading can lead to some secluded places with spectacular views. If you’re like most of us, you will want to set up camp and enjoy the isolation from the everyday hustle and bustle of the world. Utilizing the right gear for your trips can make all the difference when you’re off the grid.
There are simple things that you might take for granted when you are out in the wilderness for an extended period of time. Like shade, for instance. When you’re walking from your house to your personal vehicle parked in the driveway or across a mall parking lot, it may not cross your mind. However, when you are out for a day at the beach or hiking on a trail and the sun is beating down on you, it definitely becomes a factor.
You only ever want shade when you can’t escape the hot sun, because nothing can ruin a fun trip faster than sunburn. You can opt with the large umbrellas that you stake in the ground or even a collapsible canopy. These are great options, but not ideal or efficient when it comes to overlanding with limited storage space.
Most rigs utilize some type of roof rack mounted retractable awning to help with storage issues and ease of setup. ARB offers just that. A compact retractable awning that mounts to most roof racks that is easy and fast to deploy. ARB even offers mounting brackets for the awning if the awning won’t easily mount directly to your roof rack.
ARB also has a variety of sizes for different vehicles and for each person’s preference. I’m here to discuss in detail the 6.5ft x 8.2ft (2.0M x 2.5M) ARB Retractable Awning with the LED Light Sleeve. I’ll provide you with instructions for a step-by-step install, as well as a full overview of the product itself.
Let’s jump into the installation process first!
Find It Online
- ARB Retractable Awning (6.5ft x 8.2ft): Check Price
- ARB Awning Mounting Bracket: Check Price
- Prinsu Cab Rack for 3rd Gen Tacoma: Check Price
The installation process is extremely simple and straightforward.
If you are utilizing the Prinsu Cab Rack, or any similar roof rack, the ARB awning will bolt to the side of it with no issues. You will have plenty of clearance for the doors on your Tacoma, they will open and close without touching the awning. You can utilize the mounting brackets if you want extra clearance, but they are not needed.
I chose to bolt my awning directly to my Prinsu Cab Rack and I haven’t had any issues. The only tool you will need to mount the awning is a 10mm socket or ratchet wrench.
Step 1. Assemble Awning Screws & Bolts
Included with the awning are the above six nuts and bolts. They work well enough if you choose to mount your awning directly to the side of your Prinsu Cab Rack.
They will secure your awning, but the bolts are only an inch long which gives very little room for the nuts to be tightened fully.
If you purchase the mounting bracket along with the awning, then these nuts and bolts will work perfectly.
I, on the other hand, decided to purchase longer bolts to ensure that I would be able to secure it firmly to the roof rack since I chose not to use the mounting brackets. I also added washers to each bolt to add additional strength and support.
Step 2. Slide Bolts Down the T-Channel on Back of Awning
Lay the ARB awning face down and exposed on the back is an aluminum bracket mounted to the awning.
On the bracket are two T-channels that you can slide the bolts down. I used the bottom T-channel and have no issues with the awning blocking the doors to my Tacoma.
Slide all six bolts down the T-channel and space them out in pairs of two.
Two bolts towards the front, two bolts in the middle and two bolts in the rear. This will allow you to line up the bolts with the open slots on the side of the Prinsu Cab Rack. Once spaced out, it should resemble the image above.
Step 3. Place ARB Awning on Prinsu Cab Rack
Pick up the ARB awning, and place it on the Prinsu Cab Rack. The bolts should line up with the slots on the side of the roof rack, and slide through.
There are five slits on the side of the Prinsu roof rack which allows you to arrange the bolts in whatever fashion you prefer. I like to place two bolts per slit, skipping a slit for both the front to middle and middle to back. Once pushed through, the bolts should hold the awning in place while you take the time to bolt it down.
The ARB Awning is fairly light, so you shouldn’t have any issues picking it up and placing it onto the rack. If you are unable to lift the awning by yourself, then grab a friend or family member to assist you. If you are alone, then a ladder will work just as well.
Step 4. Place Washers & Nuts On & Bolt Down Awning
Place a washer on each bolt for additional support and strength. The 1/4 inch nuts are slightly larger than the slits on the Prinsu Cab Rack, but not by much.
The washers will ensure that there are no mishaps, and the bolt doesn’t slip through the slit under pressure. It’s an added sense of security so you don’t have to stress about it on those rough trails.
Once a washer is placed on each bolt add the nut and tighten it down fully using your 10mm socket wrench or ratchet wrench.
Deploying the ARB Retractable Awning
Now that the awning is firmly mounted to your roof rack you can deploy it. The great thing about the ARB awning is how little effort it takes to actually set it up.
If you have followed me on any of my other articles you know by now that I am all about functionality and saving time. From the Wilco Spare Tire Mount to the Gazelle Tent, and even the ARB On-Board Air Compressor. It’s all about saving time. The last thing I want to be doing is spending 15-30 minutes setting up a giant canopy or fumbling around with a blue tarp and aluminum poles. For those out there that use the blue tarps, I know your pain because I used to be that guy.
The ARB had simplicity in mind when they designed this awning. You simply unzip the bag and undo the Velcro straps located in the front and back of the awning. Once the awning is free, just roll it out and two aluminum legs will drop down. You can adjust the height on the legs depending on how high you want the awning to stand.
Once you adjust the height there are two more aluminum support poles tucked in the bag. You swing those out and attach them to the legs. Then use the attached Velcro straps to secure the awning. Once the support poles are locked in place the awning will stand firmly on its own. For extra support, ARB offers stakes for the legs if you get stuck in windy conditions.
ARB always makes quality products and is well known in the off-roading community. Everything they design is meant to be rugged and can take abuse. Great quality products for the toughest weather/trail conditions.
The ARB retractable awning is no exception to this. It has become one of my favorite additions to my truck, and the first thing I set up when I find a great campsite.
- 1000 Denier Polyester Carry Bag for rugged conditions
- Awning Roof rated at 300gsm – Rip Stop Canvas
- 1000mm Water Head Rating
- Awning offers UVP 50+ Rating
- Anodized Height Adjustable Telescopic Legs
- Fast & Easy Set-Up
- LED Light Sleeve (LED light included with certain awnings)
The ARB Retractable Awning really turned my camping experience into glamping. I’ve used it in some tough conditions, and it outperformed during all of them.
I was unfortunate enough to get stuck in a heavy and windy thunderstorm, and the ARB awning held true. The wind never budged it, and no water seeped through. It also has a built-in sleeve for an LED light if you choose to add one. I have solar-powered lights, so I decided not to get an LED light for the awning.
This awning really protects you from the elements and helps keep you out of the sun so you don’t have to cake on the sunscreen. The ARB awning has definitely been one of my favorite additions, and I don’t plan any overland trip without it. For the rugged explorers out there, this is a product worthy of the most demanding trips.