off-brand awnings?

I have spent about 7 years running awnings in Oz now. my experience is this:

I have never had a failure - but they have always had 3 mounting points over the 2,5M length. they have seen major storms major corrugations. always in the sun and no stitching has failed

now the main difference between my offbrand awnings and my arb awaning is the stitching. single vs double stitched and maybe slightly thinner material. but you would never notice.

ARB awning:
have had a failure, 4 of the front main rivets ripped out - but this is my fault. I own a shorty and running a 2.5M awning with 2 mounting points will lead to this failure.

screws have come out on the legs. nothing major though.
As for surviving: been through major storms without fault. setup camp in 40 knot winds and left the awning up all night and it took it.
just this weekend it took a major hit. I have some serious dents in the ally now from it. but it still works fun and folds up without issues. basically crawled over a log and the vehicle slid and smashed it into a tree, pushed by crossbar damn near clean off its perch. but I have full faith in offbrand surviving the same hit as they use the same extruded alluminium bodies.

by Matthew Allen, on Flickr

Fianl call:
its down to personal preference. I figured I would try a top brand to see if the cost was worth it. for short term (less than 2 years) go the cheap route. anything over for the better stitching go for the slightly higher priced quality unit.
Good points. Mine are only mounted in two points (four bolts, but two pairs one over the other) and there is practically two feet from the mounting points to each end. One of my next projects will be to add additional mounting points. (see posts #29 & 30 for a more detailed write-up on my off-brand canopy). canopy.3.jpg
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Good points. Mine are only mounted in two points (four bolts, but two pairs one over the other) and there is practically two feet from the mounting points to each end. One of my next projects will be to add additional mounting points. (see posts #29 & 30 for a more detailed write-up on my off-brand canopy).
That is how mine is mounted too. the issue being the front flexes as I have about 1m of overhang. causing wobble on rough roads. and its shakes ever so slightly on highway which will also lead to premature failure.
On one end I have 25" of overhang, and the other end is 27" of overhang. I am going to move the mounts to the ends of the roof rack, which will decrease the overhang by 7.5" on each end (and increase the distance between the mounts by 15" [currently about 24"]). Seems like I read somewhere that you shouldn't have more than 24" of overhang with these canopy things.
So I moved the roof rack mounts to the outer edges of the roof rack (much more difficult than you would think, but you would understand if you knew how the rails were mounted on the rooftop). Anyways; the canopy mounting points are now 40" apart. So with the canopy itself being 78" across, that means I now only have about 17" of overhang on each end. Much better. I probably won't need additional mounting points now.

I don't know how much a difference this would make with a higher-end canopy of the same size. Is the aluminum backing (where the mounting bolts attach) any thicker? When I'm at the NW Overlanding Rally in June I'll have to compare mine to the higher-end canopies.

My off-brand awning didn't wiggle going down the highway before, but now with less overhang on each end it should be even better/more stable. And it just fits between the CB antenna on the back of the Jeep, and the Ham antenna by the windshield. canopy.21.jpg canopy.22.jpg canopy.23.jpg canopy.21.jpg canopy.22.jpg canopy.23.jpg drive.13.jpg drive_14.jpg
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So I ordered one of these for my Jeep TJ yesterday based on Lynnrb's recommendation and the fact that it is inexpensive (and I've been wanting one):

I guess we'll see how it works out. It should be here next week. 6.6' x 8.2' in gray. $109 with free shipping.

It might be $112 now.

I've posted comments about this canopy on this thread previously, but this last weekend I gave it a bit of a testing. I attended the NW Overlanding Rally (had a great time by-the-way), and used the canopy for the duration. They had us packed-in on 20' x 20' lots. It was set-up for three nights, and two of those nights it was a bit windy. No rain, so I didn't get to test it out in rain. No issues with the canopy, and nothing broke. I did swap out the guide ropes for some slightly sturdier ropes though (with adjusters), and the guide rope stakes that came with it I swapped out for those large nail-looking stakes with the plastic ends (they're inexpensive and readily found). I got the new guide ropes at a sporting goods store for like $2.00/pair.

So over-all, I'm happy with my canopy purchase. I'll be taking it out again for a few days the first part of August up into the Olympic National Forest (where my chance of getting rain will be increased greatly).

overland rally.1.jpg
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I've been importing and selling "off brand" awnings for a couple of years now. Depending on the manufacturer you get them from, the quality will differ. I have had only one issue with the awnings I've offered and it was due to the member's misuse. Most, if not all of the awnings offered by retailers here are manufactured and assembled in China. The manufacturer I use also manufactures for several different very well know retailers and adventure companies located in the United States. If there is any special options that a US retailer has with their awnings, the manufacturer will not offer that to me for resale, as it might compromise their relationship with said retailer. With that said, awnings, annexes, roof top tents, etc., that come out of China aren't "cheap" products. They are, however, less expensive buying direct from the manufacturer. Some materials used may differ from retailer to retailer, but in the end they are mostly very similar. I'm in talks with administrators about offering these awnings and annexes to the community here. Until I hear from them though, I will refrain from doing so.
Some pictures of the products...
Denis awning.jpg
land cruiser awning annex 1.jpg
land cruiser awning.jpg
My truck...
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