Thread: Awning mounted on truck bed rails?

  1. #1
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    Default Awning mounted on truck bed rails?

    I have a short bed (5') Tacoma with crossbars at bed height. I don't have a roof rack on the cab. I'm looking for an awning solution to mount to the crossbars at bed rail height. I want to spend about $100 on the whole package.

    I have the 20% coupon from REI, as well as some store credit. I see that they have the Kelty car tarp online. The short side is 70" so it's a little long for my 60" bed. The good news is that it's long enough to get some height out of it so we're not having to crouch down to walk under it. Any input on this?



    Another solution would be a ~5'x'10 tarp. I have some tent poles, 550 cord and stakes to rig up some guy lines. This would be a super cheap awning, but I'm concerned with setup time and tripping over guy lines.

    I saw evildave's DIY awning, but I'd like the awning to extend out more than 8' (which is the std. length of tent poles) Any other ideas to make this work?

    Thanks friends,

    Tim
    2011 Tacoma TRD Offroad Double Cab, 6 spd, stock
    Howling Moon glamping penthouse

  2. #2
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    You can use PVC plumbing pipe and fittings to create any size poles you need for cheap. I would recommend the gray schedule 80 pvc for any straight runs because it is stiffer, regular schedule 40 (white) should be fine for all the fittings. You can buy the bulk bungi cord and run it through the middle of your pipe to keep all your pieces together and makes for easy setup. To secure the bungi cord on the end pieces, just drill a small hole through the side of the end piece and tie a knot it. If you pull tension on the bungi cord before you tie the knot it will help keep all fittings secure when you have the frame setup. To dissasemble, just pull the fittings apart and fold it up like a regular tent pole. Can't get much cheaper than PVC.

  3. #3
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    The bungee in the PVC is a great idea! I found with the material I used that it 'stretched' over time and I couldn't go with a fixed-length pipe, I ended up having to extend it more each time I used the tarp, so the fixed PVC didn't work for me (on a related note, anyone want some short PVC chunks for their garage )

    I haven't posted it yet, but I've been able to get a fairly stable 8x10 awning like in my other thread. In a nutshell, take the short wally-world tent poles and replace the long piece with a 3/4 piece of EMT...any length you want...I use a 8' piece of EMT w/the two extension (taken from the wally-world tent poles)...the 8' fixed length + two extensions gave me enough to tension out to 10' off the side of the truck. You can also use the longer EMT + extension poles on each end to go out to about 12' stable (think the two-sided lightsaber from Star Wars)...you can get a 9x12 tarp and have the 9' length be along your truck and have it extend out 12' (but compressed the pole would be about 8-9')...

    Sorry, that's not really a clear explanation of how it works, but I know I can get 8x10 stable and easy set up w/no major issues by just using EMT...at some point this spring I'll update the awning thread to include the larger design, just been too busy drinking

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies guys. Evldave, you're saying that pieces of the cheap tent poles will slide into the 3/4" EMT? Great idea!

    I ordered the Kelty tarp for a whopping $9 after coupons and store credit. I'll rig it up and post pics. If it doesn't work perfectly, I'll probably return it and go DIY using the extended tent pole/EMT conduit.
    2011 Tacoma TRD Offroad Double Cab, 6 spd, stock
    Howling Moon glamping penthouse

  5. #5
    Tim- I am looking at creating a similar set-up so I look forward to seeing your finished project.
    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Thomas Jefferson

  6. #6
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    Not the finished project but here are some initial test set ups:

    Mounted on the side of the truck:


    DSC_0236 by tim.adkins, on Flickr


    DSC_0238 by tim.adkins, on Flickr


    DSC_0241 by tim.adkins, on Flickr

    Off the back of the truck:


    DSC_0242 by tim.adkins, on Flickr


    DSC_0243 by tim.adkins, on Flickr


    DSC_0244 by tim.adkins, on Flickr


    DSC_0250 by tim.adkins, on Flickr

    I'm going to replace the orange Kelty poles with some taller, more sturdy poles to get the apex of the tarp higher. Also, the stakes suck, so I will be replacing them with ones that don't bend as easily. The black pole that I ran through the Thule rack could also be more sturdy, so I may grab a stick of EMT for that.

    Overall I'm happy with the tarp itself. Hard to setup in a stiff breeze, but I did it by myself. When we actually use this for camping, my wife can help me. When guyed out, the tarp is stiff and doesn't make a lot of noise in the wind.

    I'm liking the tarp for the back of the truck and evldave's DIY awning for the side, both mounted to the Thule rack.

    More to come...
    Last edited by Tim A; 04-07-2012 at 08:49 PM.
    2011 Tacoma TRD Offroad Double Cab, 6 spd, stock
    Howling Moon glamping penthouse

  7. #7
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    Oh yeah: contrary to the original post, I now have a Thule Xsporter rack which will help get the "truck side" of the awning/tarp up a little higher
    2011 Tacoma TRD Offroad Double Cab, 6 spd, stock
    Howling Moon glamping penthouse

  8. #8
    Tim-

    The awning looks great and I really like the set up on the Back of the truck, as this is the way I would like to set-up mine. To your point, the shelter would benefit from taller poles, so let me know what longer poles you go with and how it works out. I am headed to REI today, with dividend check in hand, to pick up my Kelty Car Tarp.

    Thanks for sharing your set-up.

    Chris
    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Thomas Jefferson

  9. #9
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    Tim A - Question re your RTT and that Thule Rack. Do you leave the tent at that height, when you are using/occupying it? Is it possible to physically raise the RTT? Would both sides have to be raised simultaneously? Or can one side be lifted, then the other, even if incrementaly?

    On the back opening awning, consider attaching the awning to the back edge of the opened RTT?
    1998 Tacoma XCab 4x4
    Adjustable Bed Rack for Roof Top Tents - build thread

    "Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge." - Horace Mann

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by clcoyle View Post
    Tim-

    The awning looks great and I really like the set up on the Back of the truck, as this is the way I would like to set-up mine. To your point, the shelter would benefit from taller poles, so let me know what longer poles you go with and how it works out. I am headed to REI today, with dividend check in hand, to pick up my Kelty Car Tarp.

    Thanks for sharing your set-up.

    Chris
    No problem Chris, hope you can make it work. If I was still working with a bed-height RTT rack, I would consider making some awning "legs" like those on AT's trailers to get the awning higher.

    The Wal-Mart poles that evldave spec'd for his DIY awning are the ones I'm going to use. They are 8' tall and the Kelty poles are about 7'. Another option would be to use a 4-pole setup, which I will try and post pics of later.

    Quote Originally Posted by pray4surf View Post
    Tim A - Question re your RTT and that Thule Rack. Do you leave the tent at that height, when you are using/occupying it? Is it possible to physically raise the RTT? Would both sides have to be raised simultaneously? Or can one side be lifted, then the other, even if incrementaly?

    On the back opening awning, consider attaching the awning to the back edge of the opened RTT?
    I got my Thule rack for super cheap off CL. It's the old version that only has 2 height positions (the one you see and a much higher position) I cut the aluminum legs down so I could use the lower position. The legs are secured in the towers by heavy duty plastic clips. The legs slide up/down in towers vs. a ratcheting movement so I think it would be easy to maneuver the tent once you got to your camping spot. 2 people could do it IMO. Search username "enzo", he has the newer version of the Xsporter with an RTT and is very helpful.

    Good call on the back of the tent! I'm going to try M8 bolts/eyenuts to secure the tarp's black pole to the channel on the bottom of the RTT. Kind of like TACODOC did here:

    http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...306#post860306

    Except my eyenuts will be on the bottom the tent. I will have to see if it interferes with the tent's window that would be directly above the tarp. Will post pics once the hardware arrives
    Last edited by Tim A; 04-08-2012 at 03:54 PM. Reason: typos
    2011 Tacoma TRD Offroad Double Cab, 6 spd, stock
    Howling Moon glamping penthouse

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