Outdoors

Fast-action, legless car camping awning works like a window shade

Fast-action, legless car campi...
Nomad presents a legless, quick-pull spin on the basic car awning
Nomad presents a legless, quick-pull spin on the basic car awning
View 11 Images
Nomad uses a simple two-plate, two-bolt mounting system
1/11
Nomad uses a simple two-plate, two-bolt mounting system
The legless Nomad Awning works for quick stops where awning legs might prove more trouble than they're worth
2/11
The legless Nomad Awning works for quick stops where awning legs might prove more trouble than they're worth
A pair of Nomads create a bird-like
3/11
A pair of Nomads create a bird-like wagon
Nomad uses a waterproof fabric for protection in rain and snow
4/11
Nomad uses a waterproof fabric for protection in rain and snow
The self-supporting X-frame eliminates the need for legs or tie-downs in calm weather
5/11
The self-supporting X-frame eliminates the need for legs or tie-downs in calm weather
Nomad presents a legless, quick-pull spin on the basic car awning
6/11
Nomad presents a legless, quick-pull spin on the basic car awning
Shade in seconds
7/11
Shade in seconds
Nomad is raising money on Kickstarter and plans to build its awnings in Washington
8/11
Nomad is raising money on Kickstarter and plans to build its awnings in Washington
Nomad uses an aluminum frame, steel hardware and 3D-printed plastic components
9/11
Nomad uses an aluminum frame, steel hardware and 3D-printed plastic components
A creative use of Nomad awnings
10/11
A creative use of Nomad awnings
The fast setup and breakdown of the Nomad Awning
11/11
The fast setup and breakdown of the Nomad Awning
View gallery - 11 images

Washington's Nomad Awnings has developed a vehicle awning that's as spontaneous and flexible as the nomadic van lifestyle itself. No cranks or legs to mess around with, the awning simply pulls straight out in seconds and throws shade up over the patch of dirt or pavement next to the car. Designed for everything from daylong tailgating, to multi-day camping, to quick pit stops, the Nomad Awning is an intriguing solution for fast, no-fuss sun and weather protection.

Recent years have brought a flood of car awnings to the US market, from overseas overlanding brands like Alu-Cab and Rhino Rack, to established global vehicle accessory brands like Thule and Yakima, to startups like SheltaPod, to cheaper knockoffs. Despite all that competition, the basic rectangular side awning looks much the same from brand to brand – a piece of fabric that slides out and relies on a set of legs and guy lines for support.

The fast setup and breakdown of the Nomad Awning
The fast setup and breakdown of the Nomad Awning

Nomad attempts to make the basic side awning a little more flexible, as useful for side-of-the-road pull-offs as wide-open primitive campsites. In place of the perimeter frame common in side awning construction, it uses a collapsible aluminum X-frame designed to support the canopy fabric from underneath. This makes for super-fast, simple setup that merely involves pulling the awning out like you'd do with a basic window shade.

The self-supporting Nomad awning provides a stable roof strong enough to hold up to falling debris – its makers even show it taking on falling rocks. The dry bag-like awning fabric is fully waterproof, providing more robust weather protection beyond just shade.

Nomad uses a waterproof fabric for protection in rain and snow
Nomad uses a waterproof fabric for protection in rain and snow

While the legs of other canopies aren't necessarily difficult or hugely time-consuming to set up, it's not hard to think of scenarios in which a simple two-second slide-out would prove far superior. Park in a small, scenic pullout for lunch and you can be eating in shaded comfort within seconds rather than fiddling around with awning legs. If there's a sudden downpour of rain or snow, you can get some immediate shelter without spending a second more than necessary exposed to the elements.

Of course, legs with tie-downs also lend stability in wind, so when things get gusty, the Nomad awning will undoubtedly start flapping around. To solve this issue, Nomad uses anchor lines that attach to the corners and tighten up via cam locks. So the Nomad Awning is quick and self-supporting in calm weather but still able to hold steady in harsher conditions, like those for which Nomad's Pacific Northwest home is known.

Nomad uses a simple two-plate, two-bolt mounting system
Nomad uses a simple two-plate, two-bolt mounting system

At 25 lb (11.3 kg) for the 5-foot (1.5-m) awning and 29 lb (13.2 kg) for the 7-foot (2.1-m), Nomad's awnings are light enough to be mounted by a single person. They use a basic two-plate mounting bracket with tool-free nuts to quickly mount to roof crossbars.

Nomad is offering its 5-foot awning for a Kickstarter early bird pledge of US$489+, and its 7-footer for $539+. Shipping costs $70 in the US and $100 in Canada, and Nomad also offers free pickup in the Seattle area. The company plans to manufacture the awnings in Washington, and will begin shipping in February 2021 if things play out according to plan.

You can see Nomad's pitch in the minute-long video below.

Nomad Awnings: The instant car awning

Source: Nomad Awnings

View gallery - 11 images
8 comments
WB
cui bono
Miss Bea Have
This has to be a joke!!!! I cannot imagine anywhere in the land that is utterly wind free. Can we have a video of a picnic with the usual amount of air movement and for a bigger laugh one with say a 10mph gust. Have I missed a point? are the car fittings sacrificial?
Aross
Can't see this working without some kind of guy wires with good ground anchors.
BlueOak
Looks like a fantastic way to tear your roof rack off in the next strong wind.
Bruce H. Anderson
that will be one heck of a moment force. At least in the video they are attaching to 1" steel pipe crossbars (no mention of how they are attached).
Nomad Awnings
Just stumbled upon this. Thanks to the writer for an excellent article. You 100% nailed the intention of the awning being for quick use, changing or otherwise "as useful for side-of-the-road pull-offs as wide-open primitive campsites".

P.S. A window shade was in fact, the original inspiration for the design.
Nomad Awnings
I don't see a way to respond directly to comments so some answers:

Bruce H. Anderson: The 1" pipe is attached with standard Yakima towers and are essentially the same as Yakima's roof bars, one of our team members went this route as it was cheaper than Yakima branded bars. I use Yakima round bars with no issue. We have noticed that some factory (i.e. manufacturer stock racks, not Yakima, Thule, etc. have more flex than desirable but work nonetheless.

BlueOak, Miss Bea Have: The bolts which clamp the awning to your rack are designed as the failure point. They will bend before damage is incurred to your rack or the awning. We have had two such cases. 1: I left the awning open overnight through several inches of snow and then rain. 2: Left up overnight in open space in Idaho during wind. In both cases the clamping bolts bent, no damage was done to the rack, and the awning remained usable after replacing bolts. If one is worried they simply take the five seconds to stow the awning.

Miss Bea Have: We assure you it is not April fools yet. The awning is fine under moderate wind. It will flutter some. If winds pick up and the flutter becomes inconvenient, we made our own tie down lines that can quickly be setup without any knots. With these in place in can handle considerable winds. We ordered a wind meter so that we can better record this. The video in the article shows the tie lines in place. Check out the above response as well, the car fittings are indeed intentionally sacrificial to prevent damage.
Nomad Awnings
Reply to "Across": The awning includes cam lock tie down lines which do not require any knot tying. The can be used with your preferred ground anchor or tied to your wheels. They are only necessary in heavy wind.