Days until our next trip

Hannibal awning

Written by ralph on 20/03/2010. Posted in Kit and Equipment

One of the key pieces of kit recommended for overland travel (and especially in the desert) is an awning.  When we went to Morocco we took an Ikea awning with tent poles.  We aimed to attach this to the roof rack with short bungees and support the outer edge with the poles.  In the end we never used it there (which turned out to be a good thing).

When we did eventually set it up at the 4×4 Response AGM it was less than successful, taking ages to set up and sitting too low at the front.For Tunisia I wanted a ‘pukka’ awning and, after a lot of research it came down to 3 models:

  • Fiamma roll out awning.  Pros; cheap, easy to set up.  Cons; pretty garish colours and some doubts over its longevity.  We ultimately ruled this out although others have used them and recommend them.  See here.
  • Howling Moon safari.  Pros; certainly looked the part and had good reviews and heritage.  Cons; not many.
  • Hannibal. Pros; self supporting with similar reviews to the safari.

 

The Howling moon was cheaper than the Hannibal but the sides were more expensive so when you compared to whole package the Hannibal edged it on price (just).  In addition I quite fancied the self supporting ability.  This has one other hidden advantage in that it is (probably) the only awning that can be erected easily by one person

awning

This is a short video showing just how quickly and easily the awning can be deployed and stowed away.  The hannibal awning is designed to fit their own roof rack which is box section.  The safety devices roof rack I have is tubular and does not sit vertical at the sides i.e. the side supports sit at an angle.  the best way of fixing anything to the rack is via ‘U’ bolts.  When I bought the awning from Nene Overland I also bought a length of the aluminium box section.  This is essential, but be warned it is not cheap  I ended up paying nearly £50 for a 2.4m lengthSurprised.  This is 25mm x 50mm, however it has rounded corners which the awning clamps fit to exactly.  I believe you could use 25mm x 40mm box section and achieve the same result.

I made two angled brackets out of 5mm x 40mm steel flat bar and fitted these to the top and bottom side tubes of the roof rack with M8 U bolts.  I then drilled the alloy box section and bolted this to the inside of these brackets with M8 bolts (I used anti-rattle washers and nylocks throughout to cater for any vibration).  The rear bracket was secured at the top using the bolts I used for the roof tent.

Here are a couple of images of the brackets:

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Fitting these brackets gave me a vertical support for the awning.  Without this the awning would be pointing skywards.

The finished article looks like this:

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One thing to bear in mind with this awning is that it is not as big as the Safari but the safari awning is longer than my roof rack and so would stick out at the front or rear.  However the Safari awning can be removed easily because it is fitted via a sliding channel similar to a caravan which is a good security point.  In the end you pays your money and you make your choice.  I think either is a good product.

I also bought the side screens which fit using a hook and eye system.  They unzip into 3 separate sides so you can just have a screen on one or two sides if you prefer.

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The sides are a bit heavy but are fairly simple and quick to fit. The interior space is 2m x 2m and although it isn’t huge will make an excellent changing room.  They do come with a storage bag but even when stored they take up a fair bit of space.

We tested the awning in some pretty extreme weather at the LRM show at Stoneleigh.  With high winds and torrential rain we found it stable and completely waterproof.  We used 2 of the awning sides as wind-breaks.  However we found that fitting the front was too restrictive so we left this off, using the Howling Moon Tent awning at the rear for shelter from the rain.

PA125917The trip to Tunisia gave us the chance to test the awning in anger.

It was so easy and quick to erect that it went up almost every time we stopped for lunch, providing essential shade.

We put it up each night and it seemed to act as a magnet for the group.  We sat under it most nights and we found that even on the nights when the storms raged, the awning was fine.

We used a clip-on caravan awning fluorescent strip light, clipped onto the roofrack beneath it.  At 13W it drew a fair bit of power from the battery but it was ideal to light the are beneath the awning.

In conclusion, we were really happy with the awning and very glad that we chose the Hannibal over the other options.

 

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