Introducing The Moon Shade V2 – Universal Portable Awning: Assembly & Impressions

Moon Shade Assembled Final 3

Looking for a Light Weight Awning? Moon Shade Has You Covered With Their Portable, Mount Anywhere Modular Awning

We have all seen those full-blown overland camping setups on social media. One of their most stand-out pieces of equipment is a large awning mounted on their roof racks.

While having a dedicated awning is great, it typically requires an aftermarket roof rack to mount it to. There are brackets for mounting to select factory roof rails, but they still require hardware for installation. In addition, there is the added wind drag that you’ll get with a roof-mounted awning.

Moonfab’s Moon Shade is here to remedy these problems, and give a whole bunch of extra features that you won’t find with a traditional awning. This packable, portable awning is small enough to quite literally bring anywhere while still providing ample coverage area once deployed. You really get the best of both worlds!

Find it online:

Why Would You Want An Awning?

MoonShade, a portable light-weight awning

Awnings provide a ton of benefits for camping and other recreational activities.

Their most critical feature is to keep you out of the elements, or at least to take a break from them. If it’s 90 Degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll be glad to have some shade for relief. If it’s pouring rain, keep yourself and your gear dry; no one likes to be soaking wet. Awnings are essentially the simplest form of shelter that there is, and there are tons of options out there.

Who Is Moon Fabrications?

Moon Shade Packed

Moon Fabrications was founded in San Francisco and aimed to design products that are both simple and versatile. They are definitely the newer kid on the block when it comes to awnings, and even launched their product on Kickstarter back in 2020. With a mission to make the outdoors more accessible for everyone, not just those with purpose-built rigs, they created the MoonShade awning.

To read some awesome stories of how customers have made Moon Shade part of their setup, check out their blog.

What Is The Moon Shade?

Moon Shade Storage Bag

The MoonShade is a unique awning in that it can mount to nearly anything. When it comes to your vehicle, are tons of mounting options. A common theme that you’ll notice with pretty much all awnings is that they need some sort of roof rack or railing. Not only that, but MoonShade eliminates the need to have anything permanently mounted to your roof. There

Mounting Options

Moon Shade Attach Anchor

The first mounting option is the provided suction cup anchors that won’t cause scratches to your paint or windows, perfect for low wind. Moon Fab provides the suction cup-style mounts in the bag.

Next, there are heavier duty mounts available like their magnet or adhesive back ones. These are great when you want a semi-permanent mount or don’t have a flat surface for the suction cups.

If you do have a roof rack, there are available mounts for the crossbars as well. Really, you can just about anything as to mount MoonShade – so your imagination is the only limiting factor!

Awning Size

Moon Shade Assemble 4

This awning features a 9’x7′ coverage area. Since it’s universal, you can orient the shade in whichever direction best suits your needs. For transport, this thing packs down to a super small 28″x6″ carrying case and weighs a mere 8lbs! This also means that you don’t have to deal with the extra wind drag that a traditional roof-mounted awning produces.

The main shade portion is made of 420D ripstop polyester with a UV protective treatment. This is a super light material that when combined with the UV treatment, should last a very long time. All of the support and tension structure poles are made of lightweight aluminum and painted black. The support legs can adjust from 78 inches to 96 inches in height to accommodate a wide variety of vehicle heights.

What’s Included

Moon Shade Product Contents

In the box, you’ll get:

  • Moon Shade Awning
  • 13mm Tension Poles (x2)
  • 19mm Adjustable Support Legs (x2)
  • 7ft Strut Pole
  • 2 Large Suction Cup Anchors
  • 2 Small Suction Cup Anchors
  • Ground Stakes (x4)
  • Guy lines and tensioners (x4)
  • Tall Connect Cords (x4)
  • Carrying Bag With Shoulder Strap

How To Set Up Moon Shade

Moon Shade Unpacked

Once you get familiar with the assembly process, Moon Shade can be deployed in under 5 minutes! It’s essentially like assembling a ground tent; so if you’ve ever done that, this should feel familiar.

Step 1. Assemble Awning Structure & Support Rods

Moon Shade Assemble Structure Rod

There are two tension structure rods for the top of the awning and 2 support legs. They are all held together by elastic cords just like modern tent poles. Pull the rod sections apart enough to insert them into each other. The thinner rods are for the top of the awning while the thicker ones with rubber feet are for the legs.

There is an optional strut rod provided if your vehicle or mounting point isn’t wide enough to span the length of the Moon Shade. Connect this rod to the vehicle side of your Moon Shade and then to your mounting points if needed. For the 4runner, the 7-foot long side fit without needing to use this strut rod.

Step 2. Lay Out Mood Shade

Moon Shade Assemble 1

Pick which side of the Moon Shade you will be mounting to your vehicle; one side is 7-feet while the other is 9-feet. Once you’ve decided, mount it to your vehicle with the anchor of your choice (such as the provided suction cup mounts). Since I don’t have an aftermarket roof rack, I found it easiest to use one large suction cup mount on the windshield and a Nite Ize Twist Tie (available on their website) on the read of the roof rail.

If you are mounting Moon Shade to a taller vehicle, you can use the supplied tall connect cords for attaching it to the anchors.

Step 3. Attach Tension Structure Rods

Moon Shade Assemble Structure Rod

The two top tension structure rods will insert into stitched corner pockets on top of the Moon Shade.

Moon Shade Assmeble 3

They will install in an “X” fashion with one of the rods threading under the other in the middle section where there are two hooks. Attach the remaining retention hooks on top of the Moon Shade to the tension structure rods.

Step 4. Install Support Legs

Moon Shade Assemble 5

Each support leg has a metal tip that will go through a grommet on each end of the Moon Shade. To securely attach them, clip the carabiner of the Moon Shade to the triangle-shaped ring on the support leg.

Step 5. Install Ground Anchors (Optional)

Moon Shade Assemble Final 2

If there is a slight breeze, I would recommend using the supplied ground stakes to anchor the Moon Shade. Due to its dome shape, it essentially “scoops” any air that travels under it. We learned this through experience when a gust nearly flipped out unsecured Moon Shade over the top of the car.

Final Thoughts

5th Gen 4Runner Overland Build with Awning

Moon Shade is truly a unique offering in a very saturated market of awnings. It allows quite literally any type of vehicle to take advantage of the benefits that awnings provide. Not only can stock vehicles use it but so can taller ones like Sprinter vans where deploying a roof-mounted awning isn’t feasible without a ladder.

I really like the unique dome shape of the Moon Shade to prevent the pooling of rainwater if I get caught in a downpour. That was always a concern that I had with traditional awnings that were flat when deployed. Being super portable, I always have room for it in my kit and can basically bring it anywhere; I don’t even need the car!

I’m really excited for Summer to come, so I can bring this to the beach for a little shade. I plan to get far more creative with using Moon Shade outside of traditional car mounting.

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1 year ago

Was looking at getting one, to mount to the side of my GFC or take it with for my squaredrop trailer or Outback for hiking trips. Problem I came up with is it’s nice to divert water away from camp. With the domed idea, roughly about 25% of the water would be flowing back towards the vehicle and possibly coming down on the edge of the vehicle roof and/or then down the doors I would be opening. Tarp or awning makes better sense for rain.

cal baker
cal baker
2 years ago

Probably one of the cooler mods I’ve seen for the overloading community. First timers everywhere are running big heavy everything; awnings, tents, showers, waterports, spare 35″ tires, tire wings… you name it. Let this be as lesson to the newbs, heavy mods suck. They really weigh down your rig and overtime, they become the enemy. Keep it light if you can. I really like the idea of a portable 8lb awning, take it if you need it, and leave it if you don’t. Save the weight if you can.

Brian W
Brian W
2 years ago

Sweet write-up man. I bought my Moon Shade a couple days ago. Definitely looking forward to it’s portability. Seeing as the sunrise and sunset in different parts of the sky, that’s awesome i can literally move it from one side of the 4Runner to the other no prob. Thanks again for the decision help brah!

2 years ago

I’m a little surprised they didn’t take a page from the pop-up awning market and use a second, attached section near the peak to allow air to vent out along the sides of the roof (where heat collects) and mitigate the effects of the awning acting like a sail in wind.

2 years ago

Damn, only 8lbs. lol. Comparing that to my 23ZERO at like 60lbs hurts right now.

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