The Best Awning (that nobody is buying)
Rhino Rack’s Sunseeker Dome 1300 Awning is a new take on a familiar setup.
You know what it’s like when you’re safely sheltered under your awning in a sudden downpour – only to find that after a while bulges begin to appear, quickly followed by a hunt for the nearest stick or long pointy object to try and direct about 20L of pooling water away from your camp chair and dinner. This is usually accompanied by the sound of pouring water and complaining kids as you’ve just soaked them from the ground up. Well this was a scenario that I could have experienced on a recent trip to Queensland when we got hit by the tail of a tropical storm. While the others were busy scampering around looking for the aforementioned pointy object, I was quite at home sitting under the ‘Dome’ with the rain just flowing nicely off the sides… with very few worries.
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Mind your head, mate!
There are a few other advantages in having a dome above you. Being able to stand up straight is a really good one. No more walking around looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame or remembering to duck down when entering or exiting. There’s now plenty of room for even the tallest of us.
Roll out, pop up
Set-up is a little trickier than that of your standard flat awning, but to be honest it’s no harder than erecting an easy tent or pulling up a swag; and it only takes a matter of minutes. It’s simply a case of unzipping the cover, unrolling the rip-stop canvas and inserting the two fibreglass poles to create the dome. The eyes for the poles are a bit tight for the first few uses, but once the canvas has stretched a little the ends go in with reasonable ease. Now that the hard bit is out of the way just unfold the wings and insert the vertical poles, and with the guide ropes attached you’re all done and dusted.
Versatility doesn’t suck
The awning is able to be mounted on either the side or the rear of your vehicle, even if you have a lift-up rear hatch – as the extra height of the dome allows heaps of space for it to open without hitting the canvas. Unlike conventional flat awnings the Sunseeker Dome rolls back up to a very compact 1.3m long on the side of your 4X4. Once set up it provides a large and very useful 2.5m x 2.4m covering which is large enough to either roll you swag out underneath or provide a good amount of shelter.
So far I’ve been using the awning for about the past 12 months over a variety of terrain including the Vic High Country, Coffs Hinterland and Fraser Coast. I’ve been rather pleased with it. It does exactly what it’s supposed to do… and with very little fuss.
Currently my Dome is attached to a Pioneer Platform, but it’s also able to be mounted on a variety of roof racks and bars and is compatible with a range of awning extensions and extras including Rhino’s Tagalong Tent. The awning’s heavy-duty rip-stop canvas is weatherproofed and mould resistant – meaning it should last a good while without any issues.
For me the Sunseeker Dome 1300 is the perfect blend of compact size, versatility and usability; and it really is a good alternative to your traditional flat awning.
For more info check out: www.rhinorack.com.au