The MoonShade provides stress-free shelter |

The MoonShade provides stress-free shelter

Being a kid from the Midwest, motorhomes were a normal part of our summer vacations. Those old-school little houses on wheels brought such a sense of adventure and glee to our family trips. After traveling for the day in our mobile behemoth, we’d get to a campground, there’d be some uncomfortable tension during the parking and leveling process, and then my cousin and I would bust out to go play in the lake, pool or woods. It was pure and innocent bliss for us kids, but looking back on it, it entailed a little more work for the adults. 

There were many struggles for them, from the generator not working to the stove malfunctioning, but one of the biggest headaches always seemed to be the awning. The electric connection would break, there wouldn’t be enough room to stretch it out, it would rip or tear, and one time the wind just bent it completely in half. Chasing after that beloved shade was a lot harder than it looked.

My own adventure vehicle and style of road-tripping is a lot more condensed than the RVs of my youth, but the search for shade is still paramount. Our Colorado sun is super intense to say the least, and some respite from that sun is often needed. I’ve tried sun shades of different sizes and styles, but my recent acquisition of the MoonShade portable awning is a standout. 

Made with a light and packable concept in mind, the MoonShade provides roomy shade coverage of 9×7 feet and easily attaches to the side of your vehicle. With a variety of anchoring systems, you can actually attach it to almost any sturdy structure. Broken down, it packs tightly into a bag about the size of a yoga mat and only weighs 8 lbs. The shade itself is 420D ripstop, UV 50-plus protected polyester, and the underneath portion is coated with reflective material to provide a boost to your illumination at night. The underside also has loops for hanging lanterns or gear. 

The structure is designed with adjustable aluminum poles and a tent-like architecture. This is a little different than traditional roll-out awnings. Stakes, guy lines and suction cups are included to secure and stabilize the awning, and the corners are reinforced for extra stability. MoonShade also carries a variety of additional anchors if you want to customize your attachment.

MoonShade provides roomy, shady coverage of 9×7 feet.
Courtesy MoonShade

As with most new gear, there was a bit of a learning curve on the set-up. However, I found that it ended up being easier than I anticipated. After a couple tries, I can now set it up in 5-10 minutes. If you’re vertically challenged like me, I’d recommend throwing in a small step stool for a little extra boost. 

The MoonShade is burly enough to withstand light precipitation, but I don’t think I’d trust it in an intense and windy downpour. I think I’d quicker roll it up and wait out severe weather in the car at that point. However, if you pay close attention to a sturdy set-up of the stakes and guy lines, it’ll withstand pretty strong winds. Tell your friends to keep an eye out for those lines though. It’s easy to clothesline yourself on them if you don’t pay attention. 

At $350, I find the MoonShade to be an excellent purchase compared to other more complicated and expensive awnings. I love that it can be moved around to any vehicle or sturdy structure, and I often find myself setting it up just so the dog has a shady spot while I’m bustling about doing other things. I’m also pretty sure it’ll lessen the chance of extra colorful language during set-up than those awnings of old.

Meg Simon is an Aspen-based freelance writer, graphic designer and founder of Simon Finch Creative. She can be reached at

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