Wheelers, campers, tailgaters, and general outdoorsmen alike........this thread is to give an overview of the Smittybilt "Trail Shade".
I usually carry a 10''x10'' easy up canopy on wheeling trips. It provides shade from the sin, and shelter from the rain, but is heavy, and even when collapsed, takes u a large amount of space.
What i was looking for
my criteria for a replacement for the bulky easy up was something that was small, compact, light weight, and versitile. The obvious solution was a rollout awning, like what ARB and other RTT manufacturers make like this
I liked all of those awnings, however it would have taken up more space on my bed rack than i am able to give up. I will be mounting an ARB (or similar) awning on my off road trailer down the road for some larger scale shade.
What i went with
After looking into the different options, both for purchase, and making something myself from scratch, I wend with the Smittybilt Trail Shade.
It is a trapazoidal shade, measuring 3' wide at one end, 6' wide at the other, and 10' long. It is designed to mount to a spare tire, but is easily attached tojust about anything. You could even attach it to some trees in the woods for some shade on a hike.
It comes with what is a surprisingly nice little pack. it functions as both a backpack, and a unit that can strap onto your spare tire.
the canopy itsself, the two collapsable poles, two stakes, and the adjustable cords all fite comfortably in the pack. it's not like a tent, where you break your wrists trying to roll everything up tight enough to fit.
Overall I am very happy with the purchase. The only downside that i can see so far is that the plastic clips don't have the greatest holding strength. I'm going to try notching the teeth to see if i can get them a little more bite. In all reality, they will probably be just fine though.
and finally, the price.......you can pick these up for about $65. I actually think that is very good price for all you get.
Now for the pictures
The backpack/truck mounted carrying case
pack mounted on the spare tire as specified by Smittybilt
Canopy in action (attached to the spare tire as recomended by Smittybilt)
I tried attaching the outer straps to the bed rack instead of the spare tire to spread the canopy a little......maybe it made a difference. who knows.
wooden blocks to tension the tie downs
for more efieient deployment, what i will probably do on the trails is roll up the canopy without putting it completely away. turns out the straps double a great method of securing the canopy without detatching it from the truck to put back in the pack. you could di the same thing with a bungee as well.
for those of you withough spare tires mounted in the proper position to use one of these, you could also use it off of a bed or roof rack. It will work just fine with a factory rack as well.
I don't have a picture of it, but this would also be nice to hang off the front of a roof rack to give you some shelter/shade while working under the hood.
Once i packed it all back up, I tried one last thing. turns out the pack will strap perfectly around the tailgate as well
and that's all i've got for now. I'll update this thread as a use the canopy.