When you see awnings on campers, they’re likely extending straight over the entry door, providing shade to one part of the campsite. But what if you’re tailgating and are grilling at the rear of your truck while guests are sitting off to the side? You’ll have no shade. A batwing or 270 awning is one solution to providing extended shade for people who travel and camp mostly in their vehicles.
Most batwing awnings won’t work on RVs, but they could be what you’re looking for if you camp off-road in your SUV or truck or enjoy grilling for friends on game day. Let’s look at what a batwing awning is, its advantages, disadvantages, and our top three picks!
Sometimes You Have to Get Creative for Shade
Many RVs have awnings, but depending on your vehicle or how you park, you must get creative to shade various parts of your vehicle or outdoor seating space. Sometimes a straight awning doesn’t cut it. This is where a batwing awning comes in.
You don’t need to set up a 10 x 10 canopy tent or a clamshell gazebo tent to get the shade you need. You don’t need extra storage space to haul that gear either. You’ll install a batwing awning on your vehicle’s roof rack, and when you arrive at your campsite or parking space, it takes less than a minute to set up.
What Is a Batwing Awning?
A 270-degree batwing awning extends from the side of your vehicle to the rear. Unlike standard awnings that extend one direction from one location, the batwing awning can fan out 270 degrees to create shade along the side and rear of your vehicle.
You can also attach a batwing awning to either side of your vehicle. However, you must choose which side when you purchase because there are left and right-hand side versions that fan out in opposite directions.
As you look at a batwing awning from the sky, it appears like a bat’s wing, fanning out from your vehicle. A standard awning will roll out from one side and create a shade box that’s square or rectangular.
What Vehicles Are 270 Awnings Typically Used for?
Most overlanding vehicles are compatible with batwing awnings. If you’re hitting the trailhead for a weekend in a Jeep Wrangler, Toyota 4Runner, or Ford Bronco, you’ll find a 270-degree awning that will work for your vehicle. The type of roof rack you have mattered more than the vehicle because this is what the awning attaches to.
People who enjoy off-roading and camping off-grid tend to use batwing awnings more than other campers because they’re camping more out of their vehicles. There isn’t an awning pre-installed. Some of these remote locations may be in the middle of the desert or at the base of a mountain where there are no trees to provide shade.
What Are the Advantages of Having a Batwing Awning?
So why do people choose a 270-degree awning over a standard awning? First, there’s substantially more shade. Depending on the size, some batwing awnings can provide over 100 square feet of shade. It also extends from the side to the rear. This is useful for campers who are pulling gear out of the back of their truck all weekend, tailgating with friends, or needing a safe place for their kids to play outside.
Although the brand and size matter, batwing awnings typically won’t significantly affect your GVWR or payload capacity. They weigh around 35-80 pounds. Once you understand the setup process, it doesn’t take long to install the awning. You swing out the awning from the storage bag you’ve connected to your vehicle and then attach the poles to secure the awning to the ground if it’s windy outside. The poles have a coating to resist rust and the awning material is water and mold resistant.
In addition, a 270-degree awning is more durable than a standard awning regarding the weather. The best batwing awning options have a durable canvas to withstand harsh weather like rain, snow, and sun. Plus, the support poles and guy lines keep it sturdy when camping in higher winds. When the weather is beautiful, you can fold up the support poles and have unobstructed views of a free-standing awning while enjoying the shade.
Pro Tip: Tear in your RV awning? Use these tips for How to Easily DIY Repair an RV Awning.
What Are the Disadvantages of Having a Batwing Awning?
So why don’t all overlanders have a batwing awning? It comes down to price. The biggest disadvantage of these 270-degree awnings is how much they cost. The highest-quality options start over $1,000. The more compact batwing awnings will still be over $800. Many campers don’t have the budget to buy an awning even though there are many advantages.
Can You Install An Aftermarket Awning?
You can install a batwing awning aftermarket. You’ll find instructions in every box no matter the brand to guide you through the installation process. The basic process involves attaching brackets to the awning, then securing the brackets to your vehicle’s roof rack. Although one person can do this, it’s easier to have two people who can lift the awning and attach it to the roof rack. Next, reposition the batwing awning to your desired location before tightening the brackets.
When choosing a batwing awning for your vehicle, you’ll want to pay attention to the specifications of the awning as well as the type of compatible roof rack. Some awnings will fit small cars and SUVs, while others will fit the length of larger SUVs, trucks, and vans. The brand will also list the type of compatible mounting systems.
Where Can You Buy a Batwing Awning?
Batwing awnings don’t need professional installations. You can find suitable options on Amazon or order directly from the manufacturer. Before you purchase, ensure the 270-degree awning you like fits your vehicle and is compatible with your mounting system.
Pro Tip: Keep cool with one of these 7 Best Drive-Away Awnings for Campsites.
3 Best 270-Degree Batwing Awnings
If you’re ready to purchase a 270-degree batwing awning, we have three of the best options. These awnings are on the pricier end of the spectrum because they’re top quality, durable, and easy to use. But if you want something that will last, they’re worth the investment.
Rhino Rack Batwing Awning
Rhino Rack is a popular brand in the RV and camping industry. This company makes various products, including batwing awnings. There are full-sized and compact options for left and right mounting. Plus, you can order accessories like extension walls and a mesh floor to enhance your camping experience. The full-sized awnings are compatible with Pioneer, Reconn-Deck, Vortex, and Euro mounting systems. You’ll need to purchase an additional bracket kit for installation on a Thule or Yakima roof rack.
The heavy-duty, water and mold-resistant material is durable and offers maximum sun protection. The Rhino Rack kit also includes rust-resistant black powder-coated poles and a frame. Everything fits inside the bag that attaches to the vehicle, so you don’t have to worry about losing a rope or peg. These batwing awnings range from roughly $848-1,199.
OVS Nomadic 270 Awning
The OVS Nomadic 270 Awning provides 129 square feet of shade. Like the Rhino Rack awnings, this batwing awning is durable ripstop cloth. The seams are also heat-sealed so you have no leaks. The frame box is aluminum, while the hardware is stainless steel. It also comes with a 4-year limited warranty.
The total weight of this 270-degree awning is about 72 pounds. In windy conditions, you can lower the pivoting and adjustable poles for more security. The OVS Nomadic 270 Awning is compatible with 99% of mounting systems and comes with various hardware depending on the type of roof rack you have. It’s $1,199.
Overland Pros Wraptor Awning
Like Rhino Rack, Overland Pros has a few batwing awnings. The largest option is the Wraptor 6K, which provides 130 square feet of coverage. A smaller option is the Wraptor 4K, offering 80 square feet of shade. The 6K weighs about 61 pounds, while the 4K weighs about 42 pounds.
These batwing awnings are ripstop waterproof canvas like the previous products and come with poles, guy lines, and a rigid outer frame for enhanced protection during harsh weather conditions. You can install the Wraptor 6K on any full-size 4-door SUV, van, or truck, and both products can fit on most roof racks.
Who Is a Batwing Awning Good for?
If you enjoy camping by the river or lake where you can fish all weekend, camping near a trailhead where you can ride your ATV or hike for hours, or tailgating all Saturday at your favorite stadium, you might want to invest in a batwing awning. These awnings are more durable than your standard awnings in harsher weather conditions, and they offer stronger materials.
The increased shade the 270-degree awning provides will make your camping or tailgating experience more enjoyable and comfortable. However, it comes with a price. If you can afford one, a batwing awning is a fantastic accessory to add to your travel gear.
Is a batwing awning right for you? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
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