ARB Touring Awning Review

Lifted Red 3rd Gen Tacoma with ARB Retractable Awing

6 Foot Long Awning That’s Perfect For Roof Racks

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. They even offers mounting brackets if it 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) 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.

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Product Overview

ARB Universal Retractable Awning Review

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.

This one 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.

Key Features

  • 1000 Denier Polyester Carry Bag for rugged conditions
  • Roof rated at 300gsm – Rip Stop Canvas
  • 1000mm Water Head Rating
  • UVP 50+ Rating
  • Anodized Height Adjustable Telescopic Legs
  • Fast & Easy Set-Up
  • LED Light Sleeve (LED light included with certain models)


Step-By-Step ARB Retractable Awning Installation

The installation process is extremely simple and straightforward.

If you are utilizing the Prinsu Cab Rack, or any similar roof rack, it 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. You can utilize the mounting brackets if you want extra clearance, but they are not needed.

I chose to bolt mine directly to my Prinsu Cab Rack and I haven’t had any issues. The only tool you will need to mount is a 10mm socket or ratchet wrench.

Step 1. Assemble Hardware

Installing ARB Retractable Awning on 3rd Gen Toyota Tacoma

Included with the awning are the above six nuts and bolts. They work well enough if you choose to mount it directly to the side of your Prinsu Cab Rack.

They will secure everything, but the bolts are only an inch long which gives very little room for the nuts to be tightened fully.

ARB Retractable Awning Install Guide & Review

If you purchase the mounting bracket, 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. Attach Bolts

Detailed Install for ARB Vehicle Mounted Awning

Lay the awning face down and exposed on the back is an aluminum bracket.

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 it blocking the doors to my Tacoma.

Mounting ARB Universal Retractable Awning to Roof Rack

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. Install On Rack

Installing ARB Universal Retractable Awning on Prinsu Roof Rack - 3rd Gen Tacoma

Pick it up, 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 it in place while you take the time to bolt it down.

It 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 it 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. Bolt Down

Prinsu Roof Rack with Universal Retractable ARB 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.

How to Install ARB Retractable Awning on Roof Rack

Once a washer is placed on each bolt add the nut and tighten it down fully using your 10mm socket wrench or ratchet wrench.

How To Deploy

Setting up Instructions for ARB Retractable Awning

Now that the it is firmly mounted to your roof rack you can deploy it. The great thing about this one 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. You simply unzip the bag and undo the Velcro straps located in the front and back. Once the it 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 it 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 it. 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.

Final Thoughts

ARB Touring Awning Review on 3rd Gen Toyota Tacoma

This product 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 it 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.

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. This 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.

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2 years ago

Does your Prinsu have the hex screws protruding out the side of rack that secure the crossbars? Seems like it would interfere w mounting it flush to rack.

3 years ago

Do you think it would interfere with a camper shell on the back or would it work? Also just wanted to confirm you mounted it directly onto the prinsu cab rack with no mounting bracket.

3 years ago


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