An Easy Way to Add an Awning to Your Camper Van or Small RV
There are a number of reasons one might need an RV awning alternative. Perhaps the factory-installed awning on your rig broke and you’re looking for a cheap and easy alternative to replacing it, or maybe you’re working on a van build and need a way to add shade to the rig. While researching RV and van gear, I recently discovered the MoonShade awning. It looks like an ideal RV awning alternative in a number of scenarios, and might just be the perfect solution for you.
What is a MoonShade Awning?
MoonShade awnings are portable vehicle awnings. They provide 9’x7’ of shade and are super easy to set up and take down, even if you’re all on your own.
Perhaps the best thing about the MoonShade is that it folds up tiny when not in use. When stowed, it measures only 28 inches x 6 inches. Not only that, but it’s very lightweight too, weighing in at a mere 8 pounds. These dimensions mean traveling with the awning is a cinch, even in super small camping rigs.
The top of the awning is made of ripstop polyester. It’s coated in a UV protective treatment to help weather the sun a bit better. Meanwhile, the bottom layer of the awning fabric uses a reflective coating to help keep those hanging out under the shade nice and cool. That reflective coating is also handy at night when it reflects any light you put under it, thus helping to better illuminate your campsite.
Who Should Use a MoonShade Awning?
Who would benefit from this product? Is it okay for a full-timer to use the MoonShade? Can it be used on any vehicle?
Originally, the MoonShade was designed for Sprinter Vans, and it works really great on Sprinters. In fact, many people use MoonShade awnings on that very van, and a number of van lifers even use them full-time. They are quite durable, so full-time use of the MoonShade is no problem at all.
That said, the MoonShade can be used on nearly any campervan out there. So if your van doesn’t happen to be a Sprinter, you can still make use of this awesome awning. Not only that, but those traveling in trucks, Jeeps, and even cars can use the MoonShade. Some folks have even used them on their small, teardrop-style camping trailers.
Due to the limited length of the telescoping support poles, MoonShade cannot be used on tall vehicles or traditional RVs. But pretty much any standard-sized vehicle can be a base for one of these awesome shades.
Choosing Your MoonAnchors
Once you decide that MoonShade is the right option for you, the next step is deciding how to anchor it.
Every MoonShade awning comes standard with two small suction cup anchors and two large suction cup anchors. MoonShade offers a variety of different MoonAnchor options: magnetic anchors, adhesive anchors, vehicle-specific awning rail and roof rail anchors, and more.
If you plan to use your MoonShade awning on a regular basis, a permanent solution is highly recommended. However, those who will only use the awning occasionally will likely be just fine using the included suctions cups or investing in some magnetic anchors.
If you aren’t sure what kind of anchors to use, click the “Find Your Setup” button on this page.
How is a MoonShade Awning Set Up?
With your anchors chosen and your MoonShade in your possession, all that’s left to do is set it up!
Begin by attaching one side of the fabric to the top of your vehicle using your anchor of choice. The awning fabric is then stretched out over the side (or back) of the vehicle and given additional support by aluminum tension poles.
Next, the free-hanging side of the awning is held up by sturdy telescoping aluminum support poles. The whole setup can then be secured further by guylines and stakes, keeping it as safe as possible from sudden gusts of wind.
As mentioned before, the setup process is easy enough that even a single individual can set the awning up on their own and is an absolute breeze for a team of two.
See the video below to get a better idea of what the process entails:
The MoonShade awning is a great solution for many vanlifers and other adventurers out there. It is versatile, totally portable, quick and easy to both set up and take down, and provides shade wherever you roam. What’s not to love?
5 thoughts on “The MoonShade Is a Great Small Van Awning Alternative”
To fend off the sun’s radiant heat, I would like a portable shade to cover the roof of my van. I might be able to juxtapose two of your Moon Shades, but would prefer one large canopy. Are you willing to create a custom length (i.e. approx. 7′ x 14′) to cover the roof of a 20′ Ford Transit van?
Thanks for the comment. Vanlifers.com isn’t affiliated with moon shade’s company. But, to get an answer directly you’ll want to contact them via their form at: https://moonfab.com/pages/contact/
Thanks again for reading.
So I have Ram Promaster and bought the MoonShade last year and have used it about 4 times. The first time I used the magnets (no rubber booties) and a small bit of wind pulled those off. So I bought the VHB bonded mounts for my next outing. Well, the VHB came apart from the mounting disk and stayed stuck to my van, ugh. Oh and not even a bit of wind on that trip.
. I got a technician in the chat since they don’t (or I can’t find) a phone number to call, they sent me two new VHB disks. The next trip to the same location, no wind and POP the other disk popped off now, I’m like really, seriously 😒. Back to email, online contact form and chat. 3.5 days later I get an email asking me how to handle this. Hmmmm. So, I asked for replacement mounts since the first set did not stick to themselves, but they sure stuck the adhesive to my van. I guess we will see how they work my request and in the meantime, I’ll be out peeling adhesive VHB off my roof.
I got an awning shade on our 310 for extra sun protection. Very easy to assemble. Top clips on rail and bottom zippers close pro re nata. Provides good shade protection. Tie from bottom to bottom with a ground spike. It also creates a temperature and also the interior is way cooler without that screen.
Thanks so much for sharing! Great article!