The joys of camping are better enjoyed when you are not walled up in your camping tents or vehicles.

From exploring your camping area in fun hiking trips to sitting around campfires, swimming, or simply busying yourself with whatever nature offers you in your camping location.

However, sometimes, it is more refreshing to take a breather and recline in foldable camp chairs with a drink in hand and your family or friends by your side. However, to do this, you will need an awning to offer sufficient shade… unless you plan to sit beneath the scorching sun, that is.

There are different types and models of awnings but one that has continued to prove to be worth the investment is the 270 awning model. Undoubtedly one of the most talked-about awning models, the 270 awning continues to wow outdoor enthusiasts with its benefits.

So, what are 270 awnings and why are they the talk of the camping scene?

What Are Awnings?

As an avid outdoor explorer who often finds themself in one nomadic campsite location or the other, it is important to have all the gear you need to be comfortable while you enjoy your outdoorsy lifestyle.

This not only means arranging primary equipment like sleep gear and feeding essentials but paying attention to smaller details like first aid kits, vehicle recovery kits, and, of course, sturdy awnings. However, many campers seem to forget that awnings are a necessity.

So, what are awnings and why are they important?

Awnings, or camper awnings as they are fondly called, are used to provide a temporary extension of your living space while you camp. Latched to the top of your camping truck or RV, awnings can be extended to offer a shade outside your vehicle and retracted when not in use.

Although some awnings can be used year-round, they are generally referred to as the perfect outdoor gear for camping in the summer or spring (check out ten great destinations for spring camping!).

Without awnings, campers will be forced to erect chairs underneath tree shades or without any shade at all depending on the terrains and areas they find themselves. Without awnings, you will be caught outside without protection from sun or rain and forced to retreat into your tent or truck when the weather gets bad.

Awnings are the perfect solution for setting up a comfortable make-shift patio that you can bring along on all your chirs. They are the perfect place to set a makeshift dining area or a place to simply relax over a cup of hot coffee (while you’re here, check out five ingenious ways to make coffee while camping!). Awnings are truly a multi-purpose invention designed to add to your outdoor experience.

Like any other camping gear, there are several factors you should consider when investing in an awning for your vehicle. Some of these factors are: 

  • Material 
  • Ease of opening and retraction
  • Size

While all these are important, size is often the most important factor when choosing a rooftop awning. While some awnings are flat structures that open up on the roof of a tent to offer a few feet of shade, some others offer a wider surface area shade. One of these is the 270 awning.

A 270 degree compact awning.

What Are 270 Awnings?

Since they were first created as an innovation that offers the relief of shelter from the sun and rain, awnings have evolved into more impressive structures that make camping on the go a more interesting experience. However, the benchmark for the luxury offered by quality awnings was the 270 awning model.

Prior to the creation of the 270 awning, awnings were nothing more than durable materials latched to the top of your vehicle’s roof and supported by ropes and poles. They were simple rectangular-shaped and straight structures that opened up to cover one side of the vehicle.

However, the invention of the 270 awning brought the promise of a more structural and practical awning that was not only easy to use but also provided a larger setup for shelter outside and around vehicles.

The incredible amount of shelter the 270 awning offers is undoubtedly the most evident advantage it has over other awning designs. With its versatile design, the 270 awning offers impressive strength and an effective shelter system.

But how exactly does it work?

The 270-degree awning is designed as a foldable fabric- usually rip-stop or any other poly-cotton blends- fitted with brilliantly-placed in-built poles for strength and support. When not in use, the 270 degree awning fits into a bag that latches on to one side (left or right side) of the camping vehicle.

When installed on the vehicle correctly, the 270 awning doesn’t obstruct any vehicle function like opening or closing doors. When you unzip the 270 degree awning, you simply have to drag the closest end of the awning out and around your vehicle before tensioning and tethering it as described in the manufacturer's manual.

When this is complete, you are left with a free-standing awning that wraps around your vehicle on one side and usually stops at the rear part of the vehicle. 

The 270 degree awnings are so called because of the amount of coverage they offer campers. They go over one side of the vehicle and almost to the other side in what is almost a perfect 270 degree shelter measurement of a vehicle.

270 awnings are usually installed on 4WD vehicles, making them the perfect gear for camping on the go. They are usually made of durable materials and accompanied with steel or aluminum poles that can handle any weather by offering full shelter and coverage when fully erect.

Where regular awnings measure a few feet on both ends, when erected, 270 awnings can offer at least 129 Square feet of shade (like the TUFF STUFF 270º DEGREE XL AWNING) or more to provide shelter from sun or rain. Put simply, 270 awnings are a larger and upgraded version of regular or traditional rectangular awnings. 

Why Are 270 Awnings The Ultimate Camping Upgrade?

When you are always on the move, you need all the comfort you can get. Although regular traditional awnings served their purpose, as the years advanced, people required more than these awnings can give. 

Let’s start with the obvious problem of how small the traditional rectangular awnings are. When they are fully erect, rectangular awnings only cast a few feet of shade.

This shade is only wide enough to accommodate a few persons, making them a deal-breaker if you find yourself in the company of friends who want to sit in the shade with you. With so little shade and more people than the shade can accommodate, the awning is rendered almost useless.

Another problem is the changing direction of the sun. regular awnings do not cast enough shade, meaning that any major change in the direction of the sun will require you to move your vehicle to a direction where the shade catches the sun right.

Unless you don’t mind moving your vehicle every few feet everytime the sun dips a little further in the sky, regular tents can be a pain to use. Although they serve their purpose however little they can, they are not the best investment if you are an outdoorsy person.

One other notable problem that surfaces when you use traditional awnings is how difficult setting these awnings up alone can be. Although there are different types of traditional awning with different set-up designs, all designs still require a high level of effort to erect and take down.

From unbagging or unzipping these awnings to tensioning, latching, hooking up, and installing the poles, there is simply too much effort required to use these awnings. 

The invention of 270 awnings  was the perfect solution to the setbacks of the simple and older awning versions. 270 awnings solve the problem of limited coverage by coming in larger sizes to accommodate more people than regular awnings. However, this is not all they do.

270 awnings are the easiest awnings to use on the market today. Although other awnings may have shorter erecting and take-down steps, they cannot beat the short erect time of 270 awnings. To open up a 270 awning, you only need to spear about 30 seconds or less than.

How is this possible?

The 270 awnings are built to be a free-standing structure, meaning you do not have to worry about ropes, poles, and all of that when trying to use your awning (although they do come with poles and support lines). If you do install your poles, you only do so to provide extra support from wind to prevent damage to your vehicle.

When your 270 awnings are installed on the roof of your vehicle, your awning is placed on either the left or right side in a durable pouch. To use the awning, you simply unzip the pouch, unlatch the velcro, let the awning down, grab the outermost awning section and walk along the vehicle, going towards the rear.

The awning unravels as you go. Opening up to create a massive canopy that is totally support-free. The most appealing part of this easy set-up is the eradication of the effort that traditional awnings require. 270 awnings can be set up by one person, a feat that cannot be achieved with standard awnings.

The easy set-up feature puts time and exertion into perspective, helping outdoor lovers enjoy an accessible shelter when needed. It is also important to note that 270 awnings are made of more durable materials than traditional awnings.

This not only offers strength and proper protection from rain, sunlight, and wind but offers a shelter that doesn’t need to be replaced after every camping, off-roading, or Overlanding trip. 270 awnings are undoubtedly an excellent investment if you live an outdoorsy lifestyle.

Additionally, 270 awnings do not only create an outdoor shelter but can also be changed up to offer privacy outdoors. 270 awnings are designed to act as a shade but come with attachments that make it possible to transform this shade into an outdoor tent that can double as a dining, changing, or sleeping area. 

How does this work?

270 awnings have awning shade walls (like the  TUFF STUFF 270º COMPACT SHADE WALLS PACK!) often purchased separately. When installed by zipping and holding them in place, these walls provide top-to-bottom coverage and protection from the elements.

Like the awnings, these walls are made from durable materials, so you do not have to worry about wear and tear as you use them. Ultimately, 270 awnings fulfill your camping needs in ways traditional awnings cannot.

They are easier to use, offer better coverage, are more durable and will last you years, and can be transformed into a temporary private outdoor quarter. 270 awnings are a clear upgrade from traditional awnings.

People camping under a Tuff Stuff 270 degree awning.

Cons of 270 Awnings

Although 270 awnings offer numerous advantages when compared to traditional rectangular awnings, they have their downsides and disadvantages. These disadvantages do not outweigh the pros but can be a source of concern for some campers. Some of these cons include:

Price

270 awnings are more expensive than their traditional counterparts. Although this drastic price difference is a small price to pay for the better quality, comfort, and ease of use that 270 awnings offer, it is still considered way too expensive for others.

Admittedly, the price can be a bit discouraging at first, but when you get around the fact that you are getting better quality, it is easy to see that 270 awnings are worth the hundreds or thousands of dollars on their tags.

Weight

Unfortunately, weight is a problematic factor when using 270 awnings. 270 awnings are pretty heavy. This is expected, especially if you consider the fact that they are a lot bigger than rectangular awnings and made of heavier materials.

Many manufacturers label their 270 awnings as lightweight, but these awnings can still weigh anything from 28kg. This weight obviously packs a punch, especially since it is latched on one side of the vehicle and will weigh that side down.

However, if you can balance out your vehicle’s weight by distributing the arrangements of your camping gear and being more mindful of your driving habits, you will not notice a drastic vehicle maneuvering or mileage change.

Usage

270 awnings are built to be support-free and handle all types of weather. However, in cases when it rains and gets windy, the awnings can get very floppy and go all over the place. The only solution in these cases is to put down the poles and mount the awning to the floor. Needless to say, this can be tricky to handle in the raging wind, especially if you are doing it alone. 

Installation

When your 270 awning is not installed properly or at the right hand, it can impede vehicle functions like opening the boot. This can be dangerous and might negatively affect the tent and vehicle.

Entering the Tent

If your awning is fitted at the point where you usually enter your rooftop tent, you will have to fashion a way to enter the tent when using your awning. 

Final Ruling: Are 270 Awnings Worth The Hype?

Yes, they definitely are! 270 awnings change the game by racking up comfort and ease for campers and overlanders. They offer a better shade, versatility, and the convenience of having an awning that will last you several camping or Overlanding trips.

Although 270 awnings may come with their disadvantages, these disadvantages do not negate the tremendous advantages they offer. 270 awnings are indeed the ultimate camping upgrade.

December 28, 2022 — Russ Hennings