Sep 12, 2012 update to the Isuzu Trooper project car

Budget Awning for Budget Racers

Even in the morning when the sun is low, this easy project will keep you comfortable.
Even a Miata would fit under it.

Autocrosses and track days are fun, but standing around in the hot sun all day is not.

Autocrosses and track days are fun, but standing around in the hot sun all day is not. We recently came up with an easy solution for shade that costs less than lunch and can be set up in a few minutes. Here’s how you can replicate it, provided you have a vehicle of suitable height. Almost any pickup, van or SUV with a roof rack will work.

The basis of the awning is a small pipe mounted to your roof rack. We used an 8.5-foot-long piece of 1/2-inch diameter steel electrical conduit, and secured it to our roof rack with two 10mm bolts and nuts. Drill a small hole in each of your roof rack crossbars, then bolt on the pipe. If you’re careful with your hole locations, you can make the pipe easily removable and avoid weakening your roof rack too much. Another option is to bolt the pipe to a basket mounted to your roof, which avoids any drilling.

Once you have the pipe mounted, you’re almost done. Drill a small hole in each end of the pipe, these will be used to zip-tie the tarp on. Next, buy an 8x10-foot tarp (We got ours for $6.00.) and zip-tie it tightly to either end of the pipe. Find some collapsible tent poles, either at a sporting goods store or at a yard sale (We scored some for $10.00.), then stick them in the two unsupported corners of your tarp. Stake these corners down to the ground with two tent stakes and some rope, and you’re done!

It takes a bit of practice, but now we can put out our awning in less than 5 minutes, and take it down even faster. And unlike the store-bought awnings that cost almost $500, we can change the size of ours easily by substituting a bigger or smaller tarp.

Get the answer to life, the universe and everything automotive 8 times a year. Subscribe to Grassroots Motorsports now.
Join Free Join our community to easily find more project updates.
View comments on the GRM forums
Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
9/14/12 12:45 p.m.

If you'd like a little less labor-intensive solution, Holliday Canopies sells many different sized canopies in kit form, eliminating most of the work. Their options are sturdier than this design, too.

11/4/14 11:53 a.m.

Hey nice Trooper! Do you have any pictures of the winch mount behind the bumper that you can send me by any chance? I'm planning on mounting mine just like that and could really use some help to get a clearer idea. Thank you!

Sponsored by

Continental Tire

Our Preferred Partners