Wanted to learn more about how others camp and utilize their GFCs. I’m trying to decide between an awning mounted on the truck vs a standalone canopy tent (think football tailgate tent)
My normal way of camping would look like a weekend trip of hiking, mountain biking, or trail running. This means drive up to the campsite, pack up in the morning, drive somewhere, do stuff during the day, then drive back to the same campsite
Opening and storing the awning feels like a hassle. Also, if my wife or others just want to hang out at the campsite, then they have no shade while I’m out and about. In addition to that, things have gotten super crowded in CO and you have to kind of “claim” your campsite in a lot of cases which means leaving some sort of tent at the site
The standalone canopy tents are big, bulky, and prone to break, so I’m not super excited about that option
What do most of y’all do? More overland style camping where the truck isn’t moving until you are ready to actually drive off to a new site? Or something more like I described? Anyone utilize a standalone canopy tent instead of awning?
I have the kinsmens awning and besides some initial fitment issues with new GFC upgrades it has been great. Opening and storage are less than a minute.
I use various “tailgate” type tents (both cheap and expensive) for photography shows and they are a hassle that I would never use while camping. They take up a lot of space, easily blow down/break, and just aren’t worth the setup time.
My trips never involve leaving anyone behind so I don’t have that issue. If I camp and move to do an activity (climbing, peak bagging, hiking, etc) everyone on the trip will go with me. I use the truck as a basecamp to repower all my devices, stay warm on cold nights, and relax after a long day in the mountains. I’m all about fast and light, but have also built an entire lithium based solar/energy storage system in my GFC because as a software engineer/photographer, electricity is key and a cold beer at the end of the day is nice.
Of course, everyone camps differently… for my 2 cents, If we are going somewhere with a picnic table we take an external canopy and set that up over the table and just leave it there for the duration. My wife is an artist who does outdoor shows so we have canopies that can work for camping as well.
I also personally will not put an awning on the GFC as I think it is like adding a piece from an RV to a race car but a lot of people like awnings, and the shade is nice in some situations and if you are always camping in open desert an awning might be more attractive.
My camping style is minimalist and that is why I like the GFC concept.
As was pointed out, there are awnings that deploy & store quickly, if you want to go that route.
For the rest, I suggest using a large tarp, some rope, and possibly a few simple poles instead of a pop-up canopy or some other more complicated structure. I almost always end up pitching one between trees, rocks, poles, an existing structure, etc. to gain overhead cover. It’s also a cheap & fairly durable way to add sheltered space, so if the tarp gets damaged, it can be taped up or replaced. If the tarp is large enough, it can do double duty as overhead shelter and as a windbreak.
A tarp packs small, and usually pitches & stores fast, too.
if we need a place holder, we have a cheapo tent that we use as a gear tent/placeholder.
most of the time though we’re moving camp locations every day on our adventures. this will be our first year with a wedge and looking forward to the quicker setup and tear-down of camp. we’ll still have an awning off the back with a zip in room if we need additional space, but this would be used only as needed.
Has anybody used one of these? The reviews are very good and the close up photos indicate good construction. Setup looks easy. The price is right. I like that you don’t have to hang it off the side of your GFC affecting MPG and vulnerable to damage and theft. There’re other sizes too. Built-in bug protection too.
I went with the ARB awning but after a couple adventures I have started carrying a 2 person, 3-season tent with me. First choice is always sleeping in the GFC but there have been times where I had an opportunity to sleep someplace really cool where I cannot get the truck. Knowing the “claim the camp” issues I also have used that tent to hold a spot and stash some gear.
Regarding the ARB, rward, who post here, recently posted a ARB quick release bracket which I am currently adding to my setup. That way I can quickly remove / mount the awning in less than a minute. I’ll also say closing up the ARB is an easy process and reasonable trade off for the external shade and hanging out space it provides. Just don’t forget if it goes away damp or wet make sure you open it up to dry … as you would with the GFC… Last thing you want is mold.