Ironman 4×4 2.5M Awning Review – The (Game-Changer) Awning You Need For Your 5th Gen 4Runner
There are a few things that are necessary when camping or setting up a place to each lunch while on the trail, and there are others that are mere wants. While an awning tends to fall under the more want than need side of things, Ironman 4×4 has changed the game enough to make an awning a need.
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Who Is Ironman 4×4?
Ironman 4×4 is an off-road specialist company based in Australia and has been producing suspension and off-road products since 1958.
Over the years, they have ventured more and more into the off-road game and have begun producing items from camping gear to off-road accessories, such as lighting and winches. Every one of their products is tested in Australia to ensure they can handle anything thrown at them.
Why Ironman 4×4?
Everyone has heard of some of the more popular brand names like the ARB awning and even some others, but I wanted more than just a name, and that’s when I found Ironman 4×4.
While ARB does make quality products, I feel like, over the years, they’ve sold their products merely by their name, rather than their ability to improve and innovate. Obviously price is another factor when purchasing items, and for me, Ironman 4×4 had the most bang for your buck compared to others on the market and featured new never-before-seen products.
Ironman 4×4 includes everything you need for your awning, including:
- Mounting Brackets + Bolts
- LED Lighting + Dimmer
- Awning Guylines
Like any off-road product, you want to make sure your item is protected thoroughly.
With an awning sitting up high on a roof rack, the odds of it coming into contact with tree branches and limbs are a lot more likely than without one. Obviously the last thing you want is to damage it or tear it to where water gets inside and causes mold to grow inside or cause premature wear and tear.
Ironman 4×4 took this into account with their awning and made sure their built-in cover for it was made of high-impact, long-lasting 1000D PVC material. To put in layman’s terms: It’s protected, thoroughly. 1000D PVC is found in most off-road products as well as outdoor accessories, such as backpacking backpacks, military duffel bags, etc.
The material used for the cover is extremely hard to tear and rip and sealed with a water-repellent finish. I’ve had to drive in a few rainstorms and, so far, ZERO water issues. In fact, it acts just like a ceramic coating finishing. The water just beads right off of it.
The very first thing I had to decide with the 4Runner was whether I wanted the awning to sit more flush (lengthwise) with the roof rack or if I didn’t mind the awning protruding past the front of the roof rack a bit.
Ultimately with a growing family, I decided on choosing the larger 2.5 x 2.5m awning (or 2500mm) as the way to go (Compare that to the 2000mm ARB here). This would, not only give me plenty of room with the family during trips, but it would also give me plenty of room during a rainstorm where everyone wouldn’t have to be inches away from each other. Ironman 4×4 does offer the smaller sized awnings as well.
I have also used my awning with the awning room by Ironman 4×4 and, needless to say, a night of too much drinking on the beach led to me leaving my window down the entire night. It rained half the night, and thanks to the extra length, my driver’s side window kept my truck clean and dry. In fact, there was no sign a single water drop even entered the cabin.
If you are extremely OCD, you’ll likely want to go with the 2×2.5 option, as the protruding of the 2.5×2.5 may be a little irritating to you. As someone who has OCD, the protrusion doesn’t bother me, but that may be due to the realization that with the longer awning, there’s more room for activities and space with people.
The Ironman 4×4 awning, itself, is made up of 280GSM ripstop poly cotton.
This means it’s hard to rip, and if for some reason there is a tear or rip in the fabric, it will only stay within the “square” in which it is. This prevents the hole or tears from spreading while also making it easier to patch.
Ironman 4×4 made sure to even go with a waterproof-coating and seam-sealed stitching. That means there will be no water getting through when you are hiding underneath for cover during a rainstorm, nor when, if like myself, you forget to put the awning at an angle to allow for water to drain. When puddling up on top, enough for it to bow, the water still didn’t get in, nor did any of the fabric tear or rip.
Additionally, the UV50+ sun protection is a must for any awning product. Obviously it’s nice to be out in the sun, but as we all know, the sun can cause its own damage. With Ironman 4×4’s UV50+ rating, you don’t have to worry about that happening since their awning blocks, at minimum, 97.5% of the sun.
I love the awning a lot and the nylon joints may be my favorite part about it. With weather being so different in California, you range from clear skies one minute, and the next blowing winds from the summer storms coming in. Because of this, if you don’t have your awning set up perfectly you can risk breaking and snapping pieces quite easily.
Ironman 4×4 made a genius move with this and made all of their joint sections out of nylon. That means they have a lot more give than their competitors on the market who use metal. There’s so much give in fact they can be bent 180 degrees and they won’t break.
This can, of course, come in hand with other things besides the weather, such as someone running into it not paying attention, or it being mishandled by someone who has never set an awning up before.
Twist Lock Poles
As a photographer, I deal with a different style of clamps and locking mechanisms and was happy to see Ironman 4×4 go with the twist lock function for their awning. This means it’s a simple twist to the left to unlock, and twist to the right to unlock. If for some reason you happen to be out solo setting this up, this makes things way easier to do.
The addition of the green square cubes around the poles also makes it extremely easy for the unpacking or packing away of the awning. Because of this, you don’t need to worry about the poles coming loose on their own as you are folding up or unfolding the awning from its cover. They help “lock” the poles in their place at each awning end.
Some companies don’t offer this, so as you are putting your awnings away the poles are swing freely, sometimes pinching your fingers or hitting friends unexpectedly.
Ironman 4×4 was one of the first to incorporate what appears to be the new standard of awning lighting. Each of their awnings comes with a strip style light to help illuminate the night.
Whether you are setting up dinner or breakfast under the awning, wanting to leave a light on for people to see at night, or just want to relax in the dark hours while playing some games, the light from the awning puts out quite the beam and will surely light up everything under it.
The light strip is also dimmable, meaning you can turn it on full blast while everyone is awake, but dim it during the night so it gives just enough to see, but not enough where it’s keeping other people awake.
Power for the light runs off your 12V accessory port, so you will need one of those available to use it.
Installation is pretty simple for the awning.
The most important part is leaving the L brackets loose so you can figure out what location they need to be in before locking them into place. It’s very important to open your cargo hatch before doing so, that way you don’t risk having it too far back and running into an issue where you can’t open your hatch. Once you do those, you simply bolt them down to the roof rack and you are finished.
An important thing to keep in mind is that all roof racks are different so certain bolts may be too large or too small for your rack or setup. This is where those loose and leftover washer and bolts you have may come in handy. I thankfully didn’t have any issues, but this is a common problem that comes across with roof rack accessories as all companies are different.
Ironman 4×4 has numerous accessories for their awning setups, ranging from mosquito nets, awning rooms, extra light strips, quick release brackets, and sun shades. These all have their advantages depending on how you off-road and how you like to camp.
Depending on the setup you choose the Ironman 4×4 Awning can range anywhere from $180-$250.
Below are the following sizes that will fit your 5th Gen Toyota 4Runner the best. The 2.0M awning will give you the even fitment, while the 2.5M awning will give you more room, but overhang above the windshield.
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After using the awning on a few off-road trips, as well as overnight trips, it has become what I would consider a must-have for any sort of adventure you like to go on.
Being able to get out of the sun within a matter of a minute is hard to beat, especially in hot areas such as Death Valley National Park. But also being able to stay 100% dry during the monsoon style rainstorms along the coast is also a huge bonus.
My wife went on to say the Ironman 4×4 awning is her favorite thing about the vehicle now. Not the suspension that makes off-roading buttery smooth, not the recovery gear to get us out of trouble, but rather the awning to get us out of the sun, and allows us to relax even more in the mountains, whether there are zero clouds or if it’s raining.