Introducing The New ARB Touring Aluminum Awning For the 5th Gen 4Runner: A Must Have For Backcountry Exploring and Overlanding
Being able to get out of the sun or rain is always a challenging task when it comes to off-roading, especially if you are in a desert area such as Death Valley National Park. There may be thousands of 4×4 trails, but there’s very little shade if any at all. What do you do when it’s time to make lunch and you want to get out of the sun? You either take the sunburn, like a champ, or you use an ARB Touring awning.
Who is ARB?
You’ve likely already heard of ARB, but if you haven’t ARB is an Australia based company that has been making 4×4 products as far back as 1975. They specialize in products ranging from air compressors to awnings and have tested them in some of the harshest climates on Earth. We have already seen our fair share of ARB products here on Trail4R.com including their incredibly popular ARB 2000mm classic awning and much more.
Why ARB? With ARB you know you are getting quality products that can withstand the harshest of elements, as well as customer service that will stand behind you 100%.
ARB includes just about everything needed for their awning. You will need to supply your own roof rack brackets as theirs do not come with them. However, they have numerous options that will work with every style rack on the market.
Find It Online:
- ARB 2.5M Aluminum Awning For 5th Gen 4Runner: Check Price
In the Box:
- ARB 2.5M Aluminum Awning
- Ground Stakes
- Guy Lines
- Built-in Light & Dimmer
The side you mount your awning can and cannot be very important, ultimately it’s just a personal preference, but for me, I mounted on the driver’s side.
One of the reasons was because of my snorkel on the passenger side. If caught in a rainstorm I didn’t want any possibility of water dripping down and being sucked into the snorkel due to the overhang of the 2500mm awning.
Other options that might make you think about mounting possibilities is where you mount other things to your roof rack. For example, I liked to mount the heavier hi-lift jack on the passenger side of the vehicle due to the weight offset with the gas tank. If you have a rooftop tent that opens to the passenger side you may also want to mount your awning on the driver side.
Because I typically go off-roading with my wife and child, I wanted an awning large enough to give us room to play games, as well as store things if it were to rain. I chose the 2500mm awning because of this and absolutely love it.
While it does protrude past the roof rack a bit, it doesn’t look tacky or too out of place, and with the added room you get you’re happy you have it later. Of course, if you have extreme OCD and like things sitting flush, the 2000mm option is perfect for a full-size roof rack.
Because I also plan to use this with an awning room, I wanted a room large enough to be able to handle two adults, as well as a child and a possible future second child. The 2500mmx2500mm awning/awning room would be able to accommodate both easily.
While it goes overlooked, the way you are able to store your awning while on the vehicle is huge. Is it waterproof? Can it handle a beating? While most standard covers can, you have more peace of mind with the ARB Touring hard case. It is strongly made and capable of jagged branches that could potentially puncture the canvas cover, ultimately tearing your awning as well. With the hard case from ARB that is no longer an issue.
Additionally, the three bungee cord allows for a quick release opening, allowing you to set up in a quicker time, as well as putting away.
This also eliminates any possible zipper issues down the road, or if something comes in contact with the zipper on the trail causing it to get off track.
With anything that is more of a solid shape, such as the hard casing, noise can always be a concern. Highway noise was my main worry as it is larger and isn’t flexible as the canvas is, but to my surprise, there was no wind noise. I expected a minor whistle of some sort, but this was not the case. There was literally zero wind noise.
While on the trail, especially in rocky and bouncing areas, there is some minor rattling you can hear, but it’s not any louder than gear in the back of your vehicle that is doing the same, or things attached to your rear bumper or roof rack. In fact, my wife said in the passenger seat she couldn’t hear anything, even with the windows down. Odds are that I only have it because the awning sits on my side and I had the window down.
Many awnings on the market come with the standard zipper style canvas cover, which can definitely be convenient, but ARB has innovated to a new style latch. While a zipper obviously is not able to be used with a hard case, ARB had to go with a new design, which led to the use of bungee cord style latches.
They are very simple and easy to do and take up no more time than unzipping the zipper on canvas, in fact, this might take less time as it’s just three pieces of rope that you are removing from the locking point.
When putting away the awning they are even more useful as you no longer have to worry about keeping the awning in or worrying about it falling out on you. You simply close the awning door which the latches are connected to and wrap them around the bottom points. Done.
I think one of the most important things when it comes to awnings is how quickly you can set them up and take them down. You might be setting up camp for the night and want to use the last bit of light you have, or maybe you are trying to set up for the unannounced rain shower that just showed up.
With the ARB Touring, awning time is not a problem.
While setting up and taking down the awning, at a nice pace and not a rush to pick up the fastest time possible, it took roughly 2 minutes and 15 seconds. That’s from unlatching the bungee cords, pulling out the awning itself, and getting the poles set up to where the awning is flat. Not a bad time at all.
Other awnings have taken a little longer than that, but more so when put away as they tend to not want to roll up evenly for whatever reason.
One thing that has been starting to pop up with awnings is built-in lighting. The problem with just about all of them is that they use the slot on the awning that is used by the awning room, so when setting up your room, the light is removed and there’s no place to put it.
ARB clearly noticed this and stepped up the game by installing their’s dead center of the awning. This means whether you use an awning room or not, the light does not need to be removed. In fact, it can be used along with the awning room at the same time. Perfect for those who want a night light on at night, or who want a consistent light source while getting ready for bed.
Better Lighting Output Than Competitors
One major standout between ARB and others is the lighting output. The output is much greater than the rest at 1,200 lumens — just by the naked eye, you can tell how much brighter it is to others. ARB of course didn’t stop there though, they added in the ability to have amber-colored options, something easier on the eyes at night. This can come in use for having a night light, or as the night gets darker and you don’t need as much brightness. Competition on the market has yet to adapt to this. The ARB light also features a dimmer so whether you want 100% light output or 25%, you have that option.
All of the lighting with the ARB Touring awning is waterproof, including the switch which controls the lighting. All of this rolls up with the awning to be stored in one place, however, I like to keep things that can be easily removed, such as the switch, in my camping gearbox so it cannot be taken.
The light is powered via a 12V adapter and includes a 13ft long waterproof wire.
With awnings, you want a strong durable material that can withstand everything. Perhaps a fall when attempting to take down or set up while solo.
Maybe something falls out of a tree onto the awning. Of course, there are other instances where accidents happen and other crazy things might occur, and the last thing you want is to find out the hard way while it begins to leak on you while being caught in a rainstorm, whether for lunch or during the middle of the night.
PU-Coated 300gsm Poly/Cotton Canvas
ARB made sure to make their awning one of the strongest on the market with a PU coated 300gsm poly/cotton canvas.
In other words, it’s going to take something good to cause a tear in the material. What’s more important to note is that if there is a tear, it will only stay within the section where the tear occurred, preventing it from extending throughout the entire awning. Additionally, this allows a patch to be completed much easier.
The ARB Touring awning also fully waterproof so anytime a steady rain comes or a short shower, you can be confident in knowing that you and your belongings underneath will stay completely dry.
UVP 50+ Rating
The awning also carries a UVP 50+ rating, which means it will block the harmful UV rays from the sun that can cause issues like skin cancer.
With a year-old child I cannot express how important this is to me; not only for my wife and I’s health but his as well.
All of the poles in the awning are aluminum and weight close to nothing, yet are extremely strong. They are twist style to lock and unlock the poles into place. These allow for a quick setup and takedown, but also for adjustments where they might be needed, such as in uneven terrain.
One thing I immediately noticed over other awnings is that the pole which keeps the awning tarp straight and flat fits flush as well as deep in the hole where it locks in. Other awnings I’ve had have struggled to either sit flush or insert into the hole deep enough to where you didn’t have to worry about it coming off. While they may not have, it was always in the back of your head.
One of the other features about the pole that I like is that the bottom section sits more firm with the ground thanks to the small style ring. I feel this allows for easy fitment in areas that are typically hard to sit flat, such as in rocky areas near creek beds.
If you’ve ever owned an awning you’re probably familiar with the poles not wanting to stay in place. Typically, especially if on an angle, they want to fall right out when putting them away. This has recently been fixed by an added rubber piece on the pole legs that allows them to sit more firmly within the awning case. However, with other awnings on the market, I noticed they still have a habit of falling out at times.
ARB’s on the other hand manages to stay in place nice and firm. It appears as if it’s oversized compared to others, but also softer, allowing it to be squished in place. Enough to where it won’t fall out, but also enough to where it can be removed easily.
The joints with the ARB Touring awning are no longer metal and allow for more movement in all directions. In the past, going beyond the standard movement angle would result in cracking of parts, making the awning practically useless. Since ARB has upgraded, you now have a full 180 degrees the joint can move without worrying about breakage.
While this is usually rare it can happen, especially with someone who isn’t familiar with setting up an awning, as well as if a large enough gust of wind is able to take it out without you knowing.
No longer do you need to worry about damage, but more importantly losing your sleeping arrangements if you depend on an awning room.
The ARB Touring Awning is without a doubt one of the most up-to-date awnings on the market, and the favorite I’ve used yet. My main issue with other awnings was rolling up and putting the awning away. After use or two they didn’t want to go back in evenly, where the ARB awning continues to time after time of use.
The sleek look of the hard case makes it much easier on the eyes considering it is more of a box than a flattering, standard-looking awning. However, with the protected case, anything that might have been a concern with a canvas cover is no longer one now. That doesn’t mean I floor it at a low hanging tree branch, but if it does hit I don’t instantly worry about whether I damaged the awning.
We have used this awning multiple times now and each time we appreciate it more and more. The simple setup and takedown, but also the fact that is flat out works. There aren’t any special things needed for it to set up correctly, or tricks to make something fit better than it should.
If you are in the market for an awning don’t make a mistake and buy multiple ones. ARB is the way to go, and awhile they might be a little more than others on the market, their quality control alone is enough to pay the extra cash (which honestly isn’t even that much more, to begin with). Some areas you can afford to skip on, ARB shouldn’t be one of those.